[Excerpted from Chapter 1 of Journey of Your Soul: A Channel Explores the Michael Teachings]
WHAT IS CHANNELING?
Channeling is a means of communicating with any consciousness that a channel (or channeler) allows to express through him or her.
We live in a multidimensional universe. Michael teaches that the physical plane is only the first (and most dense) of seven planes. The next plane is the astral; we dwell on the lower astral plane before birth and after death, and sometimes visit it when dreaming. The other planes are the causal, akashic, mental, messianic, and buddhaic. They aren’t really separate from our lives here on the physical plane. Through channeling, we can make conscious contact with higher planes. We can also communicate with beings who are physical but nonhuman, such as devas (nature spirits), dolphins and whales, and extraterrestrials.
The term channeling usually refers to communication with teachers. The majority are astral; the rest are from planes above the astral, known as the high planes. (Michael is on the causal plane.) Although the universe contains an infinite variety of consciousness that could theoretically be channeled, in practice channels usually tune into that with which they have a meaningful connection and which is well suited to the channeling process.
The most common form of communication with nonphysical consciousness is with people who have passed on, but that is usually referred to as mediumship rather than channeling. (The Whoopi Goldberg character in the movie Ghost was a medium.) Although there is overlap, “channeling” refers to accessing higher knowledge in order to support spiritual growth and to gain greater clarity about one’s life. For instance, my clients often ask Michael about what’s going on behind the scenes in problematic relationships. Michael may give information about past-life connections, karmas, agreements, and larger issues being worked on by both parties, providing a soul’s-eye view of that relationship’s dynamics. This can be very useful and is not the sort of information normally available from a therapist or counselor. If a person is seeing a therapist, working with Michael can be complementary. A medium, as defined here, might also provide this kind of information, but the intent in seeing a medium is usually to communicate with a specific person who has passed on. Souls who are between lives are not necessarily expert in accessing big-picture information. They are generally more objective about physical experience than we are here on the physical plane, but being nonphysical doesn’t automatically make someone skillful or knowledgeable, let alone wise or loving; every consciousness must earn its enlightenment.
There is much about the process of channeling that is unknown or difficult to put into words, and each experience of it is unique. However, some generalizations can be made. Channeling occurs through what Michael calls the higher centers, which are somewhat dormant in most of us but can be opened with practice. Higher centers are the parts of our psyche that can connect with universal love, truth, and beauty (or pure energy). They are like radios in the personality that can be tuned into the frequency of the channeled entity. The signal is generally received first physically by the crown chakra. The physical body has seven main chakras, which are focal points of energy; the crown chakra is the seventh or highest. It is located at the crown of the head.
An occupational hazard afflicting some channels and psychics is that their pineal gland, the physical seat of the crown chakra, becomes exhausted and does not produce enough melatonin. Melatonin regulates the diurnal/nocturnal cycle, and a deficiency of it can cause various problems, such as sleep disorders.
In verbal channeling, the signal then stimulates the sixth chakra (the third eye) and the brain, searching the subconscious for correlating words. Either the entity, the channel, or both working together cooperatively select the specific words that seem to best express the thoughts. Even if the entity selects the words, the channel doesn’t usually experience this as hearing external voices; it has the sound of his own thoughts, since channeled entities do not have physical voices. This is not unlike the process by which we translate our own thoughts into words, except that it is more difficult because someone else’s thoughts are being translated through the channel.
By definition, teachers from higher planes work more with the invisible aspects of things, coming at information differently from us. They often seem to spiral into core insights, gradually unveiling one layer after another, rather than coming up with an instant analysis of what is occurring. This is a delicate process, an art as well as a science.
Some people channel or at least tune into higher sources without being aware of it. They assume that the thoughts they are having are their own when that is not entirely the case. This can account for several people coming up with a similar invention or song, for instance, at the same time — a higher-plane source is trying to get its idea to the physical plane and works with several people simultaneously, hoping that at least one of them will make it available to others. We are each creative beings in our own right, so we cannot necessarily attribute inspiration to higher sources. However, we receive more spiritual help than we usually realize.
My original impression was that channeling is a simple matter of dictation — that if Michael wishes to communicate something, it should sound the same no matter who the channel is. However, experience has taught me that channeling is a much more complex phenomenon. I now see it as a collaboration, with many variables.
Being physical, it is hard for us to fully and truly understand what is not physical. It is like working with flat, two-dimensional blueprints that represent three-dimensional buildings. They can be useful, but they cannot replace direct, three-dimensional experience, and some direct experience is simply not available to us now. Until we ourselves are nonphysical, we will not be able to completely comprehend how channeling really works, who or what Michael actually is, and many other things.
Even regarding physical phenomena, science purports to explain many things that are not truly understood. Do we really comprehend photosynthesis, for example? We may appreciate an explanation of the mechanics, which may or may not be fairly accurate — science often changes its mind — but surely that is not the whole picture. It is good to maintain a healthy appreciation of mystery. I am not suggesting blind faith or belief, but an awareness of the vastness of life.
WHO CAN CHANNEL?
Channeling is similar to playing piano: almost anyone who applies himself can learn to do it, at least a little, and even a casual study of it can be enriching. However, learning to do it well requires a lot of energy and commitment, and it comes more easily to some people than to others. Furthering our skills in this lifetime, whatever they are, can lead to being born with more talent in those areas in future lifetimes.
We plan each lifetime before it begins. If we desire to channel during that lifetime, we usually make agreements to do so with the particular source(s) we wish to channel, and plan the timing and the form of the channeling we will do so that it supports our life task. We can design our overleaves and even our body to facilitate channeling. Some channels have idiosyncratic bodies for this reason. One highly psychic channel I know can spontaneously start to channel when a certain point on her neck is touched. Another seems to have “electrical wiring” that is different from most people’s, and he can be made ill by techniques that are usually healing for others. I myself have always had a sensitive body, which is a mixed blessing — it can be finicky. For example, lying on an electric heating pad makes me ill.
Not everyone who channels planned to do so before her lifetime began, but someone is not likely to be motivated to invest the energy to learn to channel well unless channeling fits somehow in her life plan. Channeling is usually not of strong interest to the soul until the mature and old soul ages because before that, our lessons emphasize external factors. However, there is nothing to prevent younger souls from channeling, and channeling well, if they wish to.
If channeling is part of someone’s life plan, a lot of preparation may occur on both conscious and unconscious levels during the channel’s lifetime before he begins to channel. Not coincidentally, I began channeling shortly after completing a year of intense emotional catharsis and healing, working with someone who was both a therapist and a psychic — I needed to empty my vessel of old baggage before I could become a clear channel.
I am what has been called a heart channel — the heart is where integration occurs. I set it up in my life plan to do channeling that incorporates words, energy, and sometimes emotion to help others not only have intellectual clarity but to integrate what is being discussed into all levels of self. My practice is not so much informational as experiential.
Every approach to channeling has pros and cons. Even though I am careful to allow through the precise words that Michael wants, the intellectual side of my channeling is probably somewhat diluted because of the other elements coming through me at the same time, particularly the energy work.
The question arises as to who can channel Michael. In Messages from Michael, Michael was quoted as saying, “We are an ancient entity that comes to all who ask.” However, Michael’s People states that Michael is not being channeled by priests, and it lists a few locations as those of the sole Michael groups. I believe that this referred only to the particular fragments of Michael working with that group, not to the whole of Michael. No doubt there have been priests and people in other locations who have “asked.” (I know two priests who channel Michael.)
Yarbro also mentioned certain factors that facilitate channeling, such as particular overleaves, being an old soul, and being in six or seven cadence positions. However, none of these things are required. Michael might be able to penetrate more deeply and powerfully, with a larger perspective, through a channel more ideally suited for channeling them. However, the quote above from Messages suggests that they would welcome anyone who sincerely desires to make conscious contact with them. In the elegant way the universe works, someone who is not suited for channeling Michael will probably not be strongly interested in doing it anyway.
I offer a service I call channeling coaching for those who are learning to channel. In most cases, they don’t really need me — they are already making a connection, but they don’t trust it. I help them validate and refine it. I guide them through the process a step at a time, offering pointers and telling them what I’m seeing or being told by their guides. When beginning, I suggest that they ask for the highest, most appropriate source for them to channel now. It may be Michael, but often it isn’t — it may be easier to channel their essence or an astral spirit guide first. They may find that channeling from the astral plane is their niche, what they agreed to do or what is most appropriate and comfortable for them. They may also eventually channel a high-plane source other than Michael.
The key to learning to channel is simply to practice a lot, taking everything one gets with a grain of salt without worrying too much about accuracy. It’s like sketching in an art class, not being concerned about a final product at that stage.
WHAT CHANNELED ENTITIES SEE
Einstein taught that physical matter cannot be destroyed, only transformed into energy, just as energy can be transformed into matter. I would take that further and say that matter, and in fact everything in the universe on every plane of existence, is energy. We perceive matter as such because it vibrates in the same portion of the energy spectrum that we do. Channeled entities perceive physical matter differently except when they are being channeled and have the use of physical eyes and other senses. Otherwise they perceive energy in the way they normally would on their plane of existence. Similarly, psychics see higher planes in terms of the physical plane since human beings have no means of directly perceiving higher planes.
The substance of physical life is matter, the substance of astral life is emotion, and the substance of causal life is intellect. Although this is an oversimplification, it could be said that those on the astral plane perceive the physical plane in terms of its emotional substance, and those on the causal plane in terms of its intellectual substance.
I feel a bond with George Gershwin. (We are in the same entity.) I once saw Porgy and Bess at the Metropolitan Opera and mentally communicated with him about it. I thought that it was a poor production and I was surprised when he said that it was exactly what he had had in mind. Later I realized that he was mainly perceiving the astral (or emotional) component of it. From his vantage point, he could probably not tell too much about the acting or the appropriateness of the casting. Therefore, he probably wasn’t in a position to critically appraise the production as humans might, although what he was able to perceive — perhaps including the feeling of the music if not the precise physical sound — pleased him. (Also, he had originally planned for the Met to premiere it and decided on a Broadway run instead in order to give it more exposure and have an African-American cast, so a Met production was probably gratifying.) Since then, when I’ve seen a theatrical production with his music, I’ve channeled him, allowing him to see it physically rather than astrally. When I “took him” to the Broadway musical Crazy for You, he told me to get better seats next time — he would pay for them! (I was in the balcony.) I’ve often wondered how he might pull that off.
In 1983 I wrote narration for, directed, and sang in a musical review for my local community theater. A friend who is metaphysically inclined came to see it. She is normally unemotional and objective, but she cried throughout it. She thought that everything I did was absolutely wonderful (which was probably not objectively the case). At the end she heard herself thinking, “Now I can pass on.” She realized that she had been channeling my mother, who had continued to feel responsible for raising me. Being channeled, my mother could more directly look in on my physical well-being and see that I was safely on my path, freeing her to go on to other things. I was twenty-eight, which astrologically is the time of the Saturn return, the beginning of adulthood.
She didn’t need to be channeled in order to see me, but what she saw from the astral plane when she wasn’t being channeled was an astral rendering, a fluid astral picture of my feelings and thoughts rather than a precise view of the details of my day-to-day life. (Sometimes our pets channel our departed loved ones so they can physically look in on us.) Had she tried to stay close enough to my physical reality to continually perceive it in a physical way without being channeled, it would have kept her earthbound, a prisoner of the life she needed to leave behind.
Certainly she had been aware of me and had offered whatever help she could ever since her passing. A few months after she died, I was at summer camp (I was eight), lying in my bunk trying to go to sleep. Bedtime was eight p.m., and it was already eleven. My main thought was how tired I would be the next day. Then she appeared to me in a vision that reminded me in its vividness of looking through a View-Master (a toy through which one looks at intensely colored slides). When I blinked she was still there. I didn’t hear any words, but she made a gesture that communicated that everything would be all right. This kind of transmission takes a great deal of effort; the reason I couldn’t sleep for those three hours was probably that she was trying to get through all that time.
Before she passed on, when she unconsciously knew that she was dying, she created a painting with a symbolic message to me about her death; the canvas was found unfinished in the trunk of her car after her passing. She was also a singer and left behind a tape recording of herself singing “Hush-a-Bye,” a lullaby with the words “Don’t you cry. Mama won’t go away …. Even when you’re a great big man, Mama won’t go away.” In Michael’s terms, my mother was an artisan-cast sage, which was demonstrated by her communicating with me and my brothers through art and music.
The future, by definition, hasn’t happened yet. In any moment there are various probabilities. Each individual has free will, and probabilities are constantly shifting as we make choices, so nobody knows for sure what will happen. Even among the most psychically gifted, it is impossible to make consistently accurate predictions. Some psychics and channels such as Jeane Dixon and Edgar Cayce have had spectacular “home runs.” However, although a person may be relatively adept at picking up probabilities based on where things are heading, even the best are wrong frequently enough that it is not a good idea to rely on them. Nothing relieves us of the responsibility of making our own choices and living with the consequences.
Even when certain changes are more or less inevitable, the form they take and the way people react to them are not. For instance, it is obvious that our damage to the environment will have negative repercussions. However, it is not yet clear what changes we will make and whether they will be in time to prevent the worst probabilities from occurring. Timing is especially difficult to predict, and even when different channels and psychics agree in their predictions about specific events, the dates often vary.
Sometimes people tell me that a psychic or a channeled entity told them that something terrible was going to happen, which upset them a great deal. If a psychic or channeled entity sees a strong negative probability on the horizon, he or she should convey it in a way that empowers the client. Michael doesn’t give bad news. If they see someone creating a situation that probably won’t serve them well, their approach might be to outline how to create a more pleasing situation instead. Besides, since nothing is carved in stone before it happens, it is misleading to say that something is definitely, without a doubt, going to happen. Furthermore, because Michael’s point of view is neutral, they may see what someone else might call bad news in a different light, as simply another of the physical plane’s growth-promoting challenges. Their approach may then be to show a client how he can make the best of that outcome if it arises.
It is wise to take predictions with a grain of salt. Rather than asking if and when an event will happen, it is more useful to ask what percentage the probability is, and if there are agreements or karmas putting force behind its happening. For example, at a given moment, a person might have a sixty-two percent probability of getting a particular job — perhaps the employer has an essence-level agreement to hire him. That is a very high probability; probabilities rarely rise to eighty-five percent until something is actually in the process of happening. Even a fifty percent probability is quite high. Nonetheless, people don’t always keep their agreements, for a variety of reasons, and the person may not be hired. If, unexpectedly, someone comes along who seems better qualified or who is a friend of the company’s owner, the probability might drop to thirty-seven percent, which is still fairly high but obviously not overwhelming.
If we have an agreement to meet someone at a certain time, we may not be able to keep the appointment. If it’s an important agreement, chances are that we will reschedule and it will eventually work out. This is an organic, ever-changing world, and every significant choice a person makes can change relevant probabilities.
We do not know for a certainty what the future will bring for ourselves or for you. That makes the game of life much more interesting and challenging. If everything could be predicted ahead of time, we would all have to be automatons, and if we are expressions of the Tao, then the Tao would likewise be an automaton. Fortunately, this is not the case. We cannot predict what others will do with assurance because others themselves do not know what they will do, and even if they think they know, they might change their minds. We can only give our best projections based on where things appear to be going, taking into account the relevant agreements and karmas. This is an art we are learning.
Imminent events are easier to predict. If an object is teetering precariously on the edge of a shelf, one could safely predict that it will fall. However, even in such a situation, someone might come along and move it.
It is a fallacy that you need to predict the future to choose well now. Relying on predictions of the future weakens your capacity to make good choices. When you think that you have everything figured out, you may start to drift by on your preconceived notions rather than playing the game in the present moment with all the skill and attention you can muster.
Although it can be fun and interesting to explore probabilities, the spiritual path is, in part, about letting go of attachment to results, about not needing particular outcomes in order to be happy. That’s a good thing, since we often don’t get what we want and/or expect.
Even if events do not go as our essence planned and predictions therefore prove wrong, sometimes things work out for the best anyway. I don’t subscribe to the idea that everything works out for the best — the highest outworkings are sometimes thwarted because people have free will — but I do believe that the universe is basically benevolent and as a whole aspires to our highest good if we let it. Perhaps sometimes it does so in ways even our guides and essence are not aware of.
Chapter 31 discusses parallel universes, a concept now being popularized in quantum physics. Seth, channeled by the late Jane Roberts, taught that we are constantly spinning off “alternate realities.” Our soul is multidimensional, and at every significant choice point, it may take a road not traveled here in another universe that is similar. Since our brain can only handle so much data, we’re only consciously aware of this “us.” However, our soul has no such limitation, and can run a lot of different versions of us simultaneously. A good psychic may accurately see a probability ahead, but there’s no guarantee that it will happen to this us — it may be routed to another.
I was convinced that parallels exist by some fascinating, specific dreams of other me’s on Earths with slightly different norms that I never would have thought of otherwise. In one, for example, most people did physical labor for half the day and office work for the other half, and changed clothes (provided by the employer) at lunch. People were generally healthier because most workers got exercise. That factoid is unrelated to anything I recall ever thinking about. It was incidental to making me aware that I am working with that other me in a complementary way.
After moving to California in 1995, I listened to the recording of a psychic reading I’d had the year before in New York City. I was astounded to hear the psychic say that I’d be moving to Laguna Beach, which I did (I now live in Laguna Niguel). I had agonized over where to move and had forgotten her prediction. It was validating, as if to say, “Congratulations! You figured it out and did the right thing.” However, she also predicted I’d be offered a job editing a New Age magazine in northern California and would be moving again in nine months. That may have happened in a parallel. However, in this one, there was never a hint of it happening. When I heard the recording, though, it made me hesitant to put down roots. Because of this sort of thing, I have mixed feelings about that kind of information. I’m not convinced that it helps us make better choices. It can encourage us to lead with our mind rather than our intuition.
WE ARE RESPONSIBLE
No one on any plane of existence is infallible or knows everything we need to know. In addition, we all have our own experience of reality and ways of describing it. There is no right and wrong in this regard, only infinite facets of truth. We do have much to learn from each other, and those on higher planes usually have more experience, greater resources of information, and a larger perspective than we do on the physical plane. Their counsel, however, is more accurately viewed as coming from loving friends than from a deity. No one is more God than anyone else.
We are each responsible for ourselves. We experience more growth if we don’t do things merely because we think someone else, incarnate or not, told us to. It is well to examine what we hear others say with appreciation and respect, but we don’t always hear what is actually meant, for one thing. More importantly, no one knows us better than we know ourselves, at least potentially. We must make our own decisions and mistakes, and form our own understanding, if we are to learn to guide the course of our lives wisely.
Besides, true teachers don’t tell people what to do. They give greater perspective and understanding so that their students can make well-informed choices. Beware of those who issue orders or are certain that they know what’s best for someone else, even if they are being channeled from a higher plane. The fact that material is channeled does not mean that it is appropriate or a fully realized expression of truth.
Channeled material, like everything else, must be interpreted through the understanding of the hearer. Sometimes we draw conclusions or make associations that are not valid, or we simply misunderstand. I am occasionally amazed at what clients say Michael said. The truth is precise; it is as important to hear what is not being said as what is.
The ability to recognize truth is crucial. Truth is always associated with love. It has a certain feel to it. It is not necessarily comfortable, but it is penetrating and ultimately liberating.
Often the truth or value of channeled material isn’t fully apparent until later. It may seem at first to be deceptively simple or general. If we have that experience with something channeled for us, we have nothing to lose by living with it a while and seeing if it looks different later. One client told me that after her session, she wasn’t particularly impressed, but two months later, she listened to her recording and couldn’t believe that Michael had said what they did; it was almost as if she hadn’t heard it the first time. This is a common reaction.
In my brochure, Michael says:
You will get the most out of your session if you review the material in a week or two. It’s hard for so much new input to soak in the first time. A defense against overload is to make it seem less than it is. This is normal, but often, our students find their channeling to be far more meaningful weeks or even months later. It is the mark of a good teacher (and we aspire to this) to give what the student is almost but not quite ready to hear. That way, we promote growth. Obviously, the material becomes more meaningful when the student is actually ready.
Our Western society’s model of truth is based on polarity: something is either true or it isn’t, and if it’s true, something else must therefore be false. In my experience, two statements that seem contradictory can both be true, or at least mostly true.
Michael speaks of personal, world, and universal truths. Something may be true for individuals but not for everyone in the world, let alone in the universe. Gravity, for instance, is different everywhere on the planet, partly because of varying distances from the Earth’s core. If we didn’t know that and saw two different measurements of Earth’s gravity reported, we might assume that one report was wrong. When we lack bridge information, we can tend to be judgmental and simplistic in our views. Truth is infinite and is therefore vast enough to hold an infinite number of facets. It has been said that the measure of an idea’s greatness is the degree to which its opposite is also true. For example, love is gentle; love is also strong.
Absolute truth (and falsehood) do not exist in the dimensional universe — only in the Tao is absolute truth. Pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, refuses to be completed — it just keeps going into infinity: 3.14159265 …. We do round off pi so that we can work with it; that is a convenience, but it is not the whole truth. With any spiritual teaching, we are working with rounded-off truth, because we cannot work directly with the whole truth — it’s too big. I discussed models of reality in the Preface. We have no choice but to work with models. What else do we have?
However, a good model connects us to the infinite truth that it models. Although the truth cannot be fathomed, it can be experienced. The truer we are to the truth of ourselves, the better we can recognize truth in models.
We are in the midst of a planetary transformation. There are many nonphysical beings who are assisting with it. Whether we know it or not, and whether or not we call ourselves channels, it is increasingly essential that we develop our inner connections with the larger universe if we are to move creatively with the changes occurring. Channeling is a means of consciously working with nonphysical beings. They are often as gratified to make the connection with us as we are to connect with them. Used in a responsible way, channeling can be an important tool in our personal and collective growth.