On Guides

A friend recently asked if I think that the Gathering (from Application of Impossible Things) is a sort of executive committee comprised of other incarnations of myself, and whether it has an active part in guiding mine. His question came from reading Robert Monroe’s book Ultimate Journey, in whichMonroe has eventually reached this understanding about the many guides that he encountered on his out of body experiences, as well as some culminating experiences that he had out of body late in his explorations.

I don’t exactly consider them separate from myself, while at the same time I know them as separate from myself. They are both separate from me, and aspects of myself. I am them, they are me, and we are separate consciousnesses having largely separate experiences. When I “channel” them, I currently think of that channel as a particular aspect of myself that both resonates with them, and is them. Of course from the deepest perspective, we are all one anyway, so the question becomes moot.

In a way, whether they are aspects of myself or separate beings is not that important to me. What interests me is how the information that we receive from them or our Whole Selves gets applied in our physical lives.

I have available a more intimate group of essences (smaller than the Gathering) who generally offer daily help and backup. Since these beings coincide more closely to what people think of as “guides” I’m going to set aside the Gathering for now and write about this level of interaction. The Gathering is more complex and more difficult to explain; an essay for another day, perhaps. And for the purposes of this essay, I’ll speak of them as being separate from myself.

My “guides” are guides in the sense that from where they sit they have a broader view of my experience, and they have my best interests and safety in mind. But I think of them more as advisors than guides. I argue with them, disregard or edit of their input, and sometimes ignore them altogether. I don’t consider my advisors any more all-knowing than I am, only more-knowing within certain moments or experiences. I don’t consider them to be invariably correct, only more often more accurate than I am. I don’t consider them to be wiser than myself; they are only more pertinently wise within certain moments and experiences. While I might be distracted by physical world beliefs, fears, excitements, events, and concerns, they are not.

I’m not always comfortable with the way many people convey what they receive from their guides. Some people seem to use the guides as a stick in competition, as a crutch, or as a badge. “My guides are telling me to tell you that you need to do xyz.” “My guides are telling me that you need to realize that xyz.” While passing that particular information along might normally be considered rude, presumptuous, patronizing or uncomfortable were it one’s own insight or opinion being expressed, suddenly it seems to be okay to pass that along if it’s from The Guides.

I’ve come to understand that it is often not okay to do that. The way information is conveyed is very important, and is the individual’s responsibility – mine – not the guides’.

Too often when something is blatantly attributed to the guides, it smells a little bit of self-interest. I recognize this – I’ve embarrassed myself in the past by doing it. Years ago, when I received information from the guides I would sometimes convey it in a way that implied that I was somehow wiser, more skilled, more in touch, more together than whomever it was I was passing this information along to. I was privy to some information and they were not. I’m only saying this for someone’s own good, or to help someone. They need help, they’re blind to themselves, they’re screwed up, they don’t have as clear a connection as I have, they don’t get it.

Very fine motivations on some level, maybe, but polluted by my own desires, fears, and the blanks inside myself that I hoped to fill. I was saying it to gain some power or validity, to show off, to give myself a pat on the back, to get attention, to inflate my sense of self in some way, often invalidating the other person in the process. I recognize the strange mixture of shame, pride, aggressiveness, self-satisfaction, self-doubt, fear, craving, and delusion that marks this kind of action. I felt a little precarious and ugly when it became valid to act presumptuous, rude or patronizing, to offer “help” when no one had asked for it. Hey, it’s The Guides – I’m just  following orders.

I quickly realized that if I felt compelled to pass along some information without being invited to do that by the other person, it was useful to ask myself, “But what do I think, and why do I think that I feel so compelled to share that?” It occurred to me to ask questions. What if the guides are giving me some insight not so that I’ll pass it along raw to another, but so that I’ll notice what the other person is doing then notice when I’m doing the same thing? What if it’s not about correcting or helping that other person at all, rather it’s about correcting or helping myself? What if it’s only given to draw attention to different ways of being, to become aware, not to correct or help either them or myself? Or what if the guides were transmitting some information in a raw state, expecting that it would be translated into something useful and appropriate to the situation, never expecting that it would just be blurted it out raw?

The truth is that guides don’t need to be quoted or followed without question or thought, without weighing that guidance. They don’t care if we attribute knowledge to them or claim it for ourselves. They know that as soon as we speak or act, that knowledge is ours. They aren’t responsible for our words, actions, or lives – we are.

I’ve come to understand that one way of accepting responsibility is to apply my own conscious physical world wisdom, my own situational awareness to expressing that which I receive. In this way, I acknowledge my individual decision and choice in the process of communication. Sometimes it’s more useful to say, “Now I know this,” or “I think xyz,” regardless of where that knowledge came from, leaving the guides out of it. Sometimes it’s more useful to ask questions than to assert knowledge. Sometimes it’s more useful to translate information into something gentle and amusing rather than blurting it out raw. These are important choices.

That said, I do find situations when does seem appropriate to acknowledge where information is coming from. I sometimes find myself saying, “The information that I’m getting is …” or “My people seem to be saying …” When doing readings for some people, “channeling” for groups of people curious about the mechanics of direct communication (or writing some posts on this site), for instance, that can be appropriate. It may be appropriate to source an idea that I’m receiving if I’m not sure that I understand what I’m receiving, or am not sure that I agree with it, accept it, or even want it. If the information clearly doesn’t feel like my information, I might feel that I’d be lying if I said the information was my own. In many cases I find myself saying – at least to myself, then, “The information that I’m getting is xyz … ” or even “I’m not sure about it, but I feel strongly urged to pass it along. What do you think?” That seems more respectful and ultimately more useful.

I’m following orders only works in the military (and obviously not very well even there). If my guides demanded total unmindful following of orders, I would re-evaluate that relationship. I’d seek out different guides. A parent who constantly dogs their small child with “do this,” “don’t do that,” “now do this,” is going to raise a child that has not developed their own decision-making abilities, their own skills and situational awareness and wisdom. That child is not going to be moving through the world on their own with any confidence. In the same way, I’m pretty sure our guides are not there to make every decision for us. They are not with us in order to direct our every move.

Here is what I suspect to be true: the guides that people refer to – whether they’re flaunted or kept secret, whether they’re used to dominate others, compete with others, inform others or the self, help others or the self, or explore with others or alone – they are parts of ourselves whether that’s understood as “because we’re all One” or “because they are all aspects of Me.” The mechanics don’t necessarily matter; the understanding of its application does. The understanding or a true digestion of that fact of individual responsibility changes how we think about our own words and actions. It requires us to accept full responsibility for how we apply that which we know – and that which we don’t know.

It encourages us to live consciously and humbly, fully owning our own infinite power and creativity, and respecting the same in others.


9 thoughts on “On Guides

  1. I don’t think that while we are in these bodies it’s especially easy to grasp the idea that one can be individual and ‘part’ of a larger identity at the same time. It seems like it would entail loss, when looked at with the human mind, even though the opposite is true.

    I lived for a number of years, when I was much younger and more naive, with someone who had guides. He was extremely irresponsible with the way he conveyed information and it took me a long time to reclaim my own power and learn to trust myself. Of course, if I’d trusted myself to begin with, I would have challenged him. That’s something I’d do now, and had I not experienced being with him, I might not be who I am now…. so I can’t fault him.

    One thing I do know is that when we feel compelled to do something, it’s time to stop and look hard at what is doing the compelling. More often than not it’s fear of loss of some kind. And only the human mind uses fear as motivation. Only the human mind thinks it has anything to lose.

    I myself am not conscious of having guides. I once thought that maybe I could try to “channel” but really I just used it as an excuse to be a jerk. I do, however, have reliable inner guidance at all times, if I care to tune in and listen.

    1. I think you’re right that the idea of. Wing both one and many is hard to grasp for many, yet there are simplified parallels … We’re individuals and part of a marriage or family that has its own collective personality, in a sense. For instance. It’s still hard to wrap the mind around an expansion and deepening of that, I know. I thinks flocks of birds and schools of fish …

      Yes, the irresponsible “guided” can accomplish a lot of confusion and difficulty in their wake. So glad you came out of that so quietly wise, Marian!

      I think in the end we might all be better off calling it inner guidance whether it feels like it’s coming from inside ourselves or out. It encourages us to own what we receive, and so what we pass on. I struggle with this doing “channeling” – for now I guess as long as I feel I’m handling that “channeled” info responsibly, I can sit in my questions.

  2. Hi Natalie, Dave from Facebook here (Adam’s dad). i liked this column. I experience the same thing when I talk to people about “spiritual” things. I never want to come across as “the spiritual guy” or as some know-it-all. When people come to me with spiritual questions or observations I just try to create a space for them where they can find their own solution or see Truth for themselves. I once was on a retreat with the Zen teacher Adyashanti. There were many many questions asked of him and he turned every question back on the questioner. He did this with so much love and compassion that I was astounded by his skill. Every singe question was eventually answered by the person who asked it, it was almost miraculous. I have come to see that Truth which comes from outside of us is only there to point to the Truth which is within us, which IS us.

    1. Dave, you summed that up beautifully – so simple and graceful. The Zen masters … They are skilled at getting people off the ceiling so to speak. May we all become so skilled at being 🙂 Thanks for your thought-full comments, Dave.

  3. Finally, Natalie, that’s all I can say; Finally. I’ve read many books on the NDE and related topics, each one of which left me thinking that the soul spends an obsessive existence seeking knowledge and growth through one challenging incarnation after another until all the negative energy has been “cleared”, or until they learn what they want and finally get it right. Soul Nerds bent studiously over their chess boards, never noticing the beauty of the forest beside which they’re working. Such authors give me that punched- in- the- stomach state that does not leave me feeling any better about this ludicrous existence. I’ll tell you why I bought and loved your book, Natalie. Two words; “Goofing off”. Yes, I thought, here’s someone who will feed me well. I don’t find life of much interest, to tell the truth, but I’m provided with enough pleasant distraction to keep from despairing over it, with beer and cheetos on Friday night being the prime attraction. Your book was the latest installment of an agreement I have with the heavens to keep me here until I get to go home.

    I liked this particular article because it echoes something I said to a dear friend some years ago. “I work alone. And I am my own spirit guide.” If there are secluded, anti-social, live-alone spirits, I am one of them. Here I sit, the family not yet home, looking out over a rain-drenched yard, the sky still threatening and ironclad, cold enough to see my breath while biking to work, and the promise of more to come all week. A western Canadian May, and with a pot of tea at my elbow I think, “heaven is better than this?” The best part is that I am alone. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve been married 31 years and have three fine grown children. But I can’t wait for them to go on another holiday without me ( travel phobias ya know ). Anyway, best to you in all things, my dear. I’d say I’m looking forward to meeting you when we’re all done here, but after all…. we already know each other well. 🙂


  4. Beautiful, CW … I’m so glad that you liked the goofing off. That’s one of my favorite memories. So much of the spiritual “movement” (whatever) gets all sacred and serious … I happen to think that small moments, laughter, beauty (western Canadian May!), and occasionally kicking the hornets nest just to see what might happen … this is what makes life worth it. In my experience it’s not all about work and study and “improving” ourselves … ugh if it were. Enjoy your beer and cheetos – am glad you found my book.

    (I’m with you on the alone thing, too.)

    Will look forward to seeing you again … 🙂

  5. Hi Natalie, and how nice to have a response. I’m rubbing elbows with celebrity now. lol
    I very much enjoyed your sense of humor which was sprinkled liberally throughout the book. If you have five minutes to waste, you might take well to a story I wrote several years ago about 2 inept spirits (myself being one of them) who are assigned to manufacturing the first prototype human. I haven’t been to my blog in a long time and there are only about a dozen posts all told. Scroll down to Life Lessons 2 and you might get a smile. 🙂

    1. Well, you must have a very generous definition of celebrity … :-O
      I did get a smile, thanks … you have to wonder where they came up with some things, eh? (I’m thinking more along the lines of wood ticks, myself)

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