Spirit guides, higher self, guidance and all that

Taking stock of my experience of guidance over the years, I see that it has indeed been a long strange trip, as Michael Ventura says, quoting somebody.

First there were undoubted certainties that went unexamined. Why did the boy that I was “know” that he could fix his health through his mind alone? What gave him the irrational conviction — only half maintained, and that not by his conscious reasoning mind — that if he read the books in the right way the past would change?

Beyond these certainties were what I now see as leftover attitudes from other lifetimes. He didn’t want to be in New Jersey at slightly past mid-20th century, he wanted to be in untamed, unruined land at another time. He instinctively saw things through British eyes, and loved Churchill, and cared passionately about the defeat of evil in the second war. The first was Smallwood, the second David Poynter, I’d say now. John Cotten was there too, from revolutionary-era Virginia. New Jersey? Not some pioneering country? And uncounted clergyman and mystics informed his deep feeling for the divine, obtained via the church, and maybe had a lot to do with guilt. Katrina, a little girl who died in a Nazi concentration camp, perhaps explains the timid-mouse aspect of him among groups, the calling forth of persecution and the defiance of persecution.

Probably I could go on.

And beyond that? Intuitions? I can’t at the moment recall how valid his intuitions were. I know that after a while I became convinced I could be or become a psychic, and I used to make predictions about what would happen. In 1961 I said the Phillies would finish seventh in 1962, fourth in 1963, and first in 1964, which nearly happened (but they blew the 1964 pennant race in the last couple of days). In the summer of 1963 I read speculations on who would become pope, and correctly homed in on Montini, knowing nothing about him (and I still know nothing about him!). Those efforts were made sort of like my efforts to see through walls like Superman — if I concentrated really hard maybe it would happen —

Then there was the steering. What made me instinctively lock on to certain things is critically important, while other things went by unnoticed or, if noticed, merely as ordinary in a background kind of way? The Space Race, Civil Rights, Robert and John F. Kennedy, certain very defined periods of history, reincarnation, then after a while psychic abilities… Everyone has such a list. Some things, we lock in on; other things bore us, or interest us mildly. But there isn’t any obvious logic to it. I see it now as nudges from the other side. For whatever reason, and from whatever cause, we are aimed in certain directions, and the fit is close enough that we accept it as natural, and assume that we ourselves — “I” — do the choosing.

In my case more than most, perhaps (though I do not know) these irrational certainties merged with conscious planning occasionally, although usually in a very impractical way. Thus I “knew” I would run for Congress in 1974 because that was the closest congressional election to my running before I would be 30. Why? Because that is when JFK had run for Congress. So although I did so many other things, I spent my 20s waiting to run for Congress! Not preparing — I had no idea how to prepare — but waiting. On a logical, conscious level, much of my life has been idiotic. It was the sleepwalking of an unconscious but guided missile.

The Boss came in 1989, in direct response to my calling her in. I was very receptive, and willing to be guided, and able to more or less believe that this new guidance was available. So in it came, which means, I think, little more than this: Now guidance came in at a little more conscious level, and I interacted with it more. It was willing to be seen in the structure I prepared for it — perhaps it hadn’t much real choice. If I thought of that guidance as one, powerful, wise, old, female person — bingo, that is how it appeared.

That sentence shows the limitation of the English language, for it obscures as much as it says. Try again. The guidance appeared in the form my preconceptions prepared for it. It “appeared” in the form it had to appear in. That form says nothing about the limitations or inherent nature of the source of the guidance; it speaks only to the nature of the mental categories I had prepared for it, the way I was prepared to experience it. Thus Catholics see Mary, Hindus see Shiva, pagans see female earth spirits or whatever they do see. It is just a matter of mental categories. Real life is larger than our categories, so it has to accept disguise, so to speak, if we are to be able to accept it and interact with it. To some extent we can experience only what we are prepared to experience, plus (fortunately!) a little more.

So after The Boss came The Gentleman Upstairs, or The Guys Upstairs — TGU — as I casually adopted another person’s way of experiencing guidance. Who “they” were, why a “they” instead of a “she,” I did not inquire. (See “irrational certainties”!) But over several years of interaction, I did not experience them as functionally plural. I could not — as they told me, early on — distinguish between the “individuals.”

With time came my sorting out of various “past lives” — which at first I took to be an entirely different task from distinguishing and sharpening guidance. In 1993, a session in the black box at TMI led to TGU speaking directly through me into a tape recorder, a first. I still wasn’t “hearing voices,” nor do I now. I held myself in a state of receptivity and said what came to mind, trying not to structure it or censor it.

With time came more of a sense of conflicting impulses among which it was my duty — my necessity — to choose. That is what we are, in one sense; a construct that has been delegated the responsibility of choices. We, in the body, choose among impulses and desires and values. We shape what this Congress of forces become.

In a very real sense, every “I” is a front for a “we” behind the scenes. And that will take some spelling out, but it has been the way I have made sense of my experience. “I” am also a “we.” And so is everybody on earth, past, present, and future. It explains a lot about us! Perhaps we should invent or adapt the proper analogy. We are indeed captain of our ship, and, like a ship’s captain, we are at the point of application; we have all the power of choice in our hands. But that power comes from all the others behind the scenes — officers, men, prepared equipment and those who shaped and maintain it — and without the ship, without the crew, we would be alone, directionless, relatively powerless. Yes, we direct it all — but ship and crew have their own needs; they pull us in this way or that by what we are.

This finally began to come clear as Rita Warren and I began our sessions with the guys in August, 2001. The very first question she asked — one I hadn’t ever thought to ask — brought up the question of who we were talking to, and whether singular or plural, named or unnamed. The whole question continued to be addressed and refined and they answered and post again in different formats we went along.

And then as I began very belatedly to think about this, in addition to experiencing it, I began to see that “past lives” were part of TGU by necessity — and so I began to make some rudimentary categories.So now I venture to create a model of who we are that will explain something about what we can learn to do, and why we ought to do it.

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