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Invisible Blueprints: Intuitive Insights for Fulfillment in Life

By Diane Brandon


Invisible Blueprints: Intuitive Insights for Fulfillment in Life

2000, 2005 by Diane Brandon All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission from the author, except for brief quotations embodied in critical essay, article, or review. These articles and/or reviews must state the correct title and author of this book by name.

Published by Insight Publishing Company P. O. Box 4189 Sevierville, Tennessee 37864

Printed in The United States


A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience. Oliver Wendell Holmes

This book has been in preparation for quite some time and has apparently needed a long period of gestation. During that time, I have continued to accrue life experiences, stimulation, and my own unfolding, while the book simmered in the background of my mind and life. I have known many people who have encouraged me in my endeavors, not just for my writing projects, but for my other pursuits as well. To those who have been supportive, whether close friends or acquaintances, I am truly grateful. I have always been fortunate in meeting and getting to know a good number of people. Some have been close friends and confidantes for many years. Without listing all of themand please forgive me for not doing soI would like to thank them deeply and express how much their friendship and support over the years has meant to me. I will always treasure these friendships. Other people may have appeared for briefer periods in my life and yet nevertheless have given me what I needed to have or to hear at the time. To all of those in both categories, I am grateful and appreciative as well. The people who have contributed to my life and left their mark on my being and character, whether close friends or not, are indeed too numerous to list here. Suffice it to say that their effects have not gone unnoticed. My parents have endured my years of seeming to need to find myself without too many recriminations and have stood by me when I needed their support, irrespective of the form it took. May I express my appreciation to them here as well. Life can be made more difficult without a circle of family and Ive been very fortunate to have the family I have, who serve as a consistent backdrop of connection in my life.

My special gratitude goes to Theresa Waltermeyer of Antico Internationale, my personal manager and close friend for several years now. Theresa apparently saw some potential in me when I couldnt quite see it. She has steered and guided my work, making gentle suggestions at times for direction. Without her consistent support, I truly doubt whether I would have contemplated this writing project. Words cannot express how she has impacted my life. And then there are my clientsah, my clients, who have taught and informed me as much as I would like to think that I have facilitated them. They have been patient with me. Out of the thousands I have read for over the years, many have been loyal to me, in spite of my bumbling phrasing at times in sessions. Many have stayed in touch with me, sharing their unfolding and expressing their appreciation of my role in their process. Some have been avid students as well as clients and have unfolded beautifully, showing the lovely benefits of personal growth. Without my clients, the large majority of whom have been delightful to work with, there would truly be no book. To each and every onemy deepest gratitude, and may you continue to find life to be a source of never-ending interest, enjoyment, and inspiration. And now, an arcane thanks to all those whose paths Ive not yet crossed, but from whom Ill learn, be stimulated, and benefit in the future. We are in actuality all part of that inter-connected web of life.

Diane Brandon

Table of Contents
Introduction Part I: What is Intuition? An Energy Readers Unconscious Preparation Prelude A Rather Prosaic Background Mise-en-Scne & Overture Apprenticeship of a Reluctant Psychic, or Flying Blind and Without a Net

Part II:

Part III: Chapter 1 Chapter 2

The Work Itself Energy Readings A New Era of Intuitive Readings: Lamplighters

Part IV: Chapter 3

Insights and Realizations Early Realizations and Lessons in Energy

Chapter 4

Invisible Blueprints, or the Grandeur of a Creative Universe A Cornucopia of Insights: Relationships, Soul Connections, Soul Agreements, Soulmates, Passed-On Loved Ones, Career/Purpose, Levels of Being, Reincarnation and "Karma," Benevolent Universe and Omnipotent Deity How We are Worked with and Where Do We Go from Here?

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the Mysterious. It is the source of all art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed. Albert Enstein The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures. It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers. It is the same life that is rocked in the oceancradle of birth and of death, in ebb and in flow. Sri Rabindranath Tagore

Please consider this book as a tour, a walking tour, if you will, through various personal growth topics. Well stroll through subjects such as Intuition Inner Knowing Energy Readings Insights Personal Unfolding and Growth Invisible Blueprints and Fulfillment all subjects representing information that Ive gleaned from my work with clients, work that I now consider myself privileged to have been doing. My work is that of an energy reader, you see, a term that might have mystified me in the past and that I have only belatedly come to use to describe myself and the type of work I do. One might also use the term intuitive counselor, which may more

accurately and comprehensively describe the nature of this work. In private sessions, sometimes called readings, I read clients energy and give them intuitive information for their growth and unfolding. These energy readings were a completely new concept for me and represented such a departure from my prior experience and awareness (to say the least) that I found myself very taken as well as challenged by them, as I struggled to understand them and their workings, as well as to put them into some sort of conceptual framework. As you'll see further on, I came to this type of work later in life and in a definitely unplanned manner and, because of this serendipitous quality and the feeling of being derailed from the path I thought I was on, I struggled to make sense of what was unfolding in my work life. As can sometimes happen to us in our lives, an unexpected fork in the road can lead us to discover new worlds, and this was definitely so for me. In spite of the unplanned nature of this new direction in my work and my struggle to come to terms with doing it, including the necessity to alter my self definition, I eventually came to realize that I had learned greatly from the information I was privy to in these energy readings, so greatly in fact that I knew I had gained invaluable treasure in the way of insights insights I had never even theorized about and ideas that I'm till trying to make sense of. These insights have enriched my life immeasurably and have enlarged my awareness of our world and existence. I was fortunate enough to receive these nuggets of awareness within the first several years of my doing this work without having to wait years for them, for which Im very grateful. (And thankfully the information hasnt stopped coming, which indicates to me that I should have even more discoveries to look forward to in my ensuing years.) These insights have given me a rich amount of information and, as a result of gaining this information, my sense of wonder at creation only continues to grow. These revelations have represented an unforeseen boon, and this unexpected benefit, as well as its implications, has, in turn,

made me quite eager to share both the inner workings of these "energy readings," as well as the information I've gleaned. This, then, is the raison dtre for this book, which represents somewhat of an encapsulation of what I've learned thus far and in which we'll explore both these readings themselves and those insights. In spite of the fact that I'm still "chewing on" some of this information, I know that it has significant implications for how we approach our lives and how we look for fulfillment, indeed for how we make sense of this experience we have for a span of years that we call "life." Several of my concepts have changed as a result of this work, one of which has been my whole understanding of what a reading itself is and can be. Over time, my sessions evolved into those energy readings that I mentioned, a peculiar variation on intuitive sessions. Far from the typical tell you the future psychic readings that I had thought readings always were and could only be, these energy readings were quite different. And not only were they not fortune-telling, they also werent readings of the aura or bodily energy either. Theyre truly a different breed altogether. But more about the nature of the readings themselves later on. Because I was a latecomer to doing readings (and to even realizing that I was intuitive at all since I had never seen myself in the past as "psychic"), I felt compelled to learn more about this faculty that I was apparently using. What began as a perplexed interest turned into an insatiable curiosity. I found myself feeling an increasing need to delve into what intuition was (and was not) and I began to study it as a phenomenon (or, as I now refer to it, a set of phenomena). This study is ongoing and has yielded more and more information that fascinates me about the unrecognized and lesser known qualities of human consciousness, mental acuity and flexibility, and mind potential.

Because intuition is the very foundation of my sessions those sessions that have yielded so many insights let's first examine intuition itself, before going into those insights that have come from the use of that faculty.

Part I: What is Intuition?

Intuition is a spiritual faculty and does not explain, but simply points the way. Florence Scoville Shinn You must train your intuition you must trust the small voice inside you which tells you exactly what to say, what to decide. Ingrid Bergman What the inner voice says will not disappoint the hoping soul. Johann Friedrich von Schiller As a culture we tend to be fascinated by intuition, while at the same time having a conflicted view of it. We ascribe to it a patina of glitzy glamour, the lure of the fabulous, granting celebrity to well-known psychics, while at the same time according intuitive and psychic phenomena on a day-to-day basis no credibility whatsoever. The fact that these diametrically opposed views of psychic phenomena and intuition co-exist side by side only speaks to the lack of understanding and conflicted attitudes that we in our culture have about the subject. So lets take a closer look at this much-maligned and little-understood faculty. Lets consider the following scenarios:

A new mother wakes up suddenly in the night, listening. Everything is quiet, but she still feels unsettled. When she goes to check on her baby, she discovers him sleeping soundly and then also discovers a black widow spider in the crib with him. A man sits quietly in a chair in a police precinct. He is holding the shoe of a murder victim and, as he does so, receives impressions about the victims abduction and killer. A girl is up at bat playing softball in the park while her identical twin is off riding her bike. The girl hits the ball and starts running the bases, then falls down and screams in pain just as her twin has a bike accident and breaks her leg. A man wakes up from a dream in which he dreamed of lottery numbers. He quickly writes the numbers down, then later that day buys a lottery ticket with those dreamt-of numbers. He wins the lottery. A woman calls for a taxi. When the taxi arrives, the woman starts to get in, glances at the driver, and then gets an uneasy feeling. She declines to get in and waits for another taxi. That evening as she

watches TV she is startled to see the same taxi drivers picture on the news. He had been arrested for the robbery and murder of a passenger. A man is getting ready to go on his lunch hour. All morning the public library, a place he does not often frequent, kept going through his mind. At the last minute as he is leaving work, the library flashes through his mind again. Not in need of a book and for no apparent reason other than his persistent flashing mentally on it, the man decides to go to the library. When he gets there, he physically bumps into a woman on her way out. They excuse themselves, start a conversation and get married six months later. An apparently healthy woman goes to bed at her normal hour. That night she has a dream that disturbs her greatly, in which she wakes up in a hospital after just having had a mastectomy. Later that same night she has another dream in which the cancer has metastasized. In the morning, still uneasy and alarmed by her dreams, she calls and makes an appointment for a mammogram. A malignant tumor in its early stages is subsequently found and successfully removed. She later is in remission and has no recurrence of the cancer. A man wakes up in the morning feeling really positive and energized, for no apparent reason. He wonders why hes feeling so upbeat, since hes usually grumpy in the morning. He dresses and goes to work. That afternoon in the office he receives an unexpected call, just out of the blue, from a stranger offering him a wonderful position at almost twice his present salary. He hadnt even been looking for another job. A woman has felt for some time that her work is unfulfilling and that she needs to make a complete career change, but has no idea what work direction she should head into. She struggles increasingly trying to figure out what her new career should be. A close friend calls her to tell her that shes going out of town and, in the course of the conversation, tells her that shes been having trouble finding a good kennel to leave her dog in while shes gone. That same day, she comes across an article on new careers in the service sector of the economy, with the career of pet-sitting highlighted in a sidebar. Two days later she finds a message on her answering machine from a caller who apparently dialed the wrong number. The caller was inquiring about pet-sitting. The woman, who loves animals, has an aha experience, as she realizes that through these chance experiences (called synchronicities) that she has been given the idea for her new career direction: pet-sitting. A man realizes that he has misplaced his keys. He looks in all the likely places for them and goes back over his steps, retracing them in an effort to find his keys all to no avail. After panicking initially and anxiously trying to figure out where they could be, he realizes that he doesnt need to drive anywhere for a while and gives up on trying to find them. An avid reader, he then sits down to read for a few minutes and becomes immersed in a book he has been enjoying. All of a sudden he realizes where he might have put his keys. When he goes to check, he finds them in exactly that place.

What do all of these scenarios have in common? They are all examples of various types of intuitive experiences, those misunderstood experiences that we hear so much about. What is intuition? Is it exclusively in the purview of professional psychics alone? Or is it a much more common and prevalent faculty than we realize? Lets take a more in-depth look at intuition, starting off by defining the term so that we know were on the same page with what were discussing.

The word intuition is the noun form of the verb to intuit, which comes from Latin and means to look in or on. Websters Unabridged Dictionary defines intuition as the immediate knowing or learning of something without the conscious use of reasoning; instantaneous apprehension. Johann Kaspar Lavater in the 18th century said, Intuition is the clear conception of the whole at once. Because the term psychic is also used to refer to phenomena that may be qualified as intuition, I feel that it would be useful to define that term as well. (And, because the word is so laden with strong and negative connotative content, it certainly wouldnt hurt to demystify it.) The word psychic comes from psyche, a word in Greek that refers to the human soul or mind; thus, etymologically, psychic is that which pertains to the soul or mind. Psychic is defined, again by Webster, as beyond natural or known physical processes or apparently sensitive to forces beyond the physical world. So, even though the word "psychic" originally referred to aspects of the soul or mind, we now use it to refer to extra-ordinary forces and that which defies our ability to explain in terms of our known understanding of our world. Just by looking at these formal definitions alone we can see that the term psychic has more wowyzowy (or woo-woo, to use a current usage) connotations. What I would like to posit is that these forces beyond the physical world may indeed be well within it and just not known by us at the present time. But more on that idea later. It is interesting that the definition of intuition refers to knowing or learning something, whereas the definition of psychic omits this aspect and refers instead to extra-ordinary forces. Now there is a type of intuition that would not be considered to be truly psychic, the type of intuition that involves true intuiting looking within ourselves (i.e., looking in our subconscious) for information that we were exposed to and didnt realize we had. (In fact, the last of the above scenarios illustrates this type of intuition.) This type of intuition involves a true looking within. However, it is not the type of intuition that we are dealing with in this chapter. The present chapter deals with the type of intuition that I use in my intuitive counseling work knowing things through other than our five recognized senses or our intellect or that we could have been exposed to. I would like to posit that this type of intuition and the psychic are more closely related than we may deem to be the case at present and than our dictionary definitions of the terms would indicate. One factor that I feel has colored our reaction to intuition and psychic phenomena as outr and beyond the pale lies in our culturally induced associations with the terms. In other words, as a culture we tend to label these experiences as weird and bizarre, and consequently we avoid dealing with them as credible and understandable, not to mention very real and natural parts of life (for indeed these faculties are far more natural and common than we tend to believe). These cultural connotations, in turn, are reinforced and magnified by the lurid treatment our media gives these "unexplained" phenomena. Consider the film, "The Exorcist," or a more contemporary (but short-lived) television series, "The Others," both of which sensationalize the paranormal and extra-sensory perception. These supernatural connotations and further distorted representations in the media lead us to relegate these naturally occurring gifts and phenomena to the fringe and the outcast the outr. By thereby disowning intuition and psychic phenomena, we are cutting off a very real and helpful faculty that can be an intrinsic part of life, as well as limiting ourselves and our own potential. Perhaps putting these faculties and phenomena into an understandable framework, and one that speaks to the existence and validity of intuition, will help us move past our cultural prejudices and begin to demystify what is really very natural. Due to all the negative connotations associated with the word psychic, for the sake of palatability Ill just use the term intuition. Although there are some who feel that there is a clear difference between intuition (and all intuition-derived experiences) on the one hand and psychic phenomena (including ESP, or extra-sensory perception) on the other hand, for the purposes of this discussion I am not delineating any strong distinction between the two. By intuition Ill be referring to all types of experiences in which that which we know is not coming to us through either any of our recognized five senses or our logical, rational, deductive, or inductive thinking (or from the other type of intuition, bringing information up from our subconscious). So, to go back to our question, the leit-motif for this chapter, what is intuition?

If we look again at the examples given at the beginning of this chapter, we can see that intuition comes in many different ways and forms, both in our conscious (i.e., awake) state and in our dreaming (i.e., asleep) state. It can also come in bodily awarenesses, a pain or physical sensation not previously there (as in the example of the twins). The point I am making is that the term intuition is a label we put on many different types of experiences and phenomena. It is information that we receive, whether knowingly or unknowingly, or, rather, the accessing of information. It is indeed apprehending or gaining information through other than our regular, logical means, and the intuitive experience can come in many different forms. I have come to greatly respect intuition not only for its validity, but also for its complexity and multiplicity of expression. We cant just simplistically label it as one thing and put it into a narrowly proscribed box. It is a very rich set of phenomena (as I mentioned in the Introduction), which would appear to have in common one thing: information, and that information adds to our knowing and our sense of knowing. Furthermore, this intuitive information can come to us whether we are aware of the process or not. If you again review the same scenarios at the beginning of this chapter, youll find very diverse manifestations of intuition. In some instances, the perceiver (the person having the intuitive experience) is not even aware of experiencing intuition. And this I feel is an important point: information of the intuitive sort is coming into us all the time, ofttimes without our being aware of it. We may either not be conscious of it or choose to ignore it or even be in denial about it being there at all because we simply cant see or grasp its existence. This then brings me to another point. Because intuitive information is coming in to us constantly, it is, as I previously stated, a very natural, normal, and common phenomenon. We tend to think of it as exotic and indeed many of us want to be wowed by the paranormal. However, when you study and work with intuition, you begin to learn that it is so very normal. It is our weltanschauung, or world-view, that is grossly out of step with these naturally occurring phenomena. I feel that intuition and intuitive ability are in reality a form of intelligence and mental ability, another way of knowing and apprehending. For those who are interested in developing and using their full mental and knowing potential, embracing, developing, and using ones intuition is de rigueur. And, because intuition is another form of intelligence and knowing, the ability can be honed and developed just as our deductive reasoning ability often may be. As a form of mental ability, intuition has different attributes and works in a different way from our more familiar mental faculties. One significant difference is that intuition is usually receptive. It is a receiving of information that is a different mode from that of our left-brain logical modes that are more active as we analyze and probe. Instead of trying to figure things out intuitively (which doesnt work because its a figurative oxymoron), in using our intuition we must instead receive information, paying attention to what comes or appears in our consciousness. (There may, however, be forms of intuition that reflect sensing abilities and perceptual modes not yet recognized by science.) In contrasting intuition with our more analytical modes, I would like to add, however, that intuition can work with these other mental modes. "Intuition isn't the enemy, but the ally, of reason" (John Kord Lagemann). We can easily shift back and forth between and among modes, utilizing the mode most appropriate for the issue we are working on. I often feel that Im utilizing different modes unconsciously and simultaneously, as they all work together to contribute to the whole of what Im working on. For example, my intuition may tell me something; then my logic may evaluate that piece of information, examining it for its validity. Several gifted scientists have spoken to their reliance on intuition in their work. Stephen Hawking spoke to this complementarity when he wrote, "There is no prescribed route to follow to arrive at a new idea. You have to make the intuitive leap. But the difference is that once you've made that intuitive leap you have to justify it by filling in the intermediate steps." No less a mind than Albert Einstein affirmed his esteem for intuition when he stated that, "The only real valuable thing is intuition." And Jonas Salk said that, "Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next." He elaborated further on his usage of intuition when he described his process of creating the polio vaccine: "When I worked on the polio vaccine, I had a theory. I guided each [experiment] by imagining myself in the phenomenon in which I was interested. The intuitive realmthe realm of the imagination guides my thinking."

It would appear that the ability to be more whole brain and incorporate both intuition and logic into one's knowing and apprehending faculties may be a hallmark of those who accomplish more. As the surgeon Alexis Carrel put it, "All great men are gifted with intuition. They know without reasoning or analysis, what they need to know." I reiterate: intuition and left-brain reasoning can work together, often as a seamless whole. And the more high-functioning individuals among us develop and combine not just their left-brain logical faculties with their intuition, but also with their right-brain creative modes. Although not the same as right-brain creativity, intuition in some of its forms is somewhat akin to the creative mode of right-brain mental ability that sees relationships between and among things, or makes the creative leap from separate parts or factors to the whole representing integration and synthesis. However, intuition is also often about just a knowing about something, because, again, it is a receiving of information. The creative aspect of intuition has been very familiar to artists over the centuries, as many writers, painters, composers, etc. have received inspiration for their works through creative insights that just came to them in their waking or sleeping states. For example, Mary Shelley received the inspiration and information to write Frankenstein from a dream she had. The creative aspect of intuition, however, as mentioned above, is not just limited to the arts. Many researchers and scientists over the centuries have intuited answers to the problems they were working on that "eureka" that can come either in the awake or asleep state. Two prominent examples of scientific "discoveries" having been made or received intuitively through dreams are those of Dmitri Mendeleyev and the periodic table of elements, and Friedrich August Kekul von Stradonitz and the structure of the benzene molecule. And, as cited above, many scientists incorporate intuition into their creative process whether or not it is always in the "eureka" mode. Some forms of intuition may actually represent perceptual abilities or sensing modes not yet recognized by science or even by our common awareness. As youll read later on, I discovered some of these sensing modes in reading some peoples essence; in addition, the mode that I use in reading clients energy I would put in this category, as its a kinesthetic sensing that I hadnt experienced prior to doing this work. As I mentioned, I believe that information is coming in to us constantly. We just may not be trained to be aware of it. One attribute of intuition that may make it more easily overlooked is that it is often subtle and we in our culture are not always trained to be attuned to or pay attention to subtleties. Once we learn how to work with our intuition, we learn to pay attention to the subtleties that may veil information from other less attuned senses, as we realize that there may indeed be information for us to gain from paying attention. In order to illustrate this type of intuitive subtlety, Id like to share an experience I personally had with subtlety. Some years ago, upon returning home from visiting family over the Christmas holidays, I discovered that my home had been broken into. It appeared to the police that it had been kids who had done this, due to the minimum of items stolen and the mess made in the kitchen. (They had helped themselves to food in the refrigerator and cooked, leaving food out and a resultant mess to clean up.) As I cleaned up and attempted to get my space back to normal, I worried about my future security there, a not unfamiliar feeling for anyone whos ever been burglarized. I worried about unknown neighborhood kids who might have been the culprits. I worried about this happening again, this time perhaps while I was at home. However, every time I thought about the break-in, a particular voice student of mine would flash through my mind. (I was teaching voice privately at the time.) After a while, I started to notice that this student was flashing through my mind whenever I thought about the break-in. At no time did I ever consciously suspect this student of having committed the burglary. Somewhat laid back and albeit neither hard-working nor highly motivated, he seemed honest in his ingenuousness. He was simply not at all someone I would have suspected. However, after continually flashing on him whenever I focused on the break-in, I finally came to the conclusion that I was being told that there was a connection between this student and the break-in (the connection being intuitively experienced and expressed as break-instudent; break-instudent; then break-in/student; break-in/student; etc.). The point is that this instance of intuition was very subtle. It was only after repeatedly flashing on the student while thinking about the break-in that I noticed that this was going on and that I was intuitively being shown a connection. Had I not been attuned to subtleties like this, I would probably not have noticed that it was even occurring and I would thereby have missed the intuitive insight being given to me.

Can I say for sure now that this student was indeed the burglar? Of course not. However, my sense is that he probably was the one (or that the burglar was very much like my student in some way or that there was some connection between the break-in and my student). Even though we may be given information through intuition, we may still have to take steps to interpret and/or verify it. My intuitive information and sense that it was my voice student rather than an unknown entity in the neighborhood at least started to give me some peace of mind regarding my fear that it could happen again while I was at home. (A known burglar is better than an unknown one, right?) And it was through paying attention to subtleties that I gained this peace of mind, irrespective of whether my student actually committed the break-in or not. As valuable as intuition is, however, it should also be noted that its far from being an exact science, and this is so for several reasons. The first is that the information we receive intuitively is often highly subject to our interpretation of it. In other words, we may often not know what our information means because it is not always straightforward or literal. For example, in a sample reading I had to give when I applied to work for a 900 line, as I looked at the relative of the caller I kept getting an impression that I can best describe as straight. Is he tall? I asked. No, she replied. Does he hold himself straight? I then queried. Again she responded in the negative. Then suddenly I thought I knew what the impression meant. Is he up-standing? I asked. Yes, she replied. It took me some work to interpret the impression I was getting and what it actually meant. Indeed, intuitive information can often be symbolic and therefore not only open to interpretation, but also, and moreover, highly in need of it. (This challenge of interpreting intuitive information occurs more often when the form of the information is a sense or impression, or comes from directly experiencing energy.) Anyone who has worked with dream interpretation, as I have quite a bit, recognizes that the information we receive is not always straightforward and may be cloaked in symbols. Intuition is not an exact science secondly because it is not omniscience. We do not become all-knowing or omniscient through embracing and developing our intuition, Im sorry to say. There are always mysteries in our world! (Indeed, we are not always supposed to know everything. Otherwise we wouldnt be learning and growing.) And intuition is further not an exact science because we need to unravel the true intuitive insights we receive from our own stuff that may be contaminating it our wants, needs, fears, beliefs, mindsets, etc. Well go into this aspect in more depth later on. Lastly, intuition and its usage are not an exact science because we often get the information we are supposed to have at the time. This is so for our own unfolding, growth, and learning. In other words, just as we are not meant to know everything, at times we may be supposed to surmise something that may not, in fact, be true. For example, when I was nursing my beloved greyhound Sara in her last months, I was apparently supposed to believe that she would heal and walk again. As I detailed my experiences in my book about her (Sara's Gift), every intuitive who looked at Sara's condition got the information that she would indeed heal and walk again. This information was further corroborated by my use of a pendulum, as well as by information received through kinesiology. I was apparently supposed to believe this, perhaps because of what she and I needed to go through in the attempts to heal her. (Interestingly, she died on the exact day that I had ascertained via the pendulum that she would walk again. Although initially it felt to me like a cruel irony, I subsequently came to realize that she had indeed walked again on that date but not in her physical greyhound body here on earth. She was indeed walking and running again, but in spirit state.) As I mentioned, intuition is really a set of phenomena, taking many different forms, rather than being just one thing or presenting itself only in one way (and, indeed, professional intuitives work in many different ways). This speaks to the fact that intuition can, and does, come in variable forms. What are these forms? I'd like to list some of the major forms in which it can express itself. Some forms are probably already very well known to you, whereas others may be less well-known. In either case, the forms are as follows: * The visual, for which we have the term clairvoyance (from the French, as mentioned in Part I, literally meaning clear vision or a clear-seeing). (Although many people use the term clairvoyance to refer to precognition, or knowing the future in advance, this is not what the term clairvoyance truly refers to. A fine point, perhaps, and hair-splitting, but it is indeed useful to define our terms precisely so

that communication may be clear and unimpeded by misconstrued terms and misunderstandings.) Some information comes in for the intuitive in a visual form. In other words, the person receiving the information sees something, sometimes literally through his or her eyes, as in a vision, or in the mind or minds eye. Many people have a sense of seeing something, an image, when they receive information intuitively. * The auditory, for which we have the term clairaudience (again from the French, meaning a clear-hearing). Information in this form is heard. The perceiver may literally hear something through his or her ears or, again, may hear through the minds ear. * The feeling sense, or clairsentience (from the French for a clear feeling), is another form in which information can appear. Information can come in the form of a feeling, often emotional. For example, someone may say that a feeling of dread came over him or her about doing something. Conversely, a positive feeling about something may be conveying information to the perceiver as well. A gut hunch could also be classified as a feeling type of intuition. * Smell. (Shall we coin a term clair-olfactory?) Information can actually come in the form of smell. This is common in instances of sensing the presence of a loved one who has died by smelling his/her perfume or cologne. In this particular case, the loved one is usually trying to let the surviving one know through the olfactory sense that he or she is still around and okay. * Touch is another form of intuition. Some people are very sensitive to the feel of things through their hands and actually get information from tactilely touching objects. The practice of psychometry is based on this form and many forensic intuitives use this form in their work with police in trying to solve crimes. The second scenario I used at the beginning of this chapter is illustrative of this type of work. The form that the intuitive information takes through psychometry may also vary; i.e., it could be visual, an impression, etc. The impressions that the psychometrist is picking up on may be coming from energetic residues left by the previous owner or surroundings of the object and/or may be triggered by the object as a focusing device (much in the way that a crystal ball can be). * Intuitive information can come in the form of a sense or impression that may not be related to any particular one of the five senses. This form of information is really more abstract and not conveyed in a specific form. My feeling is that this type is on a level that is higher and less dense than our threedimensional reality more that of pure consciousness. This is the form that I receive the majority of my information in. This form is not the same as knowing (described next) because one is actually sensing something and experiencing the sensing of it. * Another form of intuition is that of just knowing, an awareness that is suddenly there. Knowings can be either very subtle or very startling as they come to conscious awareness. They may come in the form of knowings about specific things or may be a more generalized sense of knowingness. Sometimes a knowing may be deeply engrained; it appears to be there simply by osmosis. One suddenly knows without knowing when one came to know or how one came to know. (Sometimes a knowing may be explained by the general type of intuition I mentioned above that has to do with accessing information already in our subconscious. However, knowing can also represent a receiving of information that had not already been in the subconscious.) * Telepathy, or communication from one mind to another, is another form of intuitive knowing, or receiving of information. And one can experience telepathy without knowing where the information came from or that it was indeed telepathy. We usually use the term telepathy to refer to mental, nonverbal communication between humans, but inter-species telepathic communication also exists. More and more we are finding that humans and animals can communicate through telepathy. (Rupert

Sheldrake has reported on an experiment in which a dog could perceive when his owner decided to come home, even though it was not part of any established or scheduled routine of returning home. In this instance, the owner was not aware of sending her dog this information.) There are now increasing numbers of professional intuitives who specialize in animal communication. Again, telepathy can occur without our conscious awareness of its happening. In other words, we dont always have to try to communicate telepathically, either as sender or receiver, in order to experience it. I had an experience in grad school in which a friend would "project" to me, without my awareness that he was doing so. I simply sensed his presence suddenly in my room and would discover later that he had been projecting to me at the time that I sensed his presence. * Channeling or mediumship is another form of receiving information. Some intuitives feel that they are channeling information from disembodied entities whom they view as having higher knowledge and wisdom. An older version of channeling is that of mediumship, in which the intuitive, or medium, received information from a discarnate or transitioned person (one who had died). In both channeling and mediumship, the intuitive usually enters into a deeper level of consciousness, or "trance" state, and the entity or discarnate spirit speaks through them, actually taking over the body of the intuitive. Another form of mediumship involves the medium seeing and/or sensing the deceased entity and communicating with him/her. Although I am not convinced that the channel or medium at times is not just accessing information from higher levels of their own selves and consciousness, this may be a moot point. Another variation on receiving information through channeling or mediumship is receiving information through guides or guardian angels. Some people have said that I am channeling in my sessions, because I receive information. I view that facet of my work as simply receiving information. It should be noted that when one performs channeling or mediumship there generally is a conscious intention to connect with the entity or deceased one and receive the information; in other words, its not coming in spontaneously without conscious assent. (Of course, there may indeed be instances when information is received without having sought to do so. Many people report, for example, waking up in the middle of the night and finding themselves receiving information. This is how I came up with the information for my program on working on personal empowerment and wholeness. I awakened around 2 or 3 am and by 6 am had received most of the information that I subsequently transcribed into material and exercises.) It should be noted that some people use the term "channeling" in a much broader sense of being a channel for information to come in, in any form. In this broader sense, many or most forms of intuition would then represent forms of channeling without the conduit (or person receiving the information) sensing any personality or entity connected to the source of the information. * Dreams may also give us intuitive knowing. Although dreams may not technically be a form of intuition, they do represent one means by which we often receive intuitive information, whether it be about ourselves or someone else we know, or even people unknown to us. And this information can be about our health or about events that may happen or about emotional or other issues we are working on. Many artists have received inspiration through their dreams, just as some scientists have received breakthrough information about projects they were working on. (Consider the example of Kekul and the benzene molecule.) Although one may try to incubate dreams, or bring about a dream on a subject on which they want information, ofttimes the information we receive in a dream comes to us without our conscious volition; in other words, it comes "unbidden," so to speak. Messages in dreams, as mentioned earlier, must often also be interpreted before we can completely understand them. Dream intuition, however, is a strong form of receiving information that can be very helpful to us. For most of my life, I have felt that I receive guidance regularly in the dream state. (Whether the information received in the dream state truly comes from outside of us or represents a process of our actively accessing information outside of us is a topic requiring much more discussion.) * Synchronicities, or meaningful coincidences, are another way in which we can receive (or are given) information. The term synchronicity refers to events that are synchronous, or happening at the

same time (from the Greek syn for together and chronos for time). A synchronicity is an occurrence in which information about the same thing comes in different ways or forms around the same time or within a relatively short period of time. For instance, we may think of a friend weve been out of touch with for some time and then someone else mentions this friend to us and next we subsequently hear from him or her. Often we are being shown something or given information when synchronicities occur. In other words, there is a reason for the synchronicity and a meaning behind it. The last scenario illustrating intuition at the beginning of this chapter in which the woman struggling with career direction keeps encountering and hearing about pet-sitting is another example. Synchronicities give us information. It is up to us to notice these synchronicities, realize that there is a meaningful connection between or among the occurrences, and derive whatever information and meaning may be there for us in other words, interpret what the synchronicity is conveying to us. Using synchronicity as a source of information requires paying attention to their occurrences, as well as having the understanding that information can be gained by working with the synchronous. As many people say, there are no coincidences meaning, among other things, that coincidences are not idle occurrences, but may be messages fraught with meaning that can benefit us if we are willing to decode them. Although the above represent the different forms in which intuitive information can come, it is important to note that an intuitive experience can be a combination of more than one form. One may, for example, get an image of something while at the same time having a gut feeling about it. In my work, which I'll discuss in more detail in a later chapter, I often feel that I may be reading a persons energy while receiving information at the same time. Intuition can come in the form of a sudden flash, insight, or realization or just a sense of knowing. It can also come to us, as I mentioned, without our conscious awareness of its having come in. Although technically not a receiving of information, psychokinesis, or the affecting of objects through ones mind, should also be included in our listing of forms as it is a form or manifestation of psychic phenomena or mind power and, as such, it does represent a paranormal expression of the mind and consciousness. Probably the best-known practitioner of psychokinesis has been Uri Geller, who achieved recognition a few decades back for his ability to bend spoons through the exercise of his mind and mental powers. In addition to psychokinesis, there are other forms of psychic phenomena, such as the manifestation of objects and matter seemingly out of thin air. Sai Baba is a contemporary mystic and spiritual adept who is reputed to have the ability to manifest objects, for example gold dust and coins. This is another form of mind power. In looking at psychokinesis and manifestations of matter, we can see that they represent out-of-theordinary exercises of the mind i.e., are active and assertive forms rather than the receiving of information that intuition represents. Aside from the different forms that intuition can come in, different people will work with it in varying ways. Some people will simply tune in to receive information and then pay attention to what information comes to them. Others may use external tools to help focus their intuitive ability, such as cards (either tarot or regular playing cards), runes, I Ching, etc. And weve all heard of people reading tea leaves or using a crystal ball, two other forms of focusing devices. These tools would seem to represent simply an external means of focusing on something that aids in stimulating the flow of intuitive information and/or concentrating intently to shift the level of consciousness. Although intuition is neither fully understood at present nor an exact science, it is, I feel, certainly worthwhile and can offer us many benefits. If we again examine the scenarios given at the beginning of this chapter, we can see illustrations of the various benefits that intuition can offer us. The mother who awakens in the night feeling unsettled and goes to check on her baby, finding a black widow spider in the crib, has experienced intuition that gives a warning that something is amiss. This type of intuition can help us to avoid unnecessary difficult experiences or dangers. (And please note that I wrote "unnecessary" problems more on this later.)

In the second scenario in which a forensic intuitive holds the shoe of a murder victim, the intuitive is able to receive practical information about the crime, thereby helping the police move toward solving the case and perhaps helping to bring closure to the victims family. Although the girl who experiences her twins pain may not be consciously aware of receiving intuitive information, at the very least her intuitive experience conveys to her the awareness that something is wrong. (Sometimes when we are really connected with someone else on a deep level, we may indeed react to what that person is going through, even though we may not be consciously aware of the phenomenon. If we are consciously aware of this, then we may consciously know when the person were close to is going through something, whether positive or negative.) Certainly the man who dreams of winning lottery numbers has a practical and financial benefit of his intuition! The example of the woman who gets an uneasy feeling when she looks at the cabbie again illustrates the phenomenon of intuition warning us of potential (unnecessary) danger and enabling us to avert it. Our intuition can lead us to positive experiences and positive new people in our lives, as the scenario about the man who keeps flashing on the library exemplifies. I have often heard people say that they had had a feeling that they needed to go to a place, but hadnt known why they were led there until after they had listened to their intuition, gone to the place, and had a positive experience as a result. The woman who dreams about having breast cancer and undergoing a mastectomy only to have the presence of malignancy later confirmed by a mammogram illustrates an example of intuition giving us practical information about our health. There are indeed many real-life cases in which people have received information in their dreams about health problems they were consciously unaware of having and then subsequently confirmed those dreamed-of health problems medically. The intuitive information they received in their dreams enabled them to get the health problems dealt with while they were still in the early stages of the disease or illness. And the scenario in which the man awakens feeling uncustomarily positive, only to have a wonderful job opportunity offered to him out of the blue, illustrates the role that intuition can play in letting us know that something good is in the offing whether we even know at the time that that is what were being told, much less what that positive thing will be. I remember going to an audition once for a small, one-time walk-on role on a TV show and noticed as I drove out of town for the audition that I was in a wonderful mood. Indeed I had been in that wonderful mood since Id gotten up that morning. Now, I had been to many auditions prior to this one and didnt remember ever having felt that way. That out-of-the-blue wonderful mood was conveying to me that I was going to have a positive outcome that day. Somehow I just knew I was going to get the part. And, yes, I was indeed cast in that role. I now know that if I find myself just out of the blue in an unexpectedly unusually good mood that something good is probably about to happen. (Of course, conversely if Im not in an unusually good mood that does not necessarily indicate that something good wont happen or that if Im in a bad mood that something unpleasant will necessarily take place.) In the scenario with the woman looking for a new career direction who keeps running into information about pet-sitting, we can see that working with synchronicities can give us meaningful information about direction in our lives. In the last scenario, we see one of the benefits we can derive from pulling information up from our subconscious, although this type of intuition, as aforementioned, is not one well be examining in depth. The content of intuitive information can run the gamut from the mundane to the sublime. In other words, the type of information we receive intuitively can actually be about anything. Intuition can help us see more deeply into situations and relationships in our lives. It can thereby help us to derive more understanding and make more sense of what happens to us and others, thus allowing us to find a meaningful framework for otherwise random-appearing situations. Intuition and psychic phenomena dont have to be just about facts and superficial pieces of information. Intuitive insight can help us see the meaning in things and know where to look for answers. This, I feel, is one of the more significant roles it plays and one of the greatest benefits it can offer. As we learn, grow, and evolve in our lives, finding insight and meaning can be so very important to us.

Intuition can also give us insight about new directions in our lives. We can begin to sense what direction(s) may be good for us to go into. I often get a sense of what directions may be in the offing for me and thereby gain a sense of what I should be focusing on. Furthermore, as we develop our intuition we also begin to tap into our own knowing, which helps us to begin to strengthen in ourselves. Once we begin to develop our own knowing, it is very powerful and deepening, as well as empowering. No one can take that away from us. With knowing comes the beginning of understanding. And with understanding and insight can come wisdom, if we are open and so inclined. Indeed we can receive information that represents spiritual wisdom and insight. Intuition can have open-ended benefits as well. As Philip Goldberg wrote in The Intuitive Edge, Knowing feels good. There is a certain tension created by ignorance, an incompleteness in an unresolved problem. This has physiological and emotional counterparts. When the answer comes, there is a feeling of restoration. Wholeness is restored, and that feels comfortable, like filling in a circle that had a missing section. And, lastly, John Naisbitt foresaw a more pragmatic role of intuition, that of sorting out information and knowing which may be more valid or relevant for us. As he wrote, "Intuition becomes increasingly valuable in the new information society precisely because there is so much data." The question arises as to to what extent spirituality is combined with or a necessary component of intuition or psychic experience or ability. Indeed I feel that many of us assume that professional intuitives and psychics are naturally spiritually oriented because of their work. Allow me to disabuse anyone who believes this of that notion. Because intuition is a form of intelligence and a mental or knowing faculty, or a way of getting information, it is not necessarily combined with spirituality, nor is it a priori a spiritual phenomenon. Indeed there are many con artists (often a Sister this or Madam or Lady that) who may indeed have some psychic ability, but who also scam their unsuspecting clients by telling them that they have a curse on them that can be removed for some exorbitant sum. I iterate: intuitive ability does not in and of itself accord the perceiver a spiritual orientation or spiritual wisdom or even altruism. Although I have come to feel that everyone has intuitive or psychic ability, it is obvious that for some people the ability is just closer to the surface, more realized or actualized than just potential. I have felt for several years that there is a strong link between and among intuitive ability, and creativity and artistic leanings (no matter what the form of expression) and, when well-aspected in the person, with spirituality. Creative and artistic people are often also more sensitive than the norm. We often speak of the "artistic temperament," meaning a sensitivity, whether emotionally and/or to other people, etc. I feel that this sensitivity is often (although not always) a marker for spirituality or intuition because it denotes both an openness and thin boundaries. Dr. Ernest Hartmann, a noted sleep and dream researcher, has formulated a theory of a correlation between people prone to nightmares and the characteristic of thin boundaries, the boundary being the boundary between conscious reality and the subconscious. People who are thin-boundaried in this sense have more of a bleed-through or intrusion of the subconscious into the conscious reality. My sense is that there are additional boundaries as well: a boundary between other people and ourselves (as in psychologists referring to boundary issues in relationships with others) and a boundary between this ordinary, three-dimensional reality and other levels of being and realities. People who are thin-boundaried towards other people are often empathic (as well as empathetic) and sensitive to others energies, and people who are thin-boundaried between our ordinary reality and other levels and realities may be more prone to easily slip into states of consciousness that are deeper (as measured by brain waves) and may also be those people often accused of day-dreaming. Thin boundaries may be measured in the human energy field as well. Dr. Valerie Hunt researched the human energy field for over 25 years at UCLA and states in her ground-breaking book Infinite Mind that the boundaries of the human energy field become more permeable as the positive charge in the skins surface weakens, loosening its grip on the aura. (p. 118) A lot more research may yet need to be done on the physical evidence for thin vs. thick boundaries, of any type. However, I do sense a correlation between thin-boundaried people and intuitive ability. Belleruth Naperstek, in her excellent book on intuition entitled Your Sixth Sense, states that some people just seem to have an innate intuitive sense, although she correlates this with right-

hemisphere brain dominance: These are frequently the people who have other traits smacking of unusual quantities of inborn right-brainedness: bilateral dominance, dyslexia, musical or artistic ability, emotional sensitivity, imaginativeness, spontaneity, and strong spiritual leanings from a very young age. (p. 29) However, does this mean that these thin-boundaried or right-brained people are also necessarily more ethical or truly spiritual? Probably not. Interestingly, even among those somewhat spiritually oriented, different professional intuitives may have different levels of spiritual orientation or insight. Dr. Valerie Hunt, again in her book Infinite Mind, draws a distinction between the ordinary psychic and the mystic. Her research is based on different measurements of the human energy field, and she has found that during our ordinary consciousness when our focus is more on our material reality our mind-field frequency is that of the lower frequencies. In altered states, the frequency runs higher and as the frequency gets higher we start to lose awareness of our physical surroundings and bodily sense (similar to those who are naturally attuned to other levels and dimensions and who have frequently been labeled as "day-dreamers"). It is also true that as we slow down our brain waves, descending from our normal alert state of consciousness down to a meditative state, we gradually lose our orientation to that which is outside of us (our physical reality) and become more oriented towards our internal space; hence the term "going within." Indeed intuition may be considered a higher functioning of the mind, along with creativity, insight, reasoning, etc. Three neuro-physiologists (Drs. Wilder Penfield, John C. Eccles, and Ragnar Granit) were in concurrence that there is nothing in the brain to account for the high level of experiences and capabilities of the mind. (p.84) And, even among these higher functionings, there can be gradations and distinctions, as between the psychic and the mystic. According to Dr. Hunt, psychics mind-field frequency vibrations are limited to the low to mid-ranges on the consciousness continuum and the information received by them tends to be limited to that related to an individual or the mundane physical world (what will happen to a person, predictions, etc.). Mystics, however, can operate not only on the low to mid-range, but also up in the highest range. Indeed they display the broadest awareness with a complete range of uninterrupted frequencies. (p. 345) In addition, their information is not just confined to personal and mundane information, but also encompasses the spiritual and transcendent, can relate to their clients soul, and be representative of cosmological or spiritual insights. Although mystics may know how to access these higher levels and may indeed be more spiritually inclined and/or advanced in their spiritual orientation and awareness, it is quite interesting to note that spiritual experiences can apparently be induced by simply altering the field vibrations. Dr. Hunt states that in my laboratory, we found that when a persons energy field reached the highest, most complex vibrations, from imaging or meditation, that person had spiritual experiences, regardless of their beliefs. (p. 285) Similar effects have been seen by Dr. Jim Hardt in his brain-wave feedback training work at his Biocybernaut Institute in San Francisco (in-person presentations by Dr. Hardt). The foregoing allows us to see that intuitive ability does not necessarily or a priori correlate with the spiritual or mystical, even though many of us have assumed that gifted intuitives or psychics are naturally and necessarily spiritually oriented or privy to and able to access divine guidance or higher, spiritual knowing. Some are and can, and some arent and cant. This should always serve as a healthy caveat to those who seek advice from professional intuitives or psychics and who assume that by so doing theyll receive spiritual guidance: altruism, ethics, and spiritual wisdom may not always be there to be served along with the intuitive guidance or psychic information. And even spiritual advice when given may not always come from higher spiritual orientations or understanding. We may sometimes get simplistic spiritual platitudes or beliefs, rather than higher-level spiritual wisdom or spiritual guidance that is specific to our individual circumstances. In addition, we can also see from the foregoing that spiritual experiences can be induced in those who are (supposedly) non-spiritually oriented by altering the energy field or shifting the brain waves. Aside from whether intuition always correlates with the spiritual, the question often arises as to where intuition comes from, or, rather, where the information comes from. A correlate of this question would be: how do we explain the phenomenon of intuition? I would like to explore these two questions from different perspectives.

First of all, I would like to give my take on where my information comes from. I should say that my view of intuition comes not only from working with it and having studied it both first-hand and through others research and perceptions, but also from my spiritual orientation. I start a priori with the assumption that this is a spiritual universe in which the Divine is an intrinsic (and not merely extrinsic) part, permeating its totality. Because of this assumption, I have the sense that we are spoken to and guided constantly by the Divine (whether one wants to ascribe the source of this guidance to various intermediaries to which one ascribes form and personality, such as guides, guardian angels, etc.). Thus, due to this assumption and orientation, my sense is that a lot of intuitive information is given to us and always for a reason, meaning that there is volition and purpose behind it. When you couple this assumption with my feeling that one of the two main reasons that we are here (on earth) is to learn and grow and that everything happens for a reason, you can see that I believe in a reason and basis for everything that indeed may transcend our human ability to know and comprehend. So I personally often feel that I am given information (except at those times when I feel I am reading energy), although it is not necessary for me to know by whom. Because I have an intrinsic and deep trust in the benevolence of the universe and the Divine, I do not question the value or motives of the giver(s) of information. I trust that I will be given appropriate and helpful information for my clients. This view of mine presupposes a consciousness and intelligence coming from outside of myself (or outside of my normal consciousness and normal definition of self) and permeating the universe. I personally ascribe it to what I call the Divine (or God), although I do not rule out the existence and guiding consciousness of guides, guardian angels, etc. (However, my personal view is that everything ultimately comes from the Divine.) A possible scientific explanation for some of these non-human or supra-human consciousnesses lies in the concept of consciousness existing in a spectrum. Just as musical notes exist in a spectrum (broken down into octaves) and similarly colors do also so too I feel does consciousness exist in a spectrum. Musical notes vary along the spectrum according to their vibratory frequency. A high C, for example, is composed of a faster vibration than a middle C. The same, I feel, is true of consciousness. (Indeed, I feel, as do others, that consciousness itself is a form of energy and thus can exist at different frequencies or octaves just as music and light can.) We are all familiar with the idea of a subconscious, the part of our minds that exists below our conscious awareness (and, indeed, we have alluded to it previously in the foregoing). This is the part of our minds, some psychologists tell us, that sometimes may try to come to conscious awareness and speaks to us in our dreams (although Im not convinced that thats always true, as there are so many different types of dreams and variances in types of dream content) and in actuality when were dreaming were already in subconscious or unconscious levels of our minds. The subconscious is also the part of our minds and consciousness, according to the work of Anna Wise (The High Performance Mind), that correlates to our slowest brain waves, our delta brain waves. Well, just as there is a subconscious that exists outside of or below our conscious awareness, so, too, I feel is there a level of consciousness higher than our awareness. In other words, our normal awareness or waking consciousness represents just a narrow band in the whole range of our total spectrum of consciousness. Some people refer to this higher range of our consciousness as our higher consciousness, or Higher Self, that may exist "out of time" or out of our experience of being limited by time. As anyone who has meditated knows, what we call our subconscious and unconscious can be made conscious through meditation and going within. In other words, we can bring things up to conscious awareness from our subconscious and unconscious and then become aware of what might be there, thereby making the unconscious conscious. (Although some may dispute the notion that we even have awareness detritus existing below our conscious awareness, Dr. Richard Cytowic in his fascinating book on synaesthesia entitled The Man Who Tasted Shapes postulated that, because we are bombarded by stimuli from our environment constantly, we cannot take in or consciously register all of the stimuli; however, we do indeed take it all in, just not consciously. He goes on to state that it is the limbic [emotional] region of the brain that determines the saliency of the stimuli, thereby determining what gets consciously registered [is important to us or feels consonant with our beliefs or mindsets] and what does not [is judged unimportant or is not compatible with our beliefs or mindsets]. These unapproved artifacts of stimuli [those determined not to be salient or as having lower priority]

that do not get consciously registered then end up in our subconscious, kind of a mental version of the recycle bin on Windows computer operating systems. We know that these artifacts still reside in our unconscious awareness because we know that when we access our unconscious through modalities such as hypnosis we often will have access to recall of these other stimuli that we dont consciously know about or remember. Consider, for example, instances in which victims or witnesses of crimes who were unable consciously to recall details of their experience are able to remember these details while under hypnosis. Indeed, some incidents in which we feel that intuitive information has come to us may represent information that we may have been exposed to and taken in on our subconscious level that comes to our conscious level when it becomes salient or significant in some way. We have already mentioned this particular type of intuition that represents simply accessing information from our subconscious.) Just as we can access previously unconscious parts of our consciousness through meditation, hypnosis, etc., so too can we access higher levels of our spectrum of consciousness. We may just have to use non-normal waking consciousness modalities in order to do this, such as increasing our mind-field frequency vibrations or altering our brain-wave frequency. The reason why this spectrum of consciousness concept may help to explain intuition is that it presupposes the knowing or awareness of things on this higher level. In other words, the higher levels of our consciousness may be privy to information that we dont normally have. Or, conversely, as mentioned above, we may have peripherally taken in information that got assigned to our subconscious that we didnt know was there. When it surfaces, we may consider it intuitive for coming seemingly out of nowhere. Although I am certainly not a physicist, I do know that newer theories in physics conceive of our physical reality, including tangible objects therein, as being composed of energy (matter operating sometimes as wave, sometimes as particle), energy that vibrates at different frequencies. Niels Bohr, the physicist, stated that, "Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real." Contrast his statement to that of Sufi master Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, who said, "Everything is energy in motion." Whereas we used to have a more mechanistic view of our world in which forces operated on objects (kind of a linear cause and effect), these new theories lead us to see our world as composed of fields of energy, in which energy fields can co-affect each other simultaneously. In point of fact, we are surrounded by energy, bathed in a sea of it, whether its radio waves, electromagnetic energy, geothermal, etc. We humans have our own energy fields, whether we term it the aura or not. We produce heart waves and brain waves, and our most minute biological processes produce energy and thus energy fields as well. Even that which we term inanimate objects produce energy fields. As I mentioned earlier, some postulate that consciousness itself is a higher frequency of energy. Those who are sensitive to energy can read it, whether its the intuitive who reads auras, the psychometrist who reads objects, the intuitive who reads people, consciousness, or emotions, etc. Indeed I have felt, as mentioned, that information itself is a form of energy and that in readings I often go to a level of experiencing pure energy, which is energy that has and is meaning, or information. Thus, pure energy can be information (analogous, perhaps, in a way to Platos concept of pure forms that exist on a purer and more abstract level than matter) and information can be energy. Some people can be sensitive to this pure energy and receive (or read) information in this way. Thus intuitive information can come through reading the energy of people or objects or the general ambient energy, such as what we may pick up on when we read the atmosphere in a room of people or when we have the "feel" of a situation. This is what animals may be picking up on when they react and are restless prior to seismic activity. (Indeed in China animals are used as sensors to indicate imminent earthquakes.) These energy fields may even have a life span. In other words, the energy may not just dissipate either immediately or quickly. The Institute of HeartMath in Boulder Creek, California has done some fascinating research on what is termed phantom DNA, which was discovered quite serendipitously by researchers in Russia. The scientists were studying samples of DNA in a laser spectrometer when they took a break. They took the DNA sample out of the spectrometer, but inadvertently left the instrument on. When they returned from their break, they were surprised to find that the spectrometer was still detecting DNA even though the DNA wasnt present. This has been termed a phantom DNA effect and studies at the Institute of HeartMath

have shown that phantom DNA can be detected for several months after its physical removal and absence. This residual effect would seem to indicate some sort of physical energetic residue emitted by living beings that persists even when they are no longer physically present. We've all heard of people who have walked into a room and had the sense that someone they knew had just been there. This may also be why a site where a gruesome act took place may have a negative feel to others days or even months after the act took place. Perhaps intuitives who are sensitive to this type of energy field residue may be reading it and accessing its information. (Of course, it is interesting to think of ourselves as slugs leaving a detectable trail behind as we move around! And it is interesting to ponder how discrete and separate we really are from each other if our energy fields co-mingle in this way.) Once we begin to understand energy as information and information as energy, we can begin to see that it permeates the cosmos. We are thus living in a sea of information. It's a small step to then conceive of intuition as the act of accessing some of this all-pervasive information. Other theories posit that time doesnt really exist and is a construct of our physical reality. Einstein theorized that time was relative to place and movement. Metaphysicians over the centuries have said that on the higher levels of our spiritual cosmos all is an eternal now and that it is only on this, more mundane plane of existence that we experience the illusion of time. This latter idea resonates strongly with me. Kahlil Gibran put it thusly: "Our souls traverse spaces in Life which are not measurable of Time, that invention of man." And Pythagorus expressed it poetically. "Pythagorus, when he was asked what time was, answered that it was the soul of this world" (Plutarch). And this complex issue of time becomes further muddied when we factor in our psychological experience of time, one manifestation of which is our experience, as we progressively age, of time passing more quickly. Marcel Proust examined this subjective experience of time through memory and memory's distorting lens. Eudora Welty further commented on the slippery quality of our experience of time when she wrote that, "The events of our lives happen in a sequence of time, but in their significance to ourselves, they find their own order." And certainly contemporary media, such as film and video, allow us to experience a totality and oneness, as well as manipulation, of time through evocative techniques of flashbacks and flash-forwards. This subjective experience of time, limited by our narrow human perspective, can blind us to the realization of or lull us into an amnesia regarding the eternal now. When we consider past, present, and future all co-existing in an eternal now, even though on our denser level of reality we experience the illusion of a reality of time, it is easy to see that some people may be able to plug into and read the future. (Of course, there are also theories about alternate realities and multiple futures, but we wont further complicate matters for now.) Other theories that can explain the intuitive and psychic include the theory of the universe as a hologram, formulated by Dr. David Bohm, an eminent physicist. Holograms are three-dimensional projections and recreations of objects made using lasers and mirrors. One significant element of holograms is that every part of a hologram contains the information of the whole. In applying this idea to the cosmos, Bohm theorized that the universe is a hologram in which every single part and unit, including man, carries a representation of the whole and of all cosmic events. "In some sense man is a microcosm of the universe; therefore what man is, is a clue to the universe. We are enfolded in the universe" (David Bohm). In applying this concept to intuition, we can see that it would imply that humans, as parts of the cosmic whole, carry a representation of all the information in the cosmos. Thus all we have to do is locate specific information within ourselves or in other parts of the universe, which, of necessity, would also contain all the information of the whole. In other words, the information exists and all we have to do is access it. Interestingly, as scientific as Bohm's formulation of the hologram is, the concept has also been postulated in a more lyrical context by Kahlil Gibran. Compare what he wrote, which follows, to Bohm's idea: Everything in creation exists within you, and everything in you exists in creation. You are in borderless touch with the closest things, and, what is more, distance is not sufficient to separate you from things far away. All things from the lowest to the loftiest, from the smallest to the greatest,

exist within you as equal things. In one atom are found all the elements of the earth. In one motion of the mind are found all the laws of existence. Kahlil Gibran

Another theory of information-containing sites was formulated by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a 20th century Catholic priest, scientist, and mystic. In his book The Phenomenon of Man, he proposed the concept of the noosphere. A layer surrounding our planet (like the ionosphere), the noosphere is a theoretical repository of the thoughts and consciousness of man. Creative ideas and other consciousness constructs reside there. As he so eloquently put it, The idea is that of the Earth Not only covered by myriads of grains of thought, But enclosed in a single thinking envelope So as to form a single vast grain of thought On the sidereal scale, The plurality of individual reflections Grouping themselves together and Reinforcing one another In the act of a single unanimous reflection. -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin This noosphere, he postulated, explained the phenomenon of two different people, separated from each other geographically, simultaneously formulating the same new concept at the same time both of them pulling it, as it were, out of the air, the noosphere. Whereas in the holographic theory, each part of the whole contains all the information and the representation of the whole and intuition can access information thereby, the idea of the noosphere posits that information is pulled from a specific region. Both of these theories as possible explanations for intuition presuppose the pre-existence of the information that is there for the taking (or accessing). So take your pick. How do you explain intuition? Is it a receiving of information from the Divine or guides, etc.? If so, is there volition involved in the information being given to us? If so, this would necessitate a reason or purpose for us being given information. Is intuition just an accessing of higher and more eternal levels in the spectrum of our consciousness where information already exists and where we know things, without realizing in our normal aware consciousness that we do? Or is it just a sensitivity to and ability to read the energy fields of people, objects, events, etc. and the information contained within? Or is it the accessing of information thats already there in each part of the hologram or pulling information from the noosphere? Or is it a combination of some or all of these possibilities? You decide. Im not convinced that we necessarily need to know how to definitively explain intuition in order to experience it, develop it, and/or work with it. Because we can indeed develop our intuitive ability and begin to work with it. I had no idea that I was intuitive before I started working with it and then began to develop it (putting the cart before the horse). Again, I am convinced that everyone has innate intuitive ability and potential. It is simply a matter of developing it and learning how to work with it. In actuality most of us have had spontaneous experiences with intuition. The trick is to learn how to make it happen, rather than just passively waiting for it to occur by itself, spontaneously. This is what I had to learn to do. Once we have developed our intuition and started working with it, its helpful then to learn how to optimize it, as well as to avoid any potential problems with it.

I say this because I realized early on that there was one pitfall that was inherent in working with intuition. It is one that can potentially be a pitfall for anyone, regardless of awareness or level of intelligence, and can lead to getting erroneous information. And it is a potential pitfall that is often overlooked even by some professional intuitives. This is the difficulty I mentioned earlier in separating and knowing how to distinguish true intuition from our personal stuff (our wants, needs, fears, mindsets, beliefs, prejudices, personal experiences, etc.). I alluded to this previously, but would like to examine it now in more depth. This is such a major pitfall that it can render our intuitive insight completely invalid and can completely vitiate the reliability of our perceived intuitive ability. True perception and insight represent clear and objective information, clear and objective being the operative words here. It is very hard to perceive objectively when our own personal (read, subjective) stuff gets in the way. In reality, our mindsets and beliefs serve as filters for our perceptions. Indeed, as American literary critic John Mason Brown wrote, "What a man is, is the basis of what he dreams, and thinks, accepts and rejects, and feels and perceives." Or, as Brian Tracy, a contemporary personal development coach, wrote, "Whatever you believe with feeling becomes your reality." Just as Dr. Richard Cytowics research (cited earlier) speaks to the saliency of the brains limbic (emotional) region in determining what we consciously perceive, so, too, is it our preconceived beliefs, assumptions, and prejudices that assign emotional priority and validity to stimuli and information. We are simply incapable of perceiving clearly and objectively when filtering data through our personal filters. "The eyes see only what the mind is prepared to comprehend" (Robertson Davies). The more prejudices, mindsets, and beliefs we have (and are unaware that we have), the less objectively or clearly can we perceive things. To a large extent, our experience determines what we can and cannot perceive. Conversely, the less prejudices, mindsets, and beliefs we have, the more objectively and clearly can we perceive. For example, lets consider the case in which a man who has underlying racial prejudices sees two other people, one white and one black, engaged in an argument that escalates into physical fighting. The man who is observing this will, in all probability, assign more blame and causation to the black man, due to his underlying prejudices. In other words, he has not been able to objectively register exactly what has transpired due to his own underlying mindset and prejudice. This is a rather mundane example, but may help to illustrate how our perceptions are colored by our "stuff." We simply cannot perceive things clearly when filtered through our subjectivity. "Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world," as Schopenhauer so succinctly phrased it. Understanding this aspect of our human consciousness leads us to the realization that there is a diversity, as well as a multifaceted quality, to the various perceptions different people will have of reality. Albert Pike described this phenomenon in the 19th century when he wrote that, "All eyes do not see alike. Even the visible creation is not, for all who look upon it, of one form and one color. Our brain is a book printed within and without, and the two writings are, with all men, more or less confused." And it is not just our mindsets, beliefs, and prejudices on the mental level that can affect our perceptions. Our wants, needs, and fears on the emotional level similarly serve as filters for our perceptions. As Hugh Prather said, "Fear is static that prevents me from hearing my intuition." (Indeed, our emotional and mental levels and personal stuff often become almost inextricably entwined.) Aside from attempting to completely rid ourselves of these filters (which, although a worthy pursuit, can be an ongoing and seemingly lifelong process), our best recourse is to try to be consciously aware of them and to bypass them in attempting to use our intuition. As mentioned previously, because our wants, needs, fears, prejudices, mindsets, and beliefs can color our intuitive perceptions, it is very hard for even professional intuitives to get insight for themselves when they are dealing with a personal issue. The objectivity simply isnt there, and our personal subjective stuff gets in the way. Indeed I have seen some professional intuitives give professional intuitive information to clients that is riddled with their personal stuff. I spoke to a reader once who gave me information in a session that merely reflected her own beliefs and outlook. Not one piece of intuitive information was, in fact, intuitive. Rather, what was conveyed was the product of her beliefs and mindsets. We can all be susceptible to this intuition

pollution if we are not aware of our subjective stuff or havent taken steps to bypass it in some way. Perhaps even worse is the "intuitive" who is fear-based and contaminates his/her information with fear-based stuff, thus serving up a contagious serving of fear to his/her client. Another potential pitfall in not having worked on some of our personal stuff (or at least having gained an awareness of it) lies in feeling that, because we either have intuitive ability or have developed it, we are therefore special or need to save the world or others. There can, at times, be a savior complex inherent in some people in the helping professions that can manifest itself in the need to save. (Often this need to save the world or others merely represents a deflection of attention from the need to work on our own stuff, or it may represent an ego need to feel good about ourselves or be separate from or better than others.) The pitfall is that this personal need to save others or to be seen as superior may help to contaminate the information one gets for others. This is another way in which our personal stuff can contribute to non-objective and unclear information. So, how do we attempt to separate the personal and subjectively affected from the intuitive and receive clear, uncontaminated information? The first step we can take is to move toward living consciously, whereby we are conscious of what our personal stuff is what our fears, wants, needs, mindsets, beliefs, prejudices, etc. are. I will be examining this concept more in depth in Chapter 7, so will just discuss it briefly here. In living consciously we become somewhat of an observer of ourselves. (By doing this we also free ourselves up to be more in control of ourselves: rather than being controlled, ruled, or motivated by our stuff, we start to gain control of it and sit more in the drivers seat of our lives.) One way we can start to live consciously is by starting to go within through meditating. (By go within I mean shifting our awareness from what lies outside of us to what is within, thereby beginning to see what lies within our consciousness in other levels and what connotations, motivations, etc., as well as personal stuff, may affect our actions on the conscious level.) Meditation starts to cultivate the observer inherent and lying in potentiality in each of us. As I mentioned previously, meditation can allow us to start to dredge up what lies hidden in our subconscious, thereby bringing the previously hidden and unseen to view and the light of day (often allowing us to look at it objectively). We can also simply start to practice becoming aware of ourselves, by observing our own actions and determining what our full motivations may be for those actions. This may seem to be a monumental task, but practice does indeed make perfect. And by watching our own actions and reactions we are cultivating the observer in ourselves in another way. Until we learn to separate our stuff from and divest what we consider to be our intuition from that personal stuff, we will never be truly intuitive on a consistent and reliable basis and wont be able to fully mine those precious jewels that intuitive insight can give us. As human beings, we will probably never get to the point in our lifetimes here on earth where we have exorcised or debrided all of our personal stuff. So we must find a way to bypass it as much as possible in working with our intuition. The technique that I have found works the best for me in doing sessions is simply that of tuning in. I will explain this concept more fully when I discuss my work, but for now I'll simply say that "tuning in" represents an attempt to go to a deeper level of consciousness than my normal waking consciousness. This deeper level of consciousness allows me to go into more of a state of receptivity so that I can see what impressions and information come to me. In this deeper level of consciousness I also am able to tune out distractions from my surroundings and some of my own personal stuff. In tuning in in this manner, I have often found that I can access different and more reliable information than when I am in my normal level of consciousness. I have frequently found when a client asks me a question that I may initially have a response that appears to represent valid information. In other words, my initial response in my normal consciousness may appear to be intuitive information. However, when I then tune in to consider the question and evaluate my previous information, I often receive different information not always but often enough. This gleaning of other information tells me that my initial response prior to tuning in was coming from my own stuff or orientation or even from my own prior personal experience, a knee-jerk reaction or association, rather than true intuitive information specific to and for the client. By the same token, we may have a gut feeling about something and feel an impending sense of foreboding. Lets say, for example, that a friend shares a plan to travel on a week-long cruise vacation and we

have a gut feeling that the cruise ship will sustain injury and sink. We may try to warn our friend off unnecessarily from the cruise plan if our gut feeling, unbeknownst to us, really came from an underlying fear that we have of water or ships. Unless we have a technique to check out and verify this gut feeling, we may be attempting to avert a potential danger that was in fact non-existent and somehow came from our own subjective stuff (and we ended up spoiling our friends vacation cruise in the process!). In other words, our negative gut feeling may have just been an expression of our own fear. I once had an intuitive friend warn me of a possible personal physical attack by a stranger that she felt would happen when I went out of town on a trip that I was planning. My gut, however, told me that, as well meaning as her warning was, it was groundless and was based more on her tendency to be somewhat fearful or skittish. I subsequently made the trip and sustained no attack. Nor was I even accosted by a stranger. Although it isnt always true, generally speaking our intuitive information that voice that speaks to us should be clear and not colored by emotional qualities. This is not without exception, however. For example, "warning information" that cautions us about impending danger may have an emotional coloration to it. And it may be difficult to distinguish whether an emotional coloration is actually coming from our fear or the content of the intuitive warning. As you can see, working with our intuition can indeed be tricky. We want to be sure that were getting pure, uncontaminated information. We want to make sure that were interpreting the information correctly. We have to remember that we get the information were supposed to have and that its not an exact science. We need to realize that we may often not know for sure what some information truly meant until after the fact and in retrospect. We want to be sure that our intuition represents a healthy and practical tool for us in our lives, rather than having it controlling us. We need to be balanced in our pursuit and use of the intuitive. I have seen people driving themselves crazy looking for the meaning in everything and analyzing everything that happens. We can take our pursuit of intuition too far: when it starts controlling us and we start obsessing about the meaning in everything, it is no longer a healthy tool for us. So, yes, the path to intuition and intuitive knowing is fraught with potential peril and pitfalls. However, we can learn both to develop our intuition and to use it in a healthy, balanced manner as a tool, thereby benefiting from it. I have been teaching others to develop their intuition for several years now and have seen students and clients learning to use their intuition and gaining great good from it by integrating it into their lives in a positive fashion. There are several good books that can offer helpful suggestions and exercises to follow in order to develop intuition. Because there are several good works out there, I will offer only the foregoing suggestions for working with intuition and will recommend the following books as guides for developing your own intuition: Intuition Workout by Nancy Rosanoff Your Sixth Sense by Belleruth Naperstek Second Sight by Judith Orloff The Intuitive Edge by Philip Goldberg. Please remember that were all spoken to differently and that its very important to uncover how you are spoken to. With the above caveats taken into consideration, I still whole-heartedly recommend the development and practice of intuition as a wonderful means of tapping into our own knowing, strengthening in ourselves, facilitating our growth, improving our relationships, and having another tool for information, insight, and

intelligence at our disposal. And, although not within the scope of this present book, intuition has marvelous benefits not just on the personal level, but also for business and the workplace. So, as we consider what intuition is, we can add that its capable of being developed. So lets ask again: what is intuition? With the foregoing in mind, we should be better able to answer that question which has been the quest of this chapter. To summarize: Intuition is multi-faceted and can come in many different forms. It is the accessing of information, the universe speaking to us, the voice that appears to us coming seemingly from outside ourselves. If we believe that the universe is outside of ourselves, then the voice is coming from outside. If, however, we believe that the universe permeates all, including ourselves, then the voice is indeed coming from within us. And, indeed, it can be coming simultaneously from both outside and inside of us. (And some recent research in the area of neuroscience may be indicating that some, but not all, instances of it are in fact coming from within us.) Whether we are tapping into our higher self or the Divine or higher knowledge or guides or masters or information-carrying parts of the hologram may indeed be irrelevant. Intuition is still the universe speaking to us, no matter how we define the universe or where in place or space it may be located or originating. It is still the universe speaking to us. And we can choose to develop it and tune in and listen, or choose to tune it out. If we choose to develop it and listen to it, we then must also learn to trust it. "Trusting your intuition means tuning in as deeply as you can to the energy you feel, following that energy moment to moment, trusting that it will lead you where you want to go and bring you everything you desire" (Shakti Gawain). I personally have learned to firmly respect intuition, for it is a much richer, more complex, and diversified set of phenomena than we may have realized and, because of its richness and complex beauty, it is well deserving of our admiration as another of the universe's creations and marvels. And now, before we delve into the nature of the energy reading sessions I do and the insights derived from them, Id like to share my journey to that destination with you.

Part II: An Energy Readers Unconscious Preparation

Prelude: A Rather Prosaic Background

I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. Sir Isaac Newton The tendency of an event to occur varies inversely with one's preparation for it. David Searles

I mentioned earlier that my intuitive work came out of left field and that I had never in the past considered myself either psychic or intuitive. In actuality, I was the furthest anyone could have been from being a future "psychic" when I was growing up, and I feel that if someone like myself could end up being and working as an intuitive, then anyone could. After all, if someone from my "normal" background could become one of those "weird psychics," then either no one is safe or the world of intuition isn't so strange after all. Let's face it: the word psychic has strong, dramatic (and not always positive) connotations in our culture. We tend to associate a psychic with the lurid and bizarre, expecting someone perhaps half-crazed or fey, or someone definitely not too normal. Our stereotype of the psychic might lead us to expect someone wearing a turban or the garb of a gypsy, with a strange and beyond-the-fringe background, socially somewhat outcast and not well educated born perhaps in a gypsy caravans wagon, or having had a Carrie-like childhood of abuse and topsy-turvy psychokinesis, causing objects to fly around and fires spontaneously to combust. This is, after all, somewhat of the image we have of "psychics," isn't it (aided and abetted perhaps by Hollywood depictions of same)? Well, much to the contrary, as I mentioned, my background was not only not at all like that, but was instead somewhat boringly normal and much more prosaic and mundane. I was born in New Orleans into a normal middle class family and was raised in a "normal" manner in keeping with the times. If there was anything in my background to indicate that I might one day be working as a spiritual counselor, it may be the fact that I've always had a very strong spiritual orientation so strong in fact that my earliest memory as an infant was of thinking, I dont want to be here again [on earth]. (I didnt want to be back here again because I knew that I was limited while I was here. I knew that, while I was here, in a body, I had limited knowledge; whereas when I was not here when I was there I had absolute knowledge, which I truly missed having truly knowing and understanding everything and having all the answers to all of the questions of all times.) Yet, at the same time, I knew I had to be here because there was something I was supposed to do a purpose or a mission, if you will. However, I thought that that mission had to do with performing, not spiritual counseling.

I also remember feeling at times during the early years of being back on earth again that I wasnt really living my life, that I had already lived it and was sitting in a room watching it being projected on a screen. (I look back on this memory now and see it as a tantalizing evocation of a life review and an indicator of the intricacies and interplay of time versus the eternal now. Interestingly, this seems to have been an interest of mine for many years in other ways, as the topic of my never-written Masters thesis was the ontology of film how film affects us as real because it simulates the mental imaging process and plays with time through flashbacks and flash-forwards.) In spite of somewhat disconnected feeling, at some point this feeling of watching my life being projected on a screen after Id already lived it faded and I felt more in my life and engaged in it. I always felt a connection to the Divine, to God, which I didnt realize until sometime into adulthood was not the norm. I now feel very fortunate for having this feeling of connection. I have also always felt guided and protected and felt, as earlier mentioned, that my guidance frequently came to me while I was sleeping (although I now realize that that is just one of the ways in which it comes). I further felt that everything was connected, no matter how seemingly disparate to most of humanity people to each other, as well as to animals, plants, the planet, the solar system, the cosmos; that all, ultimately, was inter-connected and part of the same whole, threads woven into the same tapestry, each color complementing and serving as a counterpart to each other. We are all individual notes sounding in harmony in the musical composition of the universe, the greater oeuvre of which we are not always aware. Aside from these perhaps unusual knowings and my strong spiritual orientation, my upbringing was otherwise quite ordinary. Because I thought that my purpose had to do with performing, I always pursued acting and singing and genuinely loved performing. I had a true passion for it. Alongside my passion for performing, I always had an unwavering interest in metaphysics and spirituality (no surprise, I guess, for someone who always felt a connection to the Divine, although I didn't see the connection at the time), and I read everything I could get my hands on on these topics, although there wasnt always a lot of material available to me then. I had a broad range of interests and, being the eternal avid reader, would delve into books on diverse subjects. Aside from the Bobbsey Twins series and Nancy Drew mysteries, one year I got deeply into mythology. The next year it was astronomy. But anything on metaphysics or psychic phenomena or the paranormal or cosmology I devoured and continued to read off and on up into the present time. I always had a sense when I was growing up that there was some connection between psychic phenomena and spirituality, but I had no idea what it was. I just had a strong and prevailing sense of some sort of connection. At no time did I think of myself as a psychic. It never entered my mind at all. As a matter of fact, nothing could have been further from my mind. If anyone had mentioned that possibility to me, I probably would have reacted to him as if he "had two heads." There was just that pervading and abiding interest in metaphysics, almost like a low hum in the background that I can only liken to being one of the musical leitmotifs, if you will, played under the scenes in my life. If I thought of psychics at all while I was growing up, my attitude was more that of a spectator or audience. Other people might be psychics and I was as amazed at these gifted and somewhat strange (I thought) people as anyone else. I went to regular public schools, at least until high school. We went to a Presbyterian church. I was in the Brownies and then later, in the Girl Scouts, as so many girls were during that era. I participated in other school, church, and civic extracurricular activities over the years. I may have been considered somewhat different perhaps due to my interest in performing. I was in talent shows singing solos from 2nd or 3rd grade on. I also sang in the church choir over the years and took voice lessons in junior and senior high school.

I may also have been different because I was one of the brains (as others referred to us). I was in advanced classes in junior high and went to a high school for academically gifted Benjamin Franklin Senior High School in New Orleans. It was there that I definitely did not feel different. I had my best academic experiences and my fondest school memories there and regard my time there as somewhat of a "golden" time. I still feel close to many of my classmates (and, if given free rein, could rhapsodize and wax poetic ad infinitum about the sheer wonder and wonderfulness of the Franklin experience and the many permanent gifts it has given me). Not feeling so different from others was a wonderful gift in and of itself. I did the normal things with my friends. We went to movies, had car washes to raise money for various projects, etc. Very normal 1960s teenage activities that most good kids did back then. I then went to Duke University as an undergraduate. I was a religion major my freshman year, after having considered philosophy, psychology, and sociology, and then changed my major sophomore year to French, because it was easy and I had always loved languages. At that point, I still planned on pursuing performing. In fact, my passion for performing completely obscured any other possibilities from my view. The only psychic experiences I had had were the mundane experiences everyone has: you suddenly think of someone you havent seen in a while and you either see or hear from that person; or you think of a song and either turn on the radio or change the station (by manually turning the dial, as we did back then) and its playing. These are the types of experiences that most people have. While I was a teenager I could also sense if there was something awry with someone mentally or emotionally; I would get a sense of something broken or jagged coming from the person (although the word "energy" as applied to people was not in my vocabulary then). I could also meet someone and just know what religion they were. I think this is because religion and the denomination one belonged to were more important to me then. The first spontaneous intuitive experience I had that really stands out in my mind was when I was in junior high school. We had a dog named Blackie, a wonderful mixed breed, who was quite ill from heart worms and who on this particular day was lying in the laundry room. I was in the kitchen just off the laundry room with my mother and then went to the bathroom in the other part of the house. As I was washing my hands, I had a sudden flash that Blackie had just died. I immediately went back out into the kitchen and found that that was indeed what had just happened. This is the first time that I remember ever having had an experience like this. However, it was not one that made me say wow. It felt like something I just knew. I merely noted that it had happened and went on. I recall having another spontaneous experience a few years later, right before President Kennedy was shot. I was riding on a public bus coming home from having gone downtown, when all of a sudden things seemed to stop around me (or I lost the sense of where I was) and I had a feeling that something terrible was going to happen and got the impression of flint striking flint or metal. I didnt know what to make of this and then realized when I heard of Kennedys assassination a few days later that my impression must have been about that. Another spontaneous intuitive experience occurred while I was in high school. While playing volleyball in my Physical Education class, my ring, that I valued because it had been passed down in my family, went flying off my finger and landed I-knew-not-where. The entire class aided in the search, at one point by holding hands and walking in a line up and down the court all to no avail. We were unable to find my ring. I went home that day from school thinking that I would never see the ring again. The next morning, however, while driving to school I had the sense that I knew where my ring was. I parked the car and walked onto the court directly to where my ring lay, without even having to search for it. (I was very fortunate with this ring because there were subsequently two more times when I lost either the diamond from the ring or the ring itself and found them both times, including retrieving the ring from a garbage dumpster.) At the time, I didnt make a big deal out of it to myself; I merely considered myself lucky. All of these above incidents were spontaneous experiences; they happened without my trying to make them happen, and I tended to pretty much discount them (aside from the foreboding on the bus). While I was at Duke, I had an experience for the first time with trying to make information come, rather than having it spontaneously appear. I really enjoyed basketball games in college, Duke having a very good

team at the time, and I usually went to the games and followed the teams progress over the season. There was a game I really wanted to see, but it fell on a night when I was leaving to go home to New Orleans for either Thanksgiving or Christmas vacation. When I got home and went to bed that night, I lay there and tried to see if I could figure out who had won and what the score was. Even though I got a sense of the victor and the score, I had no idea if I was accurate or not until I got up the next morning and looked at the newspaper. I then found that I had been right about who had won and had even gotten a figure in the score right. This surprised me, but I also pretty much discounted it as a lucky guess. Although I had not previously thought much about these experiences, recalling, recording, and reviewing them now makes me go hmmmm. I can see evidence of some sort of operative intuitive ability or orientation that I was certainly not seeing then. These experiences felt normal to me at the time, just lucky guesses or coincidence. They were certainly not my everyday experience, but still felt like nothing to make me say wow. I guess this goes to show how much we tend to discount our own experiences. There was one more interesting experience. While I was still at Duke, I went to Dr. Rhines lab one day. Dr. J. B. Rhine was one of the foremost pioneers in this country in research into ESP, extra-sensory perception, and his research lab at Duke was renowned for this research. Although his lab had been kicked off campus (due to its controversial nature) before I attended Duke, many people still associated it with Duke. By the time I attended Duke, the lab and its umbrella institute were located over the wall and across the street from East Campus (at that point, still the womens campus). Always having had a strong interest in this topic, one day I went to visit the institute, then called FRNM, Foundation for Research into the Nature of Man. Although my visit was unannounced and although I was just a very curious and anonymous undergraduate, the staff was very warm and hospitable. I was shown around and then my host insisted on testing me albeit informally for my psi (or psychic) ability. I was somewhat resistant as I certainly didnt consider myself to be psychic, and then I reluctantly agreed. It was just a very short test and, to my surprise, I did well. However, I immediately discounted the results. I knew I wasnt psychic and considered the test result to be a fluke. So I did what many people do: when confronted with evidence that my belief was incorrect, I chose to ignore the evidence and continued to hold on to my long-standing belief. This is certainly not an uncommon phenomenon when reality challenges our preconceived mindsets and existing paradigms. And this is something I'd like to stress in this book: that if we will challenge our own preconceived ideas and mindsets we stand to gain immeasurably. Had I not finally opened up to my own intuitive ability, I would not have had a whole new world open up for me and I would have never learned some of the things I've learned. In fact, some of the information I've gained experientially from reading peoples energy has changed my own pre-existing ideas about how things work. So by refusing to acknowledge the positive result of the psi tests, I continued on my way in life. I continued to pursue my interest in metaphysics as a sideline, but it wasn't an overarching one. My main career interest continued to be that of acting and singing, and all other interests were subordinated to that. Back in New Orleans after college graduation, I worked for two years, studying voice and doing some theater, and then decided to go to grad school. Sublimating my interest in performing, I decided to study radio, television, and motion pictures and entered the Masters program at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Although I had applied to other programs and been accepted, I felt pulled in some way back to North Carolina. I just knew I had to go back there for some unknown reason. This turned out to be a fortuitous decision because, although I never wrote my thesis (having done everything required but that) and did not pursue a career in media, it introduced me to Chapel Hill, which became my home, both physically and spiritually, for the next 30 years. It was in Chapel Hill in grad school that I had somewhat of a spiritual rebirth and additionally met several people with whom I had deep spiritual connections. In Chapel Hill I learned to be less fearful of not fitting into the norm. For the first time I realized that I was an artist and that this was why I had often felt different from others. My thinking changed: old mindsets, assumptions, and beliefs fell away, like blinders from my eyes. I saw things afresh, unfiltered for the most part by the engrained and restrictive thinking I had been acculturated to. I remember feeling at the time that I had walked through a doorway into a whole new realm. I knew, too, that this gave me a very special perspective because, unlike many others, I knew what lay on

both sides of this figurative door. Those who were still trapped in the old conditioned thinking modes were still on the other side of the door where I had been. They had no idea what lay on this (now) other, new side that I had walked through to because they hadnt gone through that door yet. I knew, however, what it was like on both sides and had the advantage of the vantage point of both and knew how limiting it was to still be on the former, uninitiated side. (Understandably, when I later saw the title of Aldous Huxleys book, Doors of Perception, it resonated very strongly with me.) Chapel Hill affected me in other ways, as well. Although I had usually heretofore pursued my interest in metaphysics by myself in solo pursuits, in Chapel Hill I now met others with similar interests. And I felt less different. It was the early 1970s and there was a wonderful, heady atmosphere of openness and exploration and camaraderie. My roommate, Linda, was one of those with whom I had a deep spiritual connection. She was a writer and had written a short story when she was 13 with a main character named Diane Brandon. (This in spite of the fact that we had never met before grad school; she was from Long Island, not New Orleans.) There was another synchronicity as well that indicated that our paths were meant to converge. My voice teacher in grad school and her husband were both involved as volunteers at Psychical Research Foundation (PRF) in Durham that was conducting research into survival after death. Knowing about my interest in metaphysics, they told me about some of PRF's work. One of PRF's gifted research subjects, as it turned out, was a young man who had the ability to go out of body at will; in other words, he could deliberately induce out-of-body experiences. In recounting some of this to my roommate Linda, I learned to my amazement that this same young man had been her next-door neighbor on Long Island, the same age as her brother, and that her brother and he had played together. What are the odds of two neighbors from New York, unbeknownst to both of them, ending up in North Carolina but in different milieux with a common connection of another person myself? A rather strong and meaningful synchronicity, especially when combined with Linda's prescient fictionalized character named "Diane Brandon." The period that Linda and I roomed together felt like a magical time to me. We would often share our dreams in the morning and interpret them for each other. Surprisingly, there were a couple of times when wed had the same dreams with several elements in common. And even the duplex we shared felt special. It always felt as if there were some sort of energy center there that I couldnt rationally explain or understand. I was now starting to pursue metaphysical interests with others, usually one at a time, in a more handson, or experiential, way, instead of just reading books about the subject. I dated one guy for a few months who, unbeknownst to me and as I mentioned in Part II, would try to project (mentally) to me at night. I sensed his presence in my room a couple of times, which puzzled me and then I found out later that he had been trying to project to me at those times. Needless to say, he also had a strong interest in metaphysical matters. I bought tarot cards and the I Ching, and Linda and I would sometimes do readings for each other, but I never became really proficient at it. I never weaned myself from having to refer to the books for each cards or trigrams meaning. I did notice, however, that the subtext that would come to mind as I read the meanings would be giving me the most information or would be conveying the most appropriate meaning for the issue. I also had one very significant psychic experience while I lived in that duplex. This came in the form of dream experiences that were connected to each other. One night I had a dream in which I was told (although I dont remember by whom) that something significant would happen to me on the night of the full moon. (This was unusual because at the time I didnt tend to pay much attention to celestial phenomena, such as the phases of the moon.) Two weeks later, and on the night of the full moon, I did indeed have something significant happen. Sometime in the middle of the night and while I was soundly asleep lying on my left side, I heard a voice coming from the right of me call my name. To the right of my bed was a large old chifforobe that took up so much space there was no room for anyone to be there between my bed and the piece of furniture. I turned or at least I tried to turn to my right to see who or what had called my name. I remember feeling stuck to my bed and struggling really hard to turn. Finally, and with a great deal of effort, I managed to pull myself upwards. (I still have a memory of how hard that was and how much effort it

took.) I couldnt see who or what was there that had called my name and I thought, I need to turn on the [overhead] light to see whats there by the chifforobe. No sooner had I thought this than I found myself instantly on the other side of the room by the door where the overhead light switch was. (How did I get there? passed quickly through my mind.) I tried to turn the switch on, but couldnt. I then thought of trying the phone, which was in my roommates room. Again instantaneously I was in Lindas room, trying to pick up the phone, again unsuccessfully. Then, somehow and quite instantly, I was back in bed and scared. I think when I couldnt pick up the phone I realized in a sudden flash that I was out of my body in other words, that I was having an out-of-body experience and it had really scared me. The shock of realization served to rocket me back into my body. (As much as I had always tended to neglect my body, or not have a true bodily awareness, this experience certainly showed me that I must also have had a strong sense of security in the body after all!) And, in spite of the fact that Id read about OBEs (out-of-body experiences), the book knowledge that I had couldnt begin to compare with the actual experience of having one. It obviously had not prepared me emotionally for the reality of having one because it definitely had not served to quell my fear. I subsequently managed to go back to sleep (not having found out where that voice had come from after all of that!) and then discovered that this was not the end of the experience. There was apparently more unfolding ahead for me that night. Sound asleep again and later in the night, I then had another dream in which I was in a large house. There were several older women there (elderly, as I recall), and I somehow recounted my experiences to them, although I cant remember if they asked me about them or if I just volunteered the story. I do remember saying, And this was all presaged by a dream I had two weeks ago, telling me that something significant would happen on the night of the full moon. I guess I was trying to find out from these women what had happened, as if I somehow felt that they had some understanding or information about the whole thing. One (or all?) of them then told me, This was a test [of your psychic ability]. And that was it end of the whole experience. I really didnt know what to make of the whole thing and indeed never came to a full resolution or understanding of what had transpired. Ive shared the experience with some people intermittently over the years, but have never had any true sense of knowing exactly what this had been about except that it was a true experiencing, rather than just a dreaming of something. I know that for years I felt like Id failed the "test" (even though I didnt really know what was being tested) mainly because of my fear of being out of my body, and for years I regretted having been so scared and wished I could have enjoyed the experience or at least have allowed myself just to go with it. I guess, when all is said and done, the experience showed me that I was not ready to dive full bore into such experiences, although certainly the precognitive nature of the first dream two weeks before and the guiding nature of the last dream did not scare me whatsoever. Instead, they felt very natural to me. (It was just that experience in the middle, the filling in the sandwich.) Perhaps this was showing me that my exploration of hands-on work in metaphysics was more naturally going to lie in guidance, rather than in experientially and physically exploring the universe. In retrospect and from my present perspective, I now tend to view the experience as some sort of opening experience. I had one more striking experience with the paranormal. This experience, however, was not so much within the purview of the intuitive. It was, instead, a close encounter with physical manifestations. To put it succinctly, I lived for a time in the mid-1970s in a house that was haunted. Because the phenomenon of "haunting" is not completely germane to the subject of intuition, I will not fully recount these experiences here. I will say, however, that they ran the gamut from seeing a ball of light go through a room; to hearing noises, including voices and footsteps; to finding objects inexplicably moved. There was no ill intent associated with these manifestations. If anything, it felt to me as if the noises were actually an accumulation, or residue, of habitual noises from the daily routine in the house from the original inhabitants. It was an older house, perhaps over seventy years old at the time, and it had been built and lived in by only one family. Although initially I was rather fearful, in time I got over my fear. The two strongest impressions I had at the time were that the noises felt devoid of any intent to make them (that they were, instead, that accumulation of daily noises from the past

an auditory residue, if you will) and that they were actual sounds that could have been tape-recorded had I had the technical equipment to do so. This experience with "haunting" led me to know that such phenomena do indeed exist. This was a completely new and different experience for me and it served to deepen and concretize my awareness that other than our normal concept of reality does indeed exist. As pleasant as the early years in Chapel Hill were with the kaleidoscopic atmosphere of the times, my cherished friends, and all the exploring and stretching, those intoxicating days did come to an end, of course (much to my seemingly never-ending regret for several years). I finished up my coursework, took my writtens, and did not write my thesis. It was time to return to the working world and to my acting and performing interests. I made a brief foray to Los Angeles to explore acting, did not care for the atmosphere there, and then returned to Chapel Hill to continue to pursue performing there where I felt that I had more freedom and latitude in it. Because my career interest (and self-definition) continued to be that of performing, I pursued that while I had regular jobs to earn income. Coinciding with my venturing back into the working world was the departure from Chapel Hill of my closest friends. The whole tenor of my life changed at this point: I felt at the time that a party had been going on that I had loved and been totally caught up in, and then all of a sudden the party was over, the people were gone, and I was left alone. This metaphor felt very real to me for years. (Maybe this is why The Partys Over, a song from Bells are Ringing has always resonated for me.) Looking back on it now, I realize that I then entered a new phase in my life, one that was to last for many, many years and that was characterized by searching, study, intermittent but seemingly increasing solitude, spiritual growth, self-development, and, finally, self understanding and, hopefully, self-actualization. This was not always a happy time in my life. During this new phase, I continued to pursue my metaphysical interests off and on, once again reading and studying alone. I also continued to pursue performing and continued to work at regular jobs, progressing from the boring and demeaning (secretarial) to the more challenging (corporate manager). I never seemed to fit into the regular working world and also tired of being considered over-qualified. I kept pursuing that elusive gold ring in performing. In 1983, I left the corporate world to open a performing arts store. Being my own boss felt refreshingly freeing and I started to gain more self-confidence. Theatrics (my store), however, was far from being a commercial success. Although lauded by many customers for its selection and physical presentation (some people wandered in and actually asked if it was some type of gallery), it continued to need, rather than provide, financial support. I closed the store in 1987 and resolved to teach voice privately and pursue acting that paid (industrial videos, commercials, voice-overs, etc.), rather than acting that didnt (local theatre). Although I didn't realize it at the time, I had somehow shifted from working for others to taking more of an active role in controlling my own destiny, as well as from passively waiting for things to happen to me or for me, to actively trying to make things happen or at least actively participating in the process, a significant personal shift that gave me insight that I would later be applying to my intuitive work. Synchronistically, there was another change that concurred with my moving further out on my own.

Mise-en-Scne and Overture: Apprenticeship of a Reluctant Psychic Or Flying Blind and Without a Net
Objects we ardently pursue bring little happiness when gained; most of our pleasures come from unexpected sources. Herbert Spencer

Your decision to be, have and do something out of the ordinary entails facing difficulties that are out of the ordinary as well. Brian Tracy Forever unsatisfied with the mundane, the apathetic, the conventional, they [artists] always push on to newer worlds. Rollo May

In the spring of 1988, Tomiko, the one sensitive/futurist (youll note that Im not using the word psychic) I respected the most, had started mastermind classes and I joined her second one that spring. We met as a group once a month and I continued to attend the group for about 2 years until she stopped conducting them. Tomiko is a very rare individual. Certainly gifted psychically, or in her intuitive abilities, what is much rarer is her level of spiritual awareness, her radiating very graceful, harmonious energy and her wisdom, in addition to her innate intelligence. Tomiko is simply one of the most spiritually advanced people I know. These mastermind classes proved to be very significant for me. This was the first time I was in a room with a group of people not just one or two who were interested in metaphysics. For the first time, I did not have to feel weird in a group of people because I was into metaphysics. This was very freeing for me, as in the context of the group and with discussion, my mind could even more unrestrictedly explore spiritual concepts and not feel obligated to be bound by old societally prescribed norms. In other words, it tacitly gave me

permission to open up to my natural bent. Discussion sparked more ideas for me. This group helped open the door even wider for my metaphysical pursuits and my spiritual life. Of course, it also coincided with a fortunate increasing interest in society at large in the metaphysical and what is termed (albeit somewhat demeaningly) new age. There were other catalysts in this experience as well. Although most of what we did in the group was cognitive presentation and discussion we also did some experiential work through exercises, including intuitive ones. One day we tried some remote viewing. (Remote viewing experiments were conducted extensively by the federal government and represent, at least to the publics knowledge, the large body of research that our U. S. government conducted into psi phenomena.) The remote viewing we did that day did not involve telepathy (mind-to-mind communication), only clairvoyance (as mentioned in Part I, literally French for clear-seeing). An object was placed in another room and we attempted to get impressions of it. I remember one particular success I had: I got an impression of a butterfly, but couldnt figure out why or what the butterfly meant or referred to. I still remember my surprise at then seeing the target object, a business card with a butterfly on it. Although I didnt completely dismiss my success in the same way I did at Dr. Rhines lab, I still was nonplussed by it. Because this type of ability did not fit into my self-definition or self-image, I still couldn't connect it to myself or know what to do with it. So I took the path of least resistance and dismissed it as a fluke. (It would have taken a lot more effort to deal with it by claiming any ability or changing my self-definition.) Tomikos mastermind classes were instrumental in moving me toward my present work, although I had no realization of this at the time. They certainly served to re-energize my interest in metaphysics, and making friends with some of the members of the group also served to catalyze me in my spiritual growth. There was one woman in particular with whom I got to be good friends. I remember being struck by her continually saying the energy this and the energy that. What 'energy?' I thought. I had no idea what in the world she was talking about. And then gradually over the next few years, as life would have it, I found myself becoming more and more sensitive to energy. . At first I became sensitive to geophysical energy. I would find myself feeling uncustomarily restless and then a week later there would be an earthquake somewhere or a volcano would erupt. I gradually found myself becoming sensitive to the general energy currents, how things felt, almost the prevailing mood energy or energetic ambiance that affects us all. Although I noticed this at the time, I had no idea where it might lead or even, conceptually, what it was. Of course, it eventually led to my doing energy readings and nowadays the concept of energy makes perfect sense to me this, in spite of the fact that previously it just sounded like Greek to me Tomikos group was another doorway or transformational marker for me. It opened a new and intense phase of metaphysical study and development in my life. Tomiko herself also planted seeds for me (which took a considerable time to germinate). She told me that I should work as a spiritual counselor. This I immediately dismissed, thinking, thats nuts! I cant do that! Tomiko encouraged me in other ways as well. She told me over and over again quite emphatically, Youre so clear! referring to my clarity in seeing and perceiving things. And she also complimented me repeatedly by telling me how spiritually advanced I was and how rare that was. She talked about creating an inner circle and my participating in it. I took these compliments to heart. As I mentioned before, Tomiko is a very rare, gifted, and advanced soul. Hearing these compliments from her, whom I revered, truly meant a lot to me, even if I couldn't completely see what she was avowedly seeing. However, I still wasnt considering doing intuitive work. I simply didnt consider myself to be gifted in that way and certainly, even if I had, I definitely never had considered becoming a psychic as a career path! Performing was still my ever-constant objective and even when Tomiko would tell me that I was a teacher, I would reply that I considered my performing to be a way of teaching and reaching people. Aside from Tomikos mastermind group, as synchronicity would have it, there were a lot of other changes that were ushered into my life in that time period, as well, that affected my life direction. It was almost as if, by closing the store in July of 1987, I was closing one chapter in my life and opening a new one. Although I certainly didnt realize it at the time, I now know that I started a whole new and major period in my life at that

point, a period that was going to bring a lot of changes, both personally and professionally. Although I would have denied any effect at the time, the onset of this new period did coincide with the Harmonic Convergence. I say that I would have denied it at the time because I felt no shift at all that day. I was in Pennsylvania singing God Bless America for the Pocono 500 auto race and felt nothing coming from a harmonic convergence (other than the harmonics in the performance). However, within eight months of that date in August, I had started teaching voice, I had gotten an agent for acting, my beloved dog June died who had been with me for 12 years, I got Sara (my exceptionally wonderful greyhound about and for whom I wrote Saras Gift), I started attending Tomikos mastermind group, I joined a womens support group, and I entered into an intense personal relationship that was going to affect me very deeply with hard but invaluable and transformational lessons. Looking back on this period of time that started in August of 1987 and lasted for about nine years, I now see it as a major period of change and transformation, including personal transformation, as I worked on my personal issues, grew to know and accept myself more, gained self-confidence, worked on self-esteem, and came more and more into my own knowing and strength. I learned more and more about emotional issues and psychological/emotional dysfunction (which would be so important for my work). I read and studied more metaphysical material and formulated many more of my own ideas and concepts (which, of course, have continued to evolve through the information I receive in my intuitive work). I met more and more people in the metaphysical community. And I started writing, becoming increasingly drawn to self-initiated creative projects, projects I could steer and control, rather than waiting to be cast and directed in others projects. I grew and blossomed personally. But I may be getting ahead of myself. As I mentioned, when I closed my store my plan was to teach voice privately while I pursued professional performing. Once having listed with an agent, I proceeded to market myself for on-camera acting. I had head shots done, put my rsum together, did a voice-over demo reel and a video acting demo reel, and contacted potential clients. I started to get work and for about four years I got more and more performing work each year. However, the combined income from teaching voice and intermittent performing jobs was not enough. So, in the spring of 1992, I was forced to look for other part-time work. I found a job doing part-time secretarial work. Here I was playing secretary again, something I had thought I would never have to force myself to do again and I absolutely hated it. I chafed under the sheer drudgery of it and the lack of autonomy and self-direction inherent in it had an enervating effect on me. And then someone suggested that I apply to work for a 900 line as a psychic. My initial reaction, of course, was to say, I cant do that. And then I caught myself. I had gone through somewhat of an epiphany the year before about self-esteem, a quality I had never had in great measure, and, ever since I had gone through that sudden and positive change, I had begun to observe myself having knee-jerk reactions of I cant. Id learned to catch myself in the "I can't" reaction and then objectively gauge whether it was something I could try. By taking that approach, I had tried doing several new things that I had previously thought I couldnt do. This was no different. I remembered Tomiko telling me that I should be doing spiritual counseling. I remembered my success in the remote viewing exercise. I reminded myself of how distasteful I found playing secretary to be and how it negatively affected my outlook and emotional well-being. So I said, well, maybe its something I can do. I obtained the contact information on the 900 line and applied. I was told that they were hiring readers and that I would have to do some sample readings as part of the application process to see if I was qualified. Meanwhile I practiced doing readings on a few people, just tuning in to get information. These practice sessions went very well. One went so well that the woman I was reading for didn't want to let me go; she kept pushing for more information until I was worn out. I was pleased that these practice readings seemed to go so well. Of course, I was thinking to myself, I really dont know what Im doing. My plan was that I would use tarot cards and have a cheat-sheet as a key to refer to the cards meanings. Many of the cards I knew fairly well, but many I didnt and I didnt want to use the cards and give

people information unless I felt that it was really accurate and complete. So I came up with the idea of a cheatsheet as a quick, easy, and handy reference. However, when the first person called (unannounced, as it were, without having prearranged a time) from the 900 line asking me to do a sample reading and be evaluated, I found myself spontaneously just tuning in. Perhaps it was serendipity. Perhaps it was the spontaneity. Perhaps it was fortuitous. Whatever it was, I simply tuned in to do the reading without the safety net of the tarot cards or my cheat sheet and that set the tone for the way I would continue to read. I thoroughly enjoyed doing that sample reading. As it turns out, the people who were getting the sample readings from prospective readers and rating them were other readers themselves who had been working for the line for a long time. This first person who called, a man, was very personable and warm and was contemplating a move to another state. I got the color green, a lot of green, which indicated to me that the move would be a positive one, fertile for positive growth. I was surprised that I was getting this information and how it was coming in to me, but I just went with the flow. He was very complimentary and told me that he wasnt supposed to tell me his reaction, but that he wanted me to know that he was definitely recommending me. I was very pleased and certainly surprised. It was apparent that I was not going to be given any advance notice as to when I would be called to give these required sample readings. I just answered the phone and found myself being asked on the spot to do a reading. Being nervous about the whole prospect of trying to do readings for people something I had never considered to be part of my armamentarium of skills I found the unpredictable quality of the out-of-the-blue calling, coupled with the need to prove myself in something I felt somewhat foreign to me anyway, to be quite nerve-wracking. The second person who called out of the blue for a sample reading was also a man. This was statistically unusual, as most readers are women and most of the readers working for the line were women. Although initially he seemed fairly nice, this guy and I did not fare as well. In mentioning his relationship with his partner, he commented that his partner was very protective, and I commented, a little too protective at times? This he did not like. Although I could tell that there was some degree of codependency and role-playing going on in the relationship, he apparently did not want to be told anything about it. We spoke about a couple of other areas, and I became aware that he had some of his own issues and personal dramas going on which prevented him from wanting to hear the truth. This was a great lesson. It taught me that some people do not really want to hear the truth even if theyre readers. Its best, instead, to tread lightly or, at the least, to couch information in terms that may be less threatening or off-putting to the person getting the reading. I apparently did not pass this second test. No great surprise there: my gut had already told me that. (I would have been surprised if I had gotten a favorable review from this guy.) I found out for sure that I had not passed that second hurdle when the phone rang again for another sample reading, from a woman this time. She was quite nice and told me that she needed a sample reading as a tiebreaker and further told me that my first rating had been positive, but not my second one. When I told her that Id apparently given the second person some information he didnt want to hear, she laughed and said that she thought she knew which guy it was! We had a pleasant time, and I found myself getting interesting impressions about her, her son, and other areas of interest. I was again surprised at getting these impressions, what they were like and how they came in, and how I had to work to interpret them. I was surprised furthermore because I still felt like I didnt really know what I was doing. She was also very complimentary and told me that she was passing me, that she felt that the line definitely needed readers like me (!?). As positive as this was and as much as I appreciated it, I was still having

trouble accepting this positive feedback on my "reading abilities." I still did not see myself as a reader or a psychic. Instead, I was puzzled: how could this be, I was thinking. I definitely wasnt a psychic. I wasnt brought up to be a psychic. I didnt study in college or prepare to be a psychic. Other people were psychics not I, nor anyone Id ever known as an acquaintance or who was part of my milieu. However, if people thought I could do this and some apparently did and if I could both help people and earn income doing this, I was game (if in somewhat of a weak, rather than gamely way). It was not something I had really wanted to pursue, but it would allow me to bring in extra income while I continued to pursue my main objective, performing. So, apparently I was on my way. I received my formal notification of being hired, had an orientation session, read through the policies and procedures, was assigned my extension number and password, purchased my headset telephone, and got my separate phone line installed. I was now going to be working as a PSYCHIC. What in the world had I gotten myself into?! I proceeded to get myself set up to work on the line. I called in and recorded my not-on-duty message, my descriptive message, etc. I was now all set up, with no external obstacles to my starting to do this work. However, there were apparently still some internal obstacles, as I found myself waiting a few days before actually signing in for the first time to receive calls. The truth of the matter is that I was scared to death. My fear of doing this kept me temporarily frozen in inaction. What would the callers be like: would they be rude or nasty? All of my people-pleasing issues rose to the surface like activated hot buttons (or perhaps garbage to be disposed of). Why had I gotten myself into this? Oh, yes, I reminded myself, it was for income. Did I want to go back to playing secretary until I got enough performing work to pay the bills? My internal dialogue continued. Could I do this? Well, I had passed and been hired. Am I misrepresenting myself to people? Well, some people thought I was legitimate and felt that I gave helpful information. But what if I make a fool of myself? Well, Ill never know until I try it, I told myself. So with fear and trepidation and tremendous personal misgivings I finally steeled myself, sat down, called into the computer via the 800 number, entered my codes and signed in. I sat and waited nervously. Minutes passed. Finally the phone rang. I almost didnt answer it. But, of course, ever the obedient rule-follower, I did indeed respond and answer it. That first caller was a woman, a very nice, pleasant woman. (Thank goodness I was given someone pleasant for my first experience!) She was pregnant and wanted to know the gender of her baby and the birth date. I tuned in, got some information, and conveyed it to her. She was very appreciative. We thanked each other and hung up. I was so nervous from the experience that I immediately signed out. My nerves couldnt take any more. I had to take some time to process what had just happened. I was definitely a "Nervous Nellie!" It was good that that first experience was a pleasant one. Otherwise, I might not have had the courage to move forward with this work and continue to sign in and work the line. Needless to say, I did sign back in again (otherwise, I obviously might not be writing this book) and I continued to work the line for almost four years. This was how I, a self-perceived non-psychic person, got into

doing this type of work: something completely unforeseen by me, but the universe does indeed work in mysterious ways. Working the line was quite an experience and one of the greatest, most difficult ways to gain experience and to work under fire. I truly spoke to all kinds of people from all walks of life from the very wealthy to the super impoverished (on welfare, disability, or other assistance or even with no assistance), from professionals to laborers, from very well educated and/or intelligent to those who had difficulty understanding common vocabulary. Most were nice. Some were skeptics. Some were rude. Some were dishonest. A few were obscene callers. (Little did these obscene callers know that we had ways of reporting them and their calls.) We also had additional ways of helping callers other than just through our intuitive abilities. We were given lists of 800 numbers for help-lines or agencies to help with certain problems (toll-free numbers for abused women, incest survivors, alcoholics, etc.). We had a mechanism to report suicidal callers, so as to try to get help to them to prevent suicides. I learned a tremendous amount from working the line, both about doing readings and about human nature. I feel that I really cut my teeth (or at least my reading teeth!) on the line. Because I never knew what callers would ask me to look at, I got experience looking at all sorts of things: relationships (including romantic, family, and platonic ones), financial situations, children, pets, friends, finding jobs, health issues, lost objects, careers, missing people, new business ventures, legal cases, who callers' guides were, deceased loved ones, trips, etc. Many, many people asked in all honesty and sincerity if they would win the lottery. I was even asked for the outcomes to sports games, including the Super Bowl once. (I got the right team and a number that I didnt know how to interpret, since the caller was looking for the score. It turned out that the number I got was the final point spread. And, no, I dont think I could do a repeat performance of accuracy; I think it was a fortunate fluke.) I learned so much from working the line. I learned more and more how to tune in, how my information was coming in, and which areas I was better at and which I was weaker in. It was like taking a crash course in doing readings. There were also frustrations, of course. Aside from never knowing who would be on the other line when you answered and whether they would be hospitable or hostile, my income was also quite unpredictable. Readers were only paid for the time they actually talked to callers (at a minuscule fraction of the per-minute rate charged callers) and so the income was highly dependent on whether the line was busy or not. If it was very slow, I could be signed in for an hour and have no calls and no income for that hour. And then there was the home office to deal with. Although there were exceptions, there was a great deal of antipathy on the part of most home office personnel to the readers; staff in the home office tended to be somewhat condescending and paternalistic toward us, the workhorse readers in the field. It reminded me of the in loco parentis policies in place at Duke when I had been an undergraduate, with the added element of condescension. Readers would be treated like children, with chiding, scolding messages left on the daily recording (that gave presumably significant information to the readers, updating them on new programs and changes in policies or procedures). For any perceived infraction, the home office would lock readers out so that they couldnt sign in. I guess this was the only recourse the home office had to try to insure enforcement of policies. However, they did this at times in error. I was locked out just once when someone in the home office apparently wrote down the wrong extension number, and this was a home office error! Even with a lot of formal procedures in place and sophisticated computer operations, the home office was still quite disorganized. You couldnt always get answers to questions or clarification on policies. As time went by, more and more programs with increasingly complicated rules and procedures were instituted, usually as a vehicle to attract more callers or to induce callers to call again. Information on these new programs and procedures was rarely sent out in writing to the readers. Instead, information would be given verbally on the

daily recorded message. If a reader was out of town or off for a few days, the information was not heard. And, in lieu of written instructions that were clearly delineated and could be kept for future reference, readers had to try to transcribe not-so-clear verbal messages. When a new program was instituted, if a reader did not follow the procedures or fill out the required paperwork properly, he or she would be locked out! It was very frustrating to try to deal with this lack of clear direction and written instructions. The frustrations of dealing with the lack of organization and the attitudes in the home office aside, I can now appreciate the line for two reasons, both for what I got out of it and the role that it served to play. Contrary to the public perception of 900 lines, a lot of people who called in were helped by readers working the line. Out of the many, many readers, there were apparently some other excellent intuitives working the line, including one quite intelligent author of thoughtful, insightful, and well-researched books on near-death experiences. Some of those working the line did so not so much out of a need for income as much as a need to be of service and to educate. So the line served both to help and educate people. And, furthermore, working the line was not without its positive aspects for me. My tenure with it was comparable to getting an undergraduate degree in readings. It opened up new avenues for me and started me on a path that has been very rewarding. Without the experience of working the line, I might not have started doing private consultations, personal facilitation, writing, speaking to groups, or teaching workshops. It certainly took me a long time to build up any confidence in my reading ability. I remember being shocked when I started getting positive feedback. Were they really talking about me and the information I got? Although I was obviously now doing intuitive work and learning a tremendous amount, I continued to pursue performing work, which I had previously been garnering more and more of. And then, a year or less after starting to work for the line, it seemed like the curtain suddenly came down on the performing work. I was no longer getting more and more work. It was obvious that the universe was pushing me in another direction. And then, the totally unexpected happened (yet again). As I continued to gain self-esteem personally, to my surprise I found that I no longer cared about acting or felt the drive to pursue it. My passion for it was gone, having evaporated seemingly into the blue. (I did still retain my love of singing, however, and my passion for singing only continues to grow). At the time I had no inkling of what the implications of this shift would be for my future direction. About eight months after starting to work the line, I finally got the courage to have business cards printed to try to do readings privately. And then, about a year after starting to work the line, I started going to a metaphysical store once a week to do sessions. At the time I had no idea how this work would grow for me in the next few years. But grow the work certainly did! I didnt always know where I was going in those subsequent years, but I went with the flow and the work continued to progress. The universe was obviously rewarding me for some reason for pursuing this work and giving me a green light. I continued to struggle, however, with my own self-definition vis--vis this work and had misgivings about my doing it, still not seeing myself as a professional intuitive or as someone giving readings. What I finally came to realize, though, was that my struggle had more to do with my prior misconceptions about intuitive work and the misperceptions of the public at large regarding it than anything else. First of all, it was embarrassing to think that I found myself in this category sharing the characteristics of those psychics who were not exactly socially respectable. Secondly, I was struggling to work in the manner of what I had always thought a psychic did. I had to learn to allow the work to be what was natural for me, instead of trying to contain it in a preconceived mold that was foreign to me. And I had to learn to ignore people's misperceptions about this work.

Take the word psychic, for example. As I mentioned earlier, the connotations associated with it are generally not positive. To this day, I still cringe if someone refers to me as a psychic, because I know what the general (read, negative) connotations are that people associate with the term. I remember an incident in Boston a few years ago. I was there to do some radio appearances as a psychic, and my close friend Suzanne went along with me as my assistant. During some down time, Suzanne and I went to a Neiman Marcus store next to the hotel and ended up getting makeovers on a whim. A representative from Guerlain was in the store from Paris. Since Ive always loved perfume well-blended French perfume without any chemical ingredients and Guerlain is the oldest parfumeur in Paris (and I was a French major), I was in my element, and this rep from Guerlain and I struck up a delightful conversation. She was very pleasant and quite elegant. She asked what we were doing in Boston and when I replied that I was there to do radio appearances as a psychic, she was shocked. Oh, no! she said, You cant be a psychic! Youre too intelligent! Nuf said! So it is the general public's negative view of the word "psychic" that comes from gross ignorance (that I used to share) that I still found troubling. The realization of this continued negative, yet ignorant, view was hammered home to me somewhat recently when I participated in a book signing. During the writing of this book, I was invited to write a piece for a book representing a compilation of views (both essays and interviews) by women about their work (The Long Way Around: How 34 Women Found the Lives They Love, 2000, Carolina Women's Press). In November of 2000, I participated in three book signings for this book, which were structured as question and answer, with prepared questions posed by the editor to each of the contributing authors in attendance. The question posed to me was loosely, "since you are very well educated, having attended Duke University with an A.B. in French and having done Master's work in Radio, Television, and Motion Pictures at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and are presently working as a 'professional intuitive' and even worked for a 900 line, do you see any contradiction there, and, secondly, do you ever encounter any skeptics?" I was shocked to learn from a friend in attendance that, when I responded to this question asked me about my work, two of the other women authors on the panel visibly reacted negatively to what I was saying. I was told that one woman even rolled her eyes as I was speaking. My friend related that these two women, ostensibly my colleagues, by extension, as co-authors, were apparently threatened by my work and were attempting to distance themselves from it. This shocked me. Aside from the fact that it was unconscionably rude (and revealed that both had limitations in understanding, personal development, and manners), it was quite revealing of the fact that even some supposedly educated people are both closed down and ignorant. It also reveals how much of a "hot button" the word "psychic" is for people, even for those whose education would seem to imply more awareness and open-mindedness than the norm. Of course my own negative connotations associated with the word "psychic" served to make my path toward accepting my work a lot rockier. And, yet, accept it I finally did. Along the way, however, I had to learn to claim my ability and let the work unfold for me, irrespective of my own or others' expectations of what a "psychic" did or was. Although I still cringed at hearing the word psychic applied to me and was somewhat embarrassed to be doing this type of work, I did finally start to claim my intuitive ability. I was getting the proof through working and from feedback from clients that I was indeed getting viable and accurate information for people most of the time. It was just my conscious view of what this work could be about that needed to evolve. It wasnt until the winter of 1997, though, almost 4 years after Id started doing readings for people via the network (and about six months after Id stopped working for it), that I finally started to get a grasp of what I was doing and how I

was doing it. In some ways, I cant believe that it took me that long to figure it out. (I guess I'm just a slow learner.) However, I can also somewhat understand why it took me that long to start to grasp what I was doing. I had still been laboring under my understanding and concept (or should I say misunderstanding and misconception) of what I thought a psychic was and what a reading was or should be. I kept trying to do what I thought a psychic was supposed to do and give the information I thought I was supposed to give, instead of allowing myself to go with my own flow. A psychic focuses on predicting the future, right? The information is fairly superficial and doesnt go into any depth, right? The information a psychic gets is strong and clear, right? Well, Ive learned that (with all due respect to Ira and George Gershwin) it aint necessarily so! Ive learned that there are many different ways that one can get information and that the type of information and its focus can vary greatly from one person to the next. Not only can the accuracy of the information vary, so too can the areas of expertise or specialization, as well as the orientations of the readers: how spiritually oriented they are; how honest they may be; how much else they may bring to their sessions by way of education or awareness; how much they may bring their own issues, mindsets, assumptions, beliefs, etc. into their work; how pure their information is or uncontaminated by their own stuff; whether they are sincerely facilitating others or are unconsciously needing to keep others dependent on them or setting themselves up to be revered or worshipped through their own ego needs; how clear or fear-based they may be and consequently how fear-based or clear their information may be; how unattached they may be to outcomes or how much of an ego need they may have invested in needing to always be right; etc. There is truly a multiplicity of types of intuition and types of information, as well as different attributes, for good or ill, that one can bring to this work. Once I began to learn what I was doing and no longer labored under expectations (my own or those of others) of what I should be doing, I could begin to strengthen in my work and gain more confidence in it and in what I could do to facilitate others. In other words, I could start to allow myself to build on my own strengths. This work has opened up a wealth of information for me, and I've continued to learn from it. Along the way, my work has also evolved. I have started exploring avenues heretofore unanticipated (the writing, speaking, teaching workshops and seminars, etc.), and I have learned and used new healing and facilitating techniques (Natural Process healing, guided meditation, regression, etc.), in addition to using techniques Ive worked with for years (dream interpretation, for example). Ive also designed a system to facilitate others in personal empowerment or self-actualization and wholeness (the system that came out of the information coming into me when I was awakened from sleep and lay in bed sleeplessly for over three hours). Ive come to realize more and more that my work is more that of personal facilitation in which I happen to use my intuitive abilities and my forte lies more in reading people than in making predictions. As Ive continued to learn and stretch myself and explore, Ive gained more in my own perception and understanding of how things work as well. As my understanding has increased, so too has my knowing. And I realize more and more how powerful it is to have our own knowing and to allow ourselves to come from our place of knowing. This is one of the many benefits that can come from developing ones intuition. As my understanding and knowing grew, I also found myself becoming more and more centered in my knowing, as well as more and more centered within myself. I have increasingly found a corresponding sense of peace in my life radiating outward from that peaceful center inside. This sense of peacefulness has apparently become so pronounced that others comment on it to me. So, as you can see, developing ones intuition can have profound and positive personal benefits.

I am very grateful to have been shown this new path in life, even if it did come seemingly out of left field. The personal benefits I have gained have changed me dramatically, and I wouldnt trade the insights Ive gained for anything, as theyve broadened my understanding of the world in which we live. I have had it proven to me over and over again experientially through experiencing energy and receiving information that this truly and wonderfully is a very complex and creative universe and that anything is possible. It is only we humans who are limited in our understanding and in our need to rigidly define by putting blinders on our perceptual modes and limiting our potentially limitless perceptions. We have those small minds that Tomiko always referred to. Until we learn and grow more and widen our vistas and take the blinders off our minds it is we who are limited, never the universe. Before I start to share with you some of the fascinating things Ive learned, allow me to share how it is that I work at least my understanding of it at the present time. Because, as I continue to evolve, so does my work I truly never know where Ill be led!



Charm is a product of the unexpected. -Jose Marti Belief gets in the way of learning. -Robert Heinlein

As I mentioned, it took me about 4 years to figure out, or at least to begin to figure out, what it is that I do and how I do it. This question is significant not just for me, but apparently for others as well. Clients have often asked me how I work, where my information comes from, etc., as if fascinated by the whole phenomenon or perhaps because they are aware enough to know that intuition is not a cut-and-dried phenomenon. Although most clients have broached this question in a very sincere way, out of pure interest, Ive had some clients or others, including those I hadn't read for, tell me how Im working (or how they think that I work). Ive found the latter instances rather interesting that they should know when I didnt, especially if I had never done a session for them. Some have said that Im channeling, for example. Ive even had other readers want to know how I work. Of course, I dont think they were curious just about me, but about other readers in general. (Other than those with a pure interest in the various manifestations of intuition, others' more prying and competitively motivated interest reminds me of dogs sniffing each other's bottoms; its indicative of that perennial need to check each other out. I guess this is the readers version of cocktail party chitchat and rear sniffing.) I certainly respect others' curiosity when it comes from a pure motivation of interest and wanting to understand the phenomenon of intuition. I find myself less enamored of curiosity that is motivated by competition or ego needs. I remember one person in particular, another reader, for whom it seemed very important to know how I work. I encountered her one day at a psychic fair (an event at which several readers are available to give short readings to those who buy tickets) a few years after Id started working for the network and doing private readings. She kept staring at me, then came up and started talking to me, asking me how I worked. I gave my best explanation, according to my understanding at the time, and then she said, oh, thats how I work as well. Whereas I thought, well, thats nice and was ready to move on, it was apparently very important to her that we seemed to work in the same way and she wanted to know more. (I personally am less interested in how one

works, aside from my interest in understanding the different faces of intuition, as long as the information is meaningful and there is a higher spiritual orientation.) She continued to press, however, asking me who my guides were. I responded that I didnt know, that Id always felt guided and protected, and that it wasnt important to me to know by whom or what (or even to assign personality, gender, or names or even bodily or noncorporeal or any other type of form to them). I said that it felt like whoever needed to be there would be there and that the composition of the complement of working guides might be in flux all the time. (Of course, given my sense of connection to God, it has understandably at least to me been of much less importance to even feel motivated to delve into guides' or other intermediaries' presence or existence.) Oh, no! she said. It doesnt work that way! Well, I was temporarily speechless. I couldnt believe that another reader was so limited in her understanding or was limiting herself so much by telling herself (and apparently others) that things could only work in one way. To me, she was an excellent exemplification of Claude Bernard's statement that, "It is what we think we know already that often prevents us from learning." Again, Im here to tell you that there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy (to quote Shakespeare). And it truly is a wonderfully creative universe, where anything is possible, including how one may receive intuitive information. This is by way of preamble to give you an indication of how important it is for some people to understand how different readers work. Given my gradual realization that this really was important for people to know, in addition to my own need to understand something I'm working with, Ive worked at trying to understand it myself. What Im about to share with you comes from my having figured this out, at least at this point in time. Given the fact that Im still evolving and that I may indeed be limited by my own present understanding and thinking, caveat emptor. As I mentioned previously, I was hampered in my understanding of what I was doing by my own preconceptions about what I thought I should be doing and what I thought psychics did. I kept wondering, for example, why I didnt get strong, strike-you-hard impressions. Well, I came to realize that its because it just doesnt work that way for me. I had to continue to work, and develop more as I did so, before I began to realize how I seemed to be working. First of all, I tune in to get information. I alluded to the mechanism of tuning in in Chapter I, but will endeavor to explain it in more detail now. By tuning in, I mean that I close my eyes and relax, so as to go to a deeper level of consciousness (as measured by brain waves). Although I havent been clinically tested in this fashion, if my brain wave patterns were tested while I was tuning in during a reading I would think the results would show a predominantly slower alpha or perhaps theta pattern, indicative of a deeper mental state than our normally alert beta or higher level alpha brain wave pattern. At any rate, its definitely a different state from my normal one (more on this later as well). I tune in for several reasons. First of all, it allows me to shut out external stimuli that would be distracting as Im trying to access information. It further allows me more easily to receive or access information as I get quiet and listen or pay attention to subtle information coming in to me. And, thirdly, it allows me to bypass, as much as possible, any of my own stuff (mindsets, assumptions, beliefs, emotional reactions, etc.) that could affect and contaminate the information. By tuning in, I can receive purer information for my client, insofar as that may be possible. Ive also realized along the way that my tuning in is somewhat protective for me as well. It allows me to choose, to a certain extent, when Im getting information, instead of having little or no control over information

coming in. If I didnt have to tune in in order to access information, I might be bombarded by input all the time from people. I wouldnt wish overly permeable boundaries like that on anyone. (As it is, due to my extreme orientation toward others, or empathy, I usually pick up on some information about others when Im around them without even trying.) Having to tune in affords me at least some measure of control over when I'm receiving information about others and how much comes in unbidden. Insofar as the form the information takes, I started to be able to tell early on that I was getting a sense of things, an impression, most of the time rather than strictly visual images. These impressions would be so gauzy or hazy at times that I often felt like I was trying to reel them in so as to be able to perceive them more clearly and to even be able to begin to tell what they were. It could be very maddening. I would be getting a subtle sense of something, but felt, What is the something? What is that? Not all impressions are tremendously vague, however. Some are easier to clearly grasp, but theyre still impressions. To this day, most of the information I receive comes in this form (if you can even call it a form): impressions, or a sense of. I do at times also get visual images, words or phrases, sometimes what feels like direct quotations, and sometimes colors. The visual images, however, are not like seeing an image literally through my eyes; they are more the type of visual image you get in the minds eye. In addition, I also feel energy, and I'll be sharing a lot more on that later, as it plays a fairly central role in my work. In addition to the above forms, a couple of years ago for the first time I experienced another way in which the information could (and occasionally does) come in. I was puzzled when it first happened because this new form came in the form of pain literally. I was doing a reading and started to feel a pain in my back. I hadnt had any back pain at all that day and initially tried to ignore it. The pain persisted, though, and I finally thought to ask the client, a woman, Do you ever get a pain here? I pointed to where the pain was located in my back. Yes, she said, indicating that it was chronic. I was amazed. As soon as I got information for her on what was causing the pain and what to do about it, the sensation of pain I was experiencing went away. I didnt realize at the time that the universe was giving me another tool for my toolbox. Great! I thought. Thanks, guys! [referring to whomever is giving me information] Now youre giving me pain! Since that first time, I do occasionally have this happen. I now know if pain comes in during a session (very suddenly and unannounced, as it were) that I should check with the client to see if its his or hers. Its almost always the clients. I also frequently find that I may censor information when it comes in if it doesnt feel right. If the particular information keeps coming in, I can then assume that Im being told to stop censoring it and share it. When I then mention it to my client, it usually resonates for him or her and means something, even if it hasnt completely made sense to me. What will also happen at times is that I will mention something Im getting and a client will say, its funny that you phrase it like that. As it ofttimes turns out, the particular words I get will have a special meaning for the client. Im always pleased when that happens (perhaps because it feels like an even stronger confirmation of my whole intuitive process), but I certainly cant take any credit for deliberately having a hand in this particular expression of it. No matter how the information comes in, what is always necessary is the interpretation of the information impression or not that Im getting. Sometimes Ill get very straightforward, literal

information. However, most of the time it can be very non-self-evident and thus highly dependent on interpretation. Because I do have to work at interpreting what Im getting and, furthermore, because I have to concentrate so intensely to reel in these at times maddeningly subtle impressions, I often find that the work can take its toll on my energy. Whereas I had previously assumed that psychics just got information fairly easily and effortlessly, I have certainly learned that it can indeed take a lot of my personal energy to do this work. Over time, I have found it easier and easier to interpret many of the impressions that I receive. However, the more peoples energies I tune into, for instance if a client asks me to look at several people in his or her life, the more energy I may be expending, due perhaps to my sensitivity to people and their energies, and the more I may feel somewhat drained afterwards. This is not always true, however. There are definitely times when everything flows seemingly effortlessly and when, indeed, I feel energized by reading someone. In contrast, though, I have also known days when I have done several hours work in a row and felt like I couldnt see straight afterwards and have even felt my gait impaired. (Talk about walking like a drunken sailor.) And forget about thinking or talking cogently afterwards. This usually happens only after doing several hours straight, without taking a break, for example, at a psychic fair, expo, or private party or function. At other times I may do sessions with aplomb and feel energized. It's a mixed bag and quite unpredictable. The curiosity on the part of others about the source of my information seems boundless. As I mentioned, Ive been asked over and over again where my information comes from or from whom. And I always have to say that I just dont know. All I know is that I tune in, trusting that the information will be there and most of the time, 95% or more of the time, it is. Several people have asked me, very concerned and worried, if my information comes from God because theyre afraid to proceed if it doesnt. All I know is that I trust in the Divine and the universe; I dont open myself up to negativities even if theyre others negativities or fears. I want to provide the best information I can for clients, information that will facilitate them and give them insight and I trust that it will, because all is in divine order. As I mentioned earlier, its never been necessary for me to know from whom or what the information comes my guides, your guides (my guides taking a meeting with your guides!), angelic beings, disembodied entities, etc. As mentioned previously, I've always felt guided and protected in my life and I trust in that. The form of the source of the guidance isnt important to me, because I trust in the source because I trust in the Divine, in God. The information comes, is beneficial and benevolent, and it just is. (Some people have commented that my not putting terms and conditions on how my information comes in means that Im open. I take that as a compliment.) When I started to work the 900 line, I tuned in to answer just the specific questions callers had, and most callers had rather specific, concrete questions. When will I find a job? Will this relationship work out? What kind of baby will I have? Fairly direct, concrete, specific questions. Because of the high cost of the line to callers, I tried to address these questions directly and succinctly, so as not to run their bills up. Callers appreciated this, by and large, and the line had many repeat callers. When faced with these specific questions, I didnt try to get fancy and give detailed or esoterically related answers. I tried, instead, to give the facts and nothing but the facts. Other callers would ask for a general reading. A general reading is a term used to refer to readings that are not geared around specific questions. In popular, most-common-denominator milieux, the items covered in a general reading would include job/career, love relationship(s), health, family, and finances. Not all callers wanted to hear about personal or spiritual growth issues. Some did, however.

It was in these general readings, as well as in readings for callers or clients who were more spiritually oriented, that I began to allow myself to see just whatever impressions came in, rather than looking only for specific answers to specific questions. In doing this, I found myself tuning in more and more to the callers or private clients energy, so as to get on his/her wavelength. Over time I increasingly realized that tuning in to the clients energy was my particular entryway or portal to accessing other information for the client. This tuning in to the clients energy also definitely affected and helped to determine the direction of my work, while it also served to deepen it measurably. I also found that my own orientation in two specific ways affected my work. First of all, I have always been oriented toward the meaning of events and situations, not merely the surface appearance of them. I have always felt that meaning permeates everything. Thus in readings Ive found myself not giving just surface information, but deeper information on the meaning of situations or events. In addition, I have always felt that one of the reasons were here (on earth) is to learn and grow, to evolve. As a result, Ive gradually realized that this orientation or assumption directly colors my work. I work best in sessions when my information comes from and is connected to this perspective, and is oriented toward facilitating the clients learning and evolving. Not every client cares about this, of course. Some just want a quick and dirty, more superficial reading. I work best with clients, however, who are on a path of growth, even if just in their own understanding of things. I now know that I do more than one thing in an intuitive session. First of all, I tune in and read a clients energy. And, secondly, I receive information, whether extraneous to or in direct response to clients' specific questions. In reading a client's energy, I feel that I am primarily doing this through my own efforts; in other words, I am actively reading the energy. However, I do feel at times that I also receive some information when I think Im reading the energy myself. In reading a persons energy, I often am directly experiencing kinesthetically the energy not seeing it or hearing it or touching it. Its almost as if a part of my perceiving actually contacts or enters a clients energy. The energy Im referring to here and that I start out by reading is more a physical or bodily energy (no, I dont see auras) that is associated with the body but is on a higher level than the body and incorporates other factors than just the bodily. I then progress to reading a persons essential energy, what his/her essence is. This energy is definitely on a higher level and encompasses the consciousness (who the person is on the inside, not just the external persona one may project). It is almost like a persons signature energy pattern. (Ill be going into this topic in more detail in Part IV.) As I read a persons energy, it often feels as if Im walking around in it, experiencing it, feeling it, and/or being enveloped by it. It's usually, again, a kinesthetic feeling of the energy. After getting information on these two areas (the general energy and the essence), I will usually shift to the present time to sense, in the client's energy, where he/she is in his/her life and what he/she is going through or dealing with, usually insofar as growth or inner process or emotional issues is concerned. The second mode, as I mentioned, is that I receive information, whether on specific questions or areas, as mentioned above, or whether its just seeing what guidance might be there for a person. (I will sometimes end a session by seeing what guidance there may be there for a client from guides or whomever. In some cases, a client may ask me who his/her guides are, and I'll look at that as well.) I often look at other people in a clients life, no matter what the nature of the relationship or whether theyre still here or transitioned (having died). For some reason, I have a particular knack for reading people who they are internally, not what they look like

externally and relationships, or how people fit together, how compatible their energies are, their interdynamics, their connection on the soul level, etc. I have always been sensitive to peoples energy and this trait appears to play a major role in my work. (Perhaps it was all those characters I got into in playing different roles in acting, or, conversely, maybe it was because of this sensitivity to people that I got into acting.) Ive also found that I have different ways of trying to access information. For instance, if theres a question about the timing of an event or situation, Ill try to get the information in two or three different ways: first, Ill see if a time period or date just comes in. If not, then, secondly, I will mentally scan a calendar to see where I get hits. Or, thirdly, I'll try to go to the future, for instance a year down the road, and see what I pick up on as going on then. I follow a similar procedure around questions about geography, whether the question has to do with a relocation, where someone is, where someones from, etc. With geography, when I scan I scan a mentally visualized map. If a question has to do with a relationship, Ill look first of all at the persons energies and how compatible they are. Ill then see if information just comes in about the viability of the relationship. I can also ask if another person might be coming in (into the clients life). I will also look at the connection between the people, what type of connection at the soul level there might be and if its just a learning relationship. Ill then sometimes progress things to the future to see if I can sense if theyre still together. If it's primarily a learning relationship, I'll try to get information on what the lesson(s) may be for those involved. (I will be elaborating quite a bit more on the topic of relationships in Part IV.) I will often look at a clients parents or other significant people in his/her childhood in an attempt to access information about issues that can be affecting the clients life in the present and what the basis of the issues may be. Ill also get information on thinking patterns, mindsets, beliefs, etc. that may play a significant role for the client (more on this later as well). I will then usually make specific recommendations to clients about how to facilitate their process or work on issues that may be problematic or troubling them. These recommendations will run the gamut from books to read, therapy, other modalities (either those I might utilize or those of other practitioners), activities that might be helpful or therapeutic, specific practitioners, exercises I've devised, etc. I will often create specific affirmations for a client to do that may further his/her process. I often shift gears in a session, from present to past time to future, from just seeing what information comes in to trying to access the clients guide(s), from tapping into one persons energy to reading the energy of others in the clients life. I also continually shift back and forth from being tuned in (in that other level of consciousness) to just speaking to the client in normal consciousness, often going back and forth from one state of consciousness to the other. Readings are not monologues, but, rather, dialogues. I encourage clients to ask questions and to let me know if anything doesnt make sense. (As I grope for the right words in sessions, trying to translate and find words for what Im often directly experiencing, things at times might not make sense, as words, or at least the optimum and most cogent ones, seem to elude me at times.) So, theres customarily a dialogue going on. Meanwhile, Im shifting from one state of consciousness to another, accessing information, translating it, interpreting it, communicating it, clarifying it, listening to the client back and forth, and all over the place! And quite often, depending on the client and what he or she is going through, humor will definitely creep in and well both be laughing. Its also true that some sessions can deal with sensitive issues, and tears can flow as easily as the laughter. And frequently in sessions well go from the esoteric to the mundane. My information will cover that spectrum, as well, from spiritual messages to information on personal issues to exploring possibly hampering thinking patterns to recommendations all in the interest of facilitating personal growth and fulfillment, as well as providing meaningful and helpful insight.

And, often, as we tap into spiritual issues and realms, I may get frissons of inspiration and confirmation when I am touched by a sense of aesthetic beauty or a connection to the Divine. I cant always sit as an impassive, unaffected conduit for information. I often find, or I should say, increasingly find, as alluded to, that I struggle to put what Im getting into words to translate the kinesthetic experiencing or impressions into words that capture what Im getting or experiencing, or that make sense. I seem to mutate from a fairly articulate person in normal consciousness to some sort of verbally challenged, bumbling mumbler when tuning in. I've found myself experiencing the basis of the term "ineffable," as I experience or feel that which simply can not be adequately put into or expressed through words or language. When Im tuning in, I seem to just go somewhere else. The perceptual mode is completely different from that of my normal, waking consciousness, especially when I'm reading or feeling a client's energy. The best way that I can try to describe this state is that I go to a level of pure energy that transcends and precedes form, a level that is preverbal. (I feel that thats why I have such trouble putting what Im getting into words.) It is more pure energy that is information, or information as pure energy. It's on a quite abstract level and yet also kinesthetic at times. Sometimes I get into the energy so deeply that it feels like Im tangled up in it, as if my sensing apparatus were a microscopic cell or rover wandering through the landscape of the energy, feeling it and experiencing it from different points of view. Its also a level of pure energy that, it feels to me, precedes and then creates form. For example, if I get that a client is an "observer," I'll feel the quality of observing. One friend, another reader, remarked that I work very differently from her, in that, as she said, I have multi-level and multi-dimensional sensing and intelligence, which I felt was a quite apt description. Whatever it is, its a place I had never consciously been to before I started doing this work, and its quite hard to describe or put into words. It really is an actual experiencing of energy somehow, on the cognitive or consciousness level and feeling level at the same time (I think), and all I can say is, if you havent experienced it for yourself, its very hard to imagine what its like. I will say that its different from anything I had previously experienced, more the pure essence of something as energy before it gets translated into form, but not just experienced on the mental or cognitive level. I have often found that the information I get for a person is what its most important for them to hear at the time, whether theyre consciously ready to hear it or not. It is usually information that is most salient for the client, especially insofar as what growth issue may be front-burnered for him/her at the time. This may sound presumptuous for me to say, but its been borne out over and over again. And I have also felt that, conversely, if a client is not supposed to know something at the time, I may not receive the information. These phenomena I find as positive reinforcement for my trusting that the most appropriate information will come in and that it will be helpful for the client, should he or she want to listen to it or be ready to. Sometimes torrents of information come in with a lot of complexity and/or interweaving, and sometimes the information will all be keyed around one or two basic themes. Whatever I get, I always trust (and hope) that it will be helpful. I have often found the information to be helpful for me, as well, because I will sometimes find that the client and what he or she is dealing with may mirror me and what I may also be dealing with. I will sometimes get information and realize that I can apply it to myself as well. And there have been times when I have found myself quite surprised by what was coming out of my mouth. Are all clients easy to read? No, unfortunately not! With some clients, the information just flows and with others it may be like pulling teeth to get anything. Generally, the more open a client is the easier it will be

to read him/her and to receive copious information. And by open I dont mean gullible; merely open to hear information and judiciously consider it, as well as open to new experiences. The more closed-down a client is, on the other hand, the harder he or she may be to read. Ive read for some clients who have been so closed that Ive wondered why theyve even bothered to come for a session. Its almost as if their being so closed precludes their receiving any information from the outside and is indicative of a tendency not to want to hear what anyone else has to say or to make any changes in their lives. (And it is also true that some more closed down clients may come for sessions just to be told want they want to hear, and if the information is not what they want to hear, they disregard all of it. This, of course, is their prerogative.) Or, if they're hard-core skeptics definitely an indication of being closed-down they may come just from the motivation of having their own skepticism confirmed. By the same token, if a client is too open or gullible or nondiscerning, he or she may also be difficult to work with, at least insofar as personally facilitating him/her is concerned. I may receive a lot of information, but I may have to continually remind the client to listen to his or her own gut and be in the drivers seat in his/her life. Overly open clients, however, are preferable, at least from my point of view, any day to the closed down ones, who generally tend to be energy drains (probably due to their being continually challenging). In addition to how easy or difficult clients are to read, there are variables as well as to how easy they are to work with. Generally speaking, the more entrenched in unhealthy patterns a client is, the more difficult he or she may be to work with, especially if he or she is strongly resistant to change. And some clients will pull and drain more of a readers energy than others. In addition to closed down clients, the more obsessive a client is or the more he or she is needing reassurance indeed, the more he or she is overly dependent or needy and is tacitly asking to be taken care of the more of your energy might potentially be drained. I am not referring to the majority of clients who may be upset, depressed, or dealing with something difficult, as we all can have lower and difficult periods in our lives. It is, instead, those who are obsessive and entrenched in their neediness who can be draining. I have also worked with a few clients whose issues were so deep and whose dependency on me was so high that I could feel them unconsciously asking me to take care of them and to take responsibility for their feelings and their problems. Clients who havent learned to take responsibility for themselves have become a red flag for me as potentially problematic. I have learned the hard way that some can be so entrenched in their own self-delusion and in their self-image as perpetual victims that they will project their own stuff onto a reader and, in time, they may turn on a reader and verbally attack him/her, blaming him or her for their own problems, especially if they feel their needs and demands arent being met. Other clients, who may not overtly be particularly needy, may have a need to become "friends" in a demanding fashion and/or project issues of hierarchy and then become disenchanted or hostile when these needs aren't met. Fortunately, Ive had very few of these types of clients. Most of my clients have been a joy to work with. The question inevitably comes up: can I receive information for myself? Answer: only if I am not emotionally attached to the issue or if I can be clear enough to step out of the way and get pure information and thats a toughie! As a general rule (not without exceptions) readers can only read for themselves if there are not strong emotional colorings wants, needs, fears, etc. or entrenched beliefs or mindsets attached to the question. I get information for myself all the time about general direction and other areas in my life, but not generally anything reliable about issues related to wants, needs, or fears, because they serve as blocks (more on that later, as well). However, I must also add that I have been able, on occasion, to get information for myself. I have used the pretense of Diane coming to me for a reading. In other words, I objectify myself by seeing myself as someone else coming to me for a session. This conceit, or ruse, has at times yielded good results, when I have been emotionally clear enough to be able to do it.

The question also arises as to how accurate I am. Although Ive not been formally tested in my sessions, the feedback that Ive gotten from clients indicates that they feel that Im extremely accurate. I know, however, that Im certainly not always accurate and I cant expect to be, nor do I promise clients that I will be. Ive heard varying estimates of how accurate is extremely accurate for this sort of thing: anything from 75% to 85%. The human part of me wants to be 100% accurate, and certainly the part of me that feels responsible to my clients wants 100%. However, I know that thats unrealistic. Again, clients by and large have told me that Im extremely accurate. Some have told me over and over again that everything I told them came true (which I've tended to feel was overly rosy). I know, however, that there have been times when Ive definitely been off-base, and there have also been a few clients who have given me feedback that I was wrong about something. Fortunately, this sort of feedback has been very much in the minority, but it certainly does go to show that Im not always as extremely accurate as so many clients have told me, and it definitely serves to keep me humble. Timing of future events is one area in which I know that I'm quite unreliable. I know this primarily because of feedback that I've had from clients. Although there are those who tell me that events I had forecast happened in the exact time frame I had conveyed to them, for others I have been off, but in different ways. I've learned that I'm apparently fairly reliable with information about the future insofar as what will happen is concerned. The when, however, will apparently vary greatly. Some clients have told me that events transpired significantly after I had felt they would, whereas others have told me that events happened before I had gotten that they would. I even had one instance in which what I saw happening about a month later with a client's daughter (her pregnancy) had actually just occurred, even though neither the client nor I was aware of its having transpired. In another instance, I kept seeing that a client would meet her partner in the spring. Unfortunately it took four years of springs passing before the spring came when she did indeed meet him (and in spite of the fact that most or all of the other information I had gotten about him was apparently correct). I'm apparently more reliable with the content of future events and secondarily with the season (and somewhat less so with the year of occurrence) than I am with the precise timing. For this reason, I've gotten to the point where I warn clients to be quite wary of the time frame I get. (In general, though, I usually warn clients to take all information about the future with a grain of salt, as it's neither very reliable nor the powerful or desirable focal point of a session.) In spite of all the positive feedback I've received, I do not in any way consider myself to be a "great" reader when it comes to typical readings. I have heard of some readers I would consider to be great, including one I saw many, many years ago who has since transitioned. These are readers I consider truly amazing in their accuracy and specificity, and, thus, great. I cannot put myself in this category whatsoever, however. I do feel that any gift I have, and resultant accuracy, comes in reading people (who they are on the inside), whether the client or others in the clients life, including what they may be going through down the road. I feel that I have less accuracy when it comes to being either predictive (about what external events will occur in the future), or to reading what I call "dead" subjects pictures (of objects or places, not people) or the inanimate (or, at least, what we customarily think of as inanimate, like rocks). I feel that it is more "live" energy of people, animals, situations, nature that juices my work and somehow adds a charge that enables me to get more quality information. Even if I'm trying to look at physical places, I have to feel the energy of the place, somewhat kinesthetically, rather than just try to look at or watch the picture of the place. As a result of this orientation, I also trust my accuracy more when it comes to people or animals. Although its wonderful to be told that Im extremely accurate about the future, some of the most meaningful feedback Ive gotten has come from those who have told me that Ive helped them so much or that Ive helped them transform their lives or that I give others so much. This feedback has meant a tremendous amount to me.

Some of the clients with whom Ive worked over a period of time, either in a personal facilitating mode (incorporating the other modalities I use, e.g., guided meditation, regression, healing, etc.) or in a mentoring fashion, whom Ive seen make great strides over a period of time, have given me some of the greatest satisfaction. To feel that I have been instrumental in some way in others progress in their lives toward more personal growth and fulfillment has been extremely rewarding. Interestingly, it is not at all uncommon for clients not to understand everything I tell them in a session. Often this may be because of the stilted phraseology I use and/or that my concepts or the perspective the information is coming from may be foreign to them at the time. When this occurs, clients will usually, over time, come to grasp what I've said. For this reason, I advise clients to listen to the tape of the session (that I make when seeing a client in person) not just immediately following it, but also months and even years down the road. I have often had clients tell me months later that a lot of what I had told them hadn't made sense to them at the time of the session, but did months later when they listened to the tape. I have also had clients tell me substantially after their session that they had felt at the time of the session that some of the information I had given them was either way off base or didn't resonate for them at all (in other words, that they thought that I was wrong, off-base or just nuts), but that they subsequently came to realize that I had been accurate or that the information suddenly felt right. For this reason, I often have to remind myself that I am frequently only planting seeds at the time of a session and that many clients will not understand or resonate with what I'm saying at the time. I'm grateful to have gotten the feedback I have from clients in instances such as these that I had indeed been accurate or somewhat ahead of their "curve" in sessions. It's allowed me to realize both that I may be giving information that clients are not completely ready for, but need to have for some point in the future and that my concepts, while seemingly "out there" to some at the time, are indeed valid and helpful and will come to be meaningful to the client at some, perhaps later, point in time. The feedback that Ive gotten from clients over these twelve-plus years has, thankfully, been predominantly positive. Sometimes its downright interesting. Some fascinating feedback Ive received concerns what clients themselves have sensed during a session. Some have told me that theyve sensed presences (of guides I assume) in the room when Im reading. Others have said that my aura changes. Others have said that I emit pure love when Im reading and that they have felt the love directed to them and they appreciated it, or that I'm emitting healing energy from my heart area toward them. Some clients have said that a Japanese-lantern type lampshade moves when Im reading in one venue. One intriguing comment, at least to me, that Ive had from only four clients thus far is that they could feel me reading their energy. In other words, they could feel my energy entering theirs when I was reading their essence. I was dismayed when I was told this the first time, as I was concerned about being invasive. However, I was very pleased when they said it was a pleasant experience and that it didnt feel invasive. I only gradually discovered that my sessions are actually geared towards facilitating others processes i.e., their insight, their understanding, their growth, etc. To this end, I do try to facilitate and, if anything else, to empower and not control or encourage dependence, and, in so doing, I realize that, if I am successful in this facilitative and empowering work with some clients, their need to see me will diminish over time as they grow and strengthen in themselves (or as they perhaps develop their own intuition). As Thomas Carruthers said, "A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary." I have also gradually realized that I can give some information to clients only as theyre ready for it or may be ready to be facilitated. As Ive worked with some clients over time, I have seen them become readier to hear things that they were not previously ready to hear, as they learn and grow and evolve over time. I've also

seen some of these clients grow both personally and in their spiritual awareness over time, and I have been pleased to see some of them blossoming in this manner. Thus, the personal facilitative aspect of my work has become both more obvious and more important to me over time, and even the other above-mentioned techniques that I use are all geared around facilitating others unfolding and personal process. By facilitating others, I also learn and grow. To quote Oscar Hammerstein from The King and I: Its a very ancient saying, But a true and honest thought, That if you become a teacher By your pupils youll be taught. -Getting to Know You My clients are certainly not my pupils, nor am I always teaching. However, Ive definitely learned tremendously through my facilitating, so the energy put out and expended has certainly come back to me. Indeed, my clients have in turn taught me. One of the very significant things that I have learned through this work is what intuitive work can be. My concept of what a "psychic" is and does has gradually evolved from seeing a psychics work as that of a fortune-teller (and perhaps something not to be greatly respected) to seeing that intuitives can be serving a much higher purpose through intuitive counseling. Next I'd like to explore this new role that increasing numbers of intuitives are playing as the work of intuitive reading continues itself to unfold and to broaden.


We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own. -Ben Sweetland There comes that mysterious meeting in life when someone acknowledges who we are and what we can be, igniting the circuits of our highest potential. -Rusty Berkus

This chapter will be a brief one. However, its brevity should not be construed as an indication of insignificance, as it represents another crucial brick in laying the foundation for the insights shared in the following chapters. Just as we have taken steps to demystify intuition as both a phenomenon and a faculty, lets now turn our attention and those same demystifying efforts to intuitive readings. Because this book deals with what Ive learned from doing readings for clients, it would be helpful, I feel, to understand the nature of those readings themselves and their potential purposes, in addition to the faculty of intuition. This is germane because, as I mentioned previously, the readings I do now are not the readings that I thought I would be doing or even what I used to think readings were. In order for me to share what Ive learned from doing this work, it would be instructive to examine both the type of readings I now do and what these sessions can indeed be. So lets examine readings themselves as a phenomenon. First, I would ask you: what does a reading mean to you, whether you have actually experienced one or not? What do you think of when you think of a reading? What connotations are there for you with the phrases, psychic reading or intuitive reading? I know that I always had certain preconceptions about readings, as I mentioned earlier. For example, I always thought that in a reading you would have your future told. This is what I always assumed readings were about. You go in and some person tells you your future. Period. No matter whether she (or sometimes he) used tarot cards, palmistry, a crystal ball, or whatever, she or he told you your future.

I remember the very first reading I ever had. It was during a trip home to New Orleans while I was in grad school. My roommate Linda was visiting New Orleans for the first time, and I took her down to the French Quarter to show her around. We ended up going into a well-established tea room to have readings done or our "fortunes told." I remember the first thing the reader, a woman, told me as I walked in: You have the gypsy about you. Youve been a gypsy before. I remember being very taken aback by that, as I had never previously felt any kinship with or predilection for gypsies. She went on to tell me several things that would happen to me in the future. I even made notes of what she told me and referred to those notes various times in the next few years, almost as a way of checking to see if I was on track. This checking, of course, revealed an underlying assumption on my part that she (the reader) had to have been extremely accurate and had to know more about me than I myself did. I dont think my attitude was or is an isolated one. First of all, I went into the reading expecting to have my fortune (read future) told, and, secondly, I expected the reader to know more about me personally than I myself did. As I mentioned in Chapter 1, when I first started doing readings I had in my mind a certain preconception of what type of reading I should give (the only type of reading I was aware of): telling the future, or, more precisely, what events would happen in the future. And the typical reading might take place in a strange or bizarre atmosphere that would lend an air of the mysterious to the whole proceedings (although I didn't aim to reproduce an aura of mystery myself when I started doing readings). Just as I had those preconceptions in mind, so too, I feel, do we all tend to have various preconceptions and expectations of readings. Many of us want to be wowed by the intuitive and psychic. We want to be titillated. In other words, we want an experience that is in some way "out of this world." This is a fairly common attribute of humans: we have a thirst at times for the exotic and may tend to discount our more quotidian pleasures. As Albert Pike reflected on this quality, "We are all naturally seekers of wonders. We travel far to see the majesty of old ruins, the venerable forms of the hoary mountains, great waterfalls, and galleries of art. And yet the world of wonder is all around us; the wonder of setting suns, and evening stars, of the magic of spring-time, the blossoming of the trees, the strange transformations of the moth." Because of this predilection for the other-worldly, we may expect this quality to be inherent in an intuitive reading. Indeed, I have indeed encountered some clients who were primarily looking to be wowed and entertained by the out-ofthe-ordinary, rather than looking for useful information. Not only do we tend to want to be wowed, but we may also want someone else to do our own thinking and projecting for us. We may want to go in to a reading and sit there passively and be told things that will happen to us without any investment of our own effort, as if the future and its events unfold external to us and we are just observers, being passively acted upon and having no say or control in the unfolding. Well, what Ive learned from doing readings blows some holes in some of our preconceptions not just about readings, but also about how our world may work. For one thing, as I mentioned in the last chapter, if we are depending upon a reading or some use of the intuitive faculty to give us information primarily about events and what will happen to us in the future, we are focusing only on superficialities and missing the deeper point of gaining insight. There is so much more to be gained, I feel, from looking at more than just events and the surface appearance of things. Would you rather be told, for example, that your husband will probably leave you, or what the underlying problems may be in your relationship, what can be done to work on those problems, and what the probability for change may be? To quote an old adage, if you give a man a fish you feed him, but if you teach him how to fish you teach him how to feed himself for life.

The assumption that a reader will a priori and of necessity know more about us than we ourselves know, and be in a superior position to tell us what to do without our questioning any of this, is also problematic. Now it is true, of course, that we can all be subjective about ourselves and in denial about some of our own tendencies, thereby blindsiding ourselves to true and objective self-knowledge. And it is also true that an outside observer will often see things and be able to offer insights that we are too close to a situation to be able to see ourselves. However, some people will often go into readings completely forgetting that they are in the drivers seat in their lives. They may become gullible and feel that they have to believe everything that is told to them and change their lives accordingly. This is quite unhealthy for more than one reason. First of all, no reader is going to be 100% accurate all the time. Secondly, we should never cede the power for ourselves over to someone else and expect them to always know better than we do what is good for us (and also to be altruistic and have our best interests at heart to boot), without first bouncing some of this input off of our own guts. When we take in information injudiciously, we are definitely allowing ourselves to be operating from a position of no power (and also at times to be taken advantage of). We become dependent and passive and are robbing ourselves of our own self-direction. I always advise clients to bounce all of the information I get for them off of their own guts and if it doesnt resonate with them, to ignore it. Even if its accurate information and theyre just not ready to hear it, they still have to go by where they are in their lives at that point and what theyre ready to hear. Theres a huge danger of becoming overly dependent on readings. Ive seen some people become reading addicts because of dependency and an inability to allow themselves to think for themselves. They may go from reader to reader looking for The Answer or Answers that will magically make their lives perfect, rather than focusing attention on what their underlying issues or problems or problematic thinking patterns may be and what they can do to change them. They end up stuck, repeating patterns in their lives in an endless loop, and are preconditioned to constantly be miserable and discontent. This can be very unhealthy. Interestingly, people will vary greatly in their motivations for getting readings. Often its just the desire to be entertained or titillated by future forecasts that motivates some people to have a reading. For others, it may represent a need to be reassured when theyre uncertain of the future or dealing with emotional issues and worried about outcomes. This can be a helpful use of readings, unless we become obsessive and addicted to readings for the sake of constant reassurance (often indicating other issues underneath the surface needing to be dealt with). Some people may seek readings out mainly as a way of forestalling or avoiding future problems. We all are curious about the future and would love to be able to part the curtain, so to speak, to see what lies ahead for us. We may even have somewhat of a mild fear of what our future may hold, as Teilhard de Chardin expressed: "I am afraid, too, like all my fellow humans of the future too heavy with mystery and too wholly new, towards which time is driving me." It is, however, when we take this natural intimidation to the extreme that it can become problematic. I've seen clients whose main impetus in getting readings was their worry about the future and the potential hazards lying hidden there. These clients may be looking for information that warns them of impending danger. (Of course, this implies that they have an underlying belief that life is fraught with dangers like a sea of icebergs and that by knowing what some of these dangers are they can avoid them and have clear sailing through life. All seemingly well and good, unless one considers that this attitude ignores the idea that we can learn from difficult experiences and that, indeed, we may be supposed to learn from any experiences of adversity. Taken to the extreme, this approach and attitude can be quite fear-based and indicate an obsession with the idea of potential danger lurking behind every corner, as well as the unrealistic expectation that we can glide through life by avoiding adversity through being forewarned of future problems.)

Still other people may simply be looking for insight that may help them in working on issues they may be dealing with, whether in their personal lives or in the business arena. This last category tends to represent those who have a healthy attitude towards readings and who use them as a tool, while remaining in the drivers seat in their lives. And my sense is that people in this last category have an advantage over those in the first three and this advantage has to do with an awareness they may have that the others may not have. This awareness is a significant one and one that has evolved fairly recently in our society. Its one that I myself have gained in the past ten years and which has implications not only for our approach to intuitive readings, but also for how we view and live our lives in general and that is that we have some measure of control over our lives and are not necessarily always just passive victims to whom life happens. And, concomitantly, this means that we also share in the responsibility for our lives and for ourselves. I have observed so many people having readings who wanted to be told what was going to happen in the future; in other words, what was going to happen to them, as if they were passive observers or passive objects solely being acted upon. When I first started to notice this, I knew that it bothered me for some reason. Over time I learned why it bothered me. The more readings I have done and the more I have read peoples energy, the more I have learned because Ive gotten the information directly over and over again in different forms and implicit in different situations that what we get externally in our lives is a function of both what resonates with our energy and what the universe has in store for us (for learning, etc.). This means that we are not simply unwitting pawns in the game of life and doomed forever to just be a piece of meat continually being acted upon by forces external, alien, and foreign to us, but that we indeed share in the process of our lives. And thus we also have some responsibility for ourselves and for what happens to us. (And please note that I said we share in the process with what the universe has in store for us for lessons. This is in stark contrast to some trendy notions of manifesting, that we solely manifest our reality and future, but more on this later.) Whenever I see clients now who are wanting to know exclusively what will happen to them in the future, I realize that they are doomed to feel powerless in their lives. I also know that their feeling powerless is indicative of very deep and very old programming in their psyches and attitudes. They are often puzzled when I try to offer them insight and suggestions for ways in which they can change things in their lives. And I have realized more and more why they are puzzled because of their old deeply engrained attitudinal programming. In order for them to make progress in their lives, re-education, de-programming, and shifting of attitudes are all prerequisites. (A lot of experience with this type of situation, plus my own process, is what led me to design the system for working with personal empowerment and wholeness.) This one shift in attitude to seeing ourselves as contributing to what happens to us in our lives is so very important and has profound implications for so many areas of our lives. We share in the responsibility for what happens to us. By shifting our energy i.e., by learning, growing, and evolving in a positive manner we share in the process of attracting positive things and people to ourselves. This doesnt mean that we will likely reach nirvana while were here on earth, as, in all likelihood, well always be learning and growing. It does mean, however, that we should gradually find more peace and fulfillment and even joy in our lives as we start to understand why we go through some things and what lessons are there for us. The implications of this attitudinal change for intuitive readings should be obvious. Rather than strictly telling their clients what will happen to them in the future when their clients are dealing with difficult issues, readers can instead provide them with intuitive insight and suggestions for growth. This allows a shift in emphasis from one that is strictly on the future to an incorporation of the present and what can be done in the present (which, of course, can affect and help to determine the future). As Churchill wrote, "It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time."

Indeed, when clients are dealing with emotional issues, readers can provide them with insight as to why the situations theyre dealing with may be happening and what one may stand to learn or gain from it, in addition to how shifts they can bring about in themselves may impact both their present and their future. Readings then become not just superficial sessions geared primarily around future events, but can evolve into sessions centered around both maximizing clients' live in the present and facilitating their process and positive growth and unfolding which lays the groundwork for the future (the exception, of course, being those clients who are looking merely to be entertained by portents of the future). And this approach does not preclude including some information in the session about the future; rather it's a matter of not making the future the main focal point of the sitting. Another shift also occurs. The readers shift from having power over their clients, (by telling them what will happen to them and by keeping them dependent on them) to empowering their clients by facilitating their growth and their strengthening in themselves. This is still a very foreign and fairly new concept to most people, including many professional readers. However, it makes a lot of sense. When we consider the times were living in and all the shifts and changes underway in our world not to mention the violence and even genocide in some cultures we can see that healing is one hallmark of this time period. Its almost as if theres an imperceptible push to clear old issues and heal old wounds and problems. Intuitive sessions, or readings, then become another mechanism by which we can be facilitated to clear, learn, grow, and heal. As Ive continued in my work, Ive seen it gradually evolve increasingly, as mentioned earlier, to that of intuitively facilitating people. Because I have an ability not only to get on someones wavelength, but to actually enter into their energy, experience it, and read them as they truly are internally (and Im then usually blessed to be given information that is significant for them), I am able to use these abilities to my clients advantage. In other words, I can then get and convey information to them about where they are in their specific process, what they may be "working" on at the present time in their process of growth, what may be blocking them at the time and can be worked with, and how and what specifically may help them to move forward. I then make recommendations, as mentioned in Chapter 1, that are specific to them at the time. I endeavor to facilitate others learning how to tap into their own knowing, both one-on-one in individual sessions and through group workshops. Obviously, even though I try to go by where a client is at the time and what they may be ready to hear, not every client is ready to listen, because we all come to things in our own time. For those who are ready to listen and the time is right for them, however, Ive seen some wonderful progress and shifts occur, resulting in more fulfillment and contentment. In this regard, my work will sometimes, as I mentioned previously, and for some clients, lean toward that of mentoring or guiding. On the other hand, Ive seen a couple of clients not follow my specific suggestions, but in time make substantial progress through other means. Irrespective of how they attain those more satisfied states, the significant aspect is the progress and the feeling of finding more control and fulfillment in ones life; in other words, the goal of moving forward is of more import than how one manages to get to the point. I have come to view this strong facilitating aspect of my individual work with people as very valuable, somewhat sacred, and potentially tenuous. The onus is on me, as a result, not just to receive and communicate valid information that can be helpful to clients, but also to get any of my own personal stuff as far away as possible, so that it doesn't contaminate what I convey to clients. The information, if it is to be truly helpful, needs to be pure. As Amos Bronson Alcott wrote, "The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence. He inspires self-distrust. He guides their eyes from himself to the spirit that quickens him. He will have no disciple."

My work has become so much more varied as it has evolved over the past several years. Sometimes it will still represent merely providing intuitive information about the future. However, it is more and more concerned with personal facilitation, spiritual counseling, and mentoring. I am grateful for the richness it now represents and for the clients who allow and welcome the richness. I am very grateful as well for the fact that Ive not only seen clients improve, progress, and evolve, but I have also gained immeasurably in the process from the insights Ive gained and the learning I have concomitantly gone through and been privy to. My own understanding and insight have evolved and grown in the process and my own process has thereby been facilitated in turn. This is why I felt it important to incorporate this chapter in the present book. It represents a significant backdrop to the other information Ill be sharing. And an important point to convey about readings is this: they arent just for telling the future any more. Theyre about utilizing a readers intuitive skills to facilitate your process in life, representing a lamp being shined to help light the way for you on your path, allowing it to appear a little less dark, unfamiliar, and foreign. We can all use some lamplighters, helping to shed some light on our way.



Everything actual must also first have been possible, before having actual existence. -Albert Pike

I had early glimmerings that there was more to what I thought I knew of the world when I started to get a sense of different clients' energy. I had not hypothesized before at any point in the past about differences in the feel of various people's energy. As a matter of fact, before I started doing readings, the idea of any "feel" at all to anyone's energy or indeed that people had perceivable "energy" was not within my conceptual vocabulary. It was only after I started doing readings that I began to experience people's energy and then realized that people do indeed have different types of energy, or different qualities, or feels, to their energies. In sessions, I initially began to experience these differences kinesthetically. As I realized that I was indeed kinesthetically sensing different qualities, I then gradually started to contemplate the implications of some of these differences and what I was getting, so that I could begin to understand these phenomena and be able to put them into some sort of conceptual framework. As I mentioned, in doing readings on the 900 line I initially tried to answer callers' questions in as straightforward and specific a manner as I could. It was only gradually as I was asked to do "general readings that I tuned in simply to see what information came in. As I did more of these general tunings-in, I increasingly found that I was sensing the caller's energy. These early sensings were themselves more generalized. It was only later that I began to perceive finer qualities of the energy, as I tacitly gave myself permission to be patient and allow more detail, or the finer qualities, to come in. To this day, I can still get two types of energy from a person. The first type would be the overall quality of the person's energy, which includes, and may be a composite of, both the finer points and the bodily energy of the person. This first type may be likened to a summation of a persons total energy, coming from a more broad stroke approach. It is an energy quality that is closer to the physical body, I feel, and coming from physical processes, but also encompasses the mental and emotional, including the essence and the inauthentic (more on this later). At this point in time, I am not yet able to fully enumerate the specifics of what this energy is and what it is coming from, aside from saying that it feels to me to be more like a composite energy.

The second, finer quality of a person's energy has to do solely with his/her true essence and is quite specific to him/her. As opposed to being close to the body, this energy, I feel, exists on a much higher and more abstract level and represents an energetic template for the true nature of the person. More on this second energy of a person's "essence" later. There are many variations in the overall, composite energy I pick up on from clients. In other words, as I mentioned before, different people's energies will feel different from each other. However, I can more easily put this overall, general energy into broad categories than I can the finer energy. In other words, this general, overall energy tends to be less individualistic, perhaps because it is, again, a more "broad stroke" and composite representation. What are the different types of general energy I've encountered? I'll run through some of these generalized types I've experienced up to this point in time, but this is not meant to be an exhaustive listing. And, certainly, what I've experienced thus far comes from a sampling of people I've read, not necessarily an overall sampling of the general population. Some of these types of energy may come as no surprise to you, as you may have already sensed them in people yourself. Some people have very strong energy. It can be so strong that it's almost palpable to others, irrespective of their sensitivity to energy. I would say that most people we consider to be charismatic have strong energy. However, not everyone with strong energy will have charisma, and even strong energy can have different qualitative feels to it. Some people with strong energy will also have assertive energy. In other words, there's an outwardly thrusting quality of the energy. However, not everyone with strong energy has assertive energy, and assertive energy in and of itself is not necessarily either pleasant or unpleasant. And those people whose energy is assertive may not necessarily be assertive in their habits or personal interactions with others. Some people have a quieter quality to their energy. Others have a lighter (with less weight) quality. (And quiet and light energies are not the same things.) Some people's energy has such a lightweight quality that it feels rather diffuse. Some people will have a denser quality to their energy. Others may actually have a heavy energy. Some people's energy may be highly spinning, but not necessarily tightly so. (And this is not, of necessity, an indication of anxiety, obsessiveness, or overly focused left-brain mental activity. It could, at times, represent a "lively" quality.) Other people's energy may be very slowly moving or gently swirling. I have also experienced energy that I can best describe as chaotic. It may jump around or fluctuate wildly, but with no consistency or regularity to it. It has an unsettled quality to it. Some may have huge energy that seems to extend over a large space, whereas others' energy may be more compact. Some energy is very free-flowing without any blocks, angles, or obstacles, and other energy is very open. (And open energy and free-flowing energy are not the same quality.) Others' energy may be closed down. Some people's energy is very complicated. Others' may be quite simple. Some people's energy may be bright, almost like a light is bright. I have also experienced energy that is sparkling and other still that is radiant. On the other hand, I have felt energy that is more dull or colorless or nondescript.

Some people's energy feels very upbeat. A similar, though not exactly the same, type of energy is that of positive energy, that almost seems as if it has somewhat of a positive charge to it. People with positive energy will often, though not always, tend to be somewhat positive in outlook. Some people have very smooth energy without any sense of bumps or edges. A similar energy is a nurturing energy (very pleasant to feel in a session). The "nurturing" quality of the energy obviously refers to its interaction with and effects on others. Other, similar energies are a soothing energy and a healing energy. Again, however, these energies, although similar, are not the same. A similar type of energy is an aesthetic energy. Often people with aesthetic energy will be artistic in some form or way. A similar energy is harmonious energy, and often people with harmonious energy will be strongly into music and/or have a strong need for balance or harmony in their surroundings, to the extent that disharmonious conditions make them feel off-balance. Some people will have very playful energy and others' will feel almost deadly serious, or leaden. I have also sensed jagged energy and abrasive energy, again not the same thing. I have been asked over and over again what a person's energy quality will mean or what it may be indicative of. In other words, if I get that a client's energy is lightweight or slowly swirling, the client will ask what that means and whether it's good or bad, as if there should be some sort of qualitative judgment associated with the quality of the energy. Generally speaking, there is no qualitative association to these energy types. It is simply the type of energy without any qualitative connotation. It's simply what is. Having said that, however, I would say that certain types of energy may not be desirable to have. For instance, the more closed down or repressed a person is, the more his/her energy might be tight or even, in some cases, negative; or the more depressed a person is the duller the energy may be; or the more a person is dealing with very difficult emotional issues or events, the more unsettled the energy may be (reflecting the inner turmoil). Aside from these instances and exceptions, however, generally speaking these energy types are devoid of qualitative judgment or association. As might be deduced from the foregoing paragraph, a person's general energy may change over time. For example, someone who moves through a difficult time and finds more satisfaction or peace within him/herself will usually have his/her overall energy reflect that change. Certainly a very closed-down person who becomes more open and less repressed will generally have less tight energy. I have often sensed shifts in clients' energy as they evolve and grow. As they become more confident, relaxed, or fulfilled, for example, there will be a corresponding shift in their energy that can indeed be quite striking. Their energy may become brighter, lighter, or clearer, for instance, as a result of the positive shifts and/or clearing they have gone through. This variability over time is one reason why I feel that this general energy is closer to the body and represents more of a composite of bodily patterns, emotional make-up, and mental framework. The finer energy, however that which I refer to as with a fine stroke is a very different story. This finer energy, I feel, represents a person's true essence and does not, I believe, shift over time (at least in most cases). The information I have gotten as I have read a person's essence has intrigued me perhaps more than anything else has. It's a never-ending source of fascination for me, as I never know what I will get. First of all, the essence that I'm picking up on is who the person is on the inside, not how they may appear or what they may seemingly project on the outside. I have often had the experience of meeting a client for the first time and getting some initial first impressions of him/her only to be surprised when I tuned in and then got qualities or attributes I would never have expected. I remember one striking incident at a psychic fair when I met a young woman in her early 20's who appeared very sweet, only to tune in and get extreme

assertiveness. I even commented on this dichotomy to her and she laughed and said that people were usually surprised to see that side of her come out. So the true essence that I'm referring to is the internal and true nature of a person. It is the signature energetic template of the person, who that person uniquely is on the inside. Again, the way I usually sense the essence of a person is kinesthetically. I feel the quality. As I mentioned, this requires patience on my part to allow myself to be still and let the information, often slowly, come in. It also requires patience and interest on the part of the client, as well as an openness to allow me, a stranger, to enter into and feel his/her energy and essence. When I am patient and the client is interested, I allow myself to sense the essence and it is somewhat like going on an adventure. Before I share some examples of true essence energy, allow me to say again that the essence of a person is highly individualistic and thus will vary from person to person. I still get things when I read a client's essence that I've never gotten before with regard to what his/her essence is and how his/her energy works. This continual inimitability has taught me the great lesson experientially that everyone is unique and that we can no more justifiably put people into broad categories or make sweeping generalizations about how they should be living their lives or what they should do in certain situations than we can sprout wings and fly. Pascal commented on this variability in people when in the 17th century he wrote that, "The more intelligent one is, the more men of originality one finds. Ordinary people find no difference between men." Although I can't say that it's intelligence that allows us to perceive this diversity, it may simply be a matter of perception and discernment and allowing ourselves to scratch beneath the surface. Joseph Joubert wrote that, "Minds are like fields: in some, the best is on the surface; in others, the best is at the bottom, often at great depth." And sometimes, with some people, the deeper one digs and thus perceives the more variability and singularity one can find. Each person is unique with his/her own distinctive path to walk and particular living events to experience. (So much for our human tendency to categorize people or make sweeping generalizations or judgments!) I have gradually come to think that the true essence of a person is his/her energetic blueprint (hence "invisible blueprint") for who he/she is in this lifetime, not for the overall persona throughout lifetimes, but more discussion will follow on this idea later. As a way of attempting to better explain true essence, I'd like to next share various examples of essence I've gotten (i.e., experienced and felt) in clients.


I will give thanks to Thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well. -Psalm 139:14

There really is a wonder to one's true essence and to the essences I have sensed. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been privy to these glimpses into people's internal workings and to have experienced the parting of the curtain, so to speak, of external personas that has allowed me to view the true behind-the-scenes workings of our participation in the human experience. My respect, not just for fellow souls, but also for the grandeur of the universe and for the Divine schema, has grown all the more as a result. I say this because, as previously mentioned, I feel that this true essence actually represents an energetic blueprint for our lives, as well as a "stamp" by which we were imprinted when we came into these lives, i.e., when we were born. Put in other terms, it may be regarded as a mechanism by which the universe brings about our selfhood for the way we are to interact, affect others, and experience life, including for how we are to learn and grow and for the greater role we are to play, in a particular lifetime. I have found, as previously pointed out, great uniqueness in people's true essence. No two individuals are truly the same. Having said that, I have, however, found some very broad categories that some salient qualities of true essence will fit into. I say "salient qualities" because these categorical qualities are not the sum total of the essence, which will instead be composed of diverse traits and attributes. So allow me next to share some of these more general hallmarks of essence. One general type of essence has to do with the quality of observing. In other words, some people have a strong essential quality of observing: they are observers. This means that it is their nature to observe life and what happens around them. If you think about the act of viewing or observing, you realize that there is a concomitant detachment involved in the act of observing. When we are totally engaged in an activity, we tend to be caught up in it and less in the stance of figuratively "standing back" and watching. This does not imply

that those who are observers cannot be or are not caught up in and engaged in activities. It simply means that the observational mode is very strong in them; it is their intrinsic nature to see and observe. (It is also true that we can participate in activities and still have a part of ourselves that stands back and observes those activities, a quality of conscious living. This will be discussed in more detail later.) Interestingly, there can be variability even in this quality of observing. Some people who are observers observe quite clearly and with a measure of detachment. Others who are observers have a sensitivity attached to it; they usually observe with compassion and may find it difficult to observe dispassionately. Somewhat connected to observers is another broad category. Some people are what I call note-takers. They are usually seeing and observing and also noticing and "taking notes," whether figuratively or literally (but certainly not necessarily literally writing notes down). Thus, these note-takers have an additional quality attached to their observing. They seemingly can't just observe without registering some data, whether simply what they're taking in or any conclusions they may be additionally drawing. These "notes" are then stored in an internal repository or memory bank in their conscious or unconscious mind, with the stockpiled observations and conclusions growing over time. (This is not the same process as that discussed in Part I, that was described by Dr. Richard Cytowic, which is a recording of all observed data that is stored in our unconscious with only that deemed salient consciously registered. With note-takers, it is their conscious "notes" that are stored away.) For some people (although not all), this process becomes complete when they then do something with this information to externalize it or put it out in some form. For some people this externalization may take the form of writing or story-telling or speaking or some other form of sharing the information and insights. Similar to both observers and note-takers are those I term witnesses. They see and observe, but have an added quality of being witnesses. This would seem to imply that they're being witnesses for some purpose other than just for themselves, and I would concur that this is the case. For whom or what they are serving this purpose I cannot at this point in time say. They may be witnesses for some other level of intelligences or beings or may be contributing energetically with the quality of witnessing, but, again, I do not presently know. Thus far, I have encountered very few witnesses and would need to read more such clients so as to get more information. Some people are peacemakers. It is their intrinsic nature or essence to serve as mediators between people in conflict with each other, so as to facilitate understanding and peace. A variation on peacemakers are those whom I call bridges. They actually bridge two diverse and sometimes conflicting views and serve to interpret one view to those holding another, and often opposing, view. Thus far I have seen bridges mainly in a spiritual context and playing a role in contemporary spirituality. They are usually spiritually oriented and have a foot in two worlds spiritually speaking, both that of the "New Age" or New Thought and that of the traditional in the religious sense. Because they are somewhat conventional or mainstream and thus both more palatable and credible to those who are spiritually conservative bridges are able to explain some "New Age" practices and concepts in a cogent and credible fashion. And, conversely, they can explain more traditional views to those in the New Age community. In this manner, they serve as bridges or even conciliators between two, at times seemingly diametrically opposed, worlds. I have also seen a couple of bridges, likewise spiritually oriented, who were bridging traditional conservative farming methods that employ heavy use of chemicals and pesticides and the more contemporary organic or environmentally conscious methods. These bridges, for example, were teaching integrated pest control methodologies to traditional farmers. Bridges are the peacemakers who are able to link the "old" and the "new" and/or bridge two diverse, and often antagonistic, worlds. I have read some people I have termed devic or pixie-like. Their disposition may either be quite playful (pixie-like), or devic (playful with the added quality of their also being deeply connected to nature and nature devas) or both at the same time. There is often an innocent quality attached to the devic or pixie-like

essence, a sort of purity that remains unsullied by the passage to adulthood and the usual concomitant divergence from a state of innocence. A connection to nature can, I feel, be one manifestation of an inherent spiritual quality, that of being connected to that which is outside of us nature, other people, animals, other realms or levels of being or the Divine. (Remember the discussion of being thin-boundaried in Part I in the chapter on intuition?) Indeed, I have read people, as previously cited, who, as part of their true essence, were connected to Source, or the Divine, whether they were consciously aware of that connection or not. Some people who consciously felt this connection tended to always take it for granted, since it was natural and simply the norm for them, and they had just assumed that everyone felt this connection to Source. It was only belatedly that they came to realize that not everyone did indeed feel this connection. Others, who had this realization earlier on, may have grown up feeling very different from others as a result. Similar to those who are connected to Source are those I find to be connected to other realms (dimensions, if you will, or other levels of existence). This connection will usually express itself through either their consciousness or feelings. In other words, either their consciousness will be pulled quite often to other realms (the source of the accusation of "day-dreaming"), or they may naturally feel other realms. For people who feel the connection to other levels, a triggering of this may come through music or art; i.e., when they listen to music or look at art, their consciousness will naturally be pulled to and they will feel the qualities of those other levels. I have often read people with this type of energy who were, in fact, accused in school of being "day-dreamers" or are accused by acquaintances of not being "grounded." This essence type, however, is another hallmark of spirituality, and often of creativity as well, and may indeed reflect the inherent quality of their brain waves, i.e., that they naturally have more alpha, theta, and/or delta amplitudes mixed in with their signature brain wave composites. Some people are teachers. It is a significant part of their essence to be a teacher to others, whether literally in a classroom or in other ways not specific to a literal school. Some of these people teach directly via whatever information or "lessons" they may convey to others, whether intended as teaching or not, and others may simply teach by being an example to others without any intention of doing so. Irrespective of any deliberate intention to teach or the form it may take, however, teaching is part of their essence, in that others learn from and/or through them. Related to teachers are those who are healers. Again, and as with teachers, these people may contribute to others' healing without consciously intending to do so and without working in the healing professions by becoming nurses, physicians, or EMTs, for example. Some people who are healers heal inadvertently simply by the positive or healing quality of their energy and without doing anything overtly to heal. Their energy and presence in and of themselves are just healing to others. And related to both teachers and healers are those I call facilitators. It is part of their essence to facilitate others in their growth or process, again often without intending to do so. Now, we could say that everyone affects others with whom they interact to a certain degree and, because of this, that everyone is a facilitator. However, those whom I read as facilitators serve this purpose beyond the norm. Again, it is part of their essence a salient part to be a facilitator. (In actuality, when viewed from the perspective of the effect on others' process, there will often be a very fine line between and among teachers, healers, and facilitators.) I have also encountered people who have an essence of being an example to others. Again this does not mean that it is their intention to serve as an example to others or that they try to act in ways that will bring that about. It is simply intrinsic to their nature, their natural essence, to fulfill this function. I have also read some clients, thus far not many in number, whom I call librarians. Part of their essence is to be somewhat of a librarian for others. They have a not-uncommon thirst for information and knowledge,

but take that common trait a step further by becoming somewhat of a repository of information for others, so that others may draw upon their "library" of information. This is very different from those who are teachers or professors. Some people, again fewer in number, are what I call almost pure consciousness. The best way I can explain this type of energy is that it is a quality of pure awareness, unaffected or impinged upon by bodily and emotional intrusions. For those with this energy, it as if their awareness itself were such a salient characteristic of their being that every other aspect tended to "fall away" or pale in comparison. I must hasten to stress that this is not the same condition as "being in one's head" or repressing ones emotional side. It is more a pure state of awareness perhaps mixed with an enjoyment of thinking that is quite different for those who have it from those who are in their heads as an avoidance or repression of the emotional or bodily. It is also different from any quality of day-dreaming or being pulled to other realms. This condition of pure consciousness also appears to exist on a level somewhat higher than our normal or perhaps three-dimensional reality. Connected to, but not the same as, those who are almost pure consciousness are those whose awareness and/or thinking is on a very abstract level, a much higher mental or conceptual orientation than that of our more common mental level that is closer to our three-dimensional reality or oriented more toward the tangible and concrete. Those with this type of energy often think in abstract terms and are drawn to concepts and ideas. Again, this quality does not imply a corresponding "just being in the head" or repression of the emotional side. Those whose essence expresses an orientation to the abstract level of consciousness are also, in my experience, quite fewer in number per capita. There are those I call the passe-partouts. "Passe-partout" is French for our term, "skeleton key," but literally means "passes everywhere." The passe-partouts are those whose essence represents an ability to pass in and out of different situations unaffected by those situations or the people in them. It's as if they have some sort of impermeability that keeps them from being affected by things, so that they are truly able to encounter many diverse types of people and events without being affected or pulled in by them. In addition, they are also often not noticed by the people in these various situations, so that they are seemingly endowed by this essence with a sort of figurative invisibility. There is furthermore a tendency for passe-partouts to be independent and to truly be their own persons. I have also encountered several alchemists. These people are not alchemists in the traditional sense of the word (those who are trying to transmute metal into gold). Instead, they have a predilection for seeing what they can make of things or situations by "mixing" in a factor here and there. They take a particular enjoyment, which sometimes is tinged with a certain mischievousness, from seeing what will happen when they inject something into the mix of a project, situation, etc. Some alchemists may simply be fascinated by how things work (although not necessarily in a mechanical way) and, further, by how they can change how things, including situations, work by the addition or deletion of factors. A variation on an essence of an alchemist is another type, those who are tinkerers. They take a particular delight in tinkering with situations to see what happens, and often their tinkering is more ad lib than preplanned or premeditated. Another essence type includes those who are sensitive to energy, whether ambient energy, geothermal energy, or people's energy (including that of those who are still alive or those who are transitioned). Often those who are sensitive to energy will be constantly receiving input from energy on a nonverbal and frequently unconscious level. A variation on those who are sensitive to energy are those who are energy receivers and/or processors. They are constantly receiving information in the form of energy (as discussed in Part I) and processing it, usually without their conscious awareness of it. They are, in a way, somewhat like sponges for energy and

information, frequently taking in information peripherally from all around them. In some cases, even their physical electrical (nervous) systems will appear to be more highly charged. The above represents the majority of the salient essence characteristics I have encountered. However, I hasten to add once again that this listing is by no means exhaustive. Instead it is meant to be illustrative of what types of essence may exist. I must also add that a person's essence is there naturally by imprinting and birth. There is no volition or choice in the matter. Although some people may be accused by others of choosing to, for example, daydream or be playful, the truth of the matter is that we cannot help being what our essence is. It is beyond our choice because it is the way we inherently are, by virtue of it being our true nature and our nature, I feel, from birth. Often, although not always, this salient quality of the essence may have implications for the role the person is to play in his/her life, i.e., for his/her primary purpose. This subject will be discussed later in more detail. As I mentioned, these salient types are only part of the essence of people. Other qualities are also usually mixed in. What I want to emphasize particularly is that the essence I'm referring to is the core essence, or signature energy template, for ones lifetime that, I feel, does not usually change in the normal course of a lifetime. I say "usually" because I have heard of instances in which it ostensibly does change as a direct result of trauma or other transformative catalysts, such as a near-death experience, that can "rewire" and re-imprint a person. However, I would say that in the usual course of a lifetime ones true essence customarily remains the same. What is very important to note is that a person doesn't usually live his/her life in a pure state of true essence, because what gets layered over the essence is extraneous, externally-induced factors: emotional issues (from dynamics with parents, siblings, teachers, playmates, etc. or from abuse or trauma); beliefs and mindsets; cultural conditioning; assumptions; old tapes (those archaic, yet persistent, figurative recorded messages that play incessantly and repeatedly in our minds and often are of a limiting nature, such as "I can't have what I want" or "I'm not good enough."); etc. This is the same personal "stuff" that I briefly described in Part I in the chapter on intuition as affecting the purity and validity of intuitive information. Thus, one is often living and expressing not just his/her essence, but these other inauthentic qualities layered on top of the true essence as well. It is this mixture of true essence and inauthentic extraneous "stuff," I feel, that contributes to the overall, general or composite energy I discussed above. This is why the general energy may change over time, whereas the true essence will usually remain the same. What I have also learned from my sessions is that when one goes in, so to speak, and clears one's "stuff," he/she will usually be closer to expressing his/her purpose. In other words, when one does clearing and/or healing work that excises the inauthentic emotional issues, mindsets, and cultural conditioning that may be impeding him/her or obscuring his/her essence insofar as is possible and appropriate and is then more closely expressing his/her true essence, it is often at this point that one is closer to expressing whatever ones purpose is. To put it another way, I feel that when one is in touch with his/her true self, the core essence, and is expressing it, purpose is fulfilled because I feel that the true essence imprint (or invisible blueprint) is, in fact, usually the true blueprint for our purpose. (I must add, however, that there are instances, in the minority, in which it may be part of one's purpose or life path to keep some "stuff.) That is not to say, however, that the extraneous stuff layered over the essence doesn't exist for a reason. On the contrary, I feel that everything, including our inauthentic stuff, does indeed exist for a reason. The "stuff" that a person has may be what he/she needs to experience in that lifetime, not just for learning and growing, but also for the wholeness of soul experience. Moreover, I have often seen clients whose particular stuff may not only be grist for their mill, but may also have application and implication for the work they are to

do. It will sometimes be true that what we have to work through or overcome gives us material and insight in facilitating others or in other aspects of our life work. I myself have experienced this. Although I was singing from a young age, I had many vocal problems to straighten out and overcome. One voice teacher with whom I studied in my early 20's after college said she had never seen (or heard) such a "tightly wound" voice. It took me many years to correct these problems. In later years, I often found myself regretting that lost time, feeling that I would have been so much further along with my singing had I not had so many vocal problems. However, I also found when I started teaching voice privately that I could feel what my students were doing wrong, especially if any of their vocal problems were the same as any of the physical problems that I had had, and I could thus more easily detect and help to correct those problems as a result of having had to deal with them myself. Because I had had to struggle to understand and change what I needed to do physically to sing better (for example, to get the soft palate up to access the higher range), I could simply and explicitly explain this to my students and suggest simple remedies. Had I not had the problems my voice was encumbered by and had I not had to struggle to overcome them, I would have been, I feel, much less able to help my students. "Necessity is the mother of invention," as we say, and often those who struggle with problematic issues will come up with new ways of dealing with them and can thus aid others. "Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant" (Horace). In this manner, both our essence and our inauthentic overlay can be blueprints for our lives for how we are to learn and grow, as well as how we are to affect and interact with others. I must also note, however, that not everyone has a lot of inauthentic or problematic stuff layered over their essence. There are certainly those who are somewhat blessedly clear of this phenomenon and who are primarily operating from their essence quite naturally. Even though for most people the inauthentic stuff exists for their unfolding, it is interesting to note that there are people for whom the inauthentic stuff layered on top of their essence is not there for their growth and soul's evolution, and yet its also not there unnecessarily, or for no reason. It serves a very different purpose. I say this because I have indeed personally seen some people who did not have to be here (on earth) in another lifetime for their soul's progression, who instead came in to play a role for others' learning or to accomplish a specific purpose. In these instances, definitely not the norm, the personas these people took on, including the apparently inauthentic stuff (e.g., insecurity, low self-esteem, blind prejudice, etc.) were part of the costume they wore in order to play this role for others growth. In other words, they took on a persona and "stuff" much like an actor plays a role and gets into character and costume in order to fulfill a specific purpose even though they may or may not have any conscious awareness of who they really are beyond their human persona or that they're merely playing a role. Instead, they may have a sort of amnesia about it. Many of these people will be playing roles on smaller "stages" for others' learning in their local circle, from the high school student who is killed in a car accident (who came into that lifetime primarily to teach other teenagers the importance of safe driving or of not drinking and driving), to the toddler who dies on playground equipment (in order to have safety regulations legislated to insure safer equipment), to the adult who gets breast cancer (and then goes on a public crusade to get women to have regular mammograms). (This does not mean, however, that everyone affecting others in this manner doesn't have to be here for his/her own unfolding, or that those who are serving this type of role have to either die or have negative things happen to them as part of their purpose.) There are other people who may have accepted roles to play on a larger stage for the learning of people on a huge scale and/or to bring about change, and who will become quite well-known public figures (out of necessity for what they are to accomplish).

One contemporary case in point, I feel, and one that is in the news at the present time as I write this, is that of Elian Gonzales, the child from Cuba who survived the capsizing of the boat his mother and other Cuban emigrants fleeing Cuba were in and whose case involving custody questions (his father in Cuba vs. his Miami relatives) became a cause clbre. I feel that Elian came in (to this lifetime) primarily to play out this role on the world stage, not just to highlight questions of custody or to publicly catalyze examples of people projecting their own emotional issues, but also to bring about an amelioration of relations between two highly estranged countries. Often when souls take on assignments such as these, the roles they are to play are not easy or comfortable for the human part of the awareness to experience or go through. Instead, they can quite often be difficult assignments emotionally or psychologically. Elian, in his conscious mind as a guileless little boy, in all probability has no awareness of having agreed to play this role, and indeed many psychologists have raised the issue of what psychological impact his experiences may have for him in the future. And, yet, on the higher level of his soul awareness (in his higher self) the awareness of his role and the greater picture would in all probability be there. Again, in cases such as these the inauthentic stuff is simply part of the role we play and the character we get into. Indeed we will often not recognize such people as "old souls" due to the persona and "stuff" they have to take on. Another public figure who fits this description is Princess Diana. In life, her persona was that of one who was emotionally insecure, to the extent that she suffered from bulimia and had even attempted suicide. To the public, she appeared endearing and even fragile at times. And yet she played a significant role on the world stage. After her tragic death, I tuned into her energy and got it quite huge and incredibly expansive or spread out, which indicated to me that she was a very highly evolved soul and had simply played the role she had for the worlds learning. In order for her to affect masses of people as positively as she did all over the globe which was part of her purpose she had to take on those personal attributes of insecurity, which were quite simply part of her character and costume for the role that she played in order to have an effect on others on such a large scale. I must add that it is also true that not everyone who plays a role such as this has to take on inauthentic stuff as part of the persona, just as it is true that not everyone who plays a role on the world stage for the learning of others has to die a public death as part of his/her purpose. For those who do, on the human level it is obviously quite tragic and painful. Even though a tragedy may have to occur for some reason, in no way does the phenomenon of playing a role for others' learning imply any diminishing of the real anguish and loss that family members experience when they lose these special loved ones. Spiritual aphorisms of purpose may be true from a higher perspective; however, the human experience of grief is quite genuine and valid on the human level. Whether or not one is playing a role for others, instances such as the above in which the purpose for ones personal stuff is other than for the growth of the person him- or herself are exceptions to the norm as I have experienced it, because most of the time ones inauthentic stuff is directly connected to lessons and unfolding for the souls growth. Irrespective of the size of the stage on which one is playing the larger, public one or the smaller, more local one and irrespective of whether we have taken on "stuff" as part of our character and costume, purpose and meaningfulness are still there and contribute to the whole. "I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble" (Helen Keller). This is so because all does indeed contribute to the whole, whether the smaller effect or the more global one. "We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop" (Mother Teresa). As I mentioned, the salient quality of a person's essence is only part of their essence. People usually have more complexity than that which comprises only one attribute. What I would like to do next is to share some examples of how essence and general energy may manifest as a whole in people. Not all of these

examples represent real people; some are fictitious. They are intended only as thumbnail descriptions. Hence they do not represent either a great deal of detail or the totality of information received about a person in a session. They do serve to highlight the complexity and variance in essence and how that essence may be affected by what is layered over it. Person A has strong energy that is direct and assertive. He has a strong consciousness and awareness. He is also an observer and observes with detachment. He's excellent at organizing and is good with details. He's always had a strong sense of self, a security in self, and has experienced the external world as something he's looking at and can mold. This latter attribute is a very strong component of his energy. (It is not, however, the same quality as that of an alchemist.) He has a strong spiritual orientation and is creative; however, contrary to the norm, this creativity is without the usual concomitant emotional sensitivity. His creativity thus has detachment. His strong consciousness leads him to mold and shape external reality, akin to playing with forms. Person B has an extremely quiet energy and watches quietly and observes, without a great deal of interaction or proactivity externally. She has often been accused by others of being too passive. However, it is her essence to watch very quietly and not assert or even to engage much in activities. The following three examples represent some variations on soft energy: Person C has a soft energy that is very consistent and that glows softly, like soft candlelight. However, layered on top of this is an uncertain energy that wavers and that comes from problematic early dynamics with his parents. Person D also has soft energy that is very blurred at the edges, primarily so that it can softly mix with others' energy. This has a very healing effect on others. He is also an observer and sees with concern and compassion. In addition, he has an essence of ruminating. Person E also has a soft, soft energy that is so extreme that it's almost as if he isn't there. It is an energy that just is, an energy of almost pure existence rather than a doing or an expressing. There is also the sense that his eyes are just observing, not affecting or surmising. It's almost as if he isn't in a form or body. He has brought his higher self down into the level of his body so that he can affect people without their conscious awareness of it and on an energetic level so that others can unconsciously experience a higher-self energy. This is his purpose. Person F has a very light and playful energy. He is "wide-eyed" very open and takes in information in a very wide-eyed and innocent manner. He is very connected to nature and is here to play and to teach others to play. However, he tends to hold himself back by figuratively trying to make himself small, so as to hide true self and not be noticed. Person G has strong and independent energy, although he is not aware of his own strength and independence. He has been undergoing a period of further strengthening expressed through the career area. As he sees something he has created externally through his design work (the physical product of his labors) and markets it, this viewing of the external product of his creativity actually strengthens his whole persona, setting up a feedback loop that widens and strengthens his general energy. Person H is a strong, strong observer, but without engaging or participating in what he is observing. It is as if he came into this lifetime just to observe the changes associated with the new millennium without actually participating, by serving a "recording" function of some sort. Person I is a strong conduit for receiving information from other levels or realms. He is often in an alpha mental state and open to other realms while in this state. He is also a "silent witness" with the added attribute of serving as a repository for what has been witnessed. In addition, he is also a "recorder," receiving information both ways (i.e., both from higher realms and levels, as well as from what is witnessed on this level) and holding it for the whole spectrum of levels.

Person J is an information receiver and processor and takes in information peripherally. She is quite electrically charged and this is her consistent, normal mode. Her information receiving and processing is a natural part of her essence without her conscious awareness of it. She also is in a very pure state, quite innocent and unsullied. She has the ability to affect others energetically through her information and energy processing. Quite gifted intuitively and psychically, she is beginning to open up to her abilities and utilize them more. Person K sees things with concern and this is a large part of his energy. In his case, one purpose of his (not the sole purpose, however) is to portray what he sees with compassion through his art for others to see. This communicates to others the problematic element of events and how these events affect the lives of people. His art communicates this in a way so as to stimulate compassion in others. Person L is wide open, rather than being closed down, and is connected to all of life and nature in a very open, no-boundaries way. He is also a receptor of energy that is information and that comes into him on an unconscious level and without his conscious awareness of it, almost by osmosis. This information will then come to conscious awareness without his knowing when or how he came to receive the information. (A note: This is a not uncommon mode of receiving information for some people who are naturally intuitive.) Person M has two distinct energies that are equally strong in him. One part of him is composed of a tightly wound energy that leads him to be very activity-oriented and wide open to doing and exploring. (The tightness of this energy, however, is not coming from either emotional issues or other inauthentic stuff, such as repression.) The other part of him is a dreamer and very open to other realms. Interestingly, he is a Gemini, which seemingly contributes to his having two equally strong, but not necessarily similar or symbiotic, sides. Person N is a sculptor with an irrepressible energy, very playful. It is in his essence to always be thinking in an upbeat and excited way of possibilities, almost as if he is continually fascinated by the consideration of possibilities. He has always expressed his essence without even having a conscious awareness of what it is. In this way, he lives his purpose without having had to struggle to figure out what it is or to clear a lot of stuff overlayered on top of it. Person O has very calm and consistent energy that has equilibrium and is balanced, and he has a strong spirituality. His essence is not that of a particular form (e.g., teacher, healer, etc.). Instead he facilitates others through the effect of his energy on them and by example. He thus doesn't have to focus on a specific form for his lifework, career, or purpose. Instead he can do whatever he's led to. He doesn't have to actively seek to find the right or only form of expression or activity. Person P holds himself straight without a lot of movement or flexibility. (Again, this is on the energetic level, not the physical.) In addition, there's a sense of no underpinning, almost as if he's not really there or only a part of him is there. He doesn't know what he wants in life (a not uncommon phenomenon). There's also a sense of some abuse in his background that has led him to appear somewhat shell-shocked energetically, as if in post-traumatic stress. Person Q's energy has a sense of strong verticality to it that goes straight up, as opposed to extending out laterally. In addition, there's a delicate balance in his vertically oriented energy. As a result of this delicate balance, he tends to move slowly and be non-impulsive so as not to disturb the balance. He's also sensitive to others and is aware of their movements so as not to allow his energetic balance to be disturbed. His overall energy is affected by difficult dynamics with his parents; his father was emotionally distant and his mother's energy was overwhelming. In addition, he has an underlying belief that he can't have what he wants. There's also a very strong energy focused in his forehead that he doesn't know what to do with and that comes from prior abuse and the resultant need to protect himself. Person R is a strong observer. However, this person's observing mode is linked to a strong need to understand at all times. When she is thinking or reading, she can focus so intently that she loses any sense of

her body. Mentally she is on an abstract level and can go into pure consciousness and awareness and has the rare attribute of being able to link to the pure consciousness/awareness level of the universe. Her consciousness and mental level are thus extremely strong; however, she is not repressing her other levels (emotions, gut, heart, etc.). She is thin-boundaried with other realms and dimensions, but not with other people. She has been an alchemist in some past lives and this attribute bleeds through slightly into the present one. Person S has soft, pleasant energy that is lightly moving and swirling. She observes with concern and from a higher level of view, from a higher perspective visually. She came in as an emissary to affect other people just by her energy without needing to do any particular activity to affect others. Person T has soft, soft energy that has a melting quality to it, as well as a nineteenth century romanticist feel to it. He's very sensitive emotionally. He has an observational mode and is split between this observer mode (and its corresponding independence) and his emotional level, with elements of uncertainty and guilt mixed in. These less positive emotions are the result of a somewhat abusive childhood and an alcoholic parent. Person U has a light, soft, swirling energy. He's also an observer. However, as a variation on the usual observer, he observes with his ear, always listening and taking in information aurally through his ear. He's very clear in perceiving and adds to the ambient energy through his internal equilibrium. This is also how he affects others in a calming manner by his equanimity and equilibrium. Person V has extreme brightness in his energy and is quite aware. He is also quite auditory with his "ears perked up" (this is the literal phrase that came in) as if he is always on the alert taking in information. This is a particularly salient quality of his energy. However, he's not always able to shut this faculty off, which he at times finds perturbing. Person W has very soft energy that spreads out laterally all around him silently and invisibly. This is tinged with a lovely sadness with which he came into this lifetime a sadness over having to be here on earth. He affects others by his soft and soothing energy and just by his being. He thus doesn't need to be a healer doing a specific form of healing work in order to affect and heal others. He is most connected to other realms and dimensions when he's drawing or producing art. Person X has strong energy on the mental level with strong consciousness. There is an attribute of always "surveying the terrain" (observing with an almost reconnoitering quality), while also being open to other realms and dimensions and bringing in information. He has strong boundaries with others, in contrast to the open boundaries with other realms. Interestingly, he is also quite grounded. (His is a mixture of attributes that I don't often find co-existing in the same person.) Person Y is an "eye in the sky," a strong spiritual observer with the ability to view things from a higher spiritual perspective. This quality is inherent in his energy. However, he is not aware of this because he's still in the process of re-awakening both to it and to who he is on the soul level. Person Z has a huge energy that is also extremely strong, one of the largest and strongest I've seen. Her energy is so huge it practically doesn't fit into her body or in the space immediately around her body. Her energy is also very integrated vertically. She has a connection to regulating consciousnesses that exist in a grid network to help regulate energies on earth. She serves a function of transmitting and receiving information to and from these regulating consciousnesses, but may be unaware of this. Person AA has an ability to look off in the distance and get ideas, as well as to envision the future. This is primarily a visual attribute. In this way, she can see possibilities and actually bring information in. She is also a passe-partout and can move through places and situations almost ethereally.

Person BB is a very keen observer with a quality of sharpness to her mode of observing. She also has a strong and inherent spiritual orientation. Being here in this lifetime rankles her. She has a rebellious attitude towards the way things are and the way they're structured, as well as an ability to bring in information and ideas for new and better ways of doing things. It is actually her discontent and rebelliousness that are the impetus for her seeking better ways of approach and implementation. One of her strongest attributes is this devising new ways of doing things. Person CC has very bright energy that extends vertically. He is pixie-like with a proverbial and figurative gleam in his eye and a slight mischievousness and upbeat curiosity that leads him to think "what would happen if I did this" (not quite the same as an alchemist trait). He is also an observer and observes from a higher vantage point and perspective. He not only receives energy and information, but also receives it simultaneously from several different directions and realms. In other words, there is a multi-directionality to this receiving of information, almost like the omni-directionality of some insects' eyes. He then becomes a focal point of energies. His orientation is somewhere in between the three-dimensional and the highest levels. Person DD has very strong "eye" energy that is almost pure awareness, always watching with a keen eagle eye and also with somewhat tight energy. He can see through others and size people up immediately, cutting through their "stuff" and facades. This is the strongest facet of his essence and this attribute has served to alienate him somewhat from others so that he feels "different." His purpose is to be an antenna or barometer for others in this way, as others feel his impassive and keen "eye" energy that also serves as a "BS meter." Others pick up on this facet as it mirrors objectively and clearly back to them their own stuff, delusions, or denials and they may therefore be uncomfortable in his presence. He thereby becomes a "Truth Bearer" without any conscious intention of doing so. This strong facet of his energy is countered by a soft melting energy when he listens to music that moves him deeply. These two energies thus serve as a counterbalance to each other and give him a sense of balance. Person EE is a "sponge" or antenna for the sadness and pain both of others and in the general atmosphere. She came in to serve the purpose, through this facet, of absorbing and wicking off these difficult emotions, thus reducing them both in other people and in the atmosphere. Because of this intended purpose, she also came in to this lifetime with a certain sorrow and has continued to feel it as she has absorbed more and more of the ambient sadness. She hasn't known how to then externalize it and purge herself of it, so she has suffered with the internalization of it. She is in the process of learning how to transmute it by externalizing it as stories to reach and teach people and by weaving. This externalization will serve both to reduce her own sadness and to move and teach others. Person FF is very walled off from others and from parts of herself. She's very much in her head, but not in the typical way and not because she's repressing her emotional and feeling side. She can't feel other people or empathize. This is her essence and the way she came in, rather than being due to issues overlaying the essence. It's analogous to or has a semblance of a mild form of autism. In addition, she doesn't have a strong sense of self, so she defines herself more by the roles she plays in life (e.g., mother, employee, etc.). She further has a fear of the unfamiliar and new and of having her equilibrium disturbed, so her security zone is in staying in her head and keeping other people at bay. She is detail-oriented and very good at math and focuses well on tasks requiring these abilities. However, she lacks the maturity usually associated with a full emotional range. She is also frustrated by the way she is, even though she isn't consciously aware of exactly how she is. Person GG has a strong consciousness and light energy. A part of her awareness is always focused on what is ahead or in front of her, what is next or what is coming. The phrase came in that her eye is always focused on "the prize." She sees through to higher levels and places and also takes in information peripherally. However, these latter aspects are always subordinated to her "eye on the prize." She's had intermittent anxiety attacks for years, which have two general causes. The first is a performance anxiety in front of others, primarily because she's always felt different and is so attuned/sensitive to people that she doesn't want disapproval or

censure for what she does. The second cause is that on a higher level these aspects were given to her in order to anchor and ground her, so as to make her more "human" in this lifetime. Thus they serve as a counterbalance to her orientation to other levels. Person HH is alert and wide open without the normal filters (mindsets, beliefs, etc.) that contaminate perceptions. She is almost always in a receiving mode and is an "Information Gatherer," but does not have a conscious awareness of this mode. She receives information peripherally and on different levels. She is like an antenna or transducer serving the purpose of receiving and transmitting or stepping down information and frequencies of energy from higher levels. She is a conduit, receiver, and shifter of energies and is one of several people in different places on earth serving this purpose. However, again, she has no conscious awareness of this mode or that shes performing this function. She can also heal with her consciousness. Person II has soft, sweet energy and has an innocence and purity in his energy. He feels a strong connection to animals and nature and has the ability to serve as an intermediary between animals/nature and people, so as to serve as an advocate for the natural world. Person JJ is very auditory and open and receptive to "voices in the background." As I learned in reading his energy, there is a sea of voices coming from the animated energy of the cosmos on this three-dimensional level from humans, animals, trees, the devic. This is like a tapestry or symphony of voices. He receives, through hearing, the information in this energy and can also transmit and translate it. He is thus like a transducer. This attribute is part of his essence and has always been there along with his conscious awareness of it. In spite of his conscious awareness of this attribute, he hasn't known what to do with it. He also has the ability to communicate with animals and nature. Person KK has a very strong and clear consciousness, clear being a quite operative word for him. He operates on a higher and clearer plane than the world in general does and processes thought and the mental so quickly that his conceptual and visual mode, in addition to his mental processing, occurs at a much higher metabolic rate than that of the world and his environment. This stepped up mental metabolic rate is so strong that he feels out of sync with the world and others around him. This is so because the world is "slowed down" by its entrenchment in cultural patterns and the zeitgeist of the times, whereas his perception has been blessedly free of these restrictions. Thus he sees, perceives, and processes with clarity in a lightning-fast manner and is ready to act instantly. He has an intuitive vision in front of him that impels him forward and that he is moving toward as a purpose, but he doesn't yet know what the specifics of it are. Fascinated by both the sacred and space, he is trying to integrate the sacred and architecture in some way. Person LL has a strong "eye" consciousness and is normally in an observer mode. He is a Reporter and is here on earth on assignment to gather information in an objective manner that he will be reporting back to a "Council." This "Council" is located at a far distance from earth, that exists both in three-dimensional reality and yet at the same time in-between here and the "other side." (As I was receiving this information, my logic was having a hard time placing it in my notion of space.) This information he gathers, a compilation of observations of what has transpired at this particular time period on earth, will then be used by the "Council" as "teaching" material that will provide lessons for "children" (young souls) for situations all over the universe. According to the information I received, this "Council" is a "planning" committee for the universe. (As I received this information, I was quite taken aback by it, as I was having difficulty fitting it into my understanding of the universe, an excellent example of our preconceived notions affecting our perceptions. I strove to keep my pre-existing beliefs and mindsets out of the way to let this information come in.) Person KK has performed this function of reporting before and also sits on the "Council." He has always been dispassionate in his present lifetime's personality and not sensitive to other people, so as to not be drawn into a lot of the human drama and "stuff" that could pollute his objectivity in information-gathering. His purpose while being here is not that of affecting or teaching others, but to objectively observe and research. (Interestingly, the subject of his dog, Chaparral, came up and when I tapped into Chaparral's energy, I found that

he has a very strong and aware consciousness himself and is a guiding companion and work colleague for Person KK. The only other time I had encountered this type of situation with an animal was with my greyhound Sara.) As you can see from the above synopses, representing only a small sampling, there are great variations from one person to the next as to who and how they are (who they are in their essence and how their energies work). And I have by no means included every type of energy or energy dynamics in these examples. As I mentioned, I still get information I've never gotten before with regard to a person's essence and how his/her energy works. I am perpetually amazed by the complexity and richness of the human experience. Everyone truly is unique. What I would like to stress is that the act of simply reading the words describing these examples of people's energy can in no way convey the experience of feeling and experiencing the energy. The actual experience of one's essence and energy is quite powerful and conveys more meaning than mere words and attempts at description can begin to capture. I am often moved by what I pick up on in people. I can remember being moved to tears when I tuned in to a few clients who feel a connection to the Divine in a very loving and trusting way. I have also been moved by the purity I have felt in some clients who are truly innocent and pure of heart. This purity is such a delicate and beautiful attribute that it is to be both cherished and revered. As Kahlil Gibran wrote, "Keep me away from the wisdom that does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh, and the greatness which does not bow before children." And, conversely, being in the presence of a pure, child-like quality can be immensely refreshing and uplifting. Our essence is usually a lovely energy. The difficulty for us as humans is to have the inauthentic "stuff" layered over the top of it and to have to live with the effects of the stuff. Some of the samples I listed above are illustrative of this overlay. In my sessions I will often make specific recommendations to a client, as I mentioned previously, for healing or working on this inauthentic stuff, according to the information I receive and according to where a client is in his/her process and what may be salient for him/her to work on at the time. Because you don't try to tackle the totality of what's there all at once, I simply go by where a client is at the time and make recommendations for moving things forward and/or breaking up the existing pattern. As I learned in my sessions, at any particular point in our lives there may be specific things that are the most salient for our unfolding, learning, and healing and there may be specific things that we're being asked by the universe to focus on and look at. In addition, as we know the healing and growing process often comes in layers. This is what I attempt to determine exactly where one is in his/her process and what is most salient through receiving information on what one is going through internally at the time of the session and then make specific suggestions about it. As I mentioned earlier in Chapter 1, these recommendations will often include specific healing modalities and/or practitioners, books to read, therapy, activities that can be healing or therapeutic (e.g., taking classes, writing, doing art, dancing, watching funny movies, etc.), specific affirmations I get for the client, exercises I've personally designed, etc. It has also often been true that a client may only be ready for more superficial information and not for either any deeper information or facilitating work. As I have worked with some clients over time, I have been able to sense if and when they're ready to look at things in a deeper manner and are ready to look at some of their own stuff that may be blocking them. I always try to go by where a client is, rather than attempting to force my perspective on him/her. This is an intrinsic element of effectively facilitating others, I feel that of going by where a person is and gently making suggestions, rather than confronting or trying to challenge or figuratively hitting one over the head with a sledge hammer. This is so because I have also learned that people are where they are for a reason and that it is not up to us to either judge them, judge where they are in their process, or assume that we know the best way for others to live their lives.

The reason why I feel that a person's essence and overall energy are so important is that I have learned (because I have received the information over and over again) that our energy will be a major determining factor in what we encounter and experience externally in our lives. I discussed this topic briefly in Chapter 2, but would like to elaborate on it further here. It seems that, as humans, we will often tend to view the question of how life happens or what determines what we experience in life in two different ways. Some people feel that we are passive and just acted upon by life, that there are random occurrences and events that happen to us without our volition or participation in the process (and without any intrinsic meaning, reason, or rhyme on higher, spiritual levels). Other people may feel that it is we humans who are the active, operable, and causative factors, that we cause life and events to happen and can be masters of our own destinies. From what I've learned, neither extreme is the true operative model and that, instead, and as often happens, the truth lies somewhere between, and, moreover, represents a combination of the two. As mentioned previously, what I've learned is that what we get externally in our lives is a function both of our energy and what the universe (the Divine) has in store for us. I've learned that our internal energy (composed of both our essence and our inauthentic overlay) and the way it vibrates will often draw to us that which resonates with it. (Put another way, what we get externally often comes in the form of experiences that are designed as lessons to work on and heal our internal energy and the "stuff" that serves as an inauthentic overlay.) I have seen this resonance of energies over and over again. This does not preclude, however, the universe bringing us situations out of the blue for our own learning and growing and/or for the way we and what we experience will affect others (in the sense of playing a role for others unfolding that I mentioned earlier). This view has strong implications for how we choose to live our lives. I have often encountered clients who wanted information on anything external to them without wanting any information on who and how they were internally. They appeared to cling steadfastly to the notion that they were just pieces of meat to be acted upon externally and without any regard instead often a real resistance to changing internally. This is a very powerless way to live one's life (and reflects a stance that is very tight or rigid energetically). I have been so pleased when one of these clients over time was ready to look at him/herself and change internally. And I have seen clients become happier and more fulfilled as they've grown and evolved. (This is not to imply, however, that all clients need facilitation. Many do not. Or that I always know what is optimum.) However, to a large extent our inner energy will often attract that which resonates with it. As Ralph Waldo Trine wrote, "Within yourself lies the cause of whatever enters into your life. To come into the full realization of your own awakened interior powers is to be able to condition your life in exact accord with what you would have it." What many people don't realize is how much sway our inauthentic stuff holds over us and how it can actually keep us from feeling happier and finding more peace and fulfillment in our lives. As Cervantes wrote, "The greatest foes, and whom we must chiefly combat, are within." Old mindsets and beliefs serve as filters for our perceptions and prevent us from perceiving events, others, and reality in a clear and objective manner. People with a victim mentality, for example, always perceive outside events and people as serving to victimize them and may actually be energetically drawing such situations to themselves through resonance (or through the universe trying to teach them lessons to prod them to move past it). A victim mentality is obviously not a very liberating or healthy mindset. Our old tapes, another mechanism of our stuff and usually induced from childhood, can strongly impede our progress. For example, I've seen clients who had an underlying old tape, that then became a belief or assumption, that they couldn't have what they wanted in life or would always have to struggle. This is tantamount to self-sabotage. Old, undealt-with emotional issues around abuse can keep one feeling powerless and can lead one to continually and unconsciously seek out situations that repeat the pattern. Unhealthy emotions such as guilt, if we stay stuck in them and/or if they represent habitual ensnaring patterns, serve to drain our energy and prevent us from realizing our potential and becoming truly actualized.

Our inauthentic stuff simply colors everything in our lives, because our emotional issues, beliefs, old tapes, etc., as well as our self-image, serve as unconscious behind-the-scenes motivators that color our perceptions and guide our actions in ways that are usually imperceptible to us. As Brian Tracy said, "The person we believe ourselves to be will always act in a manner consistent with our self-image." Because of the insidious nature of this type of personal stuff, I have thus become quite staunch in my view that one of the first steps we need to take toward bettering our lives, if that is indeed what we want to do, is to examine, work on, and heal our "stuff." (This does not mean, however, that some people may not have their stuff or be stuck in it for a reason. It may be, for example, what they are to experience in a certain lifetime. I'll elaborate on this subject later.) The flip side of things happening to us in our lives because they resonate with our internal energy is the mechanism of what the universe has in store for us and brings about externally, which may not necessarily be resonating with our internal energy and which may seemingly be happening out of the blue. Again I feel that this happens for our own unfolding and lessons and/or for those of others. There's not a huge amount we can do to control this flip side, other than continually try to sync ourselves up with the will of the Divine and learn what we need to learn from such experiences. And, because we can't always control what the universe has in store for us, all the more reason, I feel, to be mindful of our own energy and insofar as possible try to clear the extraneous and inauthentic stuff, so that we can primarily be acting from our essence (which is again, as I mentioned earlier, the invisible blueprint for our purpose). As a sideline, I'd like to add that because Ive seen such wide and interesting variability in peoples essences I've wondered how and why those essences came to be. The "why" I feel has to do with purpose. The "how," I now feel, has to do with astrology. As I became more sensitive to and aware of energy over the past several years, I came to see it as of primary importance in life, as a causative and affecting agent, as well as for its being the true building block of our world and reality. In addition, even though years ago I doubted any true validity of astrology, I've gradually learned more about it (although I still know only a minuscule amount and am not well-versed), and I have been more and more amazed at astrology's applicability and accuracy (if not also its complexity). I now view this old science as a mode of determining to a certain extent how we're affected by energy, and I've also come to feel that astrology and more specifically our natal chart represents the energetic stamp or imprinting for our essence when we're born and perhaps also for some of the inauthentic overlay that we take on and are subsequently faced with clearing. Transits and progressions in astrology then add to the mix energetically of what we are to learn and/or go through. In other words, I feel that astrology is simply a mechanism for how we are affected by energy. D. H. Lawrence expressed this perception more articulately than I when he wrote that, "We and the cosmos are one. The cosmos is a vast body, of which we are still parts. The sun is a great heart whose tremors run through our smallest veins. The moon is a great gleaming nerve-centre from which we quiver forever. Who knows the power that Saturn has over us or Venus? But it is a vital power, rippling exquisitely through us all the time.Now all this is literally true, as men knew in the great past and as they will know again." This is not to discount any impact from either biology or environment ("nature or nurture"). Much has been written about the significance of genetics, DNA, biochemistry, and early childhood factors. (Interestingly, I recently read reports of research showing that for some subjects studied brain chemistry has actually changed over time, as a result of various factors, rather than remaining constant or being graven in stone. What implications does this have for those, for example, with schizophrenia or other seemingly brain chemical imbalance-driven conditions?)

Irrespective of how we get that imprinting of essence, however, I feel that, insofar as what may create the experiences we go through, the truth lies somewhere in between the passive and active theories, as just mentioned, and that a helpful way to better our lives is to work on our "stuff" which both affects and impedes us, to tap into our true essence, and to try to align ourselves with the Divine insofar as is possible. This is somewhat of a thumbnail listing and overly simplistic, and I'll be elaborating on this further in the next chapter. However, for now it is a bit of a distillation, as well as a reiteration of the importance of one's essence and energy; the essence, again, being that invisible blueprint, the positive signpost for who we are and what we can contribute just as the inauthentic overlay can be somewhat of a negative blueprint that attracts the less positive and less desirable (but also for a purpose). It is often when we are acting out of our essence that we are both authentic and living from the positive in us and fulfilling our purposes. It is also when we feel clearer and more freed up. As Albert Pike wrote, "The sovereignty of one's self over one's self is called Liberty."


All truths are Truths of Period, and not truths for Eternity; that whatever great fact has had strength and vitality enough to make itself real, whether of religion, morals, government, or of whatever else, and to find place in this world, has been a truth for the time, and as good as men were capable of receiving. -Albert Pike A man is wise with the wisdom of his time only, and ignorant with its ignorance. Observe how the greatest minds yield in some degree to the superstitions of their age. -Henry David Thoreau The freethinking of one age is the common sense of the next. -Matthew Arnold I'm eager to share some of the insights I've gained and continue to gain, as they have fascinated me and led me to revise my understanding of some of lifes workings. Before I start to share some of this with you, I'd like to stress that what I'm sharing represents what I've seen thus far and in no way illustrates the totality of what may occur. One thing I've learned and want to emphasize emphatically yet again is that this is a creative universe and thus anything can happen. Put in other terms, I feel that there are no rules that dictate what can happen or how it can happen. As humans, we may want to know the rules, so that we can know what to expect, how to improve our lot, and/or how to avoid unpleasant experiences. I've seen some people whose insecurity had led them to thirst for the security of rules to guide their lives, as a means perhaps of not having to rely totally on their own thinking; I've seen others as well who needed to feel that things always happen in a certain, graspable way, as a means of either staving off their fear of the unknown or knowing what to do so that they could avoid

unpleasantness in life. As Erich Fromm wrote, "The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers." I personally am thrilled at the prospect of the universe's creativity an inherent creativity. Having said this, and at the risk of contradicting what I just wrote, let me also share some of my own metaphysical views that may serve as a broad conceptual backdrop to some of what I'll be sharing. As I mentioned previously, I feel that we humans are here on earth primarily to learn, grow, and evolve, as well as for the roles we play, both for others and in the greater drama, the greater scheme of things. (Neardeath experiencers often say that they learned through their experiences that we are here on earth to learn and grow and that the two most important things in life are love and knowledge.) This view affects my outlook and informs my work, as well as my concepts. I believe we live different lifetimes (the phenomenon of reincarnation) to experience the totality of life and the totality of what is, so as to enrich our souls. (I will discuss reincarnation more fully later.) Because time does not exist, at least on the highest level (as alluded to in Part I), all really is an eternal now, even though, as mentioned previously, on this three-dimensional level we have the illusion of time or the experience of it. Thoreau expressed this juxtaposition of time versus eternity quite well when he wrote, "Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it, but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains." Thus, I feel, all of our lives really are co-existing and happening simultaneously. There is therefore, I feel, no linear progression or linear soul's improvement from one lifetime to the next, or linear cause and effect. Because time, ultimately, does not exist and all our lives are happening simultaneously, it was always known what our lives would be and what our choices would be. This does not negate or preclude free will, as on this human, three-dimensional level we have choice; it was just always known on other levels what our choices would be. (I won't complicate things further by going into concepts of alternate realities, where we may be living out all the options and alternatives.) I feel that the universe exists on different levels, and I will explain this concept later. I feel that we choose our lives, or they are chosen, before we physically come into them (actually they were all chosen in the same "now"). The above represents my general view, while I continue at the same time to aver that this is a creative universe and that anything is possible. "God does not think; he creates. He does not exist; he is eternal" (Kierkegaard). So please read the following with the understanding that it is by no means an inclusive description of all possibilities and simply represents my present understanding that comes from what I've gleaned from sessions thus far. I have loosely categorized these insights in order to share them in a more organized fashion, and well begin with one near and dear to most of us. Relationships Love is everything. It is the key to life, and its influences are those that move the world. -Ralph Waldo Trine

Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being. -Mohandas K. Gandhi

One of the areas in which I had early glimpses of these realizations and lessons in energy is that of relationships, especially romantic relationships. It goes without saying that relationships are very important to most of us and represent an extremely important aspect of our human experience, as Trine and Gandhi so articulately expressed it. So of course most clients will want information on this area of their lives. I've looked at many, many relationships over the past several years, including those a client was involved in at the time of a session, those from the past, and future relationships. I've also looked at nonromantic relationships, including those with friends, parents, children, other family members, work colleagues, etc. I have increasingly gained insight into how relationships work (and why they do work at times and often do not work) and what the causative or contributing factors to the dynamics operative in this aspect of our lives may be. Over time, I gradually saw several factors that I feel influence the dynamics and viability of relationships.

Resonance of Energies The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. -Carl Jung Relationships are like a dance, with visible energy racing back and forth between partners. -Colette Dowling

Early on in looking at romantic relationships I was primarily sensing how people's energies resonated or didn't resonate well and how that energetic resonance between the two of them affected both the dynamics of the relationship and the positive or negative aspects of what the people in the relationship were experiencing. Some people's energies resonated quite well. Other people's energies quite simply abraded. For example, I've seen relationships in which one person's energy was overwhelming the other's energy. This often leads to the latter person feeling overwhelmed and powerless or constrained, certainly not a pleasant way to feel in a relationship. I've also seen relationships in which one person's energy is warm and expansive and the other person's energy is cooler or indifferent and/or contracted or narrow. This is also not a good interaction of energies. As telling as these dynamics of energy resonances were, I came to learn in time, however, that there were factors involved other than just the resonance of energies that contributed to whether relationships were good, workable, or true partners or "soul mates."

Learning Relationships

How savage is love that plants a flower and uproots a field; that revives us for a day and stuns us for an age! -Kahlil Gibran

I soon came to see how people's inauthentic stuff their issues affected the dynamics in a relationship. Because the inauthentic overlay contributes to and affects one's general energy, this inauthentic stuff will often be part of what is resonating (or abrading) between two people's energies. Often the pull between two people will be their "stuff" resonating, rather than who they really are. For example, one of the more common manifestations of this type of resonance occurs when a dependent person who may also be sensitive emotionally and/or come from some sort of abusive background is romantically involved with someone with strong and controlling energy; or when one person who is open emotionally and needs to connect and communicate openly with his/her partner is involved with someone who is closed down or withdrawn emotionally and thus neither available emotionally nor oriented towards truly openly connecting with someone. I have seen instances in which two people's "stuff" is so complex and mutually resonating that they appear to fit together like a complex system of reciprocal keys fitting into each other's locks. Often a condition of button-pushing and/or mutual interdependence in an unhealthy manner results from this type of resonance. (Hence, the term codependence.) Relationships of this type often exemplify a mixture of contradictory energies; they may be love/hate relationships or be full of volatility and are rarely clear sailing. They are also frequently quite painful and can be emotionally draining. This type of relationship, that is based on the inauthentic stuff resonating is often, as you may suspect, doomed to failure. I have seen many clients who were in this type of relationship and who may have stuck it out for years because they have both resistance to and inertia over getting out of the situation. Other clients may extricate themselves in a shorter period of time. If, how, and when these relationships are resolved is usually a function of the individual's process and growth and his/her readiness for or resistance to change. Usually when the decision is made to leave the relationship, it is because the person initiating that change has grown personally to the point where the personal lessons from the relationship are learned and the relationship no longer serves a purpose or feels the same. In other words, the resonance is no longer there. (This latter instance is representative of the common phenomenon that, as we learn and grow, we may grow past the people we've been close to, if they are not also evolving and growing. Kristen Zambucka described this phenomenon when she stated that, "We outgrow people, places, and things as we unfold. We may be saddened when old friends say their piece and leave our livesbut let them go. They were at a different stage and looking in a different direction." This can be disconcerting to us, especially if we don't realize that, if our energies are no longer resonating, any former feeling of closeness usually evaporates and if we further don't realize that this "changing of partners" is indicative of something positive in us, i.e., our personal growth.) Over time and through repeatedly seeing a number of this type of relationship, I came to realize that these relationships that are based on the partners inauthentic stuff resonating are what I now call learning relationships. In other words, we often enter into some relationships primarily to learn and grow by working on our inauthentic stuff, and this purpose of learning tends to be the primary raison d'tre for this type of relationship. This is distinguished from the soul mate or partner relationship in which we may be stimulating each other's growth, but it's not the sole purpose for the relationship. The positive aspect of learning relationships is that they are often a wonderful catalyst for our growth. Each learning relationship tends to be centered around healing or reworking one or more aspects of our stuff. Put another way, "Each relationship nurtures a strength or weakness within you" (Mike Murdock). And, usually, until we work on whatever the relationship is trying to teach us and we "get" it, we are doomed to keep

repeating the lesson; that is, we can have a pattern of serially entering into similar relationships. Recognizing that we have a pattern in relationships can give us the key to realizing that there is something in ourselves to work on. "To understand is to perceive patterns," Isaiah Berlin wrote including our own patterns. If, instead, we don't recognize that there is something to work on in ourselves we may stay stuck in the pattern for a more prolonged period of time. Often we will then project our unhappiness and blame externally and decry all men or all women as being "worthless," "unavailable," etc. until we learn to figuratively point that finger back towards ourselves and look within to see what we need to work on or change in ourselves. "Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves" (Jung). Or, as Molire wrote, "One should examine oneself for a long time before thinking of condemning others." A variation on this theme of projection and blame centers around those people who are "rescuers." Rescuers (not an essence type) are often soft-hearted people who are perpetually trying to help and rescue others, sometimes to the extent that they actually believe that that is one of their purposes in life. As with those who project their own stuff outwardly and blame others and things outside of themselves, rescuers often need to figuratively point their fingers back at themselves and look within for what they need to rescue in themselves. A pattern of needing to rescue others often serves to deflect one's attention from his/her own stuff and what he/she needs to work on within him/herself. As Aldous Huxley wrote, "There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving and that's your own self." Learning relationships, especially those that engage us emotionally in an intense manner, are a strong mechanism by which we can evolve, as we are stimulated more through the power of emotion by these often difficult and/or painful relationship experiences. I myself gained a major lesson in self-esteem through a relationship that was dysfunctional and quite difficult. However, the lesson was extremely valuable and was permanently gained and, indeed, may have been all the more permanently etched in me due to the extent of the difficulty and emotional struggle I went through. What we stand to gain from relationships such as these will vary from one person to the next and can run the gamut from learning self-esteem, to becoming less passive and dependent, to learning to be more emotionally available, to being more caring, to being less self-absorbed or even to becoming more discerning about relationships. The lessons can be quite diverse. However, one theme running through these learning relationships is that the universe is drawing attention to our inauthentic "stuff" that keeps us from being who we really are and is asking us to work on it. Not everyone, of course, will work on all, or even any, of his/her stuff in a lifetime because that may indeed be, as previously mentioned, what we are to experience in that lifetime never getting back to our pure essence (and, also as previously mentioned, not everyone will have much inauthentic stuff to work on or clear). Interestingly, I've seen another mechanism by which these learning relationships operate and that has to do with another factor that induces the two people to be together in a relationship, other than just the resonance of the inauthentic stuff. This factor will often manifest itself as a "pull" between the two people. This pull is often experienced as a sexual attraction, but may also be experienced as a mental or psychic pull: they are just drawn to the other person for some reason and can't get that person out of his/her mind; or they are continually trying to figure the other person out. (And, yes, this can lead to obsession.) What I have frequently seen that I find fascinating is that often when the lesson that was a major raison d'tre for the relationship is finally learned, the pull between the two of them sexual attraction, mental conundrum, obsession, or whatever just disappears as if by magic. I regard this "pull," however it is expressed and experienced, as a device used by the universe to get us to learn a lesson (by getting us into the relationship that will teach us the lesson). Such an interesting and creative device!

Healing and Purpose-Specific Relationships Through Love, thorns become roses, Vinegar becomes sweet wine, The stake becomes a thorn, The reverse of fortune seems good fortune, A prison becomes a rose bower, -Rumi The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love. -Hubert H. Humphrey Until the Real Thing Comes Along -Sammy Cahn

Even though I've focused thus far on learning relationships in which the dysfunction or problematic resonates, I'd like to add that certainly not all relationships are learning relationships and, additionally, that not all learning relationships are difficult or unpleasant. Aside from true soul mate relationships that most of us aspire to find and be involved in, there are other types of romantic relationships as well. Some of these other non-soul mate relationships may be pleasant, but don't have a real "charge" to them, so that the people in them feel comfortable, but don't feel inspired or really in love. The relationship may be pleasant or comfortable and non-challenging, but may also feel bland. I have seen several clients in relationships like this and have found that there is usually a purpose that this type of relationship serves. One of the purposes for relationships such as this is to provide a healing aspect or soothing or comforting experience for those involved in the relationship. In other words, one or both of the people involved may have been through a particularly difficult or draining relationship or experience, or even a series of such relationships, and the pleasant but bland relationship affords him/her the opportunity to heal from the other relationship(s). This type of relationship, the healing relationship, thus represents a relationship that affords R and R (rest and relaxation). This gives those involved the opportunity to be in a romantic relationship at the same time that they are healing from the draining relationship or experience, rather than attempting to recoup while alone. I have further seen other positive relationships, which, even though they are still not the true, partner relationship, serve the purpose of "introducing" a person to the qualities and dynamics of a good relationship, while also allowing him/her to re-pattern his/her normal mode of relating. This may be the first positive relationship a person has ever been in, and the situation allows the person to experience the dynamics of a healthy relationship for the first time, while also sometimes gaining practice being in a good and nondysfunctional intimate relating situation. Thus, re-patterning relationships such as this, even though they're not with the true soul mate, serve as a mechanism by which one can re-pattern his/her traditional (and often unhealthy) role in a relationship and can learn instead to play a healthier role and experience more positive dynamics. Another type of positive, but non-soul mate, relationship occurs when two people are going through similar things or are working (either growth-wise or career-wise) on similar issues. In other words, they are paralleling each other in some way with regard to growth or experience. This type of relationship, the paralleling relationship, affords them support, whether explicit, through mutual discussion of what they're each going through, or implicit, through an unconscious awareness of their shared experiences, as well as

insight on the shared issue(s) they're going through, as they share experiences with each other. Paralleling relationships can subtly give those in them energy, instead of their being in a difficult learning relationship that could drain their energy. Some relationships may represent a combination of some of these types of relationships. As you can see from these pleasant, but non-soul mate types of situations, relationships will generally come into existence for a reason, whether we're aware at the time of what that reason may be or not. In addition, I have also seen people in non-soul mate or -partner relationships for more mundane reasons. They may have a rational, rather than emotional, reason for being in a certain relationship and may decide to be in the relationship out of a rational motivation. In other words, the mind may be engaged in the relationship, but not the heart. This could be, for example, because the person feels that he or she is ready to get married and/or wants children and just looks for someone to marry. I've seen some clients come up with a laundry list of what they want in a marriage partner, based upon external or superficial considerations (e.g., makes a certain income, is a certain height, drives a certain car, lives in a certain type of house, even how they look as a couple to others), rather than what the person is really like either on the inside or in habits or personality traits or even how they feel about them. I have even seen some clients make a decision to marry someone because that person had one attribute that they wanted in a mate (for instance, a calm and steady temperament), irrespective of the fact that they really felt no emotional connection to or love for their future partner. This type of consideration is often a recipe for a future failed relationship, especially when the emotional component is lacking and there is, in its place, a preference for the rational and feeling-less element in the decision-making process. I have also seen some clients decide to enter into and doggedly stay in relationships for financial security, although this motivation may be understandable for women in a society that has traditionally undervalued women economically. Whether one can stay permanently in such relationships depends upon the person and his/her priorities. However, I have often seen clients in relationships such as this who were miserable and whose hearts were crying out for true resonance and connection. The lessons in these relationships may have to do with independence, going to a deeper level, being true to oneself, or any number of other realizations.

Soul Agreements The highest compact we can make with our fellow is, "Let there be truth between us two forevermore." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

As I continued to explore different types of relationships, I started to question how they came about, especially the major learning ones in which the experiences may have been so unpleasant and the corresponding lessons gained so profound that it felt that there had to be a reason, or mechanism, behind the two people coming together in such a fashion a reason or mechanism that existed on a higher level than just the "pull" (sexual, emotional, conundrum, or whatever) that was felt on this three-dimensional level. In other words, I felt that there had to be some additional, invisible factor bringing this type of situation about, other than two people whose stuff fit together so intricately and perfectly just meeting each other by chance or randomly a factor that existed perhaps on a higher level. As I started to ask for insight about this, I began to get information on what I now call "soul agreements."

A "soul agreement" is an agreement made between souls while not in body (i.e., before the lifetime that the agreement is about) to encounter each other in a lifetime, interact (whether in a romantic, familial, friendship, work, or other type of way), and affect each other in some fashion, usually for learning, sharing, supporting, or otherwise stimulating each other's growth or unfolding. As with difficult learning relationships, the soul agreement may be to stimulate each other's working on his/her inauthentic stuff. There are many different types of soul agreements. For example, some soul agreements exist for just one specific lifetime. I have seen other soul agreements that ran through several lifetimes. I have seen both soul agreements that are for a very specific purpose (as a case in point, that the people involved will meet at a specific time in their lives to accomplish a specific thing) and others that are for more general purposes (for example, that the people involved will have a lifelong acquaintance with each other that is pleasant and mutually beneficial). I have seen soul agreements in which the souls have agreed to always interact throughout lifetimes for the same purpose or lesson and others in which the souls always interact, but the way in which it is expressed and the purpose it serves may vary from one lifetime to another. To illustrate this point, some souls may agree to always interact in an antagonistic way to stimulate each other's growth, while others may vary the qualitative feel of the interaction over lifetimes, experiencing a congenial connection in some lifetimes and a more abrasive or antagonistic connection in others. Hence soul agreements are made in the non-corporeal state when we choose and plan our lives and represent a behind-the-scenes factor for our involvement and interaction with others in the here and now, and, because they are mutual agreements on the soul level, there is no "blame" or judgment attached to the interactions, even if they are negative or unpleasant in any way. Soul Connections We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects. -Herman Melville

Starting to get information on soul agreements led me to continue to explore the concept of relationships on another level and from another perspective. I next began to explore various types of soul connections. Now, the soul connection that we are generally the most familiar with and desirous of is the soul mate connection. It is certainly considered to be the most sought-after one, and a relationship with our soul mate is one of the major things in life that many of us yearn for and actively seek. For some, it can be a lifelong pursuit. Indeed, we tend to place so much value on the soul mate connection that we are often unaware of the existence of other types of soul connections that we may have with those whom we may know fairly closely. However, other types of soul connections do exist, at least from the information I have received. So before we discuss soul mate relationships in more detail, let's look at some other types of soul connections. At present when I look at relationships in sessions, whether romantic or those with friends, family, work colleagues, children, or others, I will look not just at the energy dynamics or the resonating issues or lessons or soul agreements involved, but also at what the overall soul connections may be. I do this because I have learned that understanding what soul connections there may be on the soul level can give us additional insight into our relationships and their dynamics, as well as into why a relationship may have a certain feel to it or represent a certain type of challenge. I have thus far seen many different types of soul connections and combinations thereof and have been able to sense how they can color the nature of what one experiences in his/her interactions with others.

One type of soul connection I get quite commonly is that the people involved, usually in some type of close relationship, are from the same soul group or same soul family. Although I can not yet completely delineate conceptually what that means in the greater scheme of things, I intimate that the souls in a soul group or soul family may have been created as souls at the same time or in a group (although, given the nonexistence of time on the highest levels, I'm not sure that this makes complete sense) and that these souls thus share a "kinship" not unlike families here on earth. Being from the same soul group or same soul family may contribute to an underlying feeling of closeness between people or to a sense of coming from the same place, a feeling of kinship that can't be explained by other, more superficial characteristics (family connection here, or race, or background). For some reason that I do not yet comprehend, every time I get a soul group or soul family connection, I always get a visual impression of the numerous souls in the group or family arranged in a circle next to each other. Although I feel that there is some significant meaning attached to this geometric "being in a circle" configuration, I do not yet know what that meaning may be. I have also, thus far on only rare occasions, seen a variation on this connection of same soul group or soul family. In this variation, I have sensed that two people came from different soul groups or families, but that their souls are so similar that they are like distant unrelated cousins or two expressions of the same complex vibration. Up to this point in time, I have only seen this type of connection in souls that have some sort of inherent and greater than normal complexity, greatness, or potential for it here on earth. It's as if their uniqueness or rareness meant that there were very few other souls who had a similarity. I'm still in the process of understanding this concept completely and will probably only begin to do so when I encounter more instances of it. There are other, more common soul connections. Most of these are experienced and expressed in familial terms. I have sensed many soul connections that were those of siblings, whether brother and sister or sisters or brothers. I've seen parent to child and even uncle to niece or nephew and cousins. Other soul connections may be more non-familial. A very common non-familial one will be that of teacher or mentor and student. I have also seen soul connections that were those of colleagues, sometimes expressed in a positive and cordial manner and at other times, in a negative or antagonistic manner. I am still not completely sure what causes or contributes to the particular type of soul connections. The connection of being from the same soul group or same soul family appears to be an inherent connection, coming from the "moment" of creation of souls, as mentioned above. Other types of soul connections, such as those of siblings or teacher/student, feel like they may have been forged through various lifetimes. Indeed, I've seen instances in which the soul connection between two people was varied, due to the different roles they had played with each other in different lifetimes; they were (or had been) brother and sister (in one lifetime), but also colleagues (in another lifetime), for example, and others who were (or had been) spouses to each other, as well as parent and child. (These varied soul connections, interestingly enough, will often be felt in the relationship of those involved, so that there is a mixed quality that they feel in their connection or an overlay of different attributes.) Sometimes these soul connections will have an added dimension of hierarchy, in that one of the two people (or souls) has traditionally been the "senior" one or the one with more clout or power. Interestingly, these flavors in soul connections may change over time. For instance, two souls whose overall connection may have been parent-child, with one always having had power over the other, may find that their connection equalizes over time or even in the space of one lifetime, so that the sense of hierarchy evaporates. These various types of soul connections will flavor what we experience in our relationships with others and often in a subtle manner. We may feel a particular closeness to a friend, for example, and then learn that our soul connection is that of sisters or brothers. This factor of soul connections helps to explain why we may be feeling some sort of connection with certain people that can't be explained simply by the present connection or nature of the interaction, or why we may be feeling a certain quality in the relationship that has inherently

been there from the very beginning; in other words, why we've had a specific feeling from the moment we met someone who has later become a friend that she has always felt like a sister, for example, or even a rival. (It can be very perplexing at times to have a conflicting mixture of qualities in these connections. For example, I've known clients who were stymied in trying to understand why a person who was ostensibly a friend somehow also subtly felt like a rival or competitor. Once the soul connections were explored and unraveled, the mixed quality of the relationship made more sense.) In contrast to connections that may remain somewhat consistent, I will also see, as I mentioned, combinations of these types of connections. For instance, two people may be from the same soul group or same soul family and also be brother and sister or cousins or teacher and student. The types of soul connections I've mentioned tend to be between those we know and interact with over and over again in different lifetimes. This continual interaction over different lifetimes tends to forge a sense of connection that is generally stronger than that which would be felt from interaction in perhaps just one lifetime. This soul "familiarity" may also enable us to feel somewhat safer working out some of our stuff in the framework of a learning relationship that is based on these close connections. Soul agreements may be made both with people with whom we have soul connections, as well as with others to whom we feel no deep connection. And we may have both pleasant and unpleasant soul agreements from one lifetime to the next with those with whom we have soul connections. The variety and combinations appear to be limitless. Certainly if a person we're interacting with closely comes from our same soul group and is also someone with whom we've had both pleasant and unpleasant soul agreements, we may therefore experience mixed feelings about that person, while at the same time feeling a strong connection with him/her. And, similarly, having a same soul family connection with someone with whom weve had problematic or antagonistic soul agreements may help to take the sting out of the overall connection or absolve the more problematic flavor. Understanding what some of the soul connections and/or soul agreements may be operating in the background, so to speak, between people in relationships can enable us to begin to understand why certain mixed feelings may exist in different relationships and how we can best handle the relationship or interact in it. Interestingly, I have seen several cases in which two people had a general soul agreement to always come together in different types of relationships in order to stimulate each other's growth, without any residual blame or "hard feelings." (It's almost as if there were an agreement to have a built-in "eraser" to eradicate any of the residual mutual bitterness that any of their difficult relationships might engender.) The potential is endless for the variety and types of combinations of connections and agreements we may have with other souls, including what the residual effects may be. We will usually experience a deeper feeling of connection to someone with whom we have a strong soul connection and, concomitantly, less so to someone with whom we may have a one-time soul agreement. This may explain why we feel an instant connection to or bond with someone we meet or an instantaneous sense of familiarity that feeling that somehow we know this person we're meeting ostensibly for the first time. Interestingly, it will often happen that we will meet someone for the first time and feel a very strong soul connection and then, over time, as we continue to get to know and interact with this person in real time, experience the feeling of the soul connection subside, while the present connection takes precedence. The soul connections that can encompass diverse types of connections can really complicate some of our relationships. For example, I've read clients whose soul connection to one of their children was that of student. In other words, the child was their teacher (over and above the usual way in which one's children can teach one lessons). This adds another element to the usual relationship of parent-child, with the parent trying to be the wiser and nurturing one!

On the other hand, a combination of soul connections can also add a richness and texture to some relationships that might not otherwise have been there. Such soul connections generally underlie our relationships with those with whom we interact closely, for example family, friends, co-workers not to mention romantic relationships. I've seen clients who've had wonderful relationships with their bosses or supervisors only for me to find a positive soul connection with the boss as benevolent mentor in previous lifetimes. Conversely, I've also seen some difficult work relationships, only to discover an overriding soul connection of antagonism or unpleasant rivalry. I've even seen instances of two people whose connection was that of always and consistently being rivals or competing with each other. This is apparently the means that they have chosen on another level to consistently stimulate each other's growth, which, again, may tend to remove any bitterness. Soul connections like these can also be confusing in romantic relationships. We will sometimes meet someone with whom we feel a strong soul connection and interpret that to mean that, because theres a strong soul connection, we're supposed to be together as romantic partners, whereas the actual soul connection may just be that of being from the same soul group or same soul family. I've seen clients who were strongly motivated to be in a particular relationship because they had felt a strong soul connection from the outset with the other person and for this reason thought they were supposed to be together. All the more reason why it's helpful to know what type of soul connection it may be. On the other hand, it can also happen that we may sense an initial aversion to someone we meet, just because of an unpleasant soul connection and this sense of aversion may shift over time as we interact with and get to know the person in the here and now for their present persona and essence. I've seen one case in which a client had a strong initial dislike for someone with whom he later became romantically involved. As his initial dislike mutated into a romantic interest, he found himself having dreams of the other person, in which he felt that he was exploring his past life connections with her. In every case, he dreamed of her abusing him in various ways. Interestingly, the present relationship between the two of them was somewhat dysfunctional, but was also a strong learning relationship as well. He ended up learning strong lessons from this relationship that stimulated his personal growth. In this particular case, his initial feeling of aversion was indicative of a difficult soul connection and a foreshadowing of painful interactions. However, he was able to mine great jewels from the experience, even though the other person was not his soul mate. Soul Mates To love is the great Amulet that makes this world a garden. -Robert Louis Stevenson The moment you have in your heart this extraordinary thing called love and feel the depth, the delight, the ecstasy of it, you will discover that for you the world is transformed. -J. Krishnamurti Love alone can unite living beings so as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone joins them by what is deepest in themselves. -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin Love is perhaps the only glimpse we are permitted of eternity. -Helen Hayes

The most wonderful of all things in life, I believe, is the discovery of another human being with whom one's relationship has a glowing depth, beauty, and joy as the years increase. This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvelous thing, it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is sort of a Divine accident. -Horace Walpole To love someone means to see him as God intended him. -Fyodor Dostoyevski Of all the themes of literature written over the ages, love has probably served as the perennially dominant theme, as evidenced by the sampling of quotations above. (Indeed, one could find many more quotations than those cited above that extol the virtues of love.) Love is obviously of paramount importance to most humans not focused strictly on survival because it truly feeds the soul (as well as helping to stimulate the release of those pleasurable endorphins). When many of us contemplate that blissful condition of romantic love, we find our minds turning to the prospect of a soul mate, that perfect partner who mirrors and/or complements us perfectly. Many of us perhaps the majority aspire to find our soul mates and be in a soulmated relationship, which we consider to be an idyllic condition of romantic love raised to the exponential power. So, what is the "soul mate" connection and how do we find our soul mate? These are questions that many of us would like to have answers to. First of all, let me say that I'm not sure that there is only one answer to either question. As I have looked at soul mate relationships and connections, whether those already in existence or future ones, I have gotten widely divergent information as to the feel of the relationship. Assuming a strong emotional connection in all soul mate relationships, one of the consistent characteristics I have gotten with many of these soul mate relationships is a strong sense of partnering, whether applied to the work they were doing together or to a general sense of their being partners in life. Another quality I have frequently gotten is comfortableness, that two people feel completely at ease and comfortable with each other. Often I get that the relationship itself is easy that everything about it feels easy or effortless and that it doesnt have to be continually worked at. I have also seen soul mate relationships in which the partners feel completely understood by each other. I have seen soul mates who really spark and stimulate each other's energy, so that they both feel "charged up" and activated with each other (and, no, not just in a sexual way). Several times when I've looked at people who are soul mates I've gotten that they "have danced together before," as if their souls danced together beautifully. The phrase "dancing together" is apparently a metaphor for how their souls interact, as, whenever I've gotten this impression, there's always the sense of a higher and quite beautiful connection. Another phrase that has come in from time to time with some soul mate connections is "children in the garden." This phrase, as well, always conveys to me a beautiful quality to the connection, as if it was the innocence deep within the two of them that resonated, so that there was a very pure quality to their connection. Hence, two "children in the garden" in a very pure and innocent state of relating to each other, protected by their innocence and unsullied prior to any "fall" and often creating their own lovely and untarnished world together. In still others, there's a sense of feeling more complete when together, as if their energies now had something similar with which to resonate or the deepest parts of their essences could now be expressed, understood, and welcomed by the other. I have also seen an equalness of energies in many soul mate connections. This equalness goes back to the question of hierarchy and power in a relationship. As we know, in some relationships one person may be the senior one, whether expressed or acted out through power in the dynamics of the relationship or whether denoting a higher level of personal development

(maturity, for example). In many soul mate relationships, however, there is an equalness both in interaction and in personal development, whether implicit at the time or implied in the future, as one partner continued to unfold and grow. There is, thus and for this reason, no question of one person having or wielding more power over the other. And, as mentioned above, the two partners may be stimulating each other's growth and there may be lessons in growth, but the sense of partnering outweighs and transcends the learning aspect or any difficulty stemming from it. On the soul level, I have gotten several different expressions of connectedness as well. I've seen soul mates who felt like twins, or like two halves of the same whole. I've seen others who complement each other's energies totally and completely. I've seen still others whose connection feels vertical and high, as if they resonate and fit together completely on several levels. In some, there is a feeling of huge energy together and in others, a complete fit. One theme I seem to get rather consistently in looking at soul mate connections is that of complete resonance, but not, however, a resonance of the inauthentic stuff. Instead, it is a resonance of each ones essence, the true selves resonating harmoniously and completely. This attribute obviously has implications for how we find our soul mate, or the condition we may need to be in in which to do so. There are a few things I have gotten consistently with regard to finding one's partner. The first one has to do with some of the lessons learned through learning relationships. You'll recall that learning relationships are those that teach us lessons in growth and that any particular learning relationship can be teaching us several things at once. One lesson I've seen consistently stemming from learning relationships has to do with discernment and, more specifically, with discernment in knowing what we want in a relationship and in our partner (and, yes, separate from any superficial considerations of appearance, income, etc.) e.g., how we want to feel in a relationship and what internal qualities we want the other person to have. Conversely, this discernment also allows us to know what we don't want as well, whether external habits (substance abuse or inconsideration, for example) or internal attributes (emotionally closed off or self-absorbed, for example). Difficult learning relationships can often and sometimes rather emphatically teach us what we don't want in a partner. So discernment can be an important factor in finding our soul mate. The reason for this is simple: until we are clear about what we want and do not want, we will usually settle for what presents itself. I have often seen instances of people wanting so badly to be in a relationship that when they met someone they were attracted to (or felt that "pull" to), they focused solely on the positive aspects of the other person and disregarded the problematic qualities of the person and/or the problem areas of the relationship. Wanting badly to be in a relationship can lead us to be in a state of denial about any red flags we see early on those undesirable or inappropriate qualities of the object of our affections. Needless to say, as a result, the relationship will often not be terribly pleasant. However, it may simply be a necessary learning relationship, especially, perhaps, to teach one about discernment and/or about finding peace and fulfillment in being with oneself. The positive outcome of such learning relationships is that when we go through a series of situations like this, we'll often get to the point where we're so burned out from the difficulty of these relationships that we'll resolve not to get into another one unless it feels totally right. This enables us to move past our "relationship at any cost" stance to the more desirable position of knowing what we want and what we don't want. Hence, the above-mentioned lessons in discernment that move us closer to being ready to connect with our true partner with whom we can truly and purely resonate, while we also strengthen enough in ourselves to find the peace and comfortableness in being alone with ourselves when need be.

I have indeed gotten the information over and over again for some clients that they will be ready for their true partner only after they have recognized, claimed, and embraced their true selves. As Sydney Harris said, "Ninety percent of the world's woe comes from people not knowing themselves, their abilities, their frailties, and even their real virtues. Most of us go almost all the way through life as complete strangers to ourselves so how can we know anyone else?" Or, as Anne Morrow Lindbergh more succinctly expressed it, "When one is a stranger to oneself, then one is estranged from others too." We've all heard the maxim that "you can't really love someone else until you learn to love yourself." Put another way, we can't be truly open to someone else until we're completely open to ourselves or, as Montaigne put it, "The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself." And this is often a prerequisite to being able to belong with our soul mate. Finding our soul mate often comes about for some people only after we have cleared some of our stuff and are more in touch with what our true essence is. (All the more reason to clear our stuff, right?) For others, the prerequisite to finding their soul mate may lie in external, rather than internal, change, in that their true partner may appear when they cease trying to do what others expect of them and start living their lives in a way that reflects who they really are and what they really want. I will often see this latter aspect expressed in the area of work or career. In other words, for these people it is frequently only after they have allowed themselves to do work that expresses both who they are and what their interests are that their soul mate appears. One of the reasons this is so is that even if they know who they truly are but are doing work that doesn't express their true self, they are still living somewhat inauthentically. The soul mate often comes in when their lives are more authentic and reflective of true self. In addition, expressing who we are through our external actions, such as work, can have the effect of strengthening us even further in who we innately are. This said, however, it is not always true that we must find a career completely resonant with our essence in order to find our soul mate. In this regard, I've seen cases in which the true soul mate appears before some of the primary inauthentic stuff is cleared and I've seen two ways in which the client and relationship are affected as a result. I've seen some lovely situations in which the soul mate relationship was so positive and supportive and healing that it actually served to stimulate the healing of one person's emotional stuff (e.g., low self-esteem). In these cases, Emmet Fox's observation is pertinent: "It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble, how hopeless the outlook, how muddled the tangle, how great the mistake. A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all." In these instances, clearing the inauthentic stuff was not a prerequisite for finding the soul mate. However, I've also seen clients who had found their partners, but the relationships were not going well or there were blocks to their being together, because one or both people had stuff to work through before the relationship could go well or move forward, or even before they could be together. If there is a large amount of inauthentic "stuff" on the part of one of the partners that hasn't yet been cleared, it may serve as an impediment to the relationship going forward even if the two are soul mates and/or there may be problems in the relationship. As author Doris Mortman wrote, "Until you make peace with who you are, you'll never be content with what you have." I've seen several cases in the past two years of soul mates who were not yet together because one or both had personal issues to work on, and, interestingly, it is frequently the man who had issues to clear. This is perhaps so because of the general disparity between where men and women are in their lives at present and in clearing their respective inauthentic stuff. Because of the women's movement, women have, generally speaking, gradually worked on some of their stuff in the past twenty to thirty years empowering themselves, becoming aware of and clearing their stuff, and becoming overall clearer in their vision. Men, by and large and in contrast, have not done as much personal and internal work on themselves. This has created a real disparity between where men and women generally are on their respective paths. On the whole, women are presently much further along and men have some catch-up to do. This disparity in growth, of course, has bled through to the area of romantic relationships. Fortunately, the fairly recent phenomenon of the men's movement has started the process for men to begin to work on their stuff and catch up. (Obviously, relationships other than romantic ones

are also affected by our stuff. It is so helpful in a relationship with, for instance, a child to be able to see clearly who he/she is, rather than just who we as parents may want him or her to be, because we're projecting our own stuff onto him/her.) Interestingly, I've also learned that we may often have an energetic rapprochement on some level before someone very significant comes into our lives (although thus far I've primarily seen this in the partner or soul mate connection). Not infrequently before two partners meet, they may communicate with each other on some level, whether consciously or unconsciously. I've known clients who started dreaming of their partners prior to their actually meeting physically in real time. And I've known other clients who didn't just dream of their partner, but were communicating with their partner in the dream state prior to meeting. Two people who are strongly and closely connected, especially (but not necessarily only) soul mates, will often start to move into each other's energy fields before physically meeting. This will often happen shortly, relatively speaking, before they meet (usually anywhere from a few months to a few years). Intuitives who can see or sense the aura or energy field will often pick up on this and see or sense the other person's presence there. A very little-known manifestation of this will be communication on the sexual level prior to two soul mates physically meeting. This can be experienced as strong and rather intense sexual feelings, coming seemingly out of the blue with either a sense of urgency or a sense that they're coming from someone else "out there." Time and distance are no impediments to this happening and the two soul mates could be states or continents apart. This sexual communication will often be experienced as a precursor to the people directly communicating or even knowing that the other person actually exists or who the person is. This is a very real phenomenon and often perplexing to experience if you haven't already heard about the possibility of such things occurring. This preknowledge of the soul mate or significant partner coming in, whether in dreams, telepathy, or sexual communication, would appear to happen outside of our conscious volition. It seemingly may be initiated on other levels of our consciousness or may be the universe trying to let us know or awaken us to the possibility, perhaps as preparation for actually meeting and interacting with our soul mate. I sometimes smile and consider "Cupid's arrow" as being behind the sexual communication, as it happens without either person trying to initiate it and would appear to be initiated by an outside agent, the Divine perhaps wanting the soul mates to connect and be together. On the other hand, interestingly enough, the fact of this sexual phenomenon occurring does not necessarily imply that the two people are indeed soul mates or are meant to be together either in person or throughout their lives. These phenomena may be heralding the arrival in our lives of someone who will affect us deeply for our own unfolding process, but who may not, in actuality, be our true partner. There are other ways in which we may have knowledge aforehand, frequently quite unconsciously, of our soul mate, often expressed as foreknowledge of the attributes our soul mate will have, of the situation we'll encounter with him/her, etc. We may find ourselves consistently drawn to various people who may all have one particular attribute in common; for instance, we may find ourselves in a pattern of being drawn to writers over and over again. Whereas patterns in our relationships may often signal an unhealthy pattern, herald issues we need to work on in ourselves, or simply represent a familiar pattern from childhood, this is not always the case. We may be continually attracted to writers, for example, because we've always had an unconscious intuitive awareness that our soul mate would be a writer. Some people have an unconscious awareness of what their soul mate may be like or what situation may surround their relationship. This unconscious awareness cam exist, I feel, because we choose our lives before we come into them (or are born), as I previously mentioned. Although we tend to have a general amnesia about what we are to encounter and experience (so that we may indeed go through learning and growing experiences freshly), some people will retain some artifacts of awareness, on the unconscious level, of what the script for

their lives will be a scene, for example, or a face, or a characteristic, or a career that will be connected to their soul mate. I've seen one client suggest relationship counseling to some of his partners and then walk out of the relationship when this course of action was rejected. Contrary to this being a pattern of dysfunction to be recognized and worked on, it appeared instead to be an unconscious precognition that his true partner and he would need to undergo relationship counseling or work on their relationship in some way and would do so. I've seen yet another person whose first spouse was a Scorpio five years older and whose second spouse was an artist. In actuality, her soul mate was an artist who was a Scorpio five years older. She apparently had the preknowledge on some level of her consciousness that her soul mate would be a Scorpio artist five years older than she and that was what she had been seeking albeit quite unconsciously. So there may be a legitimate reason why we are attracted over and over again to the same type of person, other than as a dysfunctional pattern. It's as if the universe removes some of our amnesia about our life plan, by giving us some clues to hunt for as we play "treasure hunt" in our quest for our soul mate. We may feel that a soul mate relationship will necessarily feel a certain way and only that way. Interestingly, however, what I have seen is that people who find their soul mates will have varying subjective experiences of what the connection feels like. In some relationships people may feel more whole, or engaged, or truly alive. The sense of feeling more whole is an intriguing one, as astrological analysis of the natal charts of soul mates may sometimes show that the partners will round each other out or fill in gaps in each others charts. For example, if one person has a difficult aspect in his/her natal chart, such as a square or an inconjunct, that creates tension or some problematic, or even dysfunctional, attribute, this person's soul mate may have planets in his/her natal chart at exact degrees that offset, round out, or otherwise mitigate the difficult aspect. As a more specific example, if one person has a difficult inconjunct (planets a fifth apart), his/her soul mate may have one or more planets directly sextiling or trining (both positive aspects), thus rounding out the chord so that the two people may indeed "make beautiful music together." This can be an inherently healing aspect of their connection on an energetic or harmonic level. As you can see, soul mate connections can be quite varied and diverse. Interestingly, I have also gotten information about soul mate connections counter to what I had previously thought was true. I used to feel, as many of us have, that we have only one soul mate and that this was the person we have been with from one lifetime to the next as our soul mate. What I have seen instead is that there are often several possible soul mates in existence and that we may be with one in some lifetimes and with others in other lifetimes. This may be partly due to our persona often changing, which I'll touch on later. And, of course, there are those lifetimes in which we are not with a soul mate nor meant to be with one, simply because that is what we are meant to experience in that lifetime.

Passed-On Loved Ones Dear, beauteous death, the jewel of the just! Shining nowhere but in the dark; What mysteries do lie beyond thy dust, Could man outlook that mark! -Henry Vaughan Oh, heart, if the ignorant say to you that the soul perishes like the body, answer that the flower perishes, but the seeds remain.

-Kahlil Gibran There is no Death! What seems so is transition, This life of mortal breath Is but a suburb of the life elysian, Whose portal we call Death. -Longfellow They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still. -William Penn Nothing is precious Except that part of you which is in other people And that part of others which is in you. Up there, On high, Everything is one. -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin A discussion of relationships would not be complete without a look at relationships with other loved ones, including those who have transitioned. Although I was asked early on to look at "departed" loved ones, it has only been in the past few years that I have been asked to do so with more frequency. I am not a medium and therefore do not experience souls speaking through me. Instead, I tune in to the person's energy and can usually pick up on where they are and what they may be doing. In this manner, I have gained some insight into "the other side." It goes without saying that I feel that consciousness does not die when a person's body dies. Awareness continues to exist and have experiences, whether enthroned in a physical body or not, or whether in the persona familiar to those left behind or not. It is only natural for people to worry about loved ones who have died, to be concerned about whether they are doing okay, and also perhaps to obsess about things left unsaid or lost opportunities to clear up any misunderstandings. These concerns will often be the motivations leading clients to ask me about passed-on loved ones. As I have tuned in intermittently to passed-on loved ones, I can say that I have never gotten that someone was suffering or being punished. Thus far, everyone I've looked at who has "died" is really okay. Having said that, I'll add that I have gotten several variations on where one is or what he or she is doing. Some people are still in close proximity to this level of existence and to their loved ones. They are remaining close by sometimes in order to keep a caring eye on loved ones or to watch how they're doing. Some will try to communicate in various ways, whether soon after having died or at a later point in time, so as to let their loved ones know that they're still alive or that their consciousness hasn't died and, instead, continues. Surveys in this country have shown that a majority of Americans have experienced some form of communication with passed-on loved ones. This communication will take different forms. Some will actually see the form of their loved one. Others may smell the perfume or cologne that their loved one may have customarily worn. Others may sense their loved one's presence, and still others will see a physical manifestation involving objects (e.g., the loved one's favorite rocking chair rocking as if the person were sitting in it). Others will receive messages in the dream state or actually visit or meet with their loved one in dreams. This after-"death" communication is not limited to humans. Passed-on pets will also often find a way to communicate their presence. I've personally experienced this with two beloved dogs who had died, and I've also

had several clients tell me of their own experiences. My first dog June, a beautiful, ex-abused but very spiritually advanced beagle, kept banging the closed gate of the pen the night after she died, almost as if she was determinedly saying, "I'm alive, damn it! Don't you hear me I'm still alive!" (This use of the pen to communicate was somewhat unusual, as June had never spent a lot of time in it during her life.) Sara, my beautiful greyhound, left peacock feathers for me to find on my night table the morning after she had died, indicating to me, I felt, that she was still around and had her sense of humor, which had been eroded by her physical decline before she "died," back again. Clients have told me about seeing the impression of their pet's body on top of the bed in the pet's favorite spot, hearing their pet's tags jingle, feeling their pet rub up against them, etc. Some passed-on loved ones will be trying to communicate something specific to us. Often this message is as simple as that they are okay or that they forgive their loved one for any perceived transgression. I've had one client who received information about money her spouse had invested about which she had been unaware. Transitioned souls do not have to be in close physical proximity to their loved ones, however, in order to communicate or express concern. I have seen some instances in which the passed-on person was at more a physical distance and came back occasionally to check on loved ones. I've seen others who were at a distance and sent part of their energy to be with loved ones while still remaining at a physical distance, and I've seen still others who were at a distance and could at one and the same time simultaneously be with their loved ones and be further away. In this latter instance, the person or his/her energy could bilocate while on the other side. Insofar as how one's transition to the other side goes, I've also seen variances. I've seen some souls who have instantly acclimated, as if they were thrilled to be freed up from their earthly bodies and its limitations, and I've also seen those who appeared to be a little muddled after they had died as if they were trying to get used to where they now were. For those who may need to acclimate, the time it takes can vary; I've seen both days and years. (Remember that human time is very different from spiritual "time" or eternity.) And the reasons why a soul may have trouble acclimating may vary as well. I've seen a few people whose deaths were quite sudden and unexpected from accidents or violence who may take more time to realize where they are and to acclimate to their new surroundings and condition. I've also seen a few people who had difficulty getting out of the personas or personalities they had lived their former lives in, especially if they might have been fairly negative or fear-based ones. Their shifting out of that earthly persona into a higher level of their consciousness and spectrum of existence just took some time, and their period of acclimatization was longer. However, thus far I've never seen anyone who was "stuck" or earthbound and negatively "haunting" as a result. The attitude of those passed-on will vary as well. I've seen those who were laughing uproariously out loud; those, as I mentioned, who were thrilled to be freed up; those who were smiling lovingly; those who were feeling somewhat mischievous; those who were in a quiet, almost reflective mode; those who were just observing; those who were somewhat confused (because they were still acclimating to their transition); etc. I have yet to see anyone angry or negative or hostile. What souls are actually doing on the other side will also vary. In addition to those who are still acclimating to having "died," I've seen those who are learning or studying. This educational activity will sometimes occur in a group (like a "class"), sometimes with one-on-one instruction (as with a tutor), or individually through other means or with tools (such as some form of "books"). I've seen those who are guiding others who are still here on earth, as well as those who are getting ready to be guides. Some of those who are guiding do it for a while before reincarnating again. I've also seen those who are in a waiting mode for their next step or phase. I've seen one person who was moving around "checking on" things and situations because she had played a role as a regulator of energies in the earthly three-dimensional world.

One fascinating thing I saw came not from looking at someone passed on, but a client very much still in body and alive. In looking at his past lives, I glimpsed him in between lives at one point being in a mode of simply being there and observing life on this level, and affecting and facilitating things here simply by his energy emitted from the other side. (This is not the same thing as guiding someone.) This in-between-lives activity gave him experience for affecting others with his energy while here in this lifetime. I have seen a few souls who have merged with all that is. Princess Diana, as I described earlier, is one such case. Some of the information I've gotten about their loved ones has surprised some clients, because it is in stark contrast to the way their loved one was in life. One thing we often fail to realize (or remember) is that we drop the persona we had in life and sync up with the truer soul level. Clients will also be surprised at times when they learn that a loved one has a completely different perspective on the other side than he or she did in life and that he or she can see and understand why things happened the way they did and why people acted the way they did. This is, of course, because their transitioned loved ones on the other side can now see from this higher vantage point and can see the totality, rather than just being able to perceive things subjectively from their limited human ego-filtered view. Some of the fascinating things I've learned in looking at passed-on loved ones have to do with soul connections. I've already touched upon the concept of soul connections, but would now like to take this topic a step further by sharing some information I've received that may be surprising to some. We will sometimes feel that our role with someone else will remain fairly constant over lives. As I've mentioned, this is not always the case. For example, some people may feel that a guide is always a guide for others. This is not always true, as I learned when I looked at a client's relationship with his deceased wife. I saw that there was a soul connection between them of her having been his teacher/mentor and that she has been a spirit guide to him off and on throughout some lives, while very much engaged with him as his wife in this lifetime before she had transitioned. This was the first time that I had seen that a guide for someone else could actually be in body and be married to the person he or she was guiding or mentoring. Another fascinating glimpse into the huge spectrum of soul connections came when I looked at two little girls, who were not related to each other through family, but had a strong connection nonetheless. One had died and the other had received her heart in a heart transplant. The client seeing me was the father of the girl who had received the transplant. He was asking about the girl who had been the donor because he sensed there was some sort of connection between his daughter and the other girl. When I then tuned in to any soul connection between them, I got that their souls have always been connected, because their souls are mirrors of each other. They have even been twins before in some lives. I further got that the girl who had died doesn't have to incarnate or come back in a body for any necessary soul development, but does this only if she has something specific to do or accomplish or some role to play for others. Another example of the variety of soul connections was given to me though looking at the connection between a brother and sister. When I looked at each of them individually, I found her to be very "Neptunian" unfocused and not grounded. He, on the other hand, was quite grounded and practical. When I looked at their soul connection, I found that their souls are deeply connected and are like twins, but actually represent different bands of the same spectrum, with her being the higher level of the soul spectrum and him being the part of the band connected to earth. An example of a variation on this type of connection came when I looked at another brother and sister (this time half-brother and half-sister) who were separated in age by 23 years, but were very close emotionally to each other. The older of the two, the half-sister, had a very happy energy and loved to stimulate situations with her energy. I then found the two of them to be two separate expressions of the same soul energy and got that

they often work together, stimulating each other. At the time of the session, she had transitioned and tries to inspire him from the other side. I further found that she doesn't have to come back and incarnate and only does so if she has something specific to do or accomplish. Before I received this information, I had not theorized about two different people being the expression of the same soul energy while in body in the same lifetime. I found another illustration of souls being entwined when I looked at a grandfather and his grandson. I found that they were also part of the same soul. The grandfather serves to remind his grandson of his own depth and does this energetically from the other side. Now, as I mentioned, this information was definitely new to me. I had certainly never conceived of souls being anything but discrete, or, rather, that a person's soul could be anything but his or hers alone. I have been quite surprised to have received information that two people were part of or expressions of the same soul. I have seen this phenomenon now in several different people (although it certainly hasn't been the norm). I have seen this phenomenon in two people not even related as family, but connected on this plane through another person (one person as wife to the client and the other person as grandmother). I have also seen one family in which there were two pairs of people who were part of the same soul. What does this imply about the discreteness of our souls and how separate we really are? And what claim can we ultimately make to ego and uniqueness of identity or soul? I have encountered another type of manifestation of soul connectedness and multiplicity of manifestation. When I read one client, a talented healer, I sensed an energy above her right shoulder and found that this energy was connected to her brother who had been mildly retarded, but quite aware nevertheless, and who had died at a young age. This presence of her brother's energy above her shoulder was the result of a mutual agreement between the two of them and the healer's need for this presence, since her brother was now an awareness on a high level who could guide her and send her energy. This presence also serves the purpose of being a reminding impetus to the healer to do her healing work. I want to stress, however, that this is not the same phenomenon as what has been referred to as a negative energy attachment, but instead represents a mutual agreement. Another, and stronger, illustration of a passed-on loved one energetically connecting is that of a client whose romantic partner had died. The soul connection between the two of them was deep and profound. When I looked at the two of them, I found that his partner's soul had energetically merged with his own. This was definitely something I had not seen before or even considered possible. Moreover, my client was consciously aware of his partner's soul having merged with his and needed confirmation from me that this was what had indeed occurred and that what he was experiencing wasn't coming from something else. He further said that his physical appearance had even changed somewhat as a result of his partner's soul's presence having merged with his own. Through the merging, his partner was not only closely being with him, but also supporting, encouraging, and guiding him. These cases of soul sameness, multiple and simultaneous expression, and entwining of souls have certainly served to teach me that what I thought I knew about the discreteness of souls was both premature and sophomoric and that indeed the universe is much more complex and creative than I had allowed myself previously to conceive. This is another reason why I say that all things are possible and that there are no hard and fast rules for how things operate or can operate in the universe.

Career/Purpose Purpose is what gives life a meaning. -C. H. Parkhurst

Career is another major area of concern for people. This makes perfect sense since, of economic necessity, we must work in order to have an income and survive. Given the fact that most of us in our society work a regular forty (or even fifty to seventy) hours a week, work and career consume a huge percentage of our time and hence our focus (not to mention our energy). Many of us further tend to have our self-image and/or self-definition wrapped up in our jobs. For these reasons, if our job is not going well, we may well be miserable. Career, as one may suppose, is another topic that clients will usually inquire about. They may want to know if their work is going well or how to improve their work environment. Quite often they will be looking for a new career direction. I have thus been privy to a lot of intuitive information regarding work and career and have seen some interesting information come in over and over again, which I interpret as a reinforcement of it. Most of the time the clients I see who are inquiring about career are working in jobs that are not only frustrating for them, but also far from optimal (for who they are in their essence). I see this repeatedly, from the young 24-year-old who has majored in but whose essence is unsuitable for business or marketing, to the 48-year-old who has been discontent and unfulfilled in his/her work for years. This problem of work that is largely unsatisfying often stems from our conditioning and mindsets about career choice, as well as from the very factors that we allow ourselves to consider in our decision-making process. Because career choice mainly has to do with garnering income and our economic survival, the questions of suitability or quality of life do not seem to be asked or posited as factors to be considered. When I tune into a client's essence, I often get implications for career, whether the client has asked specifically about the topic or not. For instance, if I get that a client is strongly independent and is an independent thinker, I will usually get that he/she needs to have some measure of autonomy in his/her work. There is thus in career choice a question and factor of resonance (between a person's essence and his/her work), just as there is with relationships (between the people involved). Hence, I have seen over and over again that the essence of a person, in and of itself, has strong implications for the nature of his/her work and what that work should be. This is so, I feel, because the best work or career for us to be involved in is that which is an expression of our essence who we are on the inside and what our interests are (those things we may feel passionately about). We are often at our best, feel the most engaged, and find the greatest fulfillment when we are expressing our essence outwardly through the activities that we engage in. And this is true for the person who is fairly simple or uncomplicated in his/her essence, as well as for the person who is fairly complicated and/or multi-faceted. The more multi-faceted person may just have to engage in more activities in order to express his/her totality. For example, let's consider the case of someone whose essence is that of feeling a connection to and a love of animals, who is excellent at organizing, and is articulate and independent. This person may have been working for years in a corporate structure as an administrative assistant and been miserable or unfulfilled. For this person, the perfect career may be that of running and/or doing marketing or fund-raising for a non-profit agency concerned with animal welfare. Unfortunately as a general rule we don't tend to take into account the totality of who we are when we are in the throes of trying to select a career or of simply finding a job. We tend to take the most expedient route a job thats convenient to get to, that pays well, where we know other people, etc. and then find ourselves frustrated at some point further down the road (and often wonder why we're frustrated). Research done by Dr. Howard Gardner, a professor of Education at Harvard University (as cited in his book The Unschooled Mind) identifies seven areas of intelligence (verbal, mathematical/logical, spatial, musical, interpersonal, bodily, and introspective), rather than the traditionally recognized two (of verbal and mathematical). His research has

shown that we can be strong (as well as weak) in various combinations of these seven areas and, further, that people tend to feel frustrated or unfulfilled if they're not utilizing all of the areas in which they're strong. This research has obvious implications for the activity area of our lives, including career. If we spend a large percentage of our time engaged in tasks or activities that do not express who we are on the inside, then that part of us, our core essence, is unexpressed and we may feel as if we're shriveling up. This is a perfect recipe for feeling unfulfilled and longing for something we may not even be able to verbalize. What we tend to do in our society when we are job or career hunting is to find a pre-existing job, sometimes the first one we find. And this, of course, makes perfect sense. What this process is tantamount to, however, is trying to fit ourselves into a pre-existing slot without taking into consideration who we are. And, if we're square pegs trying to fit into round holes, obviously the fit isn't going to feel right and we're going to feel both out of sorts and out of place. There are certainly people who may find the perfect career for their essence through pre-existing careers or job descriptions, and sometimes their jobs can grow according to their abilities. For those others for whom there isn't a pre-existing career or job that can express their essence or its totality, a better approach to career selection would be one that takes the factor of essence into consideration. I remember getting information on this question quite specifically in a session one day, and I was quite surprised by what was coming out of my mouth (one of those instances when the verbiage escaping my lips suddenly took me aback, as it was something I had never consciously considered). Since that incident, I have gotten this information over and over again. And that counsel is that, in order to come up with a perfect career, we should first determine who we are on the inside (our essence), what our abilities and our interests are, and come up with a career choice that combines and expresses these even if it's a form that doesn't exist at the time and we have to create it. In other words, we may have to carve out our own niche, something that may require us to be more proactive than just finding a "prepackaged" job. And it may require creativity as well, as we put things together in new ways. (And I have felt since first getting this information that we would be seeing more and more "new forms" of jobs and careers coming into existence in the work- and marketplace, as people put things together in new combinations.) The realization that we may need to create a new form for a career that suits us perfectly but that may not yet exist is obviously not for everyone. However, if we are one of those for whom it is appropriate, it may indeed require the courage to take the initiative and put ourselves on the line. For some, however, there is no other choice if they are to find fulfillment. Designer Cecil Beaton's advice, then, would be germane: "Be daring, be different, be impractical; be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary. Routines have their purposes, but the merely routine is the hidden enemy of high art" or of fulfillment. Strongly worded advice, but it is worthy of consideration. For the more multi-faceted, this may mean either doing more than one thing at a time or having more than one career (for it's also true that we don't have to have just one career, either throughout our lives or even at any one point in time). Moreover, the career that we're engaged in may shift over time as our interests shift. The manner in which we find that right career may vary from one person to the next. Some people may actively research what would be good for them. Others may try different careers through a process of elimination to find what fits (even if they dont intentionally set out to do that). Others may be led to what's right. Still others may be given the perfect opportunity (as the universe intercedes to get us into what we're supposed to be doing, akin to the deux ex machina descending from the skies in Greek drama to resolve the dilemma). And still others may use a combination of approaches. It's important to realize that, as with anything else, choosing and/or finding the right career may not happen overnight and may instead be a process that unfolds over time. This is fine as well.

For spiritually oriented people the question of career becomes even more complicated. We don't necessarily want a career that just feels okay or just pays the bills; we want, instead, to be fulfilling our purpose and we often feel that our purpose will be expressed through career. The issue of purpose, therefore, often becomes almost inextricably bound up in the issue of career. What is purpose? As those of us who are spiritually oriented believe, our purpose is the primary goal or activity that we have come into a lifetime to achieve or perform; furthermore, many of us also assume that one's purpose is to be expressed in a singular (and major) way and/or that it is to be the pinnacle of our lives. Because work and career become such a major focal point time- and energy-wise in our lives, we often have an underlying assumption that our purpose has to come through our career. As mentioned above, this is not always the case. As I have read people over the years, I have received information over and over again on clients' purposes. And I have seen that the ways in which purpose is expressed from one person to the next are as varied as people's essences are. From the information I have received, I have gleaned that purpose is neither always necessarily expressed through career nor necessarily even through a specific (or singular) form. Consider some of the examples given in Chapter 4. For instance, some people's purpose is to affect other people positively through their energy and being, without doing anything directly or deliberately to accomplish this. Other people may have a purpose that is expressed through a particular activity, but are meant to experience something else for a job. Franz Kafka, the writer, worked as a civil functionary and did his writing on the side (although his life was apparently not a happy one and for reasons not just related to his job). Some people may have a purpose that is expressed in one particular event at one sole time. And other people may have more of an overall purpose that is expressed continually throughout their lives. And, to complicate matters further, some people's purposes are not expressed in relationship to other people, but to the overall energy and/or condition of the earth or events. (Consider, for example, those who are here as "witnesses," "reporters," or as connectors to "governing" or "regulating" entities.) The manifestations and forms of purpose are varied and unrestricted as to expression and as to when we may come to fulfill it. And some of us may indeed have more than one purpose. The question of what career to pursue thus becomes more that of knowing what suits our essence and interests, and allowing ourselves to shift over time, while also having an eye out for what our purpose (or even purposes) may be. As with other areas of our lives, there are no set rules. And, as with relationships, the question of resonance of energies, as mentioned above, is germane. Career is an area in which we can not only find more fulfillment, but may also incorporate a spiritual component or consideration, rather than necessarily divorcing the spiritual from the worldly (or economic) concern. In other words, we don't have to assume that the spiritual (our purpose) and the worldly (our economic survival) can't commingle. And, conversely, we may find that our purpose(s) may exist outside of the realm of career and that we don't need to strive or put an additional onus on ourselves to find the career that will fulfill or be an expression of our purpose. The more pertinent considerations for career may be more those of our essence and fulfillment and which career will resonate with who we are and with what we enjoy.

Levels of Being The soul is created in a place between Time and Eternity: With its highest powers it touches Eternity, with its lower, Time. -Meister Eckhart

Matter and Spirit: These were no longer two things But two states Or two aspects of one and the same cosmic Stuff, According to whether it was looked at Or carried further in the direction in which it is becoming itself Or in the direction in which it is disintegrating. Matter is the Matrix of Spirit. Spirit is the higher state of Matter. -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin I have gradually come to realize that all of existence exists on levels and that any one being or facet of existence has a multiplicity of expression on these various levels. This understanding has unfolded only very slowly and gradually over time for me. For years, I had noticed myself thinking and saying that "on one level I feel thisand on another level I feel this." Over time, as I continued to observe myself saying this, I started to question what I was really saying, or, rather, what this business of levels, that I was unconsciously experiencing and verbalizing, really was. As I have continued to ponder this question, and especially as I have received information through my intuitive work, I have increasingly gained an understanding of what this issue of levels is about. Again, the question of levels applies to several aspects of existence. We may be most familiar with the aspect of it concerning consciousness that there are those levels of consciousness (unconscious, conscious awareness, higher conscious) that I discussed in Part I (when I alluded to consciousness existing in a spectrum). As mentioned there, we can explore and bring to conscious awareness some of those artifacts and pieces that have lain dormant in our unconscious through modalities such as meditation. I feel, as well, that we can begin to explore the higher levels of our consciousness through meditation and using our intuition. (Whether we are in actuality achieving this through contact with guides, angels, or entities from other solar systems or galaxies or through some other form or modality is, to me, irrelevant, because the bottom line is that we are in some way accessing higher levels of our consciousness.) If you refer back to our discussion on page 39, you'll recall the concept of consciousness being composed of energy and that the spectrum of consciousness may exist in octaves, just as musical pitches do, distinguished by the differences in frequency of vibration. When we have colloquially spoken of higher and lower mind, we may thus have had an intuitive awareness that these aspects correspond to the higher and lower frequency of vibration of consciousness energy. This concept of levels of existence may also be applied to that of souls, in that a soul can exist in a spectrum. We have already alluded to the difference between the persona that one takes on in a particular lifetime and the true soul identity on the highest levels in that the human persona or personality is different from the higher level of the soul. I have also mentioned instances in which I have seen a soul expressing itself in two different people concurrently. There thus may be simultaneous expressions of different levels of a soul, such that two (or more) people may be parts of the same soul or expressing different parts of the same soul or that there may be several simultaneous expressions of the same soul, with some in body and some not. I've simply seen too many instances of two people being part of the same soul to feel otherwise. This may run counter to our normal view of souls (and it certainly took me aback when I first encountered it because it ran counter to the understanding I used to have of soul discreteness); however, it is the information that I have seen and picked up on and only serves to add to my awe at the complexity of creation and the creativity of the universe with its infinite potential.

I further feel that this question of levels is not just limited to color, sound, consciousness, and souls, but that also (and indeed) the totality of existence is composed of levels. Let's remember that the true building blocks of our world, according to physicists, are composed of energy and that on the minutest levels even that which we may consider to be solid matter is actually energy (waves, and even waves acting at times as particles). Mystics for centuries have said that our earthly plane is lower and denser than higher levels of existence, and spiritual literature is replete with references to higher planes. Metaphysicians have traditionally stated that we humans exist on the lower earthly plane, while the Divine (God) exists on the higher levels, while also permeating all of creation. In addition to these levels of existence, there are those who for centuries have posited the existence of other dimensions (which I have felt for years co-exist in the same space, but vibrate at different frequencies). As I have repeatedly mentioned (like a mantra perhaps), my sense is that we humans are living lives in a body here on earth in order to learn, grow, and evolve, as well as for the roles we play in the greater drama. And we could, perhaps, only learn and grow on a "denser" plane of existence with its concomitant duality. We thus may need a level of existence that is lower and denser, in order for growth to be possible. (In addition, this aspect of an indispensable duality has strong implications, I feel, for other spiritual issues of good and evil, for example, which I will address later). Comprehending our world and universe as one in which there are multitudinous levels of existence renders an awe-inspiring complexity to it that can be breath-taking in its beauty. For me personally, it definitely engenders a sense of reverent wonder and admiration. Reincarnation and "Karma" Even as a caterpillar, when coming to an end of a blade of grass, reaches out to another blade of grass and draws itself over to it, in the same way the Soul, leaving the body and unwisdom behind, reaches out to another body and draws itself over to it. -Upanishads Though new the frame Thy soul inhabits now, I've tracked its flame For many an age, in every chance and change Of that existence, through whose varied range As through a torch-race, where, from hand to hand, The flying youths transmit their shining branch From flame to frame the unextinguished soul Rapidly passes, till it reach the goal! -Thomas Moore The seed of God is in us. Given an intelligent and hard-working farmer, it will thrive and grow up to God, whose seed it is; and accordingly its fruits will be God-nature. Pear seeds grow into pear trees, nut seeds into nut trees, and God seed into God. -Meister Eckhart I have previously stated that I feel that the purpose of living different lives is to experience everything there is to experience, in order to enrich our souls, the goal of which would be to become more "God-like" on the soul level and then, perhaps, to merge again with the Divine and all that is. This experiencing of everything, the totality, therefore includes experiencing both the positive and the negative, the good and the bad (and the ugly), because the totality of existence includes all of these qualities. This totality of experience would also include experiencing different personalities and ways of being. This means, of course, that we are not always

female or male; white or black, etc.; American or Japanese; heterosexual or gay; or good or bad or perhaps even human. For this reason, I feel that the persona, or personality, may be what we take on in a lifetime for what we are to experience in that lifetime and/or the role that we are to play in the greater drama on earth. In other words, I do not feel that we have the same persona or personality from one lifetime to the next. And, as already mentioned, because time does not really exist, at least on the highest level, all our lives unfold and happen simultaneously. This would remove any cause and effect factor or linear progression of betterment from lifetime to lifetime (except, perhaps, for our perception of it on this level). If one then applies this lack of causality or linear progression to problems we encounter in our lives, it has implications, I feel, for a notion that many have subscribed to in the past several years, and that is the idea that a problem we have in the present lifetime was caused by or stems from something we experienced or did in a "prior" lifetime. Many people assiduously seek to heal their present problems by focusing on their past lives. I don't feel that this approach is optimal, for the above reason (that progress is not necessarily linear nor are there always linear causes and effects). What I have seen, however, is what I call "bleed-throughs." A "bleedthrough" occurs when there is a resonance between lives, or between what is experienced in lives. (You'll notice a recurring theme of "resonance." This is because all is, at base, energy and how things interact will be more a question of resonance of energies than linear cause and effect.) In other words, we may be working on a similar issue or experiencing similar things in more than one lifetime and this may cause a bleed-through of the issue from one lifetime to another, because the problem resonates (just as in other of our lifetimes this issue may be nonexistent). When an issue in the present lifetime is a "bleed-through," past life therapy may be particularly helpful. However, I've seen several people chase exclusively after past-life causes without looking at possible causes in the present lifetime, and this singular pursuit of causality in other lifetimes, at times, can represent a denial of what is presently on one's plate with regard to inauthentic stuff in the present lifetime, as well as a predilection for the pursuit of the exotic (past lives) over the mundane (present life stuff). While it may be somewhat trendy and therefore more exciting (and fun) to seek after past-life causes, in actuality it may be more prudent and judicious to begin with the present lifetime in seeking out the basis for issues and then work backwards (or sidewards) to other lifetimes. If we look at reincarnation as a means whereby we can enrich our souls, what then do we make of that spiritual hot topic, "karma?" We've all heard of the term karma, and we may have different understandings of what it is. The way I've heard karma mentioned throughout my life has led me to feel that the popular concept of karma is rather superstitious and sadly disempowering. The term karma is often used to refer to whatever negative things there are for us to experience or go through, because the term is usually used in that fashion. "Oh, that must be his karma," we say when someone experiences something terrible like a car accident, or "I hope I have very little karma left to burn off," again referring to something negative that is also an obligation to take care of beyond ones control. I've also heard people refer to relationship difficulties as "karmic," usually when they don't truly understand why the difficulties are there. "Karma" in these instances becomes a catch-all phrase for that which we don't understand and assume to be beyond our control because it has to be coming from somewhere else other than the here and now. I've often heard people refer to karma as the law of balance, meaning that we will have karma with other people such that if we have done something (usually bad) to someone else in another lifetime, we have to be paid back by him/her in this lifetime. In this case, we may say, "oh, that must be my karma for doing something to him in my last life." This usage of the term karma, again, has a negative connotation. I say that the way the term is used is often disempowering because I usually see people worrying about being punished for something they did in another lifetime (that they are usually unaware of), as if they had all these unseen burdens to carry around and as if they were doomed beyond their present (life's) responsibilities or abilities to pay for prior lives' unknown sins or indiscretions. I am reminded of the myth of Sisyphus continually and painfully rolling that boulder up the mountain, doomed to do so by a punishing god exacting unfair punishment on unsuspecting and

helpless humans, perhaps for transgressions the humans were unaware of or had not even committed. Do we really feel that God or the Divine is that sadistic? A belief in karma as something negative may come from an inherent need to understand why difficult things happen in our lives. I personally feel that the problematic experiences we go through usually happen either to stimulate our own growth and learning (i.e., they are lessons) and/or for the learning, growth, or benefit of others. It is in what we make of these "bad" or painfully difficult experiences that we choose to either define ourselves as helpless victims (through staying stuck in the "victim mentality") or transmute the experiences into something positive (i.e., as an opportunity to learn and gain something positive). (This is a way in which we can be spiritual alchemists in our lives, by transmuting the dross and pain into something positive, beneficial, and new.) In contrast to the disempowering and superstitious aspects of the notion of karma (as we worry about the sword of Damocles descending to smite us for some unknown reason or some unknown transgression we committed against someone else in another lifetime), the information I have received on soul agreements has cast an entirely different light on our problematic relationships with others. In other words, learning that two people have a soul agreement to interact with each other, for example, in a painful or otherwise difficult relationship for the primary purpose of stimulating each other's growth and learning and soul's unfolding removes any element of revenge, payback, punishment or karma, as used in this context. This is so because their soul agreement is a mutual agreement for an experience, albeit a difficult one to go through, that will be mutually beneficial (for learning and soul evolution). How can karma then, when seen in this light, be a legitimate agent of punishment, payback, or other negativity? And, as is obvious, this view of soul agreements and reincarnation does not presuppose a God who willfully, and seemingly randomly, punishes and is sadistic for no beneficial purpose. Furthermore, the narrow view of karma does not take into consideration the larger view that we are here not just for our own unfolding, but also for the greater drama as well as our roles in that drama for others' unfolding. Karma is described by some, as previously mentioned, as the "law of balance." When we consider that the purpose of living multiple lives is to experience everything, including the good and the bad, we can see then how the issue of balance comes in, through the good offsetting the bad. I tend to think more in terms of totality, however, than balance that we are to experience a totality or have a totality of experience. I'd like to add one more thought on the topic of reincarnation and that has to do with the concept of old souls. Old souls are generally considered to be those people who have lived many, many lives and whose soul progression is such that great wisdom and awareness are acquired. This view, again, presupposes a linear progression throughout lives, as we incrementally evolve and become "better" souls. Thus, this view then also necessarily presupposes the existence of the element of time. As I have previously mentioned, my sense is that time doesn't exist in the greater scheme of reality and, thus, all lives occur simultaneously. So how could we then explain the phenomenon of old souls if we do indeed feel that old souls exist? I dont have an answer to that question, Im afraid, but I have indeed known people who did fit that description people who appeared to have more depth and awareness than most or had that elusive old soul flavor. In fact, I have seen various expressions of old souls through my work and would like to share those variations. One "old soul" quality that I have seen most frequently is that of a person having a more conscious awareness of some of his/her various lives, as well as exhibiting other personal characteristics that seem to come about as a result of this type of awareness. The usual mode for us as we move through our lives is to be totally engrossed and engaged in our present lifetime, and thus to have both an "amnesia" with regard to other personas and personalities lived and experienced in other lives and a lack of perspective or awareness of other than just the present personality's ego. What I have seen in some people that I associate with an "old soul" quality is an integration of personas that may exhibit itself as a multi-facetedness in either persona and/or abilities, coupled sometimes with a high functioning and/or awareness of other than the present level. It's as if the different

personas and experiences from different lives may be more fully integrated into the present person with a corresponding awareness that seems to transcend the here and how. This smacks to me of an "old soul" quality. I have also seen a variation on this trait and that is the attribute of not being completely trapped or enmeshed in the present personality or ego. Its as if those exhibiting this characteristic had a clarity or objectivity coming from a perspective outside of their ego or personality. In addition to these non-one-dimensional old souls and those whose perspective transcends the limitations of their ego and persona, I have seen other "old souls" who are deeply connected to the Divine and who lead very simple and humble lives, not lives of either great ambition or grandiosity. They make their contributions to the world in a very quiet, non-self-promoting fashion, often serving unintentionally as examples to others. They are often quite peaceful within themselves and exemplify the lovely, but somewhat rare, quality of humility. As Stendhal wrote, "The existence of great souls is not suspected. They hide away; all that is seen is a little originality. There are more great souls than one would think." I have also seen those old souls, as cited above in Chapter 4, who do not have to incarnate for their own evolution or learning, but who do so instead in order to play a certain role or accomplish a certain goal or purpose and toward that end they take on whatever persona, including inauthentic stuff, is necessary to do so. (And the truth is that we are all playing roles for the greater good whether we consciously realize it or deliberately, in our human minds, set out to do so or not, because what we do from day to day will always affect others in some way and contribute to the greater drama.) Because our actions will always have an effect upon others, my sense is that we live different lives as not just a personal unfolding process, but also as a vehicle for playing roles and getting assignments for what we are to do and experience, as well as for how we are to affect others. Our lives can thus serve two purposes that of our personal unfolding and growth and that of what we contribute to the greater drama and group unfolding. In this way, we can see that we are all here on assignment and that we prepare for our role prior to coming in. This means that prior to being born we get our assignment, including the role we are to play and the corresponding persona that fits that role. We then get our energetic imprint the invisible blueprint for our life when we are born, while we also get a general induction of amnesia so that we may be caught up in our roles without being "out of character" (by being oriented towards our higher soul identity instead of our human persona) and without knowing what's ahead, the future (so that we may learn whatever lessons we have set for ourselves). (If we were omniscient and knew what the future held, I doubt that we would be learning any lessons!) In essence, we're all here on assignment, usually as players who are not privy to the whole script. "All the world's a stage," Shakespeare wrote, "and the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts." Balzac added to this thought the following: "God is the poet, men are but the actors."

Benevolent Universe and Omnipotent Deity God is the universal substance in existing things. He comprises all things. He is the fountain of all being. In Him exists everything that is. -Giordano Bruno God is a sea of infinite substance. -St. John of Damascus

Great form has no shape. The Eternal is hidden and nameless. Yet it is the Eternal alone that skillfully provides for all And brings them to perfection. -Lao-Tzu I am the taste in the water, the light of the sun and the moon, the sound in the ether, the ability in man, the fragrance of the earth, the heat in the fire, the life of all that lives, the strength of the strong, the intelligence of the intelligent, and the original seed of all existences. -Bhagavad Gita Fear of the devil is one way of doubting God. -Kahlil Gibran I'd like next to extrapolate from the basics discussed thus far and begin to tackle a sensitive subject and one that pushes many people's buttons that of evil and the devil, or Satan. Let me start by saying from the outset that I sincerely do not believe in the existence of either and, further, that I feel that how one feels about this subject reflects the nature of one's belief in God or a deity or Higher Power, and His creation. I further feel that it also touches on what kind of faith or trust one has. Please bear with me as I explain where I'm coming from with these statements. First of all, let's start with the characteristic of omnipotence. Many of us were taught that God or the Divine is omnipotent (as well as omniscient and omnipresent), an attribute that I personally do not question. Omnipotent means, of course, "all powerful," meaning powerful to the superlative degree and that nothing else is as powerful. If you believe that God is omnipotent, then that implies and means that nothing, including a supposed devil, is as powerful and that God reigns supreme. If this is indeed what one feels is so, how then can one say in the same breath that God may be omnipotent, but that He's not responsible for this other (bad) stuff? This type of thinking is tantamount to humans trying to delineate and dictate what God can and cannot do, as well as to people, in essence, trying to make God in the image that they want; furthermore this type of thinking implicitly denies God's omnipotence. If you believe that God is omnipotent and a Supreme Creator, responsible for the totality of creation, but see negative or bad things in the world and we all know that there are some truly painful and horrific things that happen on this planet then you are led quite naturally to question why God has created these bad things, or at the least allows such terrible things to exist. This conundrum, in fact, tests many people's faith. However, if you do indeed have faith and trust in the Divine, then you also are led to believe that bad things must then exist for a reason. Voil, I say! So, if God is omnipotent and responsible for even bad things and you have faith that all exists for a reason, what could be the reason for bad or negative things existing in the world? I feel that the answer draws upon two factors, already discussed, both those of levels of existence and souls' enrichment. Please remember that our soul's path, as some of us presently understand it, is that of enriching and fulfilling itself, both through living different lives and through our varied experiences in each lifetime on this level. If we are here to learn and grow, as well as to play roles in the greater drama, then we need a contrast factor to stimulate experiences and growth. If everything were the same all good it would be, we might feel, a much happier world, a veritable utopia. However, there would then be no contrast factor or resultant unfolding or growth (as much as we might prefer that everything were indeed all positive). A Chinese proverb says, "Climb mountains to see lowlands."

Aside from the shift in perspective we gain from going to a higher elevation, we can conversely say that we need lowlands to know mountains, or, as Carl Jung wrote, "Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness." Thus, on this level on earth we need duality, both the good and the bad, not just for an appreciation of the positive, but also for growth and unfolding. I personally regard this duality (of what we term the good and the bad, or the positive and the negative) as two different and diametrically opposed energetic forces, one of which pulls things together, or attracts the good or positive and the other of which repels, or pushes apart the bad or negative. Albert Pike expressed this principle somewhat differently as "the double law of attraction and radiation or of sympathy and antipathy, of fixedness and movement, which is the Principle of Creation, and the perpetual cause of life." In Oriental philosophy we find this concept of duality as well with the notion of yin and yang, yin being the female principle of receptivity and yang, the male principle of creation, the two opposing forces at work in the universe. In addition to duality existing in our natural and physical world, we also find duality in our own human nature. Much has been written about the "dual nature of man." Psychologists, for example, have indicated that humans have two conflicting needs, the need for security that exists alongside its opposing need for exploration or adventure. It is interesting to note that duality appears to even be hard-wired into our brains. Recent research on the brain has indicated that the two conflicting needs for security and exploration appear to be intrinsic neurological elements in the brain. Dr. V. S. Ramachandran, a neurologist, discusses the "coherence-producing mechanism in the left hemisphere," that seeks to preserve a consistent sense of self and "unified belief system," and the more explorative and searching function of the right hemisphere. "The left hemisphere's job is to create a belief system or model and to fold new experiences into that belief system. If confronted with some new information that doesn't fit the model, it relies on Freudian defense mechanisms to deny, repress, or confabulate anything to preserve the status quo. The right hemisphere's strategy, on the other hand, is to play 'Devil's Advocate,' to question the status quo and look for global inconsistencies." (Phantoms in the Brain)

So on this three-dimensional level, even in our own human biology, we have duality and polarity (which may indeed be causative of life). And yet my sense is that on the highest levels (those that vibrate at a higher frequency) we would find just the good, alongside the eternal. As Sivananda put it, "There is a realm where there is neither earth nor water, neither space nor time, neither perception nor thinking, neither light nor darkness, neither east nor west. That is the abode of The Eternal where there is everlasting peace and bliss." On this denser earth-plane level, however, we have the duality necessary for the stimulation of growth, learning, and soul enrichment. Without that duality it is hard to conceive of growth occurring. Thus, "The web of our life is a mingled yarn, good and ill together" (William Shakespeare). The negative experiences we have, then, represent the grit in the oyster that helps to form the pearl (the pearl being, of course, our souls enrichment). Another Chinese proverb states," The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials." Fortunately we can learn not just through our own trials and experiences, but also from others' experiences and from what we see in our world external to us, whether it touches us directly or not. Life then becomes a greater drama that exists, as well, to unfold for everyone's learning, even if vicariously. In other words, we learn from what we see others going through, in addition to learning from those situations that touch us directly. These, then, would be the reasons for the existence of those negative and bad elements and events we see in life, all of which I feel ultimately come from the Divine.

For those not seeing a purpose for the negativities of life, the need may exist to ascribe those negative things to the work of the devil. To me, however, the belief in a devil implies and reveals one's inability to have total faith and trust in the Divine and also further suggests a belittling of the capability and omnipotence of the Divine. I am obviously not the only person to feel this way (as evidenced by the quotation from Kahlil Gibran cited above). Furthermore, belief in "the devil" stems from an underlying fear, often inculcated in us by others, of unseen negative forces out to get man, while at one and the same time it also feeds and magnifies such fear(s), as we're admonished to be afraid of "the devil getting you." Faith and trust in both the omnipotence and benevolence of the Divine, as well as the understanding that all in life serves a purpose can be so much greater than this almost primitive and one-dimensional concept, which is so bereft of faith, trust, and positive orientation and a truly higher perspective. Instead of clinging to simplistic and fear-based explanations of the cause of negative and painful things in life, we can have, instead, a much higher understanding of why things are the way that they are and why negative things happen, while also having a concept of and appreciation for the complexity of creation (as well as a trust in Gods omnipotence and design). Some theologians dodge this issue of God's omnipotence by saying that God, once having created the universe, then stepped back and remained explicit to (or outside of) it and just let the mechanism go under its own steam. I personally feel, as I mentioned in Part I, that the Divine is both explicit and implicit. Other, greater minds than I have expressed this view quite well and lyrically. In the Upanishads it was written that, "There are, assuredly, two forms of The Eternal: the formed and formless, the mortal and the immortal, the stationary and the moving, the actual and the yon." Emerson said, "Nature is too thin a screen; the glory of the omnipresent bursts through everywhere." Meister Eckhart wrote that, "The more God is in all things, the more He is outside them. The more He is within, the more without." And Seneca put it quite succinctly when he wrote, "Nothing is void of God; He Himself fills His Work." At the same time that the Divine is both implicit and explicit, I feel that He both allows free will and also intercedes and guides. If the two attributes appear to be an inconsistency, or mutually exclusive, I would state that, to the contrary, they represent a Divine paradox (and paradoxes are implicit in the totality and thus quite valid), revealing the all-encompassing nature of the Divine. God has been described as the "alpha and omega" (the beginning and the end), an apt metaphor and a paradox for the totality and the totality, of necessity, includes everything. Therefore the Divine and His actions and creation will also exhibit paradox. "How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress," Niels Bohr, eminent physicist, said. "Now comes the mystery" (Henry Ward Beecher). Some theologians, once having postulated that God stepped back from His creation and remained explicit to it, then go on to describe the drama of good and evil (with the devil, of course, in a starring role), as a battle for human souls. I personally believe in the benevolence of the universe and would personally prefer not to think of the universe in which I live, and created by what I feel to be a benevolent God, as a battleground. I prefer to conceive of the Divine as omnipotent, benevolent, loving, and to be trusted to have a reason and purpose for everything. Viewed from this perspective, the interplay of good and bad becomes not a battleground, but a culture medium instead, for learning and growing. The bad and difficult experiences are transmuted thereby into something positive when we learn from them and create something new and positive out of them. As Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan wrote, "Scrutinize the mystery underlying all things. Seek in higher dimensions of understanding a meaning behind all our Sufferings. Unmask what appears to be the caprice of human destiny How we long to become that which we hardly believe we are!" As you might surmise from the foregoing, I also do not believe in the existence of hell and I agree with Kahlil Gibran's concise statement that "The fear of hell is hell itself,..." I have yet, in looking at those who have transitioned, to see a hell or anyone in one. What I have seen, as previously mentioned, and only thus far for some people, who either went through very difficult or painful experiences before dying or had not been the

"nicest" people in the world, was a period of time that was necessary for them to acclimate both to where they were and to no longer being in a physical body and/or to dropping the persona from that lifetime in the process of shifting to a higher level of awareness. What I want to stress is that, in saying that we are to experience everything through our various lifetimes and that there must, of necessity, be the duality of good and bad, I am not condoning bad acts or implying that on this level of existence they aren't either bad or undesirable. Of course they are. However, on a higher level they are happening for a reason and serving a purpose. "To God all things are beautiful, good, and right; human beings, on the other hand, deem some things right and others wrong" (Heraclitus). Because the totality of our being exists on different levels (our human persona in the three-dimensional and temporal here and now, and our higher soul awareness/identity in the higher eternal levels), we will often feel a mixture, or dichotomy, of feelings and awareness that may appear to be inconsistent. When I say that unpleasantness happens for a reason, I am mindful of the mixed awareness and feelings that that type of understanding will bring about in us, as well as the duality of actions it may bring about. Because of this dichotomy, on this level we must of necessity have laws about bad acts and systems of deterrence or rehabilitation, while on another (higher) level we must still know that the negative happens for a reason (and one that we may never know or fully understand in the current lifetime) and that good can come out of it. It is as if we are being asked to have a foot (and awareness) in both worlds, even if our human minds cannot totality glimpse all the whys and wherefores for events. (And I suspect that many old souls feel this mixture of seemingly inconsistent feelings all the more strongly, especially if their higher soul awareness is accessible to them.) Hence, trust and faith, "the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). Some things, including the purpose for the deeply painful or tragic, are simply beyond our human ability or perspective to see or comprehend. As Kahlil Gibran wrote, "Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof." And St. Bernard said, "I believe though I do not comprehend, and I hold by faith what I cannot grasp with the mind." Again, this emphasis on a purpose for painful experiences is not meant to belittle or make light of the personal anguish and pain we all can go through from these experiences. It can be quite difficult to have true faith and trust while we are in the grips of either pain, as we go through difficult experiences, or fear, and the sad fact is that fear appears to pervade our existence. As I mentioned, the belief in a devil, I feel, is not only bereft of faith in the Divine, but also quite fear-based. And, in some people, it is indicative of a fascination or obsession with the negative or perverse. As John Ruskin said, "Imaginary evils soon become real ones by indulging our reflections on them." Or, as La Rochefoucauld wrote, "Those who are incapable of committing great crimes do not readily suspect them in others." We've all seen people so afraid of the devil or evil that they appeared fearful that something evil could jump out and get them at any time, just as weve seen those who habitually suspect others of terrible hidden traits, sinister motives, or terrible acts. Strong indwelling fear can lead us to misperceive our reality in an apprehensive manner. I can relate to this fear to some degree. I remember years ago getting scared at night, especially when I was reading books on metaphysics (including those about ghosts or those passed-on), finding myself afraid that something would jump out of the dark at me. However, as I grew in my awareness, knowledge, and understanding, those fears evaporated. I now know that my fears were the result of ignorance, as well as an inability to trust. Ignorance, in point of fact, contributes greatly to fear, and this is why I say that fear can be so disempowering. The Roman historian Livy averred that, "We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them." And it is our fear in and of itself that can be so self-sabotaging. Emerson made a wise and telling observation about fear when he wrote that, "The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear. It is the storm within that endangers him, not the storm without." George

Mueller, perceiving the connection between anxiety and faith, wrote, "The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety." To which Socrates' statement is a just addition that, "The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance." Working at eradicating our ignorance can gradually help to erode and erase our fear. While some fear may be somewhat natural for the human condition, it is when fear gets out of hand and becomes more of an obsession that balance is thrown off. And obsessive fear can present itself, through the mechanism of compensation, as rigid thinking and over assurance, via a repression of any fear-provoking doubt. John Kenneth Galbraith's observation that, "When people are least sure, they are often most dogmatic" is particularly germane to fear and its relationship to dogmatism and religious fanaticism. As the prominent theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote, "Fanatic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith but in doubt. It is when we are not sure that we are doubly sure." Or, as Eric Hoffer wrote, "The uncompromising attitude is more indicative of an inner uncertainty than a deep conviction. The implacable stand is directed more against the doubt within than the assailant without" and often in an obsessive way. Aside from religious fundamentalists (of any religion) who continually try to stamp out evil or persecute "infidels" or wage holy war, or political archconservatives who look for a Communist or "un-American" in every corner, it is interesting to note there are "New Age" manifestations of a fearful obsession with negativity as well. This fear can border on paranoia, as some people feel that they have to continually be on their guard against something leaping out of the void to "get" them. Bertrand Russell wrote, "Fear is the beginning of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty." Or, as Richard Bach said, "The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy." In addition to a plethora of conspiracy theories about anything from "brotherhoods" to world governing councils whose raison d'tre is to suppress or hurt the common man (and we all know that you don't have to be "New Age" to subscribe to conspiracy theories!), there are ideas rampant about implants, negative entities, bad energy, etc. all of which can "get" you. Some people believe that implants, whether crystal or energetic, were placed in people (sometimes in Atlantis, but always ages ago) as "limiting devices" to impede their happiness or progress (throughout all their lifetimes, supposedly) and that this is the reason that they can't be completely happy or fulfilled in their lives. This idea capitalizes on and exploits, of course, people's search for reasons for their unhappiness, but further focuses on reasons and forces external to them. It thus perpetuates their powerlessness in a disempowering way, instead of promoting personal responsibility by facilitating empowerment. Naturally, as one could surmise, a cottage industry of practitioners has sprung up who claim that they can detect the presence of these implants and remove them all for a high fee, of course! This would appear to be another variation on the theme of the fortune-teller who tells you that you have a curse on you that can be removed for an exorbitant amount of money. ("If you've got the money, honey, I've got the" cure.) While some of these practitioners may be quite sincere, others appear to be exhibiting symptoms of grandiosity and feel that they are here on a divine mission to rescue poor unevolved or victimized souls whom only they are capable of diagnosing and healing. They may claim, for example, that they belong to some great "white brotherhood" or "sisterhood." Unfortunately, many of them serve, whether consciously or unconsciously, merely to prey on others' fears and insecurities, while elevating themselves to a superior position. (This is, by the way, an excellent example, as well, of a codependent relationship between those with a victim mentality and those with ego needs to "rescue" others and be seen as superior and elite, as an avoidance of working on their own stuff. Both parties are caught up in their own dramas and fear-based projections of internally perceived and personal stuff-based reality.) Another manifestation of "New Age" fear is that of the belief in negative space entities who can attach themselves to you and do "bad" things to you, sometimes to the extent of being the supposed source of

everything that's wrong in your life. Now, I'm not saying that negative entities don't exist (even though I've never sensed or encountered any, only benevolent and aiding presences). However I can't fully subscribe to the notion that there are nasty beings that seem preoccupied with wanting to attach themselves to me for the purpose of tripping me up or doing me in. (If they do indeed exist, don't they have better things to do?!) The more I've worked with people, the more I've seen that the only thing outside of us on an energetic level that can get to us and hurt us (aside from criminals or other people with ill intentions) is that which resonates with our own fear. "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." So best, I feel, to work on our own fearful natures that impede our progress and keep our awareness anchored at such a lower level. "Fear is proof of a low born soul," Virgil postulated, which may be a rather strong statement; however, I would certainly say that an orientation to the higher levels and the Divine would not be a fear-based one. I've also seen people so afraid of "bad energy" that could affect them in a negative way by contagion that they continually needed to smudge items or places, or put "holy water" on them. Smudging or using "holy water" in a blessing sense (and non-obsessively) is quite different from one using them obsessively and continually to get rid of harmful presences or influences. It is an interesting testament to our human foibles that fear is so pervasive and can disguise itself in many different forms. And we all can, in actuality, find ourselves feeling and succumbing to fear from time to time. While some people may seem to be gripped by fear, as evidenced by their beliefs or practices, others may seem the opposite by exhibiting strong confidence, or even grandiosity. At the other end of the spectrum from ideas that exhibit fear and powerlessness (and are thus fear-based) is another, perhaps overly empowerment-based idea, one that is in stark contrast, I feel, to the concept of the Divine as omnipotent. I'm referring to the current concept and very popular trend of "manifesting." The notion of manifesting comes from a belief that we humans are totally in control in our lives and can control and determine our own destiny quite completely from our own voliton. I must say that I find this concept to be out of step both with the information I have received and with the way I've seen things unfold. There has been quite of lot of material in circulation in the past several years about "manifesting," the idea, in a nutshell, that we can manifest what we want in life almost by sheer dint of our will. Although I cannot rule out the possibility that there are those who are able to achieve this supposedly desirable state, I must say that I feel they would have to nearly be saints, be free of personal stuff that attracts negative experiences for learning and growth, and be quite the exception. (Sai Baba, the mystic cited earlier who manifests physical objects, comes to mind.) As mentioned in Chapter 4, I have seen the universe acting out of the blue as an agent in people's live for the purpose of learning, in stark contrast to manifesting. (And, no, it wasn't because the person simply "attracted" it.) As Ralph Waldo Emerson observed, "A little consideration of what takes place around us every day would show us that a higher law than that of our will regulates events." There are two main reasons why I feel that it is not up to us as humans to manifest freely in our lives. First of all, if we were simply free to manifest, it would imply that we humans could control the universe and that there were no higher power or higher awareness than that of humans (or that all humans had a higher awareness). I have always deeply known from an early age that a God existed who was beyond both human capabilities and even what we could conceive of Him. Now I do know that there are those who believe that they have the Divine in them, and I do agree, as previously mentioned, that the Divine permeates the universe and creation. However, the paradox is that the Divine also, I feel, exists outside of and beyond us (both implicit and explicit, as previously mentioned). In addition, it is a commonly held view and one to which that I also subscribe that we are here to learn and grow and evolve. (Have I mentioned this before?) If we were able, as a rule, to manifest what we wanted in life, what would then happen to learning and growing? Would we then simply become puerile and

hedonistic juveniles who want "what we want when we want it" without considering the consequences? And, again, if we could all manifest, how do we know that what we want to manifest is in keeping with our "higher good" and higher self? Because, if we do indeed feel that we're here to learn and grow, how do we know when we're wanting to manifest the newest technological gadget, for example, that it's for our higher good? (And its not my intention here to be anti-material or ascetic.) Are we saying, when we say that we can manifest what we want, that we have a conscious access to our higher self and higher spiritual awareness and know how we are to unfold? I doubt that that is usually the case, because, quite simply, I feel that the Divine awareness supersedes and transcends our human one. We are usually basically limited by our customary human perspective and human minds, not to mention our human perceptual mode. The second reason I feel that manifesting is neither generally doable nor a valid spiritual goal has to do with this being a consensual and group reality. We are all players in a very complex, interwoven whole ("the world's a stage"), and anything that we do affects that whole, including the other people ("players") in it. If we were able to manifest at will, we would, of necessity, also be affecting others and the entirety, and, in lieu of being able to see the whole picture, that could be injurious to the whole. To repeat, I don't feel that we, as humans, are privy to the greater reality and thus to what the greater good may be. Our perspective is, instead, usually limited to that of the role we are playing. We haven't seen the whole script; nor can we even view the whole set. As humans, we obviously don't control the whole of existence. (And I have to say that, if we could, that possibility would strike me as a very sad thought. Just imagine if there were no greater mentality or awareness or imagination than our human one. I feel that that would make for a rather sorry state of affairs.) How can there not be an intelligence, love, and creativity beyond our own? No less a mind than Albert Einstein put it quite succinctly when he wrote, "Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper." One can only guess what the genesis of this popular idea of manifesting may be. It's a concept, I feel, that can be very appealing to anyone feeling powerless or disaffected, and the concept may actually have evolved as an attempt to address just that situation and thus to enable people to feel less powerless or disaffected. However, an interesting phenomenon can occur in our process of clearing psychological issues and that is the oft-perceived phenomenon of going to the opposite extreme in behavior. For example, I have seen women who, in their working on the issue of feeling powerless around others and/or being people pleasers, went through a period of being overly assertive, i.e., rude to others. Analogously, attempting to clear fears can sometimes erroneously lead to overly assertive, ego-centered behavior, sometimes bordering on grandiosity, as a compensation mechanism. Perhaps this is why the idea of being able to "manifest" what you want is so appealing these days to so many. In actuality, I feel that we co-create with God (and I will be discussing this topic more in Chapter 6). Perhaps for those who consciously co-create with God, have cleared the majority of their personal stuff (and can be quite clear-seeing for the most part as a result), and have an awareness of the needs of the greater whole, manifestation may become more possible. However, it would be extremely difficult, I feel, to be able to perceive the totality of existence and take into consideration all the possibilities that could present or "manifest" themselves from our quantum soup of possibilities and variables. I do not pretend to understand the totality of our cosmos. Nor do I pretend to understand the Divine's plan or what is necessary for my soul's experience and unfolding, because I know and accept that the intelligence of God transcends mine. I therefore do not project what the Divine "thinks" or attempt to deign to dictate what the Divine can or cannot do. As Lin Yutang expressed it so articulately: Everything that we think God has in his mind necessarily proceeds from our own mind; it is what we imagine to be in God's mind, and it is really difficult for human intelligence to guess at a divine

intelligence. What we usually end up with by this sort of reasoning is to make God the colorsergeant of our army and to make Him as chauvinistic as ourselves.

For this reason, I simply accept that I am limited by my human mind and know that the wonder and complexity of the universe outstrip my ability to either fully perceive or understand it and that the few glimpses I've seen only serve to reinforce my wonder and awe. This wonder, in turn, leads me to be in further awe of the Divine ("wonder is the basis of worship" Thomas Carlyle) and to rely on trust and faith in the magnitude, complexity, creativity, and benevolence of the universe, while also striving to be as clear in myself as possible. If a man will comprehend the richness and variety of the universe, and inspire his mind with a due measure of wonder and of awe, he must contemplate the human intellect not only on its heights of genius but in its abysses of ineptitude." -A. E. Housman To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beautythis knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness. -Albert Einstein


When patterns are broken, new worlds can emerge. -Tuli Kupferberg Learn to get in touch with silence within yourself, and know that everything in this life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from. -Elizabeth Kbler-Ross The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness. -Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow. -Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

This chapter will be somewhat of a pastiche in which well turn our attention to the topic of fulfillment and examine how we may begin to find more of it in our lives. Some of the content will derive from what I have shared thus far about what I've seen, intuited, and learned, which may have implications for how we can navigate through our lives in that search for fulfillment. Ive been very fortunate to have been in the position Ive been in via my work, because some of the information Ive received in sessions, as well as observations of clients unfolding, have all given me a lovely perspective on the personal path to fulfillment and contentment, including personal modes of being that may aid our process and unfolding. In addition to the mechanisms for personal fulfillment, well venture into the topic of where we as humans may be headed. As we explore these topics, well start first on the personal level and then go to the more general, or transpersonal, one. I have previously touched upon the importance of clearing our inauthentic stuff and embracing our essence and would like to start our examination of personal fulfillment by delving into this subject in greater detail.

Conscious Living

Explore thyself. Herein are demanded the eye and the nerve. -Henry David Thoreau Men who know themselves are no longer fools. They stand on the threshold of the "Door of Wisdom." -Henry Havelock Ellis The unexamined life is not worth living. -Socrates An intrinsic and critical prerequisite to clearing our "stuff" is being aware of it. A wonderful phrase was coined a few decades ago conscious living that is particularly germane and which was briefly discussed in Part I on intuition. Although we touched on this topic previously, I'd like to elaborate on it further now in the context of personal unfolding. Conscious living is a mode whereby we shift our awareness to that of an observer perspective and observe ourselves, so as to become more conscious of what guides and informs our habits and selves. Conscious living thus allows us to gain an objectivity about ourselves. Thoreau described this mode quite aptly in the 19th century, when he wrote: "However intense my experience, I am conscious of the presence and criticism of a part of me, which, as it were, is not a part of me, but a spectator, sharing no experience, but taking note of it, and that is no more I than it is you." By utilizing this supra-personal mode, we can start to see with clarity and objectivity what some of our personal stuff may be, so that we may begin to work on it, if it is our path to do so. Until we know what our "stuff" is, as well as how it may be negatively impacting our life, we may not know that we need to change or even what we need to change. "When a person acts without knowledge of what he thinks, feels, needs or wants, he does not yet have the option of choosing to act differently" (Clark Moustakas). It is conscious living that allows us to make this leap. Being a conscious observer of ourselves also requires that we shift to a higher perspective in our spectrum of consciousness, a not unspiritual quality. Conscious living allows us to transcend our normal mode in life of being caught up in our inauthentic stuff and ego-influenced perspective that colors our perceptions so much and prevents us from seeing things, including ourselves, with clarity and that also, in effect, blindsides us to ourselves. In other words, our emotional issues, mindsets and beliefs, old tapes, etc. serve as unconscious behind-the-scenes motivators that affect and often steer our actions, reactions, and behavior, so that we're neither clear and present nor operating in the driver's seat in our lives, but are, instead, akin to automatons guided unconsciously by unconscious needs or fears and doomed to repeat and promulgate past patterns. As a result, we are thus reactive, rather than proactive. These behind-the-scenes motivators are unconscious because, in effect, we tend to usually be unaware of them. Our beliefs and mindsets serve as filters for our perceptions, so that what we perceive is tainted by our beliefs. As Kahlil Gibran expressed it, "Many a doctrine is like a window pane. We see truth through it but it divides us from truth." Nietzsche put it even more strongly when he wrote that "Convictions are more dangerous foes of truth than lies." We cannot see clearly or be truly open when we filter everything through our mindsets and assumptions, especially if they are narrow and restrictive in scope. As the French wit LaRochefoucald wrote, "A narrow mind begets obstinacy; it is hard to be persuaded of something beyond the scope of our understanding." Or, as Stuart Wilde put it, "The things you believe in are the baggage you carry with you in your life. The true sage believes in nothing other than the sacredness of all things." And it is not merely our personal beliefs that can blind us to reality, but also our cultural conditioning that can lead us to become a manufactured mass-product of our culture, instead of our own person. "If you see

in any given situation only what everybody else can see," S. I. Hayakawa cautioned, "you can be said to be so much a representative of your culture that you are a victim of it." In other words, our blindly accepted mindsets, beliefs, etc. lead us to be the products of what others taught us to be and prevent us from being truly empowered, independent, actualized thinkers. And it is not just ourselves who are affected by our stuff. Acting blindly out of our beliefs, filters, and other personal stuff often affects others as well. (Certainly some of the best examples of this latter observation concern any mindsets or beliefs around superiority, whether personal, racial, cultural, or national. Once another person, gender, race, country, or living being is deemed to be inferior, he or she will be subject to the "slings" of prejudice and, at times, abusive behavior.) "Denial" is a term in popular usage, which refers to being blind about our personal stuff. (For example, someone who is a people-pleaser may not realize that he/she is, just as many people with prejudices may consider themselves not to be prejudiced or bigoted.) I consider the term denial to be a misnomer because it would seem to imply that a person was aware of his/her stuff and was deliberating denying it. The truth, however, is that we usually are completely unaware of what our stuff is, because our stuff has become our normal reality and thereby helps to determine the nature of the reality we perceive as real. And this "stuff" includes not just our emotional issues, but our beliefs and mindsets as well, as mentioned above. As Bertrand Russell wrote, "every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions, which move with him like flies on a summer day." The problem is that there is often a difference between what our stuff-driven assumptions are and what we experience in external, objective life. This dichotomy between what we perceive as reality and what our experiences are can lead us to become quite frustrated (unless our denial is so deep and so strong that we don't even perceive the existence of this dichotomy). "Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality" (Nikos Kazantzakis). Hence, the advantage of using conscious living as a tool, which can allow us to clearly perceive ourselves and external reality, as well as to see the effect that our stuff has on ourselves and on others. Using conscious living as a tool in this way can thus break through our denial and allow us to see clearly what may be impeding us. Once we have seen what we want to work on, there are many modalities that we can use to effect positive change from therapy to energy work to homeopathy, etc. This approach of watching ourselves through conscious living may seem to require an almost "schizo" quality, as we live both by being engaged in ourselves and our emotions (our ego perspective), while also consciously and dispassionately observing ourselves; and it may require a sort of paradoxical living or dual awareness. However, once we start to experience an observer mode, we often find it increasingly easy to go back and forth between modes, and certainly the observer mode and living consciously can give us objective insight sorely needed at times in our lives. What we are talking about is indeed going back and forth between these two modes spending alternate time between our attached, emotional, and engaged mode on the one hand and our more detached, objective one in the conscious living mode. It is truly a matter of having a flexibility or agility in switching back and forth. And were not talking about staying constantly in the observer mode. As one learns to master, so to speak, the observational mode, one has to be mindful not to stay in this mode all the time. One potential pitfall of conscious living is the possible tendency to then deny our human and emotional side by continually staying in the observer mode as an escape a haven from our often painful emotional stuff (another form of denial!). As with anything else, balance is required. Conscious living gives us clarity, and objective clarity can lead to a healthy detachment. Indeed, one component of conscious living, as one develops this trait over time, is detachment. Detachment is a word I heard many spiritually oriented people using several years ago as an attribute to be cultivated and valued. I remember being puzzled at the time by this recommendation. "Why would 'detachment' be something to strive for?" I wondered. I enjoyed my emotions too much to want to give them up, because I assumed that being

detached implied a requisite removal or surrender of one's emotions, and living in a dispassionate state felt to me to be devoid of humanlike qualities. I now understand (from my older and thus hopefully wiser vantage point) what the desirability of detachment is. It is not, as I had unconsciously assumed, to give up our emotions and become impassive or unfeeling (although it does indeed imply giving up some of our more painful and problematic emotions). It is, instead, to gain the perspective we can only gain from seeing events and people in a clear and objective manner. When we are feeling strong or intense emotions, we tend to become embroiled in them and then can usually see things only through the prism of our adulterating emotions or our needs and self-interest. We are obviously not clear in our perceptions when we are caught up in our emotions. It takes detachment to enable us to see clearly. We also are less susceptible when we are detached to becoming entangled in involvements with others that are based on our emotional stuff being mutually triggered. In these situations, detachment can enable us to figuratively step back and observe any button-pushing that has been guiding our relationships and motivating our interactions. Because conscious living helps us to more clearly see what our stuff is and how self-defeating it can be, it helps us, as mentioned above, to learn what we may want to work on. Interestingly, as we clear more and more of our personal stuff, especially the stuff that comes from fear, we find ourselves feeling less and less of the more unpleasant or unhealthy emotions and more and more of the positive ones. Clearing this negative emotional stuff therefore also helps us to feel more positive, as well as even more detached in a healthy manner because there's less that pushes our buttons (and we become less reactive). Detachment also applies to other areas of our lives. We often talk about attachment to our material possessions, to other people in our lives, and even to our habits and customs. When we become overly attached to any of these ingredients in our lives and are overly invested in them, there are usually personal needs involved and we are often thus less in control of ourselves. We can become obsessive in addition to having our clarity and objectivity marred by our attachments. We can also more easily betray ourselves our essence, our values, etc. because of our focus on or obsession about those elements. Detachment in these other areas affords us more of a sense of control over ourselves (not over others) and a clearer objectivity. It is important to stress again that detachment does not imply being emotionally vacant, or that we cannot have emotions, material possessions, or relationships. What it means is to have the ability to pass back and forth between the level of attachment (engagement, emotionally or with regard to ego, where true perspective may be somewhat lacking) and the level of detachment (which affords clarity and perspective), as well as living in a more comfortable space of clarity and less reactivity. Detachment thus also involves a dual awareness, or alternation between modes, similar to conscious living and allows us to feel less controlled by what we are attached to or caught up in. It is another mode of being that gives us a different perspective and additional insight. Conscious living is more fully realized when the component of detachment is present or readily accessible. Using conscious living as a tool to recognize our stuff and our attachments so that we may work on them is a proactive approach. It is not, however, the only approach open to us. Allowing the Universe to Work with Us Let us become silent that we may hear the whispers of the gods.There is guidance for each of us, and by lowly listening we shall hear the right word. -Ralph Waldo Emerson All things are filled full of signs, and it is a wise man who can learn about one thing from another.

-Plotinus If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk. -Raymond Inmon We are not totally on our own in trying to work on our stuff or evolve and grow. The universe does indeed work with us constantly for our own unfolding, and we can, if we choose to, pay attention to how we're being guided and led, so that we can participate in the process. Through paying attention to the guidance we're being given we can know what type of growth the universe is asking of us and allow ourselves to flow with the process, as well as help to move it along. It is in this way that we can thereby partner with the universe. I am convinced that we're spoken to all the time by the universe through signs and messages. It's simply a matter of recognizing that we are being spoken to and paying attention to the signs. There are many, many ways in which we can be spoken to. The universe may speak to us in dreams, through synchronicities, through the people who come into our lives, etc. These messages may be calling our attention to things that we may need to focus on, to new directions, etc. For example, Ive run into clients over and over again whove told me that they kept getting messages that led them to have a session with me, e.g., they might have felt led to go to the store where I regularly did sessions and that they had no idea why they were to go there until after they had gotten there. Or the universe may speak to us through a chance encounter with a stranger who says the exact words we need to hear at the time that give us insight into something we are working on or struggling with. Dreams are a significant medium through which we are guided and spoken to, and people through the ages, not just sages, have recognized this powerful and beneficial aspect of dreams. In the book of Job in the Bible, it was written that, "In a dream, in a vision in the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men; then He openeth up their ears and sealeth their instruction." A more contemporary expression of this view of dreams as the fount of guidance comes from John Bunyon who wrote, "Our heart oft times wakes when we sleep, and God can speak to that, either by words, by proverbs, by signs and similitudes, as well as if one was awake." The universe may speak to us through gut feelings that come to us out of the blue. As Frank Capra said, "A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something." ("Creativity" perhaps or perhaps the universe.) I feel that the universe is always supporting and guiding us, often in quite subtle ways. It is up to us to be willing to pay attention, to know how to interpret the information, and to listen. As helpful as signs can be, however, balance is necessary. It's important, I feel, not to overdo the search for messages, because we don't want to drive ourselves crazy looking for the meaning in anything that occurs. As mentioned previously, I've seen people who have a tendency to obsess, by continually searching for hidden meanings. If there's a message for us in an occurrence, our gut will usually signal to us that a message is implicit in it and/or we'll sense some sort of significance to the occurrence, even if we can't grasp at the outset exactly what the message may be. And if we miss a message that were supposed to get, ofttimes it will be repeated at some point. The wonderful thing is that we are supported by the universe in our growth process and unfolding. Acknowledging this can be very helpful to us and can lead us to participate in the process, thus accelerating it. Personal Growth Process Storms make the oak grow deeper roots. -Proverb

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. -Andr Gide All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance. -Edward Gibbon Growth is exciting; growth is dynamic and alarming. Growth of the soul, growth of the mind. -Vita Sackville-West If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got. -Jackie "Moms" Mabley

I have stated and iterated (and reiterated) that I feel that one of our major purposes in life is to learn and grow. This may sound like a mindless platitude or empty mantra repeated over and over again until it loses any sense of meaningfulness especially when we are caught up in the ensnaring throes of those painful experiences we encounter from time to time (that we may feel are the main or only stimulus for growth). However, at the risk of sounding like a modern-day Pollyanna, I have to say that I feel that our painful experiences, as uncomfortable as they may be to actually live through (and indeed they can be), do happen for a reason. Put another way, there is often purpose to the pain. Difficult experiences and struggles happen in order to promote our growth, both personally and spiritually if we're inclined to grow in our lives. When we are in the midst of the pain and difficulty, however, it is extremely difficult to see this larger perspective. It is usually only when we have come through to the other side and in retrospect that we can see what we've learned or how we've changed or strengthened in other words, what the purpose for the struggle may have been. "The dark moment the caterpillar calls the end of the world is the sun-filled moment the butterfly calls the beginning." (Unknown author) Aside from wanting to avoid any growth pains we may go through from painful experiences, if we are spiritually oriented and accept the idea that spiritual growth is something to strive for, we may tend to place less emphasis on our personal growth. We may feel that personal growth, or working on personal psychological or emotional issues, for example, doesn't have much merit in and of itself or even any bearing on our spiritual growth. Or we may feel that we should make efforts to progress only spiritually and ignore any problems on the personal or earthly level. I have known people who pursued spiritual knowledge somewhat doggedly, while completely turning their backs on any consideration of working on personal issues. Indeed, I have known some for whom the pursuit of the spiritual seemed to be somewhat of an escape from the difficulties they encountered on the personal level a drug, if you will, to escape their personal emotional or psychological pain. No matter what the reason or cause, I feel that many of us who are spiritually oriented have tended to regard spiritual pursuits as desirable, while relegating personal healing and growth to the mundane and unimportant. This dismissal may be because we tend to see the spiritual as a higher, read more significant, level and the personal as a lower, and therefore meaningless or less meaningful, level. In point of fact, however, I feel that the two are not only closely related, but also, at times, intertwined. I noticed a phenomenon several years ago that I felt was a new trend that many of the people I saw opening up spiritually were also tending to be "working on their issues" and striving to clear any personal "stuff." I myself was a participant in this process. I noted this co-existence of spiritual and personal growth, but have only recently begun to understand why the two are in fact related. This connection has to do, I feel, with the nature of spirituality. How do we define spirituality? Is it just a belief in a higher power, or God? Or is it more than that?

I remember the first time a client asked me what I thought spirituality was. I had to think about it for a moment. The answer I gave then is still the answer I would give now. And that is that, aside from being connected to matters of the spirit, spirituality is not just a belief in God or the Divine, but also the feeling of a connection to the Divine and to all of creation other people, animals, nature, the universe. This is why spirituality differs from just creeds and beliefs, because it is a feeling of the connection to all, as well as a true knowing, or gnosis, of the Divine. And what is it that can block this sense of spirituality? Why, our personal stuff, of course precisely because our personal stuff can cloud that feeling of connection in various ways. In order to feel a connection to that which is outside of us, we must have an openness and an ability to not be bound strictly by our egos. If we are rigid or tight in our energy, we are consequently not open and can therefore not feel what is outside of or around us. It takes a certain amount of openness to feel that which is outside of us, rather than being totally absorbed in or oriented solely to ourselves. In addition, as mentioned previously, our personal pain becomes a magnet for our attention. In other words, our personal pain serves to divert our attention from anything other than the pain, and as a result we become more self-absorbed. This self-absorption then represents another impediment to feeling connected to that which is outside of us. Furthermore, the focus on the denser level of our pain diverts our focus from higher, lighter levels (as well as from that which is outside of us). If we are rigidly into our heads and haven't opened up our hearts, we may think about and believe in God, but we cannot feel the Divine. Or, if we are able to transcend our pain (bypass it without healing it) and engage in spiritual pursuits, we are still left truncated, with a separation between our levels (the pain on the personal level and the spiritual level), rather than an integration of these levels. On the lower, personal level we are may be unclear and have muddy, tight, or blocked energy, while on the higher, spiritual level there may be clarity and free-flowing energy. We may thus have a dichotomy between our levels with a resultant tension between the two. As we clear more of our personal stuff and open ourselves up more, we can then open up more authentically on the spiritual level. What this also represents is a clearing of blocks on one level that then allows us to connect more freely to a higher level, without anything pulling our energy back toward the denser level. As blocks between levels are reduced, we thus move more towards syncing up our levels. Thus, our personal growth, both psychologically and emotionally, allows us to grow spiritually. So, how do we grow personally? What is the means that takes us to that end? As with other facets of life, I feel that we are continually pushed by the universe towards growth. And the stimulus for growth may wear different faces and present itself in various ways, including both the pleasant and unpleasant. However, grow indeed we are usually impelled to do, rather than cocooning ourselves in the familiar and the same. In order for us to shift and change in a word, grow our patterns need to be broken up, especially those patterns that no longer serve us or actually obstruct our evolving. Otherwise, we just continue in the same mode. As Gail Sheehy wrote, "Growth demands a temporary surrender of security." And, if we don't grow, stasis sets in and stasis leads to aging, prematurely. "The minute a man ceases to grow, no matter what his years, that minute he begins to be old" (William James). Unfortunately, one of the primary ways in which we learn and grow is through difficulty those painful experiences we alluded to earlier. This is not to say that we don't also learn and evolve through less problematic modes, including even pleasant ones, but that difficulty is one of the universe's "sure-fire" methods of inducing growth. That may be so considering that it can take a lot sometimes to get our attention, for the simple reason that the familiar can feel so comfy at times that we may be inclined to cling to those familiar ways and resist any gentle persuasion or subtle tugs for change. Pain may be the universe's proverbial "two-by-four" recourse to get

our attention. Indeed, pain can help to hammer a lesson home, sometimes very quickly, so that we may gain deeply-etched insights. "Wisdom comes alone through suffering," Aeschylus wrote, while George Santayana saw it a little differently by observing that, "Wisdom comes by disillusionment." And the painful learning and growing experiences can indeed strengthen us. "That which does not kill us makes us stronger" (Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche). It is through what we opt to do with these potential growth experiences that we either stay stuck in our patterns or evolve and grow. It is in the latter choice, as I mentioned earlier, that we transmute the pain into something positive. Albert Pike expressed this thought as follows: "That which caused us trial shall yield us triumph; and that which made our heart ache shall fill us with gladness. The only true happiness is to learn, to advance, and to improve; which could not happen unless we had commenced with error, ignorance, and imperfection. We must pass through the darkness to reach the light." It just may take a bit of time in some cases to reach the other side, and the light that comes from insight. Kahlil Gibran wrote, "When I planted my pain in the field of patience it bore fruit of happiness." What our attitude is towards growth and change can also make a difference in how quickly or effortlessly or slowly or difficultly we navigate those straits. When we realize that adversity is in actuality an opportunity for growth which can ultimately yield a positive outcome and a happier state we may be more inclined to try to accept these experiences and look for the lessons implicit therein. As Katherine Mansfield advised, "Make it a rule never to regret and never look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can't build on it." Look, instead, for the purpose. I can tell when the universe is really working with someone when I see him/her going through an extremely difficult time. It's as if he/she is being forged on the anvil of the universe or is being kneaded and molded as preparation for a shift in energy. As J. K. Gressett said, "God prepares great men for great tasks by great trials." I remember seeing the great depth of soul and humaneness in Anwar Sadat's eyes and couldn't help but feel that that was the effect of the years he spent in prison, when he was being forged by the universe and deepened and strengthen for a greater future role on the worlds stage. Again, it is our choice of response to adversity that tells the tale. We can either dig our heels in and resist (or roll over and play dead by refusing to participate in the process), or accept that it's happening for a reason and look for the lessons and insights therein. "No accident so grave but that the clever man can turn it to some good" (La Rochefoucauld). And if we consent to grow, our awareness expands. "The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness" (Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan). We just may not be able to imagine what those awarenesses or higher dimensions may be in advance of going through the catalyzing experiences. I will hasten to add, however, that the prescription to look for the lesson does not imply that we will necessarily avoid or abrogate the painful experience. What I mean by this is that we cannot necessarily intellectually look for the lesson while we are still caught up in the triggering experience in other words, while we are still being "forged" or "kneaded." We may, instead, need to live the lesson. I have seen clients who had the awareness that the difficulties they were experiencing were to teach them something and who felt that if they could figure out what the lesson was, usually intellectually, they could shortcut the difficulties. While this may indeed be true at times, it is certainly not always true. Sometimes the learning is an experiential one and not one that we can rationally or intellectually figure out. The actual living through the experience is what brings us the knowing, awareness, and lessons, because the learning is intrinsic in and enfolded into the living of the experience. In other words, it may be an experiential lesson that shifts our energy in ways other than purely the intellectual. We may, for example, find ourselves more relaxed or more accepting or more genuinely loving as a result of what we went through.

As we participate in the learning and growing adventure, we will often find that our growth comes in stages that may fall into broad categories. I have seen these stages over and over again as I have observed clients going through them. These stages loosely break down, as the following illustrates, into the first phase of stimulus for change (including anything from no longer being satisfied with the way things are in one's life to things going wrong or seemingly falling apart); the second phase of becoming consciously open to change; the third phase of active transition; and the fourth phase of plateau. Change is often not easy for us to live through, and these periods of change, especially if we're in the more problematic initial stages, can be quite disconcerting. We may know that we're feeling restless or dissatisfied, for example, but not know why. And, if we additionally have no awareness that we're going through a period of change or, further, that it's a fairly normal experience, we may be thrown off and feel that our world is either changing around us or falling apart. The truth of the matter is that these periods of change, or transition periods, are normal and are one of the ways in which we actually evolve and grow. I view them as akin to a snake's periodic molting of skin. Gail Sheehy described them as similar to a crab molting, to wit: "With each passage of human growth we must shed a protective structure (like a hardy crustacean). We are left exposed and vulnerable but also yeasty and embryonic again, capable of stretching in ways we hadn't known before." If we don't understand that growth periods are a natural part of our lives, we can be thrown off when we enter them. I have seen clients who had no awareness of this phenomenon of learning and growing and who, instead, lived with the expectation that their lives should be perfect constantly and/or consistent. They naturally found themselves feeling quite frustrated with life's ups and downs because they were unconsciously expecting perfection or consistency (that hobgoblin of little minds, according to Emerson). Shifting this expectation to the realization that life involves change and the resultant acceptance of intermittent periods of ups and downs is a large undertaking. However, we are much more content once we begin to realize that growth and thus these transition periods may indeed be a natural part of life and one that can lead to more expansive vistas. The specific ways in which we will be guided or prodded for change, for instance as to the particular elements that present themselves as a stimulus for change in the initial phase, may vary greatly from one person to another. Some people will know that things in their lives are changing, often in ways beyond their control. Others may not be aware that change is in the wind or that they're even disenchanted with certain aspects of their lives. I've seen clients whose stimulus for change was occurring on a deep, unconscious level, in the dream state, for example, and they had no conscious awareness of it. These shifts and changes in consciousness and awareness progressed on the unconscious level until they reach a certain point of maturation and then often came up to the conscious level of awareness as an "aha" of realization. This can be a fairly innocuous way to experience change. I've seen other clients whose stimulus for change came in a more multi-pronged manner. They may have been led to various new activities (classes, hobbies, books, etc.) either simultaneously or serially and have often not known why they were drawn to them. What is actually often happening is that they're being stimulated for growth on different levels and from different perspectives in a non-linear fashion. This process will often complete itself when there is a spontaneous fusing or integration of the stimuli and interests that can lead either to an "aha" experience or to a new level of awareness. I have seen others who were stimulated for change on an unconscious level but had a conscious reaction of pulling back or retreating into themselves. Some will actually enter into a period akin to hibernation; others may go on spiritual retreats. And these periods of hibernation may be quite protracted in length. Although this phase may appear on the outside to have nothing going on, it is in actuality quite active, as changes occur underneath the surface, i.e., unconsciously, in one. "Hibernation is a covert preparation for a more overt action" (Ralph Ellison). We might also liken it to the hurricane that stalls in its forward movement, while it is actually

gathering strength. Once they have come out of the hibernation or period of retreat, they exhibit evidence of change in some way in their attitudes, energy, direction in life, for example. Other clients have consciously been in the throes of change that expressed itself as chaotic problems or dissolution of external stable structures in their lives (e.g., loss of job, spouse, etc.). These chaotic changes can be quite dismaying and, if we further don't realize that we're being asked to shift and change in some way and to figuratively "molt our skin" as a growth process, we may feel not only helpless and lost, but also confused, or that the ground is shifting beneath our feet and that the foundations of our lives are built on shifting sands. People going through this type of change will usually fear that they are simply and totally going down the tubes and they may therefore find this period in their lives extremely painful. As Kahlil Gibran wrote, "Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding." Often when these clients are led to realize that they're being asked to change, so as to move to a more positive space within themselves and that there truly is light at the end of the tunnel, their fears are abated and their perspective shifts. They can then start to move into the next phase of being open to change and more actively engage in the process by working to stimulate their own changes. As Brouhours said, "People of genius whenever they are faced with misfortune find resources within themselves." Positive growth is the result. The third phase, the transitional one, in which we are more actively changing and shifting will often overlap with being open to change. Once we have successfully navigated the transition, we will often enter the final phase of plateau, in which things are fairly calm and we're living the new growth. In other words, we're living comfortably within the "new skin" and have incorporated the changes we have undergone into the fabric of our lives. And this is usually not the end of our changing. We will often stay in the plateau phase until we enter into our next major period of change. As Ram Dass wrote, "At some stages you will experience a plateau as if everything had stopped.Know that once the process has started it doesn't stop; it only appears to stop from where you are looking." Even when we're not in major periods of growth in external areas of our lives, we may still experience growth through various stimuli and on deeper levels within ourselves. Everyone's process will vary and some people may shift more gradually without any dramatic turmoil or disturbing chaos. Some people may actually be constantly shifting and evolving without any marked or distinct phases, and still others may grow at times through chaos and, at other times, through more of a process of evolution. No matter how we're growing, however, it's key to flow with the process of change. As Thomas Crum wrote, "Instead of seeing the rug being pulled from under us, we can learn to dance on a shifting carpet." I don't mean to paint the process of personal growth in an overly austere tone or make it sound like an ordained process that of necessity is bleak and difficult. What I would like to stress, instead, is that our process of growth, no matter how it expresses itself, is supported by the universe. In other words, God supports us every step of the way and "never gives us more than we can take." We can indeed learn to dance on that Divinely given shifting carpet.

Sensitivity, or Thin Boundaries He disliked emotion, not because he felt lightly, but because he felt deeply. -John Buchan The heartbreak of love sings, the sadness of knowledge speaks, the melancholy of desire whispers, and the anguish of poverty weeps. But there is a sorrow deeper than love, loftier than knowledge, stronger than desire, and more bitter than poverty. It is mute and has no voice; its eyes glitter like stars.

-Kahlil Gibran Much has been written about emotional sensitivity and its perceived intrinsic pitfalls, as well as its apparent companion or side effect thin boundaries towards others. (In fact, boundary issues is a psychological term more and more in common usage among the general population.) For most people, emotional sensitivity is usually viewed as a liability, as are thin boundaries. (Consider the instances in which someone is called too sensitive.) Most of us have known those whose emotional sensitivity was a source of difficulty for them. Given all the widely perceived problematic aspects of sensitivity, is it possible to conceive of sensitivity in a positive light? In addition, how can sensitivity affect our growth process? And could the flip side of sensitivity insensitivity have its own downside? Lets explore this issue a little more, as I feel that what is often generally seen as problematic may have a strong upside that can be developed or focused upon. As already mentioned, I feel that there is quite commonly although certainly not always, as evidenced by the examples in Chapter 4 a connection between and among emotional sensitivity, spirituality, and creativity, in that those who are more sensitive, for example, will also tend to be spiritual and creative in some fashion. Because sensitivity can so frequently be linked to spirituality and creativity, it consequently quite obviously does have its positive aspects and advantages. As just one illustration, sensitivity tends to heighten awareness and feelings, to the extent that those who are sensitive may also be more prone to have heightened experiences, experiences that those who are less sensitive may indeed be missing out on. There is, however, as alluded to above, a downside as well to sensitivity, and that is what we frequently dwell upon when we think of this characteristic: the emotional upsets, the hurt feelings, the self-doubts, etc. Its a shame that we are inclined to focus on some of the more challenging consequences or side-effects of this trait, since it does indeed have some strong advantages. A natural, or innate, emotional sensitivity will often be exacerbated or amplified by some form of abuse in one's upbringing, whether that abuse is emotional, psychological, physical, sexual, etc. (Of course, abuse of any kind may have a more profound, and even sensitizing, effect upon those who may inherently tend to be more sensitive simply because they feel any pain more profoundly.) Although there are great variations in nature and behavior among people and in how they may react to difficult experiences in their past, thus far I've seen two general types of formerly abused people and please bear in mind that this is a gross generalization: the first is the person with thin boundaries towards others and a strong sense of empathy and compassion, characteristically continually in touch with his/her pain, who will frequently become a repeated victim or unconsciously consistently cast him/herself in the victim's role; and the second is the person either with very thick boundaries or who has developed thick boundaries, who does not feel or have much compassion for others and who has often shut off his/her feelings except for anger, commonly becoming an abuser him/herself at some point after having experienced the original abuse. This is an over-simplification, as there are certainly other factors that come into play, such as low self-esteem, cultural conditioning, etc. However, it is a gross pattern that I have observed. For those in the first category, who are sensitive and who continue to feel emotional pain above the norm, the pattern of being a victim will ofttimes persist as, over time, they may develop a "victim mentality" and unalterably blame others for their pain and difficulties in life. This mentality and pattern can then become an impediment to change in and of itself, largely because those who have it will subsequently, whether consciously or unconsciously, continually define and see themselves as victims, while also serially experiencing interactions with others that they perceive as reinforcing their self-image and role in life as a victim. One way for those of us who may be in this category to break this self-defeating pattern is to stop seeing ourselves as and casting ourselves in the role of victims and to change our self-definition and selfimage to a more positive and empowered one. This one, simple adjustment can then allow us to begin to take responsibility for ourselves by examining our patterns of behavior and experiences, progressing past the stagnant pattern of blame, and then moving towards healing. (Interestingly, the more I have seen one's energy as a contributing factor to one's

experiences, the less viable an attitude does blame become. Being a victim and blaming circumstances and people external to us for what we go through requires one to be somewhat of an inanimate and passive object to be acted upon from the outside by an external force or person. This runs counter to the idea of energies resonating that I've seen evidence of over and over again through my intuitive work, i. e., that our energy often contributes to what we experience. Indeed, contemporary theories of physics, as previously mentioned, that see our physical reality, including objects, as energy would appear to preclude any linear cause and effect and imply, instead, a co-affecting through that previously mentioned co-mingling of energy fields and resonance, or lack thereof. "Quantum field theory creates an image of a universe criss-crossed by a network of interactions that weave the cosmos into a unity" [Paul Davies and John Gribbin].) The other type of person in the second category, with overly thick boundaries, will often have very tight energy, reflecting a rigidity of pattern and an extreme resistance to change. As Phil Jackson, the basketball coach, said, "obsessingadds an unnecessary layer of pressure that constricts body and spirit." Constriction and rigidity, as well as other manifestations of tight energy, whether caused by obsessing or other habitual modes, are antithetical to and usually impede flow and openness. This second type of formerly abused person, with overly thick boundaries, will customarily rarely undergo change without a strong stimulus to do so, such as "hitting rock bottom" or being hit by that proverbial two-by-four, by which external factors in his/her life start going completely haywire. Interestingly, although seemingly quite different from each other, both types of people coming from an abusive past share a common trait: that of being entrenched in patterns that would appear to make growth and unfolding more difficult. And yet growth is a hallmark of life or, as John Henry Newman wrote, "Growth is the only evidence of life." When we are closed-down, we are rejecting life. "He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetary" (Harold Wilson). Or, as Randy Read wrote, "Others attempt to live cautiously in the safety of established patterns. They do not feel fulfilled, yet they have found a formula not of success, but of avoiding failure. This is the living death when security becomes the overwhelming consideration." Closed-down people or anyone firmly entrenched in his or her patterns and stuck, whether those in category one or two find themselves in stasis, a state devoid of life and which represents an opting, whether consciously or unconsciously, for suspended animation and a rejection of life. This type of person may also be sensitive emotionally, but may have closed down his/her feelings and stifled their sensitivity so as to avoid future pain. Another factor involved in this complex of overly thin or overly thick boundaries lies in a side effect of emotional pain. As mentioned above, pain, whether physical or emotional, becomes a magnet for our attention and serves to pull our attention into ourselves. As a result, we can then become self-absorbed whether we have overly thin or overly thick boundaries purely because of our emotional pain, whether were feeling it more than the norm or repressing it completely. (It takes a lot of psychic energy, by the way, to repress emotions and thoughts, which adds to the tightness of energy and makes us even less available to others.) As a result of our emotional pain and ensuing self-absorption, we may furthermore either be figuratively asking others unconsciously to take care of us whether emotionally, financially, or physically or be oblivious to others and their needs. Until this pattern is shifted, we are often not truly emotionally available to and for others. A healthy, non-codependent relationship requires emotional availability, healthy boundaries, and mutual giving. It is ironic that a personal trait, that of emotional sensitivity, that is so often closely aligned with spirituality and creativity or talent, can be so problematic. We may perhaps need to change our perception of this attribute as inherently problematic and start to view it as an asset. "Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution" (Kahlil Gibran). There is a way to capitalize on its advantages, of which there can be many, by strengthening ourselves while also minimizing its disadvantages through personal healing. Many are those who have gone through this process and learned how to control their sensitivity, turning it into a personal advantage and becoming more actualized as a result.

Personal Empowerment and Actualization The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. -Joseph Campbell A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval. -Mark Twain The person who seeks all their applause from outside has their happiness in another's keeping. -Claudian If a man happens to find himself, he has a mansion which he can inhabit with dignity all the days of his life. -James Michener The true perfection of man lies, not in what man has, but in what man is.Nothing should be able to harm a man but himself.What is outside of him should be a matter of no importance. -Oscar Wilde The greatest revolution in our generation is that of human beings, who by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives. -Marilyn Ferguson Empowerment in how many different contexts do we hear the word used these days, from business applications to the personal sector? Empowerment is a term clearly much in vogue these days, so much so that it has become somewhat trendy and overused. Unfortunately its overuse has served to dilute its powerful meaning. Nevertheless, in spite of its trendiness, I do feel that it is both a legitimate concept and a trait that is sorely needed by some of us on our paths to finding more fulfillment in our lives. I view empowerment on the individual level as an intrinsic part of personal actualization and of coming into our own. To me, to be empowered in a positive, healthy, and responsible manner is to know your truth; to know who you are on the inside and to accept and embrace that selfhood without trying to exert it on others; to think for yourself; to be independent while still feeling a connection to and respect for everything and everyone else; to be active as well as receptive; and to take responsibility for yourself, while being in command and aware of yourself, without being rigid, inflexible, or unreceptive. Becoming empowered will often precede and be a requisite for self-actualization. It thus requires that we know ourselves and claim and embrace ourselves. What we are talking about, as you may have guessed, is knowing our true essence (as discussed at length in Chapter 4) and embracing that, and then letting that knowledge, of who we really are, guide our actions. This process then becomes part of a recipe for fulfillment. Self-knowledge is very important for our process and actualization. Matthew Arnold advised: "Resolve to be thyself: and know, that he who finds himself, loses his misery." To which may be added what Joyce Brothers had to say on this subject: "An individual's self-concept is the core of his personality. It affects every aspect of human behavior: the ability to learn, the capacity to grow and change.A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success in life." Although I could go into a lengthy discourse on how we empower ourselves (and I have explored this topic in great detail, through the system I designed to facilitate personal empowerment), for the present discussion I would like to simply highlight a few key points.

In order to know ourselves, it is important that we go within and see what's there on the inside of us i. e., who we are on the inside and find our inner core. (Anyone who knows me will recognize that going within is one of my recurring themes.) As Robert Browning so beautifully wrote, "Truth lies within ourselves: it takes no rise from outward things, whatever you may believe. There is an inmost center in us all, where truth abides in fullness and to Know rather consists in opening out a way whence the imprisoned splendor may escape than in effecting entry for light supposed to be without." And one of the best ways of going within, aside from selfreflection and conscious living, is through meditation, whether individual meditation (of any type) or guided meditation. (Indeed, it is often meditation that can lead us to live consciously and acquire the dispassionate stance required to observe ourselves objectively.) It is through meditation that we quiet external distractions and still our internal chatter so as to be able to tune in and eavesdrop on ourselves with clarity. It allows us to find that center within ourselves of extraordinary peace. "In deep meditation the flow of concentration is continuous like the flow of oil" (Patanjali). "Nothing can bring you peace but yourself" (Ralph Waldo Emerson). Going within is also, I feel, one of the primary ways that we can connect with the Divine. I am a strong proponent of going within and claiming self and indeed I am only one among many adherents of this practice. Because I feel so strongly about going within, whatever mode or practice is employed, I would like to share several thoughts made by other figures, wiser and more revered, who likewise advocated going within: When we return to the root, we gain the meaning; When we pursue external objects, we lose the reason. The moment we are enlightened within, We go beyond the voidness of a world confronting us. -Seng-T'San The men who have the most to give their fellowmen are those who have enriched their minds and hearts in solitude. It is a poor education that does not fit a man to be alone with himself. -Joel Henry Hildebrand Get away from the crowd when you can. Keep yourself to yourself, if only for a few hours daily. -Arthur Brisbane Conversation enriches the understanding; but solitude is the school of genius. -Ralph Waldo Emerson Solitude is as needed to the imagination as society is wholesome to the character. -James Russell Lowell Inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that is where I go to renew my springs that never dry up. -Pearl Buck

One of the further benefits of going within is that of shifting our focus to within ourselves, which has benefits other than that of knowing ourselves. One necessary component of personal empowerment and selfreliance is that we shift our "yardstick" to an internal one. What do I mean by this? In our society, we are generally brought up to go outside of ourselves for answers. Authority, we have been taught whether legal, medical knowledge, moral, or other lies outside of us. We are rarely taught how to listen to ourselves or how to find our own internal authority. Whereas many people learn to become their own authorities as they enter adulthood, for some the effect of this type of acculturation and programming can be quite deleterious in that it serves to engender self-doubt. In fact, I have known those whose self-doubt was almost crippling.

Of course, we can rarely become our own authorities for everything. We do in fact obviously need information and knowledge outside of ourselves, because we cannot, most naturally, know everything. And we do, certainly, live in a group society and so, of necessity, there will be certain authorities external to us law enforcement, consensual laws for a smooth-flowing society, etc. However, we have to internalize our yardstick in order to know what's right for us individually and personally in our lives. We all have an inner voice we can tap into, or, as Kahlil Gibran wrote, "God has placed in each soul an apostle to lead us upon the illumined path. Yet many seek from without, unaware that it is within them." Or, as Bawa Mahaiyaddeen wrote, "In the solitude of your mind are the answers to all your questions about life. You must take the time to ask and listen." Going within and finding our own knowing is so very, very powerful and beneficial. Finding our own yardstick within means, then, that we learn to think for ourselves for, as Gandhi wrote, "Those who know how to think need no teachers." Unfortunately, however, I have seen many, many clients who had difficulty in really listening to or thinking for themselves. Ofttimes, when dealing with obfuscating emotional situations, they were further confused by well-meaning friends, family, and acquaintances who barraged them with advice on how they should be living their lives. This advice, while well intended, will often be coming from the advisor's own emotional issues, mindset, beliefs, own experiences in life, etc. It will thus usually not be that which is truly best for the other or take into consideration where he/she is in his/her own process, because it may be coming from limited understanding, short-sightedness, or subjectivity. "He is short-sighted who looks only on the path he treads and the wall on which he leans" (Kahlil Gibran). We are generally happier when we personally know what's best for us and respect others doing the same. The Cherokee prayer, "Oh Great spirit, grant that I may never find fault with my neighbor until I have walked the trail of life in his moccasins," comes to mind; or, as Harper Lee said, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view." I hasten to add, however, that this does not mean that we no longer pay attention to authorities on the outside or to friends or family. What it does mean is that we take their counsel under advisement and see if it's right for us. The same principle would apply even if we're seeking medical or legal advice, by perhaps doing as much research on our own as we can, so that we know what feels right or is best for us. As we know, even two different doctors or lawyers or experts may differ in opinion or diagnosis on the same matter. The people who understand us and care for us the most will understand our need to listen to what's within us and will just be there for us. As Henri Nouwen wrote, "When we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares." The issue of our interactions with others those familial and friendship connections that form part of the social tapestry of our lives and where we draw the line between dependence and independence touches upon the question of empowerment (as well as boundaries). Until we learn to claim ourselves and know what is right for us, we will customarily either be susceptible to others' well-meaning, but often short-sighted, advice or want to please others so as not to either be rejected by them or hurt them. This is self-limiting and self-sabotaging behavior. "The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls" (Exodus 23:20). Being empowered means being strong in ourselves and finding our own truth and shifting that external yardstick to an internal one, even if others around us may be upset by our so doing. What this yardstick also requires and derives from is developing our own knowing, our intuition, as well as our inner voice. We cannot be empowered if we don't know who we are or what our own knowing is. As Edgar Cayce advised, "Depend more upon the intuitive forces from within and not harken so much to outside influences but learn to listen to the still small voice within."

Becoming our own last-resort authority or advocate does not mean, however, that by shifting our yardstick to an internal perspective, we then lose our perspective or objectivity by becoming either self-absorbed or rigid in an adherence to an attitude of, or insistence on, always being right, or that we close down and tightly assume that we're a priori always right. Nor does it mean that we close ourselves off to others and live as autonomous islands unto ourselves. As with so many other things in life, balance and openness are required. What empowerment entails is taking a hand in our own path to fulfillment and, if necessary, coming up with our own guidelines for what is good and appropriate for us. Personal empowerment and self-actualization are key to personal satisfaction, as well as to healthy and whole living. By going within and claiming our true selves, we sync ourselves up with our authentic essence. If I were to offer any broad-based personal advice from what I have gleaned from being privy to people's personal process through my sessions, it would be the following: allow yourself to transcend your cultural conditioning and the expectations of others, so that you may ensconce yourself in the fullness of your Divinely-given being, thereby radiating your individual light outward, so that you may luminously glow with your own essential selfhood. Please allow me to close this section by sharing more beautifully expressed thoughts by others on this important topic: A happy life is one which is in accordance with its own nature. -Seneca Resolve to be thyself; and know that he who finds himself loses his misery. -Matthew Arnold The fearful unbelief is unbelief in yourself. -Thomas Carlyle Be your own palace, or the world is your jail. -John Donne Nothing else so destroys the power to stand alone as the habit of leaning upon others. If you lean, you will never be strong or original. Stand alone or bury your ambition to be somebody in the world. -Orison Swett Marden People who lead a satisfying life, who are in tune with their past and their future in short, people whom we would call "happy" are generally individuals who have lived their lives according to rules they themselves created. -Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi He who knows others is discerning, but he who knows himself is enlightened. -Lao Tzu No one can be great, or good, or happy except through the inward efforts of themselves. -Frederick W. Robertson I am bigger than anything that can happen to me. All these things, sorrow, misfortune, and suffering, are outside my door. I am in the house and I have the key. -Charles Fletcher Lummis


Most people live, whether physically, intellectually or morally, in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make use of a very small portion of their possible consciousness and of their soul's resources in general, much like a man who, out of his whole bodily organism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger. -William James Men resemble great deserted palaces: the owner occupies only a few rooms and has closed-off wings where he never ventures. -Franois Mauriac He must develop head, heart and hand. He must have integral development. Then alone he can have perfection. -Sivananda Lets now turn our attention to another stop on the journey to fulfillment: wholeness or "whole living, another quality that I feel is important in our process (and which may perhaps even be considered a goal of our process). By "wholeness," I mean having developed as much in ourselves and our potential as may be there; for example, using our left brain, right brain, hearts, and gut. It means, insofar as is possible, being a "Renaissance person" and expressing our totality. Being a Renaissance person these days would seem to buck a trend in our contemporary culture. It is no secret that we live in an age of specialization in which specializing seems to permeate every arena of our society, to the extent that being well-rounded would appear to be out of step with the zeitgeist. We are expected to choose one topic or area to focus on in a career, for instance, and specialize in it. It's not enough these days to be, say, a physician. We have to specialize not just in medicine or even in a broad subset of medicine such as pediatrics, but instead in a much more narrowly proscribed area, like pediatric orthopaedics. Specialization of this type does indeed have its advantages. It allows us, for example, to look at and master finer elements of problems and know as much as possible about a certain area, even if the scope is narrower. However, it can also lead us to lose perspective and not see the larger picture or other contributing factors. Much like the blind men examining the elephant by each touching only one area of its body, specialists tend to see just one part of the whole. The gestalt of the whole picture is lost. Generalists, on the other hand, look at the whole, either by itself or by putting the constituent parts together. (The downside to generalizing, of course, is the absence of ability to more precisely master greater subjects and their details.) We don't just lose perspective by over-specialization; we also lose balance. The pressure to specialize in our working lives and subsequent lack of balance is further compounded by current trends in our economy in which work becomes the centerpiece of our lives, often crowding out other elements. What used to be 40-hour work-week norms in our society have now become 50 to 60 hours. One consequently has less time for outside interests and activities, not to mention family, that can serve to lend balance to our lives and allow us to express more aspects of ourselves. In addition to specialization in our careers, an analogous pressure to specialize or to focus on one main area to the exclusion of others lies in what is valued in our mental and perceptual apparatus via our societal emphasis on the rational and tangible. The Age of Reason and recent technological expansion have led us to largely value mind over heart, and left-brain analysis over right-brain creativity. With this reliance on rational thinking and left-brain faculties alone, to the exclusion of right-brain modes such as creativity and holistic thinking, we can become splintered off parts, crying out for wholeness and our disowned faculties. "We know too much and feel too little," Bertrand Russell wrote, and a reliance on either mode (or hemispheric function) to the exclusion of the other can lead us to be out of balance. I have personally known several people who said either, "I don't think; I feel" or "I don't feel; I think." I remember being taken aback the first time I heard someone utter one of these statements. "Why would anyone want to only think or feel?" I wondered. I have always felt that the two can co-exist and strongly think (and feel) that it's both possible and desirable to do both think and feel as they're truly not mutually exclusive.

Indeed, they are faculties that can work together and doing so allows us to express our totality more fully, as well as use more of our consciousness potential. In actuality, confining oneself to one mode, whether logic or feeling, to the exclusion of the other has the effect of making one quite limited hardly a desirable state of being. We have more mind power when were using more of our mental faculties. It can be very hard to resist this societal trend toward being in our heads and neglecting our hearts. Oddly enough, we can consider ourselves to be spiritual and have an interest in metaphysics and still have our hearts shut down. I remember seeing this mode of being over and over again a few years ago. Over a severalmonth period I saw several female clients, who firmly espoused being spiritual and into metaphysics, whom I sensed had an attribute in common. Initially, though, I just couldn't put my finger on what that commonality, that felt rather unhealthy to me, was. Then it hit me. They were all determined women with a strong will. Although they may have viewed themselves differently, I could tell that they weren't truly emotionally open or empathetic. They were, instead, somewhat rigidly ensconced in their heads and more specifically in their left brains. In addition, there was somewhat of a tight energy about them stemming from their strong wills, and their hearts were somewhat closed down. How odd, I thought, when it finally struck me, to be so into metaphysics and spirituality, but to be so emotionally closed off to others (even though their intentions, including towards others, were not negative). And yet these women were evidently rather obedient products of a society inducing people to shut down parts of themselves. This condition is the antithesis of wholeness, but is, unfortunately, not uncommon in our culture and leads us to be slaves to our heads, split off from the rest of us. "It is slavery to live in the mind unless it has become part of the body" (Kahlil Gibran). Ironically, even among those who praise the virtues of love we can find those entrenched in their heads. I have encountered spiritually oriented people who espoused the importance of love as a trait to be cultivated for spiritual health, but their espousing it was all in their heads. In other words, it was more of a creed or belief, rather than a quality that they lived and expressed through their being. They weren't able, at least at the time, to feel the love they so earnestly advocated. Love, of course, is usually best felt, rather than just rationally espoused. This preference for the rational and the concomitant subtle social and cultural pressure to rely exclusively on our left-brain faculties can be especially cruel for those who naturally have strong right-brain (i.e., creative) gifts and/or intuitive abilities, even if they also have strong left-brain aptitude. I have felt that it's very difficult to deviate from the norm in one way alone (for example, high left-brain intelligence), but even more difficult to deviate from the norm in more than one way (above normal intellectual, creative, intuitive, and/or spiritual gifts). This experience can be especially cruel for multi-talented people in academia. I've had several clients of high intelligence whose experiences in academia, either as students or professors, led them to feel a need to stifle their creativity and/or intuition primarily because their aptitudes were simply not valued or, even worse, were derided by other academicians who were either one-dimensional themselves or undeveloped in modes other than those of the left brain. By and large, these clients were frustrated, down on themselves, and suppressing some of their natural abilities. They were obviously having negative experiences due to this out-ofbalance and limited preference in their academic environment for the left-brain. The irony, of course, is that they were obviously more developed and multi-talented than their closeddown or limited, but vocal, peers! I must add that, conversely, I have also known people whose right-brain modes were well-developed, but who neglected their left-brain abilities. They appeared to cling to their creativity and/or intuition almost chauvinistically and rejected any thought of using logic or rational thinking. Needless to say, extolling the right brain and neglecting the left brain is just as limited and limiting as the converse. Whole-brain living, or bilateral hemispheric dominance (or reliance), may be a more balanced (and true to reality) way of living, not to mention a more developed and sometimes higher functioning condition. Witness Albert Einstein, for example, who developed and used both hemispheres. (Interestingly, a post-mortem analysis of his brain showed that his corpus callosum, the structure connecting and allowing communication between the left and right hemispheres, was unusually large.) In our contemporary society, however, developing

and making equal use of both hemispheres can require that we "swim upstream" and buck the current societal trend. This current trend of being into our heads and neglecting our hearts is further compounded by the trend toward being "cool." We are afraid to show our emotions or "wear our hearts upon our sleeves," fearing that we may thereby be more vulnerable or appear more vulnerable to others. Albert Schweitzer likened this quality to a sleeping sickness when he wrote, "You know of the disease in Central Africa called sleeping sickness.There also exists a sleeping sickness of the soul. Its most dangerous aspect is that one is unaware of its coming. That is why you have to be careful. As soon as you notice the slightest sign of indifference, the moment you become aware of the loss of a certain seriousness, of longing, of enthusiasm and zeal, take it as a warning. You should realize that your soul suffers if you live superficially." Fulfillment and healing can more easily come when we reclaim what was repressed or ostracized and allow ourselves, including our feelings, full expression even at the risk of appearing "uncool." It is no wonder that we've seen an increase in heart attacks and other cardiovascular ailments in our present-day times, a by-product perhaps of neglecting the heart and its open expression through a contemporary (societally-induced) preference for and reliance upon the left-brain or head. Much research has been conducted by the Institute of HeartMath in Boulder Creek, California (previously mentioned in Part I in conjunction with their research on phantom DNA) on the heart, health, and emotions (some of which may be accessed through their web site at Suffice it to say that an open and relaxed heart has much to contribute, not just to our cardiovascular health, but also to the health of our whole body's system and the health of others as well. And there is a beauty in the hearts expression, valid for its own purposes. "God has placed a torch in your hearts that glows with knowledge and beauty; it is a sin to extinguish that torch and bury it in the ashes" (Kahlil Gibran). An open heart, coupled with an emotional innocence, can be a lovely and quite pure spiritual quality, oft undervalued by those supposedly more worldly in their orientations. Yet this innocence is indeed a hallmark of purity and a connection to the Divine. "Paradise was made for tender hearts," Voltaire wrote, while Mencius offered this oriental perspective: "The great man is he that does not lose his child's heart." This innocence has an earnest quality associated with it that is blameless. "In God's world, for those who are in earnest, there is no failure. No work truly done, no word earnestly spoken, no sacrifice freely made, was ever made in vain" (Frederick W. Robertson). While it is desirable for our hearts to be open and innocent, it may be desirable for our minds to be open as well, but perhaps in a little more worldly manner. Anatole France wrote, "It is well for our hearts to be nave and the mind not to be." What a beautiful sight it can be to see those individuals with open and innocent hearts, crowned by open and wise minds! This "bi-organ" development and engagement represents a rejection of both our contemporary reliance on one-dimensionality and our under-appreciation of the sentimental, while it also allows us to be more fully developed and realized beings. When we truncate ourselves and allow our minds to be solely utilized while closing down our hearts, we can then encounter other problematic effects. We will often close ourselves off to others. As Al Gore wrote, "But for the separation of thinking and feeling, we might not tolerate the deaths every day of 37,000 children under the age of five from starvation and preventable diseases made worse by failures of crops and politics." Closing down our hearts may indeed be dangerous to our health as well as to that of others. If our essence is not one-dimensional and, instead, encompasses various and diverse attributes, it is important to give expression to as much of it as possible. Otherwise, we may feel cut off, unfulfilled, or frustrated. This does not mean that we can't have a true passion for one activity or talent. (Indeed there are those who are living lives that are meant to experience that singularity of passion and focus.) It is instead when we are repressing parts of ourselves that we tend to be less whole. It is in starting to work with whatever potential we have that we can start to open up the treasure chest that we have been given in our lives, as anyone who has developed a latent ability and experiences that wonderful sense of accomplishment and well-being can attest. Giving ourselves permission to develop and then express the totality of who we are graces both our lives and those of others around us.

Syncing Up Levels The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes. -Marcel Proust Our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, while all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. -William James Have a dialogue between the two opposing parts and you will find that they always start out fighting each other until we come to an appreciation of difference,a oneness and integration of the two opposing forces. -Frederick Salomon Perls

There is another aspect of wholeness, in addition to the factors of opening up and developing the various parts of ourselves on this human level our diverse faculties of heart, intuition, mind, etc. and that is opening and syncing up other levels within us as well. I touched upon this topic earlier in discussing the relationship between personal and spiritual growth and would like to elaborate on it more fully now. The levels to which I'm referring have to do primarily with our consciousness, whether faculties of our conscious awareness or faculties in other segments of the greater spectrum of our consciousness (unconscious and higher consciousness). With regard to our conscious awareness, as we more fully develop both left and right hemispheres of our brains and our intuition (or knowing "gut" level), as well as opening up our hearts, it is helpful to then move to integrate them, so that they may work together as a continuous whole. This integration can be so complete that we can lose track of which mode may be operative at any one time. I have often not known where a thought or perception came from, as mentioned in Part I; in other words, where logic may have left off and intuition, for example, may have begun, because these modes can both complement and work with each other so well and so seamlessly. The same integration can apply to our spectrum of consciousness. We've already touched upon the subject of a spectrum of consciousness and that we have the ability through various modes (meditation, yoga, intuition, etc.) to tap into levels normally inaccessible to our awareness, both our unconscious and higher conscious levels. Once we have opened those levels up, we can then move towards integrating them. In our culture, however, we may have to start this process by first opening up those levels of consciousness, before we can even begin to integrate them. Those who have opened up their consciousness through exploration, or have had it opened up unintentionally through spontaneous triggering experiences, know that the normal mode of consciousness in our culture is very limited and represents a very small band of what is there. It's as if we had amnesia, or had splintered off parts of our reality and hadn't allowed ourselves to see the majority of what truly surrounds us. This "normal mode of narrow perception is quite restricted and restricting, affecting us as if we were in a prison cell and could only see out through a small horizontal slit in the door. We have thus been living in and perceiving only a narrow band of reality. As anyone who has extricated him/herself from this restricted vision knows, there are huge vistas to be seen once our blinders are removed and our scope of consciousness is expanded or, as Aldous Huxley put it, once we have passed through the "Doors of Perception" (even though his shift of awareness was not triggered in a natural way). In truth, there has been a sort of revolution and evolution in consciousness over the past few decades, tantamount to an enlarging of consciousness, or an expansion of awareness, as more and more people have tapped into an enlarged vision. This shift in awareness has had profound effects upon large numbers of people,

so that, in essence, our world now seems to contain two types of humans, those with a traditional, narrow vision and those with expanded consciousness. I am not the first to see or comment on this trend. Richard Maurice Bucke wrote about this phenomenon in 1901 in his book Cosmic Consciousness. Kenneth Ring discusses it in his comprehensively informative book on near-death experiences, Heading Toward Omega, in which he cites John White's similar commentary on the rise of what White calls "homo noeticus" (humankind that is rapidly evolving towards enlightened consciousness, from self-centered awareness to Divine-centered). Marilyn Ferguson is yet another author who wrote about this trend in her ground-breaking work, The Aquarian Conspiracy. There are presently legions of people who have a more expansive consciousness, no matter what the causal factors have been. Once we have expanded our awareness through any modality or involuntarily had it expanded through a catalyzing experience such as a near-death experience the challenge then becomes that of integrating our former modes of awareness with our new modes, as well as integrating our levels of awareness. Just as we can go into and begin to explore our unconscious through other modes, and just as we can begin to shift our perspective to a higher one (or to our higher self), so, too, can we move to sync up those levels, so that they are less discrete and compartmentalized and so that they work less against each other and more with each other. With this syncing up can come a synthesis, so that our levels of consciousness work together in a cooperative and ensemble manner. Until we begin to sync up those levels, however, we will likely feel a disharmony between and among them. Just as I previously mentioned that for years I felt one thing on one level and something either different or contradictory on another level, so too is it true that our levels, until synthesized, may abrade each other and we may feel conflicting and contradictory things, as our unconscious (with its collection of personal stuff) is affecting us one way while our higher consciousness (with its intrinsic greater objectivity) has a conflicting perspective. For example, if we haven't cleared an emotional issue, it may lead us to feel or perceive one thing through the prism of our issue, while at the same time our higher perspective will lead us to see something else, usually more objectively and/or altruistically. It is through emotional clearing and debriding our personal stuff, I feel, that we can begin to sync up our levels and have more of a consistency of perception and feeling (once we have expanded our awareness to begin with). Can we indeed accomplish this completely as humans and while still alive? I don't have an answer to that question, but I do know that we can become more and more integrated over time, as our expansion of consciousness, clearing of emotional and personal "stuff," and syncing up of levels may progress; in other words, the movement toward integration may represent a process unfolding over time, as we gradually grow in a positive direction. And we can be at any point in that process, as it represents a continuum, rather than an "onoff" switch. Syncing up our levels of awareness not only allows us to capitalize on the benefits of the transcendent and more objective view, but also enables us to allow the higher perspective to inform and permeate our spectrum of consciousness, including those parts of our consciousness on the "lower" levels. We become not just more whole-brain, but also more multi-dimensional and vertically integrated. This process allows us to access more of our consciousness potential and capabilities and to develop more aspects of ourselves, thereby coming to a greater state of wholeness. It is a trend that I feel we are only beginning to see in our world allowing increasing numbers of people to feel more whole but which may one day reach critical mass. Life is Process All the great and beneficent operations of Nature are produced by slow and often imperceptible degrees, the work of destruction and devastation only is violent and rapid. -Albert Pike Success is a journey not a destination. The doing is usually more important than the outcome. -Arthur Ashe

Just as the path to syncing up our levels entails a process, so does much of life. It would appear that in our culture many of us may have been brought up to expect sudden changes in life and overnight achievements. Thus, the realization that life is a process represents a major shift in perception and orientation for many of us; however, this realization can add immeasurably to our sense of fulfillment. The truth is that we may tend to experience more frustration in our lives than is necessary when we have the expectation and underlying belief that things should happen overnight and that change is usually effected transformationally or out of the blue. This expectation may manifest itself in our thinking that "one day my life will magically get better" or that any day now my ship will come in. What this type of thinking leads us to do is to focus almost exclusively on the future, rather than living in the present, while it also serves to engrain impatience and discontent in us because we're not where we want to be or where we think we should be. The reality is that, although some change does occur spontaneously and suddenly, most change occurs over time and represents more of an evolution than a revolution. Understanding that life, including change, is a process can allow us to have more patience and a sense of greater satisfaction in our lives in the moment. One subtle by-product of our expecting sudden and transformative change is an orientation toward the future, so that we always are focused on what is down the road, rather than living more in the present. "We never live: we are always in expectation of living" (Voltaire). In living our lives, we obviously need to consider the future for planning purposes. However, fulfillment in living requires some focus on what is at hand and, if we're just focusing on the future, we're overlooking the here and now. As Corita Kent advised, "Love the moment and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries." Allowing ourselves to find pleasure in our daily lives adds to our sense of satisfaction and helps to reduce our discontent. This is why a regimen of gratitude and appreciation can be so rewarding. As Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote, "Happiness is a butterfly, which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you." Or as Dennis Waitley wrote, "Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude." Life is further a process in that, as we learn and grow, we will, of necessity, have ups and downs, both good periods and bad periods. I have seen some clients, as I mentioned, who felt disenchanted with their lives because they had an underlying expectation that their lives would always get progressively and consistently better in other words, that there wouldn't be any bad periods or difficult times at any point. This expectation and resultant disenchantment can often be further compounded by both one's orientation toward being spiritual and the personal growth that one goes through, because some of us have the expectation that if we become more spiritual and work on clearing our stuff our lives should then not only get better, but also become virtually problem-free. This is obviously not the case, as we're still here to learn and grow and we're not guaranteed nirvana while in body. Even our unconscious desire for and perhaps expectation of nirvana may come from cultural conditioning. Many of us live with the unconscious expectation that there is a point at which we should arrive, a destination that, when reached, guarantees happiness because it is the goal striven for. Much more fulfillment can come from the realization that there is no magical "destination" because every day is its own destination, and our lives, in reality, are composed of many days (and thus destinations) all of which serves to illustrate the idea that the "destination" is a process. And, in actuality, we can find more fulfillment simply by allowing ourselves to grow, while appreciating the moment, because in actuality our happiness comes from within. What our personal and spiritual growth does give us is an underpinning by which to better deal with difficult times. A spiritual orientation should also give us a larger perspective that leads us to have deeper reserves upon which to draw, thereby increasing our potential for fulfillment, while also allowing us to realize that what we're encountering today may alter tomorrow. Thus, as we grow more spiritually and become more "enlightened," it is not necessarily our outward experiences and the external factors in our lives that will magically get better; it is, instead, our attitude, perception, and perspective our inner qualities that will shift, usually toward becoming more positive. This internal shift is what contributes to our fulfillment. Changing our expectations by understanding that life is process and allowing ourselves to feel more contentment in the present can serve to better our lot, and perception thereof, over time.

Curiosity and Openness vs. Fear Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will. -James Stephen Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. -Franklin D. Roosevelt We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. -Plato Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. -Anas Nin Curiosity, I feel, is an extremely under-appreciated quality that can lead us to feel more of a sense of fulfillment in our lives. Curiosity can combine with and sometimes be based upon a sense of wonder at creation that can lead us to want to explore and know more. It allows us to be interested in life and its components and to enjoy what fruits are harvested from our curiosity-stimulated exploration. "As we acquire more knowledge," Schweitzer wrote, "things do not become more comprehensible but more mysterious." Curiosity impels us forward and thus leads directly to learning and growing and usually in a pleasant fashion. It is also often a hallmark of openness (as well as intelligence). For the sake of balance, curiosity should, of course, be tempered, just as openness should; in other words, we can be overly curious or overly open. Candide, Voltaires fictional proponent, representing the amalgam of excessive navet, curiosity, and extreme openness, makes for a wonderfully entertaining literary (and musical/operatic) character, but a problem-ridden human in reality. However, curiosity and openness, even if not tempered, will still tend to impel us more greatly toward learning and growing than being closed down will. In order to maintain an attitude of openness and curiosity, it is important to feel that there are still things for us to learn in life and more worlds to explore. Henry Herbert Knibbs expressed this sense of wonder beautifully when he wrote the following: For trails await me; valleys vast and still, Vistas undreamed-of, caon-guarded streams, Lowland and range, fair meadow, flower-girt hill, Forests enchanted, filled with magic dreams. -Henry Herbert Knibbs It is in feeling jaded that we close ourselves off and sentence ourselves to a life with less fulfillment. As Rabbi Ben Azai wrote, "In seeking wisdom thou art wise; in imagining that thou hast attained it, thou art a fool." No matter how much knowledge we may have acquired, it is healthy to feel curious about what we do not yet know. Feeling that we have learned enough or have enough knowledge leads to stagnation as well as to errors by giving us a false sense of certainty and feeling overly certain closes us down. As Erich Fromm wrote, "The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers." I would add to this thought a comment of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.: "Certainty generally is illusion, and repose is not the destiny of man." An unrelenting quest for certainty and/or a closed-down attitude will frequently be coming from a quest for security, a security that can still or calm our doubts. In this way, it also represents a manifestation of an underlying fear, often of change or of uncertainty itself and the unknown. The need for security that the quest for certainty reveals also indicates an intolerance of ambiguity. At its base, however, is fear.

Fear is a closed-down energy that leads us to tunnel in and contract into ourselves, so that we close ourselves off to new experiences. Fear, ironically, will sometimes draw to us exactly what we may be fearful of. It is hugely important to note, however, that fear can often be our teacher if we allow ourselves to face it or to go into it. For these reasons, I feel that fear is one of the biggest bugaboos that bedevil our existence and prevent us not only from growing, but also from finding peace. Our fear can lead us to prefer our present status including that which is unpleasant and/or crazy-making in our lives over the possibility of improvement and more fulfillment, because the latter entails change. Please read this last sentence again and understand how irrational that sort of fear is. To repeat, fear can make us prefer unpleasantness in our lives to the unpredictability of change and the unknown. What is at the root of such illogical fear? Many fears will come from experiences in childhood or represent family or societally induced programming. In addition, many fears will often stem from ignorance. An obvious antidote to ignorance-based fears is exploration and education and, hence, curiosity. One unfortunate component of the fear complex, however, is the inhibiting effect it has on us: when fearful, we definitely do not feel like exploring. Fear, in effect, cripples us and leads us to stay frozen in inaction. Its companion in the crippling process is stasis, so that we stay stuck and do not grow, either in intellectual knowledge or experiential wisdom. "To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom" (Bertrand Russell). One insidious aspect of fear that often serves to prevent us from tackling it is that it often masks itself from our conscious awareness of it, so that we are often truly unaware of our fears or how they guide and shape our actions. Our fears are often so entrenched in the deepest reaches of our psyches that, while they may affect our thoughts, outlook, and actions, they may manifest themselves on the conscious and external levels in ways other than fear, so that we do not even recognize them as fears. If we are determined and assiduously follow the thread of some of our negative thoughts and attitudes in order to find the root cause, we will often find a fear lying at the base of them (sometimes combined with a programmed belief or mindset). For example, most prejudices will have as their root cause a fear a fear of being harmed, a fear of the unknown, etc. Fear is still fear, however, whether it presents itself to the world or ourselves as fear or not. Even when fears are in full sight of our awareness, they can still be insidious. Fear, over time, can become magnified, almost as if it were an organism or cancer that feeds on itself and multiplies. We have seen many examples of fear spreading through societies like a cancer, somewhat by contagion. Consider the Salem witch trials, for example, or the Nazi pogroms against the Jews, or other, more contemporary examples of ethnic rivalries and ethnic "cleansing." To fully appreciate how insidious a dollop of fear can be and the destruction it can wreak as it grows over time, we have only to contemplate examples of genocide, whether in history or (unfortunately) in our contemporary world. This self-feeding, magnification, and contagion aspect of fear can definitely have its effects on us as individuals. Over time, our unaddressed and unremediated fears may become so magnified that we may find ourselves shrinking more from the fear itself than the object of the fear; it is then that we have reached the undesirable state of recoiling in fear from our own fear and have thus become victims of the fear of our fear. And, ofttimes, ironically enough, our fear becomes larger and worse than the object of it, than what were fearful of. As Seneca wrote, again many centuries ago, "There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more often in apprehension than in reality." And, indeed, when we finally buck up our courage and face a fear, we may feel a letdown. "If one has dreaded too much an impending trouble," Joubert wrote, "one feels some relief when the trouble finally comes." I am reminded of the song Peggy Lee recorded some years back, "Is That All There is?" And so, if we acknowledge that fear is unhealthy, what do we do to conquer and vanquish those fears? As I mentioned, fear can be our teacher if we face it and go into it. I am certainly not the first to recognize this truism and advocate it. Mark Twain wrote, "Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain." And John Berryman counseled that, "We must travel in the direction of our fear." Otherwise, we stay stuck and arrested in our growth. In stark contrast to fear, curiosity has a childlike quality to it, an openness that can be quite refreshing. It is, I feel, an underrated spiritual quality and one to be cultivated if possible.

Fear and curiosity curiosity and fear, two polar opposites. We have the choice, however, of which we wish to cultivate. One attribute leads to growth and full experience of life and the other, to stasis and denial of life and enjoyment. As Thoreau wrote, "People die of fright and live of confidence" or curiosity. Perhaps we should follow Thomas Huxley's counsel: "Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses Nature leads, or you shall learn nothing." Relaxed Energy Flow with whatever is happening and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. -Chuang Tzu Relaxed energy flow is another underrated, or perhaps lesser known, quality, I feel, that can add to both our own fulfillment and our process. I say this because I have seen it borne out over and over again with clients that the universe works best with us when our energy is relaxed and flowing. A tightness of energy, on the other hand, will often be problematic. It may signify that we are somewhat closed down and, further, it can also indicate a resistance on our parts to change. One phenomenon I have seen quite often and repeatedly is that if our energy is tight and if we resist relaxing or the process of evolving, we will often get harsh stimuli for change or even more difficult "wake-up calls." Just as "the universe abhors a vacuum," so, too, does it like to jiggle and nudge tight energy, so as to loosen it up. How about another clich? Just as "pride goeth before a fall," so, too, does tight energy, from what I have observed, go before upheaval. It's as if the universe stimulates us in any way possible to evolve and to bring about a more relaxed energy flow that lends itself to change. Having tight energy is problematic in other ways as well. If were uptight, a lot of our energy goes into maintaining that state. Furthermore, when our energy is tight, we usually tend to have a narrower range of focus and can more easily make mistakes or miss cues or information that could be helpful to us. And tight energy is obviously a less healthy state for us physiologically. A relaxed state of energy, on the other hand, will often reflect a condition of openness, and it is definitely in being open that we are more receptive. This openness and receptivity allows us to better receive information and guidance, which obviously help to engender growth and change in a positive way. A relaxed state of energy will often also indicate that we are less reactive and more centered. And it's definitely a more pleasant state to find oneself in! I will again say that we may not necessarily move beyond tight energy or resistance, if that is what we are to experience or exhibit to others in a lifetime. However, if we are concerned with optimizing our life experience and maximizing fulfillment, tight energy may indeed be incompatible with these objectives and a relaxed energy flow is certainly more enjoyable to experience and more optimum for our health and general well-being. "Everything Happens for a Reason" When one door closes another opens. Expect that new door to reveal even greater wonders and glories and surprises. Feel yourself grow with every experience. And look for the reason for it. -Eileen Caddy

We often hear people say that everything happens for a reason, and I am personally inclined to feel that this is a spiritual truism. I think that it may very well be true that we create more misery and unhappiness for ourselves in our lives by either not having this attitude or forgetting that it is so. As we know, life on this level includes duality, of necessity as previously discussed, since we are here to learn and grow. And so, of necessity, we will experience ups and downs, both pleasant experiences and difficult

ones. Often when we are in the throes of pain or heartache, we are blinded by the discomfort of what we're experiencing and then lose sight of the possibility that something positive can come out of it. We may resist even more the difficulty we're experiencing and, like the unfortunate animal caught in a trap, actually worsen our own pain by our further struggle. There are indeed times when we cannot change or eradicate the external factors bringing us difficulty at least perhaps not as quickly as we would like. Remembering that our problematic situations are happening for a reason can allow us to resist and struggle less (knowing that theres a purpose), as well as give us hope and strengthen our faith that this is a benevolent universe. Furthermore, telling ourselves that indeed "this, too, shall pass" can give us both a greater perspective and needed encouragement, allowing us to envision positive outcomes rather than remaining mired in the tunneling and limited vision of the difficulties at hand. The fact that everything exists for a reason applies to the whole web of life, to living beings as well as events and situations. Life on this planet, as well as the whole of the cosmos, is interwoven symbiotically in a complex and intricate fashion, beyond, I feel, our human ability to comprehend. The lightest touch or smallest whisper even of the most minute being reverberates and affects the whole energetically and, from our human vantage point, enigmatically. This interconnection and interweaving is why degradation of the environment and loss of habitat and wildlife species is potentially so damaging to man (without his often short-sighted ability to conceive or realize it), because all and this means everything contributes to the whole in ways we have yet to see or completely figure out. We are, indeed, just pieces of the huge, magnificent, and incomprehensible greater puzzle, and even the lowliest of creation, such as the much-despised cockroach (that I will admit to not being a fan of myself), exists for a reason, even if that reason is beyond our ability to either conceive or understand. I have seen this tenet of a purpose for everything manifested in people's lives, as well, with regard to purpose. Often those who are spiritually oriented will desperately want to get on to their purpose in life and decry their years spent perhaps on other pursuits that they may feel have no connection to what their lifework may be. However, in contrast to this perception and judgment of inappropriateness and irrelevance, I have seen numerous clients whose work and activities in other areas of their lives not only happened for a reason, but would also in the future contribute to their lifework in some way. For example, a woman whose purpose may have to do with creating a nonprofit agency for victims of domestic violence may have spent the better part of her career years working in marketing and graphic design. Because she's spiritually oriented and wants to fulfill her purpose, she may disparage her years spent working in for-profit business as time lost not fulfilling her purpose and, further, as counter to spiritual concerns, because the years were spent in a profit-oriented business (that she felt wasn't contributing service-wise to humanity). In actuality, however, her marketing and graphic design skills, as well as her network of business contacts, may end up being utilized in her nonprofit work. We will often find ourselves engaged in work, activities, or situations whose raison d'tre we cannot grasp. Everything, however, including every activity and pursuit, will happen for a reason, whether we can see this at the time or not. What I have observed from time to time with clients is their arrival at a particular time in their lives when several of these strong interests and past pursuits will converge all at once, and they'll find themselves using or drawing upon these abilities and experiences in a combined way. This period of convergence can often occur when we're entering the "destiny" phase of our lives. Thus, remembering that everything does indeed happen for a reason and does serve a purpose can give us needed hope and encouragement, as well as the insight and perspective that nothing is in vain, neither our struggles, nor our pain, nor our perceived failed endeavors, nor our seemingly lost years, nor our unsuccessful or disastrous relationships. All serves a purpose whether we can consciously know at the time what that is or not and can allow us to respect whatever our conditions, situations, and surroundings are, leading us to look at them as containing some as-yet unidentified treasure. Trust, Surrender, Patience, Flow

Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance. -Brian Tracy

So, if we do wish to participate in the process of unfolding and growing, how does the universe work best with us to stimulate our growth? How do we optimize our receptivity to those stimuli for learning? And what are some of the typical lessons we may be given? In sessions with clients I will often get a sense of what lessons the universe may be working on with them. Over time, I have seen certain themes repeated as to what general attributes or qualities the universe is attempting to teach us or to engender in us. These repeated themes have been trust, surrender, patience, and flow, and in all probability they will come as no surprise to you. In fact, these themes are inter-related and developing one attribute often helps in developing others. Trust All I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all I have not seen. -Ralph Waldo Emerson Only he who can see the invisible can do the impossible. -Frank Gaines Anxiety and worry two faces of an ill seeming to permeate our contemporary society and one that can truly bedevil those who suffer from it. I have repeatedly encountered clients so caught up in a pattern of worry that it had become not just a deeply entrenched habit, but also a trap that they couldn't seem to find their way out of. They often couldn't perceive aspects of their lives people and situations clearly or objectively because their anxiety was too much in their way and served to figuratively cloud their vision. All they could see was their worry. The more I have looked at the phenomenon of anxiety and at people who habitually worry, the more I have gotten the information and observed that underlying most patterns of worry is fear and, furthermore, that the antidote, generally speaking, is trust. Now, this is obviously a gross generalization, as individual factors, circumstances, and other differences even that, in the extreme, of biochemical imbalances or brain anatomy will always come into play. However, trusting that we live in a benevolent universe and that all happens for our greater good can serve to allay those undue fears and worries or at least help to tamp them down somewhat. The fear that chronic anxiety reveals is usually not a trivial one. What is often behind (or beneath) habitual worry is the fear that one's life will fall apart, that one will be left with no resources (financially, socially, or otherwise), that one will lose one's home and be out on the street that "the sky is falling;" in other words, that all one has in life that is positive will be taken away and one will be left, figuratively stripped and naked, with neither anything good at all nor any recourse. It's as if one's mind leaps from the one or two issues of concern to the very worst scenario that could transpire, and one starts to envision all sorts of dire consequences and circumstances. A worry about one aspect of ones life simply cycles out of control and becomes magnified to the nth degree. Worry of this type is like being a carriage hitched to runaway horses. When we're caught up in the process of circular thinking that proceeds from this kind of worry, we ourselves get carried away. And often it is only we who can stop the runaway carriage the process by catching ourselves in the unhealthy thinking and reminding ourselves that all is truly not lost and that we will be able to find our way after all.

People who have a trust in the universe and in the Divine, whether innate or developed, tend to have more inner reserves that can serve to shortcut worry before it gets out of hand, because they trust that they will be taken care of in some fashion and that they will be able to find their way in some, even if yet undetermined, manner. One way in which we can develop trust, even if not deliberately or intentionally, is through repetition. I have seen many clients being taught lessons of trust simply by being given difficult situations over and over again. (And, of course, I have not been immune to such lessons myself.) When we find ourselves, over time, being able to repeatedly extricate ourselves from difficult situations and find that life did indeed improve for us, we learn that no problem is so insurmountable that we will not be able to deal with it in some manner and that, ultimately, we are taken care of and can trust in the Divine. Trust becomes a wonderful tool, then, for stilling any inner turmoil roiling around inside of us. Surrender What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expected generally happens. -Benjamin Disraeli Do not brace yourself against suffering. Try to close your eyes and surrender yourself, As if to a great loving energy. This attitude is neither weak nor absurd, It is the only one that cannot lead us astray. Try to "sleep," with that active sleep of confidence Which is that of the seed in the fields of winter. -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamity with cheerfulness, not through insensibility, but through greatness of mind. -Aristotle

Surrender is another attribute that I have come to regard as desirable in both our everyday lives and our personal process and is furthermore a state of being that is conducive to relaxed energy. As mentioned above, having tight energy is counter-productive to our growth; it represents resistance on our part to external conditions deemed by us to be undesirable, and it frequently results from our clinging to patterns and modes of being that may no longer serve us. In addition, resistance to change will often bring us harsh catalysts specifically designed to trigger our shifting. An attitude of surrender to what the universe is bringing us, including to those occasional periods of personal difficulty, can help to lessen the pain and the struggle we go through pain and struggle that can actually increase when we're resistant and dig our heels in. Knowing, remembering, and accepting that everything happens for a reason can help us to surrender to circumstances we may not have anticipated and may not welcome. I'm not talking about rolling over and playing dead or becoming so passive that we disengage ourselves from our own process, but rather about a surrendering of our resistance. This attitude of surrender can reside in one of two conditions: either in a base of awareness that what we're being given will ultimately serve us and is for the best; or in the realistic realization that our resistance and struggle will only serve to drain our own energies all the more. I've seen many clients undergo lessons in surrender and have seen an impressive improvement of attitude and an increased feeling of well-being once these clients began to surrender, rather than continue to resist. Even though they may have still been going through difficulties, they found themselves feeling better and more able to negotiate any difficult straits.

Interestingly, our contemporarily highly recommended habit of setting goals can be counterproductive to this notion of surrender. It is generally encouraged in our society these days to set goals and define and outline distinct steps to follow in order to accomplish these goals. We're encouraged to adhere to these steps and execute them assiduously, while firmly fixing our sights on our goals and letting nothing deter or derail us. I've seen some clients get some difficult lessons from this rigid practice of goal-setting, because what we're actually doing when we're following these dicta of goalsetting and doggedly setting out to accomplish our pre-established steps, while fixating irremediably on our goal, is tightening our energy and closing ourselves off to other possibilities. What may be more productive in our process of moving forward would be to have a general sense of where we may want to be headed, while allowing ourselves to consider the other possibilities that the universe may bring us that we hadnt foreseen, thereby revising our goal and steps as we go along . Ofttimes what we will be given or will be led to will be better than what we were setting our hearts on. As Euripedes advised, "Slight not what's near through aiming at what's far." This does not mean that we should be like feathers blown about by the wind, without thought, forethought, or will, but that, rather, we should find the balance between rigidly planning on the one hand and allowing and considering new possibilities on the other hand, so as to capitalize on the serendipitously brought boons that could enrich our lives. Our unfolding is greatly facilitated by our allowing that which is and that which comes to us and working with those elements, rather than our resisting and figuratively digging our heels in. If everything happens for a reason, as I've repeatedly averred that I feel it indeed does, then our surrender to what is unfolding furthers us in our process. "Most of the most important experiences that truly educate cannot be arranged ahead of time with any precision," said the president of Sarah Lawrence College, Harold Taylor. This principle also applies to those experiences that can truly bring pleasure, enjoyment, and fulfillment, even if or when they haven't been foreseen or planned for. Surrender is a very desirable trait and can enable us to let more of the good and positive into our lives, especially the positive that may be obscured from our limited view or wrapped in unaesthetic or unexpected packaging. Patience Patience, patience, patience is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach waiting for a gift from the sea. -Anne Morrow Lindbergh Never think that God's delays are God's denials. Hold on; hold fast; hold out. Patience is genius. -Buffon Patience, and the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown. -Chinese Proverb Patience is a bitter plant that produces sweet fruit. -Charles Swindoll Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears. -Barbara Johnson

What can I say about patience that you may not already know or have heard? Aside from the maxim that "patience is a virtue," which we've all been told and taught ad infinitum, we generally know and pay lip service to the judgment that patience is to be valued even if we don't always know exactly why. We tend to thus be very conflicted about the notion of patience: we know that it's supposed to "be

a virtue," but we don't always feel like being patient. The problem comes from the fact that we tend to want things now, especially in our contemporary, fast-paced, stressful, and immediate gratification society, and being patient means having to wait and delay gratification. One thing we can learn through experiences of enforced patience (or delayed gratification) is that the universe's time schedule is often quite different from our human one and that some good things do indeed come in time. As Arnold H. Glasow wrote, "The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it open." Another attribute we can gain through difficult lessons in patience is not just to be patient, but also to be less attached to what we deem to be critical to our happiness. (Remember the discussion of detachment?) Having to be patient teaches us not only that universal time (or the lack of time) is vaster than the human experience of time, but also that it can serve our purpose to shift our perspective to a higher one where the overview allows us to see the insignificance of our daily dramas, as well as the inconsequentiality of that thing we consider to be so critical to our happiness. The larger picture is where our impatience is truly put into perspective. We learn, as well, that we can find fulfillment that is unconditional and not contingent upon specific things or conditions and that we truly can find fulfillment and contentment in being patient! We also learn thereby to find more satisfaction in the moment, rather than living in a future-oriented fashion that, by its very nature, leads us to be dissatisfied in the present. There is a strength in patience, or, as Edward Bulwer-Lytton put it, a "concentrated strength." Both Michelangelo and Disraeli likened patience and the ability to have it to an attribute of and necessary ingredient in genius. Genius may bring wonderfully creative ideas for the arts and sciences, but it takes patience to do the detail work necessary to bring those ideated creations into existence. Faith is another quality that can help us to have patience, because with it we can trust that good things will come in time. Knowing that good things will indeed come, no matter what the time frame, can take the sting out of the interim obligatory time period of waiting for them. Patience also has its benefits insofar as our energy is concerned, in that this virtuous quality is a necessary component of a more relaxed energy flow while its opposite, impatience, definitely creates tension and contributes to tight energy. Flow Everything flows and nothing abides, everything gives way and nothing stays fixed. -Heraclitus Seek not that the things which happen should happen as you wish; but wish the things which happen to be as they are, and you will have a tranquil flow of life. -Epictetus

Life, as we know, involves change, and change is flux. Quite obviously, it is practically impossible to live our lives without experiencing some change and if were on the personal path of unfolding, change is not only unavoidable, but is also, instead, embraced. Thus, when we are open to learning and growing, and thereby to changing, it behooves us to also allow ourselves to flow more easily with events and the shifts that occur over time. Hence, the value of the quality, flow. Applied to energy, flow represents a looser, more relaxed state of energy (and is the opposite of resistance). When we are resonating positively with what is going on around us and in our lives, we are flowing with it, which entails a more harmonious condition, rather than an abrading mixture of energies. This resonance with what is outside of us can also add to our sense of connection to what is external to us and to what is not us.

The recognition of these advantages of flow has contributed to the phrase that has cropped up in recent years of "being in the flow" that refers to a heightened sense of well-being. (Actually it was Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a psychologist, who coined the term "flow," that means "being so completely absorbed in what one is doing that all sense of time, space, and self seems to disappear." [Cited in The Heart's Code, by Paul Pearsall, Ph.D., p. 155] Often when we are deeply concentrating on an activity we are "in the flow.") When we are "in the flow," we are not stepping back to assess things nor are we resistant to what is transpiring; we are, instead, flowing with what is. Indeed when we are truly in the flow, we are practically merging with whatever we are absorbed in. As author Edna O'Brien put it, "My hand does the work and I don't have to think; in fact, were I to think, it would stop the flow. It's like a dam in the brain that bursts." This quality of flow can be applied to all areas of our lives, including consciousness and emotions. In other words, we can allow ourselves to flow not just with what is outside of us, but also with fluctuations in what we are sensing or feeling internally. For example, I have seen many clients who couldn't flow with their emotions, especially the less positive ones, like anger or guilt or sorrow. I've seen many who either repressed these unpleasant emotions completely, by making value judgments about them as being "negative" emotions and by telling themselves that they needed to be "up" all the time or always feel love, or who got stuck in these negative emotions and couldn't get out of them. The more they artificially tried to feel up all the time, the more potent and tight the knot of frustration underneath the surface in them became, from repressing their ill feelings. And those who get stuck in their negativity appear doomed to keep repeating the same negative mantras over and over again, causing them to stay stuck in their lives. I've seen still other clients who placed judgments on their emotions and told themselves that they shouldn't be feeling what they were indeed feeling a type of self-talk which invariably leads to conflicted feelings, as well as to conflicted energy. Life, again, is flux, no matter how hard we may try to make its conditions stay just one way, and our emotions will also fluctuate, just as other aspects of life fluctuate. Not going with the flow of emotions leads us to block things off in ourselves or dam up our less pleasant feelings. No matter what type of emotion we may be feeling, I would be surprised if it weren't expressing something valid. I view emotions as signals, or indicators, which exist for a reason. They represent an indication to us that things in our lives are positive or are negative; a negative emotion, for example, signals to us that something is amiss. As a corroborative illustration, as Harriet Lerner wrote, "Anger is a signal, and one worth listening to." If we allow ourselves to feel such emotions as they come up, we can use them as tools to examine why we're feeling the way we are and can then work on resolving or clearing any problematic underlying causes. Emotions can thus be used as tools in our learning and growing process, as well as in clearing our inauthentic stuff. I'll stress again that I feel it's necessary to allow our emotions to flow, rather than staying stuck in any one emotion. Just as research by the Institute of HeartMath shows that variability in heart rate is critical for optimum health (rather than a consistency of heart rate), so, too, I feel, is emotional variability analogously contributory to our overall well-being. It is not just our emotions that we can allow ourselves to flow through. We can also flow through our various modes of consciousness. We can flow from our conscious observer mode to being engaged in activities. The point is not to be stuck in one mode or to be resisting a flow. Allowing a flow in our lives is another path by which we can find more fulfillment and less dissatisfaction and start to feel more "in the flow." The foregoing represents some of the key implications of what I've learned from my work that can be applied to our lives with regard to our individual process of unfolding and growing. There are implications for us as well in the area of relationships. Relationships

No love, no friendship can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever. -Franois Mauriac Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born. -Anas Nin Don't avoid relationships: they are the best seminar in town. -Sondra Ray Love is the immortal flow of energy that nourishes, extends, and preserves. Its eternal goal is life. -Smiley Blanton

Relationships are very important to us as social beings, whether romantic relationships, platonic ones, or relationships with family members. Because they are so important and can affect us so strongly in an emotional way, gaining some perspective on them can be helpful for us. Without a perspective on this significant part of our lives, we may find ourselves just being caught up in our emotional reactions to others with whom we're involved or to whom we're relating (or reacting) and forgetting that there could be any other significance or layer to these interactions. Relationships, too, can exist for a reason, as we discussed previously, and will often be giving us material for our own process of growth, once we learn how to work with them. Understanding, for example, that relationships exist for a purpose that may have to do with our own development and unfolding can allow us to gain some needed and healthy perspective. Understanding that some of our relationships, especially our learning relationships, may be based upon our inauthentic stuff, rather than our true essence, can help to pave the way for our knowing what we have to work on in ourselves. Trying to determine what we've learned from a relationship after the fact can help us to move past any negative feelings, such as anger or blame, and move towards forgiveness, release, and appreciation for the lessons learned and growth gained therefrom. Understanding that our relationships may be based upon and colored by more than solely our present lifetime dynamics, such as our soul connections, can give us insight into the overlays we may have felt in some relationships that may have previously defied our comprehension. This insight can allow us to see more of the totality of our relationships dynamics and understand why these dynamics are the way they are and why we may feel closer to some family members, for instance, than others. Knowing that relationships are more than just the feelings we experience in them and that there is meaning behind the surface events and emotions can give us both the insight and conceptual framework that allow us to understand them and better know how to deal with them. Relationships can thereby come to represent not just a social dynamic beyond our understanding, but also another factor in the complex structure of life as well as another tool for our soul's journey. Where Are We Headed? I find the great thing in this world is, not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe NDErs [Near-Death Experiencers] and others who have had similar awakenings may in some way prefigure our own planetary destiny, the next stage of human evolution, the dazzling ascent toward Omega and the conscious reunion with the Divine. -Kenneth Ring

Just as we've seen some perspective on our individual paths and a spiritual framework of meaning into which to place our relationships, we may ask what implications there may be for us as a group in other words, as humans. So, where are we indeed headed as a species? Allow me next to share what general trends I've sensed unfolding. Experiential Exploring and Personal Gnosis To understand the world Knowledge is not enough, You must See it, Touch it, Live in its presence And drink the vital heat of existence in the very heart of reality. -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin From the death of the old the new proceeds, And the life of truth from the death of creeds. -John Greenleaf Whittier

One strong trend that I have seen is towards what I call experiential spirituality, or personal exploration that contributes and leads to personal gnosis (or true knowing). The experiential nature of this spiritual exploring is, I feel, in stark contrast to the more cerebral spirituality of dogma and creeds that has been extant for the past several centuries. Some people may refer to this trend as an integration of Eastern and Western spiritualities. Aside from some exceptions, such as revivalist schools of practice, much of our Western religion has been based upon creeds and beliefs that have usually primarily engaged their adherents' minds, but not necessarily their feelings or brought about gnosis, or a true knowing. Having been brought up in a Christian denomination, I can personally say that I've known many, many congregation members and churchgoers whose minds were definitely engaged in their religion, but unfortunately substantially fewer whose hearts were likewise engaged. As Teilhard de Chardin, a noted Catholic priest and scientist, also wrote, "Because it is not sufficiently moved by a truly human compassion, because it is not exalted by a sufficiently passionate admiration of the universe, our religion is becoming enfeebled." Kahlil Gibran took this criticism of established religion even further when he made the rather strong statement that, "The truly religious man does not embrace a religion; and he who embraces one has no religion." This is not to say that there aren't churches or church members who aren't deeply spiritual, but that there is a tendency for established creeds, at times, that are more cerebral in nature to replace true, feeling-based spirituality. There is a knowing that comes from experiencing that is markedly and qualitatively different from cerebral or rational knowing. Bernard Meland referred to this as a "Creative Passage as bodily event at a depth and fullness not manageable at the cognitive level.In all of [life] there are depths of awareness accompanying the bodily event of living and experience that yield conditions of knowing which language may not convey, or, for that matter cannot convey." I prefer to refer to this experiential knowing as true gnosis, in order to distinguish it from the more rational form of apprehending or cognition. What has occurred in the past couple of decades, as more and more people have explored more hands-on modalities of spirituality such as meditation or shamanic journeying or out-of-body experiences or regression or intuition or different levels of consciousness (through modulating brain waves) or near-death experiences is an experiential exploration of our reality. This has allowed some people to realize and to know that there is in actuality more to our reality than had been culturally taught or thought.

And, furthermore, this exploration has allowed some a direct experience of the Divine. Experiential spirituality shifts spirituality from something "out there" impersonal and external to an internalization and true knowing and feeling of the Divine, as well as from sterile creeds and dogma to a living knowing and true gnosis. This trend has been tantamount to a democratization of spirituality. No longer does one have to go through an intermediary or hierarchy to inquire about God or receive Divine blessing. One can have direct access. This leads to a knowing of the Divine that is a true gnosis, because it is direct and comes from a direct experiencing, rather than being the result of creeds or what others have taught or dictated about the Divine or God's nature. This gnosis has also allowed people to feel the Divine, thereby engaging the heart as well as the mind, and what is felt is, of course, love or agape (spiritual love). Much has been written about love as a change agent and potent force for good. "All you need is love" and "love makes the world go 'round" are just two examples of catch phrases, albeit from songs, about the transformative power of love. As the heart experiences the Divine and Divine love, it is more engaged and therefore more open, and, as a result, healing and greater connection to both the Divine and our world can take place. This not only enriches us, but also allows us to become more whole. Thus feeling itself, whether through the heart or through any of the other senses (such as kinesthetically), represents a portal through which we gain this knowing that is so radically different from thinking or believing. No matter what our level of intelligence or how efficient our synapses or how convoluted our gray matter or how numerous our constellations of neurons, we can all be privy to this experiential knowing and feeling. Unlearn'd, he knew no schoolman's subtle art, No language but the language of the heart. -Alexander Pope

In addition, this experiential exploration has also allowed some to directly view and experience parts and levels of reality that may have previously been only theorized about, or not even imagined. It has thus served to enlarge our experience and conception of reality, as well as our awareness of potential. This agrandissement can be very powerful and can allow us even more to get out of the confining box of limited thinking and perception, as well as out of the narrowly proscribed cultural conditioning, serving to free up our potential. Our experience, awareness, and souls are thereby enriched. Connection and Integration The Sacred and the Profane The Universe should be deemed an immense Being, always living, always moved and always moving in an eternal activity inherent in itself, subordinate to no foreign cause, is communicated to all its parts, connects them together, and makes the world of things a complete and perfect, Whole. -Albert Pike A vague sense of Nature's Unity, blended with a dim perception of an all-pervading Spiritual Essence, has been remarked among the earliest manifestations of the Human Mind. -Albert Pike By one great Heart the Universe is stirred: By its strong pulse, stars climb the darkening blue; It throbs in each sunset's changing hue, And thrills through low sweet song of every bird. -Margaret Wade Deland

You are just a piece of the universe looking at itself. -Alan Watts

I have been privy through my intuitive work not just to people's inner workings, but also to trends underway on a larger scale in our society. And, fortunately, many of these trends are positive ones, such as trends to greater awareness, clearing, integration, openness, connection, and wholeness. Opening to Spirituality "One Day My Soul Just Opened Up" -Iyanla Vanzant

By and large in our culture, I have seen more and more people become open to spirituality and to a greater feeling of spirituality being incorporated into their lives. This trend toward greater spirituality and a concomitant search for meaning have come after a few decades of increased emphasis on physical acquisition (materialism) and increased workloads. (And, of course, achieving physical survival and comfort has allowed our culture to shift its focus to the other-worldly, the spiritual.) This thirst for spirituality and yearning for the ineffable make perfect sense as a reaction to lives lived seemingly without higher meaning other than that of financial survival. As Winston Churchill wrote, "The destiny of mankind is not decided by material computation. When great causes are on the move in the worldwe learn that we are spirits, not animals," Embracing spirituality and especially that of the experiential variety re-introduces spirituality into lives previously felt as empty and devoid of meaning. Wholeness and Healing We must be the change we wish to see in this world. -Mahatma Gandhi

As I mentioned, in the past several years, I've not only seen more people feel led to embark on a spiritual path, but also on a path of personal healing and clearing. This trend has been quite marked. It's almost as if the trend toward personal spirituality and experiential exploring has given more people the clear awareness that any dysfunction in themselves is not resonant with the crystalline essence that the spiritual could be. (This, in addition to what I mentioned earlier about the interrelationship between personal and spiritual growth.) And, certainly, it would appear that the universe is moving us toward a greater awareness of our personal stuff and that it's definitely not pretty (even if, paradoxically, at the same time it exists for a reason). Many people have been given difficult lessons that have led them to see very clearly that they needed to work on their stuff. It's as we are being asked on a higher level to work on this more en masse in this time period. And it has definitely felt to me that we're supposed to be clearing and syncing up our levels right now, as a new way of being and living is being created in our culture. (And, as mentioned above, it is certainly true that a prosperous society affords one the luxury of looking at such things, when one's total focus in life does not have to be consumed with mere physical survival.) For whatever reasons there may be contributing to this trend and goading us to participate in it, increasing numbers of people are indeed working on clearing their stuff and becoming more clear-eyed as a result. Thus, awareness more of a clear awareness has also been heightened, and I fully expect that we will continue to see awareness increase, as more and more people clear the stuff that clouds their vision and progressively more people begin to take personal responsibility for their actions, as well as their actions' effects on others in our consensual reality.

Environmental Awareness and Compassionate Stewardship The earth I tread on is not a dead, inert mass. It is a body, has a spirit, is organic, and fluid to the influence of its spirit, and to whatever particle of that spirit is in me. She is not dead, but sleepeth. -Henry David Thoreau Thou canst not stir a flower without the troubling of a star. -Francis Thompson A human being is a part of the whole, called by us "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. -Albert Einstein A man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as that of his fellow men, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help. -Albert Schweitzer Love all God's creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it. Love every leaf, every ray of God's light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love. -Fyodor Dostoyevsky No one perfectly loves God who does not perfectly love some of his creatures. -Marguerite de Valois

I'm pleased to observe that there has also been an increasing awareness of our connection to the earth, a cognizance that seems to grow over time. In this way, environmental awareness is also very much on the rise, a natural by-product, I feel, of a greater spirituality that leads us to feel more of a connection to that which is outside of us and to become more cognizant of our role as stewards of the earth and all her inhabitants. This increasing environmental awareness is quite timely, coming at a time when we have witnessed more and more habitat degradation over the past few decades. Al Gore addressed this issue quite passionately and eloquently when he wrote the following passage in 1992 in Earth in the Balance: Today, we enthusiastically participate in what is in essence a massive and unprecedented experiment with the natural systems of the global environment, with little regard for the moral consequences. But for the separation of science and religion, we might not be pumping so much gaseous chemical waste into the atmosphere and threatening the destruction of the earth's climate balance. But for the separation of useful technological know-how and the moral judgments to guide its use, we might not be slashing and burning one football field's worth of rain forest every second. But for the assumed separation of humankind from nature, we might not be destroying half the living species on earth in the space of a single lifetime. -Al Gore

And it is not just our cognizance of our connection to the earth and her animals that has been increasing; we have also become increasingly aware of our connection to other people and to the whole spectrum of human experience and expression, including other races and cultures, genders, physical and intellectual capabilities, religious convictions, and sexual orientation all the various and gloriously divergent ways in which the Divine manifests and expresses Itself in physical reality, whether here on earth or in the rest of our universe. And it is not just the more spiritual lay people who are having this awareness, but researchers and scientists as well who explore the mysteries of the further reaches of our cosmos. Harlow Shapley, an astronomer, expressed this beautifully when he wrote of our universe: To be a participant is in itself a glory. With our confreres on distant planets; with our fellow animals and plants of land, air, and sea; with the rocks and waters of all planetary crusts, and the photons and atoms that make up the stars with all these we are associated in an existence and an evolution that inspires respect and deep reverence. We cannot escape humility. And as groping philosophers and scientists we are thankful for the mysteries that still lie beyond our grasp! -Harlow Shapley

We are thus slowly beginning to intimate as a species that we are truly parts of a greater whole, whether human, living creature, or geophysical space. Hence, I increasingly see us moving inexorably toward wholeness, wholistic orientation, environmental awareness, and compassionate stewardship. Integration of the Sacred and the Profane If you love the sacred and despise the ordinary, you are still bobbing in the ocean of delusion -Lin Chi

This move toward wholeness is extended as well to levels of being. We are realizing more and more that mind, body, and soul are connected. Thus, we are allowing more of our own wholeness to be realized and expressed as we move toward integrating mind, body, and soul. Consciousness is slowly becoming more of an integrated whole in itself as we open up our unconscious and plumb its depths, while also exploring our higher consciousness. More people are starting to open up their left and right brain modes, heart, and intuition and are moving towards integrating those faculties so that they may work together, instead of either lying dormant or abrading against each other. One of the next trends I expect to see more of as time goes by is the syncing up of other levels of consciousness the unconscious, conscious mind, and higher self, as previously discussed. This trend, I feel, is just beginning, but will slowly gain steam and increase. Can we ultimately become clear, sync up levels, and integrate the sacred and the profane? I'm afraid that I do not have an answer to this question. At this time it's a bit of an imponderable. However, if that integration and clearing does indeed happen for humans here on earth, then earth may indeed no longer be the "schoolhouse" for learning and giving lessons that we have traditionally perceived it as being. Perhaps there would then be another "schoolhouse" somewhere. Higher Truths I do not want the peace which passeth understanding, I want the understanding which bringeth peace. -Helen Keller

if our language is inadequate, our vision remains formless, our thinking and feeling are still running in the old cycles, our process may be "revolutionary" but not transformative. -Adrienne Rich Objects close to the eye shut out much larger objects on the horizon, and splendors born only of the earth eclipse the stars. So it is with people who sometimes cover up the entire disc of eternity with a dollar, and so quench transcendent glories with a little shining dust. -E. H. Chapin Those who have high thoughts are ever striving; they are not happy to remain in the same place. Like swans that leave their lake and rise into the air, they leave their home and fly for a higher home. -The Dhammapada Our mind is capable of passing beyond the dividing line we have drawn for it. Beyond the pairs of opposites of which the world consists, other, new insights begin. -Hermann Hesse

And, lastly, I feel that we are becoming readier as a species for higher truths. Because our mindsets and cultural programming can exert such a tight rein on our thinking and ability to comprehend that which is beyond their ken, we often simply cannot digest or understand new thinking and ideas incompatible with our mental strictures and programmed (or evolved) limitations. Our minds have to be prepared, just as soil does for planting, by being opened in some way. As an example, I can remember rejecting out of hand several concepts that I was exposed to approximately 15 years ago as being beyond the range of possibility. As my thinking and consciousness expanded, however, those concepts that I had previously considered to be ridiculously "beyond the pale" suddenly seemed possible and at least plausible, if not reasonable, as they began to make more sense to me. It is precisely this sort of "mind opening" that increasing waves of humans are experiencing as our species seems to be taking an evolutionary leap forward in consciousness. As our sense of reality has expanded and as we have increasingly cleared our personal stuff and gained greater spiritual awareness, our perspective no longer need be stuck in the dualistic view. We can, instead, increasingly gain a higher perspective and glimpse more of the totality of this beautiful expression of creation, including an awareness and acceptance of paradox and other than one-dimensional expression. There is truly so much more to the universe than what we can experience or perceive on this level! As we enlarge our vistas, we thus mature more as a species and thereby resonate more with the Divine. I seem to be a brief light that flashes but once in all the eons of time a rare, complicated and alltoo-delicate organism on the fringe of biological evolution, where the wave of life bursts into individual, sparkling, and multicolored drops that gleam for a moment only to vanish forever. -Alan Watts The Song is Ended, but the Melody Lingers on. -Irving Berlin