Communication with Spirit Guides and “Channeling”
Occasionally, one can encounter in a holotropic state of
consciousness a being, who seems to show interest in a personal relationship and assumes the position of a teacher, guide, protector, or simply a convenient source of information. Such beings are usually perceived as discarnate humans, suprahuman entities, or deities existing on higher planes of consciousness and endowed with extraordinary wisdom. Sometimes they take on the form of a person; at other times they appear as radiant sources of light, or simply let their presence be sensed. Their messages are usually received in the form of direct thought transfer or through other extrasensory means. In some instances, communication can take the form of verbal messages.
A particularly interesting phenomenon in this category is
channeling, which in several past decades received much attention from the public and mass media. A person who is “channeling” transmits to others messages received from a source that appears to be external to his or her consciousness. It occurs through speaking in a trance, using automatic writing, or recording of telepathically received thoughts. Channeling has played an important role in the history of humanity. Among the channeled spiritual teachings are many scriptures of enormous cultural influence, such as the ancient Indian Vedas, the Qur’an, and the Book of Mormon. A remarkable modern example of a channeled text is A Course in Miracles, recorded by psychologist Helen Schucman (Anonymous 1975, Grof 2006).
Experiences of channeling can precipitate a serious psychological and spiritual crisis. The individual involved can interpret the experience as an indication of beginning insanity. This is particularly likely if the channeling involves hearing voices, a well-known symptom of paranoid schizophrenia. The quality of the channeled material varies from trivial and questionable chatter to extraordinary information. On occasion, channeling can provide consistently accurate data about subjects to which the recipient was never exposed. This fact can then appear to be a particularly convincing proof of the involvement of supernatural realities and can lead to serious philosophical confusion for an atheistic layperson or a scientist with a materialistic worldview. Readers interested in this phenomenon will find much valuable information in special studies by Arthur Hastings and Ion Klimo (Hastings 1991, Klimo 1998).
Spirit guides are usually perceived as advanced spiritual beings on a high level of consciousness evolution, who are endowed with superior intelligence and extraordinary moral integrity. This can lead to highly problematic ego inflation in the channeler, who might feel chosen for a special mission and see it as a proof of his or her own superiority.