The Mentored Sessions
1: In My Experience
2: Create a New Heart
3: Dream Helper Ceremony
4: Getting to Know You
5: Close to You
6: Inspirational Writing


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The Mentorship Program

Background Reading



Channeling Your Higher Self

with Inspirational Writing

Henry Reed

An inner voice said to Helen Schucman, “This is a course in miracles--please take notes.”  She found the thought disturbing and ignored it as best she could, for as long as she could.  At the time, Dr. Schucman was a psychologist working at the Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.  Robert Skutch’s book, Journey Without Distance, gives the historical account of Schucman’s experiences.  A trip to A.R.E. in Virginia Beach to investigate Edgar Cayce’s perspective on psychic phenomena provided the needed encouragement.  She discovered that in some of his readings Cayce had described a method he called inspirational writing.  He indicated that was no limit to the type of inspiration, knowledge or wisdom that could come through such a channel.  After much hesitation, she finally decided that she would follow the advice of her inner voice and begin to take notes.  She set her pencil to paper and began to write.

      She didn’t lose awareness; she always knew who she was and what she was doing.  She was writing down the thoughts that were coming to her.  What resulted has become a highly influential masterpiece of inspirational literature, A Course in Miracles. It’s a three-volume work channeled completely through inspirational writing.

      A Course of Miracles certainly isn’t the only work of inspirational writing that has made headlines.  Another bestseller was Jonathon Livingston Seagull.  The author, Richard Bach, was on a walk one day when he heard an inner voice declare, “Johnathan Livingston Seagull.”  There was more.  He went home and began writing immediately, furiously, trying to keep up with the flow of words that were coming spontaneously to mind.  In one sitting he provided the world with one of its most uplifting stories.  It’s an allegorical story of a seagull that learns to fly beyond the flock’s limited assumptions and who shares this secret with others.  It’s also a story that suggests its own source, the potential for being a channel of inspiration.  When you ride the spirit on a mission to bring the truth of that spirit to others, you’ve begun quite an adventure.

      It’s not uncommonn to hear authors describe moments in their work when they ride a creative impulse.  The words flow effortlessly from an invisible source through the author’s hands and onto the page.  At those times, they rarely take credit for what they write.  To them it’s a gift and their role is simply as a channel.

      While perhaps few of us would claim to be inspired writers, most of us can relate to what these authors are describing.  We all know what it feels like to struggle over the words when trying to write something.  Some of us have also had the opposite experience, perhaps when charged up writing a letter to a friend, where the words just poured out onto the page.  If you’ve had such an experience, you’ve tasted a hint of inspirational writing.

      From the description people give of their experience with channeled writing, however, it might seem like ghost writing. The person hears a voice, an invisible source, dictating the material.  Is this voice the intuitive channel of one’s higher self, speaking from the source of universal intelligence?  Might it instead be coming through the subconscious, a channel not only of the author’s own submerged thoughts, but also perhaps of the thoughts of other people, living, dead, and otherwise?

      Being spontaneous, going with the flow_these are qualities of being a channel.  Yet to be a constructive channel, to grow in spiritual awareness through channeling, we need other qualities beyond simple spontaneity.  In stream of consciousness writing, for example, there is no special attunement, except to allow whatever comes to mind to flow out onto the paper.  If we first attune ourselves to an ideal, however, as in meditation, we allow our whole being, mind and body, to resonate with the spiritual energy of the ideal.  Then when we let our thoughts flow directly onto paper they will reflect and express that spirit.  Here we have inspired writing, a channel of the higher self.

Meditation on the Breath:

A Channel of Inspiration

      I’d like to describe to you an approach to meditation that goes right to the heart of opening the channel of your higher self.  To begin, simply focus on your breathing and study it for a moment.  Note the obvious: breathing has two parts.  There’s an inhalation and an exhalation.  During inhalation the chest and abdomen extend as the lungs fill with air.  During exhalation the chest and abdomen relax.

      The exhalations can be very relaxing.  As you observe your breathing, allow yourself to follow your exhalations into relaxation.  Every time your breath goes out, you can relax a little bit more.  The more you relax, the easier it will be to do the next step.

      What I’d like you to try next is to pay attention to your breathing without changing it in any way.  Sneak up on your breathing so it doesn’t know you’re watching it.  Observe it in its natural flow without influencing it by your presence.  Make sure you’re not touching it in any way.

      If you’re like most of us, as soon as you watch your breathing you’ll feeling that you’re influencing or controlling it in some way.  Maybe you’ll help an exhalation complete itself and get the next inhalation going.  Maybe you’ll touch it ever so gently, to adjust it, or simply because you can’t help yourself. It’s hard to watch your breathing without feeling that you’re influencing it.

      Stop for a moment.  Assure yourself that you can control your breathing.  Take a slow, deep breath.  Set the pace yourself.  Decide how long you want to hold it.  Now force the air out at your own pace.  Decide when you wish to take in the next breath and make your breathing obey.  Decide when you wish to stop this exercise in proving your control and let your breathing return to normal.

      Think for a moment: if you’re not controlling your breath now, who is?  Most of the day, and all night while you sleep, your body naturally regulates your breathing without your help. Does your body need your help now as you sit there watching your breath?  No, of course not.  Keep that in mind and use it to reassure yourself while you try once again to watch your breathing without affecting it.

      Here’s a hint.  As the breathing goes out, let it go while you relax.  Then let the next breath happen of itself, in its own way.  Try it.  Let the breathing happen to you.  Think to yourself, “It breathes me.”

      Perhaps I can motivate you to persist in this practice by revealing that what you’re doing is a form of meditation.  The Zen Buddhism tradition calls it meditating on the breath.  The instructions for this form of meditation are quite simple.  Focus on your breathing, watch it, let it be.

      Not only is watching the breath an ancient form of meditation, it’s also an important and meaningful way to be a channel--a channel of inspiration.  You’re learning to allow the breath of life--the spirit--to flow through you. 

      All religious traditions have linked the breath with spirit. The Cayce readings are no exception.  We all depend upon this invisible mover, the air, for our life--it touches all that lives.  The word, inspiration, reflects an understanding of this relationship.  There’s a link between the process of breathing and being quickened by spirit, animated by genius, or aroused by creative intelligence from a source beyond our individual will. In meditation we can experience breathing as a similarly wondrous channel of inspiration.

      If you relax, you begin feeling the breath coming to you on its own.  If you can get out of your own way and trust in the coming of inspiration, it happens.  Each inspiration feels like a gift--it comes from within, yet the spontaneity suggests that it’s not your doing.  There’s a feeling of grace, ease, peacefulness and gratitude.  The thought, “It breathes me,” can be very soothing.

      When you’re calm, you can be a channel of inspiration simply by allowing yourself to be so.  You don’t have to think about when to breathe or worry whether or not you will breathe.  You simply accept, experience and allow the inspiration to happen. To get out of your own way, to step aside and watch your breathing go by is to become a channel of inspiration.  As much knowledge or wisdom can come through this channel as through any other.  Practise it and you’ll better appreciate its value.

Learn From Your Beathing

      By focusing on your breathing, you’ve learned how to be a channel of inspiration.  Our meditation on the breath can become a basis for learning inpsirational writing.

      Consider the three modes of breathing: controlled, automatic and inspired.  Each of these modes of breathing corresponds to a method of writing.

      We observed how, when we focused on the breath, we tended to control it.  We can also exert full control over our breathing, determining when to take a breath, how fast to breathe, how deeply.  Much of our writing is that way.  We decide what and when to write.  We control the entire process.  We mull over our thoughts, and when we arrive at a satisfactory thought, we write it down.  In both cases, in controlled breathing and intentional breathing, it requires attention and effort. 

      Much of the time, our breathing proceeds automatically and we pay no attention to it.  The subconscious mind controls our breathing and it transpires outside of our awareness.  When our breathing is on automatic, it expresses our emotions.  We may breathe shallowly when we are upset, or we may even momentarily hold our breath.  We may feel tired, or sad, and heave a deep sigh.  All these things happen outside of our awareness.

      In a similar fashion, automatic writing is writing without awareness of the act.  Not only is the writer unaware of what is being written, but also unaware, or in control, of the hand movements that are producing the writing.  The handwriting happens by itself, controlled by the subconscious mind. Sometimes the handwriting is very different from the person’s ordinary penmanship.  How this is possible will become easier to understand a bit later when we examine the phenomenon of dissociation.

      In contrast to automatic breathing, in meditative breathing, we are aware of the breathing process.  Like automatic breathing, the flow of the breath happens by itself.  Yet we don’t feel out of control.  We have voluntarily suspended our own interference with the breathing, yet we could assume control at any moment. We are consciously allowing our breathing to express itself naturally while we watch.  By becoming very calm and relaxed, by trusting in our breath, we allow ourselves to be inspired.

      The process of inspirational writing involves our maintaining an awareness of what we are writing.  We allow the writing to proceed on its own.  We put our pen or pencil to the paper, or our fingers on the keyboard, and allow writing to happen.  We are aware of what we are writing, but we aren’t intentional writing anything.  We don’t decide upon thoughts to record.  Instead, we simply allow ourselves to begin writing, watching our thoughts reveal themselves as we write.

      Learning to meditate on the breath helps us channel inspirational writing.  To allow writing to happen by itself, we must relax and trust in the spontaneity of the writing process. If we are nervous about what we might write, we hold back, we choke up.  A willingness to trust in inspirational writing without first knowing what you will write requires a meditative frame of mind.

      Meditation, in fact, is what Cayce prescribes as the first step in beginning a session of inspirational writing.  We meditate to attune our consciousness to our ideal, to the highest within us.  At the end of the meditation, we simply continue our attunement by expressing it in writing.

      Cayce’s formula for developing the channel of inspirational writing is similar to our general formula for channeling.  First we tune ourselves to our ideal, and then we step aside to allow spontaneous expression.  Tune in, then let go!

      Inspirational writing makes a perfect case study to understand Cayce’s approach to channeling the higher self.  It’s different than the popular stereotype of channeling another “being.”  Automatic writing, in fact, a technique Cayce discouraged, is a prime example of this stereotyped form of channeling.  Inspirational writing is a way to channel higher consciousness while automatic writing is something like the Zen archer called “trick shooting.”

Dissociation and Automatisms:

A Channel of the Subconscious Mind

      To explain the difference between automatic and inspirational writing, I’m going to introduce a couple of five dolar words: dissociation and automatism.  They are terms from the psychology of the subconscious mind and altered states of consciousness.  They relate to phenomena that have both abnormal, or mind disturbing, and parapsychological, or psychic possibilities.  Like the voice of intuition, it’s another example of the “good news, bad news” aspect of the subconscious mind.

      We usually think of the subconscious mind as simply a storehouse of memories and feelings.  It’s actually more than a box, or container.  It’s a sub-system of the mind.  It has intelligence, it perceives and it thinks.  Cayce noted that the subconscious mind manages the workings of the body and the habitual aspects of our lives.  That’s a big job, but an important one.

      If the conscious mind had to run everything, we would have to move very slowly.  We would have to think about every step that we take, every action, every word, every breath, every heart beat.  It would drive us crazy.  Fortunately, we naturally delegate these responsibilities to the subconscious mind.  It functions as our servant.

      Our conscious mind wakes up in the morning, for example, and says, “I must get up now and get dressed for work.”  While we busy ourselves thinking about the day, the subconscious mind takes over and follows our instructions.  It lifts our legs out of the bed, it takes us into the bathroom and brushes our teeth, it gets us dressed.  We don’t pay much attention to these actions.  The process of getting up and getting dressed is mildly dissociated from our conscious mind.  All the little details of our actions occur as automatisms--reflex actions directed by the subconscious.

      Driving a car is another activity that is largely automatic. Our conscious mind is free to daydream while the subconscious mind manages the car.  It takes charge of the gas pedal, the brakes, the steering wheel, watching the road, and it gets us to work.  We barely pay attention to the trip unless the subconscious alerts us to something out of the ordinary, such as an accident.  We can trust the subconscious mind, as a rule, to follow our orders and discharge our intentions.  Sometimes, however, it surprises us with its faithfulness.

      Suppose our spouse asks us to be sure to remember to pick up something on the way home from work.  Outwardly, we agree to remember.  Under the surface, however, we may feel, for any number of reasons, annoyed by the request.  Later, as we drive home, the conscious mind daydreams, leaving the trip to the subconscious mind to administer.  As the car passes the turnoff for the errand, the subconscious mind says, “well, let the Captain keep daydreaming...we know he doesn’t really want to do that errand anyway.”  On returning home, the spouse asks about the errand.  We suddenly realize and confess in all innocence, “Oh, I forgot!”

      This example shows how the subconscous can express itself when the conscious mind is dissociated from the action.  The forgetting was an automatism, controlled by the subconslcious mind.  The forgetting wasn’t consciously on purpose, but it did express a genuine feeling within the subconscious.

      The subconscious mind also manages the mechanics of speech, the process of forming words in our mouths to express our thoughts.  Like driving a car, the act of speaking is often dissociated from awareness.  This situation may allow for an automatism, the leaking of a subconscious feeling.  Perhaps you’ve heard, for example, of the “Freudian slip.”

      John is out with his wife when they run into her old boyfriend.  When she makes the introductions, John blurts out a greeting, “I’m very mad to meet...I mean glad to meet you!”  In this Freudian slip, John’s spontaneous greeting happened so fast that the production of the words was dissociated from awareness. That lapse of awareness allowed John’s subconscious feeling of jealousy to express itself.  The subconscious mind slips in the sound alike word “mad” and gets to express its true feeling.  The uttering of the word, mad, is an automatism.  It didn’t happen voluntarily, but involuntarily, like an automatic, knee jerk reaction of the subconscious mind.  Expressing a greeting is so habitual, not paying any attention to it (dissociation) provided the opportunity for the slip (the automatism).  When the cat’s away, the mice will play.

      The cat is the conscious mind and the mice are inhabitants of the subconscious mind.  All subconscious minds are in contact with one another, so the subconscious mind isn’t only a channel of information about your unconscious feelings, it’s also a channel of telepathy.  Therefore, automatisms can do more than express your unconscious feelings.  They can also express subliminally perceived telepathic information, from the living and the dead alike.  That’s a reason why we’ll learn to do the inspirational form of channeled writing, to avoid these other influences.

Automatic Writing

vs.

 Inspirational Writing

      Handwriting is another activity that we give little attention.  As we focus on our thoughts, our subconscious mind manages the hand movements necessary to form the letters on the paper.  Handwriting can thus also be a source of automatisms. Have you ever made a Freudian slip of the pen?

      Psychotherapists find automatisms useful ways to learn what is troubling a patient.  They listen for slips of the tongue and analyze “forgotten” appointments.  They also sometimes purposefully induce dissociations in order to encourage automatisms to reveal the contents of the subconscious mind.  For example, Dr. Anita Muhl describes in her book, Automatic Writing: An Approach to the Unconscious, how she uncovers the source of patients’ difficulties by inducing automatic writing.

      One induction method is to hypnotize the person and give suggestions that the hand will soon begin writing.  Meanwhile the person’s attention is dissociated from the writing process by being engaged in conversation.  Dr. Muhl cautions that it’s important to approach the automatic writing carefully.  She and the patient examine each piece of writing together.  They digest what the subconscious has revealed before proceeding further.

      Psychics have induced automatic writing in themselves as a means of channeling information.  Ruth Montgomery, for example, uses automatic writing to channel her guides and has written several books in this manner.  In her autobiography, Ruth Montgomery: Herald of the New Age, she describes how she developed the capacity to use automatic writing.  Through automatic writing she has demonstrated most of the skills normally associated with trance channels.  She can perform psychic diagnostics, see into the future, as well as contact spirit guides and extra-terrestial beings.  Clearly, automatic writing can be a productive form of channeling.

      Automatic writing does have its drawbacks.  Cayce discourages using any dissociated automatisms, including the Ouija board, as a form of channeling.  The major problem with them is that they form a channel of the subconscious mind.  That means there’s both good news and bad news.  Ruth Montgomery can testify to the good news.  Brad Stoker, in his book, Ouija: The Most Dangerous Game, can testify to the bad news.  His book is the best collection of documented cases of mental disturbances resulting from developing automatisms as a form of channeling.

      Freudian slips can be quite surprising at times.  A person may even exclaim, “I don’t know what ever possessed me to say such a thing!”  The person doesn’t recognize the feeling behind the slip, thus the reference to being possessed.  Such a statement shows a natural understanding of the basis of possession.  One senses being in the grip of an intention not one’s own.  We can become possessed by the contents of the subconscious mind.  Think how much more it would be possible to become possessed by the subconscious were you to turn your entire arm over to its expression.

      Although Cayce does warn about possession and the drawbacks of dealing with discarnate spirits (which we will discuss more in chapter nine), his major concern lies elsewhere.  Cayce notes that writing automatically, with the subconscious mind as the source of the material, results primarily simply in the production of channeled material.  What comes through may affect the person (hopefully not in a detrimental way) but there’s no growth in the process itself.  It’s more like learning a trick than learning to grow in consciousness.

      You can teach your conscious mind to dissociate itself.  You can distract the conscious mind, not requiring anything on its part.  Whatever the subconscious mind wishes to express can then come through as automatisms.  What you’ve learned is a sleight of hand trick.

      Alternatively, you can learn to still the conscious mind, teaching it to quiet itself.  You can learn to attune yourself to the spirit of an ideal.  You thus learn to make your conscious mind a channel of the superconscious mind.  Inspirational writing promotes growth in consciousness.

      Inspirational writing is more valuable than automatic writing, therefore, because it helps you grow in your awareness. Recall when practicing meditating on the breath, the conscious mind grows in its ability to trust.  It witnesses the miracle of inspiration.  It becomes a part of that process.  It learns not to fear letting go.  In automatic breathing, however, the conscious mind learns nothing except to witness the expression of the subconscious.  Without scrupulous study of what emerges, as in Dr. Muhl’s approach, the conscious mind remains a cork bobbing on the sea of the emotions, unmindful, even, of its plight. Cayce remarked that through automatic writing you can be a channel of the most profound material, yet have your own life be in shambles.  There are many cases to attest to this fact.

      During inspirational writing the conscious and the subconscious mind work together as a channel for the superconscious mind.  The superconscious mind is invoked through the use of the ideal.  The meditative state attunes the person to the ideal, to a particular pattern of activity of the superconscious mind.  The superconscious can use material from the subconscious, if needed and appropriate to its purpose.  The ideal serves as both a magnet and a filter for what will pass through the channel.  Otherwise, as in automatic writing, whatever is in the subconscious mind that desires expression can come through.  Expression is the subconscious mind’s only desire. The superconscious mind, however, focuses expression toward a purpose in harmony with an ideal.

      Are you seeking a shortcut, Cayce asks us, or are you seeking that which will bring truth into your life?  Seek what brings the spirit of the truth, that which brings life itself, something that will help you grow.  Bringing forth a “wonderment,” as he called it, is of limited value, except to perhaps satisfy a desire to learn the trick or to distinguish oneself among others.  Bringing forth life, on the other hand, is something of true value.

Experiment

 with Inspirational Writing

      Begin your experiment with inspirational writing by a period of meditation.  When you feel you have entered into the spirit of your ideal, then begin your writing.  Don’t concern yourself about what you will write, simply write.

      One way to get started the first time is simply to write out your ideal.  Perhaps you begin with a single word or a phrase. Maybe you’ll find yourself just writing that again and again. Whatever you write, it doesn’t matter.

      For example, perhaps my ideal is to be the best I can.  So I write that down “to be the best I can.”  I want to keep the writing going so what happens next is that I find myself just repeating the phrase, “to be the best I can, can, can, the best is the best, I will be the best I can be my best.”  I am aware of what I am writing, I’m aware that I’m repeating myself, but I don’t judge it.  I don’t to do anything that will interfere with what my hand might feel inclined to write.  And then I find that it’s changing, evolving some more meaning, “I can be my best, the best in me can come through me when I am me to be myself the best I can be.”  I’m starting to warm up and it’s getting a little easier to trust in the process.  “I’m best at me when I’m just me, being me, that’s the best I can be, not trying to be anyone else.  Trying takes trying but just being me comes natural.  The best in me comes from being me.  When I let me be I sometimes surprise me.  There’s more to me than I can see.”  I’m still just playing around, but it’s starting to be less trivial. 

      It helps to take a playful approach, especially in the beginning.  Being playful can be freeing.  Don’t take it too seriously.  Being self-conscious, concerned about doing something wrong, or feeling a need to write something important, can get in the way.  Being a channel of inspirational writing, like most channeling methods, requires that you be willing to let go of any demands upon yourself for performance.  You certainly need to forget about grammar and punctuation!  You need to forget about whether or not you’re doing it “right.”

      In training inspirational writing to others, I have found that most people have a tendency to hesitate before they write. They may wait for a “voice” or for a really inspiring thought to arise that they can write down.  Asking yourself if your thoughts are important enough to record can be paralyzing.  Evaluating, censoring, or filtering your thoughts before you write them will keep you from writing in an inspirational flow.

      It’s deadly to insist that you won’t put anything down unless you know it’s profound.  It makes you feel like you have a chisel in your hand and you’re going to carve these words into stone.  Meanwhile television cameras tune in on what you’re about to write and satellite transmission stations are ready to broadcast it live around the world on the evening news.  You feel such a sense of stage fright you can’t write anything.

      I’ve found it easier to begin by just writing anything. Writing anything and nothing in particular, just playing with the words, is a good way to get started.

      What you learn about channeling from inspirational writing is that is it a lot easier to receive ideas while writing than while sitting there waiting for the ideas to arrive.  People who’ve practiced any of the channeling methods will confirm that starting the flow is the hardest part.  You can verify this principle for yourself.  Each time you sit down for a session of inspirational writing, the first words will take the longest. You’ll also find that your most inspired writing won’t be these first words, even though you may have spent five minutes selecting them.  Your best work will appear while you’re writing and it’ll be material you didn’t have even a second to think about first.  You’ll learn not to let getting started hold you back.  Beginning to write is the beginning of wisdom.

      You’ll soon get used to writing without knowing in advance of each word what you’ll write.  As you feel more comfortable with this process, you’ll concentrate less on the mechanics and more on staying in touch with the spirit of your ideal.  As you pay more attention to your meditative frame of mind, and less to what you’re writing, your writing will become less contrived and more inspired.

      Rather than focus on how you’re doing, focus on your feeling of attunement and let it express itself in your writing.  It may start as a trickle.  How much, how fast, or what you write, doesn’t matter while you’re writing.  Cayce’s advice on this matter is similar to most professional writers.  While writing, don’t evaluate what you’re writing.  Save judgment for later. Cayce recommends, in fact, you don’t read your inspirational writing for 30 days.  Just keep having writing sessions.  A good session is one where you write freely, not where you write well.

      When you’re first learning inspirational writing, don’t worry too much about an ideal preparation method.  It’ll only add to the burden of getting started.  After you feel comfortable with the process of inspirational writing, however, you can experiment with perfecting the preparation period.  Inspirational writing is really an extension of meditation, so all of Cayce’s advice on preparing for meditation applies here as well.  In addition, the creative arts can be a useful method for developing attunement.  I’ve found that listening to music, and even dancing to it, are great ways to get in tune for a period of inspirational writing.

      Do feel free to use your favored writing medium.  Some people like the feel of moving a soft lead pencil lead across the paper.  Others appreciate the ritualistic quality of using a fountain pen and ink.  People who do a lot of typing or word processing prefer to use a keyboard.

Answers From the Higher Self

      One of the principles of channeling Cayce taught was that a genuine need is the greatest stimulant to the flow.  Meditation, or an attunement to an ideal, shapes the flow.  Need, and the opportunity to apply the channeled material into application, stimulates the flow.  Responding to a need can be a powerful approach to inspirational writing.

      Cayce often reminded us of the Biblical promise that if we ask, and turn within, we will find an answer.  We can test that promise through inspirational writing just as we learned to do in meditation.  One of the special values of inspirational writing is that we can use a form of role playing to get answers from our higher self.

      When sharing his approach to channeling, Ron Carey (who used inspirational writing to channel the books, The Starseed Transmissions and Return of the Bird Tribes) teaches to first imagine what it would be like to be God.  Then pose a question to yourself.  Imagine God hearing that question.  Allow yourself to answer the question as God might.

      Here’s an alternative method.  First imagine some person who’s the personification of your highest ideal.  It could be a real person you respect very much.  It could be a religious figure, an imaginary person, or someone you encountered in a dream.

      Second, for your meditative attunement, allow yourself to imagine what it feels like to be this person.  Then begin writing down those feelings.  Use inspirational writing to express what it feels like to be your higher self figure.

      Now you can pose questions to that person.  Use inspirational writing to obtain the answer from your higher self.

      I imagine, for example, that wise old man from my special dream.  I feel his simplicity and his compassion.  I imagine what it must be like to see into the depths of things.  I begin writing and express more of this person’s consciousness.  “I see with my heart and feel with my eyes.  I touch with my ears and listen with my hands.”

      Then, as myself, I pose a question, “What is the best way for me to explain the concept of inspirational writing?”

      I shift gears, once again becoming the old man.  “How has this writing been for you?  What has been your experiences with it?  How do you work with it?  How do you struggle with it? Speak simply from the heart.  Tell them of your own experience.”

      There’s my answer.

      You don’t have to accept the answer you get.  In fact, it’s worthwhile to ask followup questions.  Perhaps the answer you get is too simple, like “be yourself.”  You might point out to your higher self that it’s not that easy.  Ask it for more specific advice, pin it down.  Wrestle with the angel and it will bless you.

The Inspired Word and Creativity

      One of the things I value most about teaching inspirational writing to live audiences is to see the look on people’s faces as the process begins to flow.  I enjoy hearing their exclamations of surprise and their expressions of gratitude and satisfaction. It’s hard, when you don’t know what’s going to come out, to let go and begin writing.  Looking through the material afterwards, people find that perhaps half of it’s either nonsense or old, familiar thoughts.  Then they discover here and there real gems! People find phrases and sentences that are truly new thoughts, or bold or challenging notions.  They sometimes channel downright inspired words of wisdom and beauty.

      I can’t count the times I’ve heard someone say, “Gosh, I didn’t know this was inside of me!  I never would’ve believed that I could’ve written something like this!”  Because they weren’t dissociated from the experience, because they were present at the birth of the inspiration, they can feel it as indeed coming from within themselves, from their attunement, their state of mind.  They can reflect upon how it felt to be in the mood of their ideal and how the words came from that state of mind.  They can feel that love, that peace, that stillness, or that joy, of their ideal.  They can feel it in their bodies, in their minds, and their writing reflects their state of consciousness.  It’s a wonderful experience.  Inspirational writing can be a profound experiences in channeling, one that shows the overlap between the higher self and being oneself. 

      When the emphasis is on the process of tuning into your feelings, not on being inspired with holiness or wisdom, the pleasure of inspirational writing is available to all of us. Even people who feel they’re not very verbal or good with words can enjoy it.  Teachers of creative writing who work with the culturally handicapped or the illiterate often use an approach similar to inspirational writing.  They teach these people to focus on their feelings and encourage them to play with the sounds of words.  They suggest letting words just pop into mind, in any order, revealing creative word strings that surprise their authors at how well they express their feelings.

      Ron Carey tells an interesting story of how he became a channel for this inspirational source of intelligence.  He moved his family out to live in nature for seven years.  While living in harmony with the elements, and with no television or newspapers for distraction, Carey became more sensitive to nature’s vibrations.  His intuitive resonance with nature grew into communion with higher levels of intelligence.  Waves of knowing came over him and he allowed those feelings to blossom spontaneously into words.  He thus became a channel of what he calls intuitively received transmissions.

      Such experiences testify to what Cayce taught as truly the important value and power of words--to create consciousness. Words bring our awareness into the consciousness of being.  In this respect, Cayce often reminded us of the biblical statements concerning the creative power of God’s Words: First, there was the Word!  The ancient Mexican cultures echoed this awareness. They thought that the only way the finite human being had a chance to touch the infinite was through what they called “hearts and flowers.”  By this phrase they meant words of feeling--inspired words.  Special words allow a transmission from the source to the audience.  Attuning to the source, allowing your words to be guided by that source, you offer your audience a chance to resonate themselves with that source.

      I have deep respect for inspirational writing and for speaking as well.  When I lecture, I first prepare notes as a preliminary attunement to the material.  Then I meditate before my talk to attune myself to the spirit in which I wish to address the audience.  Once I begin the lecture I find myself speaking extemporaneously, saying many unplanned things.  Often I find myself mentally standing beside myself, listening to what I’m saying, picking up new ideas.  Someone may comes to me afterwards to thank me because my lecture met a personal need.  If so, it was when I was speaking inspirationally, and not while delivering any of my prepared remarks, that I touched that person.  Cayce would explain this phenomenon by reminding me that my subconscious mind is in contact with the subconscious minds of the people in the audience.  Having set my ideal to meet people’s needs, my spontaneous remarks were not randomly telepathic, but guided by the ideal set in the governing superconscious mind.

      In order to write or speak inspirationally, I have to set aside my desire for a noble accomplishment and simply join in the fun of the process.  A sense of fun and playfulness often allows the inspirational mode to come to you.  Don’t let your seriousness of purpose dictate a seriousness of style. Playfulness adds another link between inspirational writing and creativity.  Play, letting yourself go into the fun of the process, is an important factor in both inspiration and creativity.

      As a form of channeling, inspirational writing teaches us what Cayce wanted us to learn.  It’s not necessary to go into a deep trance or be a psychic clairvoyant to experience channeling something profoundly moving for yourself and others.  He would have us develop our channeling ability in the conscious state as much as possible.  The more we can accept ourselves as a channel while in the awake state, the more we realize a simple, yet profound, truth.  Being ourselves, being who we really are, is an ideal and perfectly valid means of channeling our higher selves.

Opening the Channel of Inspiration with The Sound Symphony

      Inspirational writing is spontaneous, stream of consciousness writing when one’s consciousness first has been polished, calmed, and attuned to the Higher Self, as in meditation.  Since most people have pretty heavy, somber and serious connotations with meditation, not to mention the higher self, that overly cumbersome attitude carries over to the inspirational writing, giving people stage fright and self-consciousness.  To counteract this effect, when I demonstrate inspirational writing in a group setting, I like to take advantage of the group energy to elevate our consciousness in a fun and creatve way.  It’s also a way to reinforce some of the underlying principles about channeling the Higher Self.

      Instead of having the group meditate as preparation for the inspirational writing, I have them sing.  But “sing” isn’t really the best word for what we do.  I wouldn’t call it singing.  In fact, in my presentation I try hard to avoid using words like “sing,” “chant,” or similar words that have familiar, emotionally loaded connotations.

      Here are some of the basic ideas I like to present to explain the purpose for our having a “Sound Symphony” to get us high, to elevate our consciousness, in preparation for inspirational writing.

      The Cayce readings perspective on creativity and the arts contains some important lessons about our being channels. Although these days trance channeling where “entities” speak may appear to be the height of channeling achievement, Cayce indicates that it’s the arts that provide the channeling opportunities for the greatest expression of spiritual truths. Not lectures, nor sermons, prayers, rituals, but the arts!  Our inherent creativity is thus both a powerful and fun way to explore and develop our ability in channeling our higher self.

      The practice of a creative art involves an attunement to the materials at hand, becoming one with the paint, becoming one with the sounds, becoming one with nature.  When we allow ourselves to improvise, whether in the doodlings that have no purpose, or the humming of the melodies that come to us, we open a channel of creativity.  Being creative demands that you set your aside your expectations, get out of your own way, and let the activity happen.  Creativity happens in action, not while you sit idly waiting for inspiration.

      Inspiration is a word that touches both upon a source of intelligence as well as creativity.  Cayce stated that psychic and creative ability were essentially the same.  They both originate and owe their existence to the nature of the soul’s superconscious awareness and its inherent creativity.  When we attune ourselves to the ideals of our higher self, we open a channel to not just to knowledge and wisdom, but also to inspiration and creativity.

      Practicing being in the spirit of creativity, owning our birthright of unique self-expression, is very important in developing the awareness of channeling ability.  It doesn’t take any more effort to act inspirationally than it does to act out of habit.  Each can be a form of spontaneous expression.  Acting out of habit requires no awarness, however, while acting inspirationally requires the presence of awareness.  Yet you allow yourself to be as you are, to do as the spirit moves you. The presence of awareness offers the possibility of making choices, while habits exclude choice and keep us in our routine ruts.  Breaking the expected routine is an essential ingredient in creativity.

      It isn’t a matter of not having enough time to be creative, but a matter of keeping one’s awareness open to the possibility. Everything we do during the day can be done in a variety of attitudes.  No task is too small to warrant your loving attention.  Who knows what might happen if you hummed to yourself while you attended to that task?  Work can be transformed to play.  The word, recreation, means rest and renewal, play and creation.  Although creative play challenges most of us where we are overly serious about how well we can perform, it’s essential value is in teaching us the joy of being a channel of expression, a channel that can express in a manner like no other, the living, felt presence of the higher self.

      Edgar Cayce stressed the importance for us all to find some way to actively participate in the arts, especially music.  He suggested that it would be of benefit to everyone to find some way to express oneself in music.  Of all the arts, we carry the ability for musical expression with us at all times.

      It’s easy to have fun with music and Cayce suggested that even learning to play a kazoo, or humming music on a piece of paper placed on a comb is worthwhile.  Do you remember playing on such a homemade toy from your childhood?

      We need to remind ourselves from personal experience how naturally uplifting it is to make music.  We’ve become very shy about this form of expression, but making music is such an easy way to recapture some lost channels of creative expression.

      A wonderful channeling exercise is to sing to yourself in the shower or while driving to work.  You can sing along to the tunes on the radio.  Even better, you can make up your own melodies and sounds to express your feelings.  Cayce suggested simply using play words like “la de da” is a fine way to sing. Let yourself go!  Playing with sounds, if you’ll approach it playfully, is a wonderful way to recapture the spirit of childhood innocence.

      Exploring the sounds you can make with your voice has another important dimension.  Cayce indicated that our voice is the highest vibration we can achieve with the physical body!  No wonder that of all religious music, choral pieces are the most uplifting.  What’s the sound that most resembles the feeling of your ideal?  Let’s hear it!  Louder, and with more feeling--don’t hold back!

      Cayce also suggests practising making vowel sounds, like the syllable Om (Ahh..Ohh..Mmm) to experience the vibratory effect in your body as well as the effect on your mental state.  Make the sound in different ways, in different pitches, until you find the way that makes your whole body resonate with feeling.  When you’re willing to set aside self-consciousness, you can channel with your voice a surprising amount of expression from your higher self.  An amazing experience awaits you.

      How many of you have been, at some time in your life, made to feel embarrassed about the sound of your voice?  Almost all of us.  None of us would jump at the chance to come up on stage and let us hear your voice.  That would be quite upsetting.  But when you think about it, that we are ashamed of the sound of our voice is quite tragic.

      Nothing is us so much as the sound of our voice.  No two voices are exactly alike.  Computers can read voice prints as accurately as the FBI can read fingerprints.  The voice is that distinctive.  To say that we are ashamed of the sound of our voice is to say that we are ashamed of who we are.

      To be ashamed of who we are is the basic wound of the inner child.  And that child is the key to our creativity.  The inner child’s ability to play, its innocence, its enjoyment of process--these are but a few of the qualities that have linked the child, play and creativity for centuries.

      When you read channeled literature, such as A Course in Miracles, it’s no coincidence that much of it speaks to the inner child, that it lovingly teaches such profound self-acceptance. It speaks to the inner child.  There’s a link between the inner child and the higher self.  Both are the authentic voice of pure being, accepting, open and direct.  It’s a consciousness that is within us all, blocked only by shame.

      It’s too bad that self-consciousness has come to mean shame and awkwardness.  Why can’t it mean simply awareness, a presence. Why do we have to absent ourselves in order to be spontaneous. Why can’t we be present and aware and still ourselves?  There are many reasons for this blockage, but if you practice the breathing exercise, you’ll come to appreciate the profound peace and self-acceptance that comes from simply practicing the presence in the awareness of your breathing.

      Think about how much fun it can be to simply let loose with your voice, to be exhuberant, to let the feelings flow.  There are traditions of doing this.  Today in church we sing songs, we perform prescribed and routine voice exercises.  In charismatic groups they have a more spontaneous, inspired approach to the use of the voice, “speaking in tongues.”  This is a form of inspired speaking, voicing or sounding, letting the spirit come through the voice box.  Too bad that outside its tradition it has so many connotations that limit its usefulness.  I mention it to bring to mind that inspirational breathing, inspirational writing has many analogies.  I’m going to share with you a different form of inspirational voicing, one that will open the channel for inspirational writing in a way that’s hard to duplicate by yourself.  It requires some cooperation among the group, but that’s OK, because that teaches us something else about channeling.

      Cooperation is an excellent form of channeling.  We set aside exclusive focus on ourselves and act in harmony with others toward a common goal.  Learning to cooperate in a group is a good way to learn channeling.

      Edgar Cayce delivered an important series of psychic readings on developing psychic ability.  He said the first step should be to learn how to cooperate within a group.  He then proceeded to outline a course of study for such a group endeavor. Today, A.R.E. “Study Groups” around the country participate in A Search for God, as this material is entitled.  These manuals contain several lessons on developing spiritual awareness, psychic ability and becoming a conscious channel.

      Channeling requires setting oneself aside so a higher source of consciousness may manifest.  Cooperation requires setting aside one’s personal desires for contributing to a common goal. When we work toward the common good, we recognize and respond to something that transcends the artificial boundary of our separate self.  Cooperation shows that there’s no limit to what can be accomplished when no one is concerned about who’s going to get the credit.  The act of cooperation attunes us to the transpersonal level of our existence, joined with the rest of creation in a unitary expression.

      These considerations show good reasons for Cayce beginning his teachings on psychic ability and spiritual channeling by the topic of cooperation.  Channeling and cooperation are soul mates, two activities most closely resembling and belonging to one another.  Furthermore, through learning to cooperate, we can also explore the meaning and significance of our individuality as we contribute to the common whole.

      We’ll practice a form of cooperation, by cooperating in a creating a group blessing, a blessing of sound, where by making sounds, we’ll give one another our blessing to be yourself and express yourself aloud!  I’m going to introduce you to my favorite process of group channeling.  I find the sound of music to be a very special channel.  I enjoy teaching people that they can make spontaneous sounds that free them to be themselves as well as raise their consciousness.  Leading a group in what I call choir practice requires a Richard Simmons form of sustained, energetic leadership, to help people overcome their shyness.  The results, although they require patience, are invariably worth the effort.

      I get the group started by performing an imaginary “hypnotic age regression.”  Spreading magic dust around the room, I tell people that they are gradually becoming younger and younger, shedding the years until we become a romper room of one and two year olds.  That’s a time of life when we enjoy experimenting with the variety of sounds we can make with our mouth and other body parts.  I start making nonsense sounds, pulling at my lips, popping my cheeks and so on, becoming the first to venture forth as a childish fool.  I encourage everyone to sound out and explore the fun sounds they can make.  It’s crazy, it’s fun and it loosens them up.  It’s clear that we aren’t up to anything very serious.  That helps.

      Our first exercise is to create a “jungle symphony.”  I ask everyone to make, all at the same time, the sound of their favorite animal.  We do this a few times until people are comfortable enough to sound out loudly and for as long as a minute.  Then I ask the animals to respond to one another’s sounds, to interact, communicate and to harmonize, as they would in nature.  The jungle symphony is great fun and reminds people that their inner child still enjoys to play with sounds and whoop it up.

      We then move on to the mood music and the feelings in sound vibrations.  I ask everyone to make, all at the same time, the sound of feeling good.  We get a pleasant medley of Aahhs, Oohhs and Yeys.  Most chants use some form of vowel sounds, so I ask the group to explore the various vowel sounds to see how they feel in the body.  With each vowel sound, I ask them to experiment with the tone and quality until they find the pitch quality that make their knees tickle, their toes tingle, or their whole body vibrate or tingle with the sound.  This practice helps them to associate the sounds with physical feelings in the body and to begin to get deeper into the experience.  Perhaps we’ll try exploring different ways of making the vowel sounds that express feeling good, so they’ll have several sounds to express good feelings.  I ask them to found the one vowel sound, and its specific form of intonation and pitch, that creates the greatest feeling of openness in the heart area.  Then we begin playing with these sounds, all together and interacting with one another, to create a symphony of good feelings.  The effect is somewhat like a jam session, a cooperative improvisational choir, making nonsensical sounds that feel good.  In a playful way, it sounds good, too.

      Our next exercise we do in silence.  Edgar Cayce taught that silent chanting can be even more powerful than chanting aloud.  I ask people to imagine what sound their soul, their higher self might make.  While we are all silent, we imagine being filled with the sounds of the soul, allowing our bodies to vibrate and tingle to the silent, imaginary sounds.

      For a final rehearsal, we explore the sounds of toys.  We imagine being in a giant toy store, and we are the toys.  We explore making various sounds associated with the razz and rattle, the whistle and whoopee that toys make.  Again, I suggest that people keep an ear cocked for toy sounds they hear and to make sounds that interact with those sounds, to create hybrid toys, to have conversations between toy sounds.  We might even be creating a new soundtrack for Walt Disney’s Fantasia.

      We’re now finished with rehearsals and ready for the Sound Symphony itself.  Without destroying the precious mood of playfulness, I then move the group on to a more purposeful effort.  We’re performing a blessing ceremony, I remind them, giving one another our blessing to be ourselves and “let it all hang out.”  I explain that we now have hundreds of instruments available to us, baby sounds, vowel sounds, sounds that make the heart open, animal sounds, toy sounds, as well as the soul sounds of the higher self--sounds we’ve heard only in silence so far. We’re bringing many sounds to our jam session, and let’s use them all!  And we’ve learned to listen to the sounds of the group and answer back, to play off one another’s sounds.

      I suggest that we start out with the sound Om, making this sound at least seven times, and then letting loose to make all kinds of sounds.  It’s somewhat like taking a ride in a glider, where you get pulled up in the air by a propeller plane, then it releases you and you sail away.  So we’ll get started with the Om sound, then sail away on our own, improvised sounds.

      We’ll continue improvising sounds, playing off one another, as the spirit moves us.  We’ll go through various waves of sounds, of tempos, the group energy will take over and we’ll just go with it.  After a few minutes, the sound symphony will come to a natural close.  The room will be filled with silence.  Inside, you’ll feel open and emptied of blocks.  What a great time to begin a session of inspirational writing!  So I ask everyone to have paper and pencil ready, and when the sound symphony stops, begin writing.  I remind the group, don’t worry about thinking up what to write--you’ll find the inspiration coming as you write! If you are worried, anyway, then just tell yourself this hint: You can begin by writing down what you are feeling.  Just write, “I am feeling peaceful...” and just let your writing take over. Believe me, if you’ll just start writing, you won’t have any trouble.  With that reminder about the process of inspirational writing, which will follow our sound symphony, we begin our concert of cooperative play of sounds.

      We begin with the Om sound, making this sound at our own individual pace.  At any given moment, some people are starting an Om sound, some are in the middle of the sound, and some are concluding the sound, so the effect is somewhat like a musical round, but less structured.  Soon we are finished with that sound and we cautiously break out into other sounds, other syllables, and noises.

      Everyone is now making a variety of uplifting sounds, of fun sounds, of raucous noises.  We play off one another’s sounds to create a flowing, ever changing current of sound vibration. Every now and then you can hear a brief solo passage filtering through the choir, to which the group gives echo and changes the direction of the improvisation.  People are obviously feeling the vibrations in their bodies, for they are swaying to the music and moving their arms.  Some people provide percussion sounds that give our session a beat and rhythm, while others keep us well supplied with animal and toy sounds to keep us from forgetting that we’re having fun.  I always appreciate these contributions. Some people are quiet with their sounds, others are loud, but most seem like they’re pouring out their hearts.  In the cacophony of the sounds, of the cooperative group effort, individuals feel a bit safer, the sound of their own voice is hidden and camouflaged in the group’s symphony.

      By cooperating in this way, they give themselves an experience they couldn’t achieve individually.  Everybody gets to experience making a valuable contribution, in spite of feeling that they “can’t sing.”  We also get to luxuriate in the pleasure of flowing together in a beautiful expression of harmony and higher consciousness.

      There is a healing energy at work in this choir practice. Some people report flashes of past life memories.  Some people are in tears as they experience deep emotional release through their sounds.  Some report intense tingling sensations in the body.  Clearly we are opening a profound channel.  By cooperating in sound, the group has become a channel of the creative forces.

      After a few minutes, the sounds become softer.  Our voices are tiring and we are drifting into silence.  Then there is the loudest sound of all...total silence.  People begin writing.  The energy in the room is intense as all the people are making scratching sounds with their pens and pencils.  The feeling of our sound symphony stays with us, a mood that hovers over the group as they’ve shifted to a more private experience.

Sharing the Inspirational Writing

      To avoid people feeling anyone was looking over their shoulders, I had avoided asking people to read what they wrote during our writing session.  I knew that people were getting something from it because they would come up to me individually and say so.  Some would want to show me their writing.  I knew something special was happening in my own writing, too.

      When I demonstrated this process at the Creative and Healing Arts Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia, the participants asked if they could read aloud what they had written.  I readily agreed.  As I listened to what they read, and saw the effect on the group, I realized that the reading was an important part of this process.  There was a need to provide testimony to the value of the open channel, to hear the messages that come through.

      It was because of that experience at that workshop that this booklet came into being.  I decided that it was a worthwhile task to assemble a collection of these writings and publish them.  At subsequent workshops, I mentioned this booklet and asked people to send me a copy of their inspirational writing for publication. The writings that follow are what I received.  I’ve included them all, regardless of their apparent “quality.”  Each has something valuable to offer.

      There are a number of ways to study these writings.  One way is simply to read them out of curiosity and see if any stir ideas, images or feelings within you.  If people are tapping into any sort of transpersonal level of the mind, the writing should spark recognitions in other readers.  Another way is to search for some useful ideas, or clues, about the nature of the channel that the sound symphony opens.  What I find in these writings is a discourse on being oneself, on accepting oneself, and the importance of this self-acceptance.  Another way to read them is for clues to what is going on within a “group mind.”  One workshop occurred the Saturday before Mothers’ Day and another happened the Saturday before Easter.  Perhaps the writings on those days reflected some of the atmosphere of the upcoming holiday.  Each workshop is different, with different participants.  Sometimes there seems to be something on our mind, and it comes through in the writing.  In one session, I wrote something to the effect that the sound symphony and the writing that followed was a way for a community to tap into what was going on in the collective mind and present a “news report.”

      I thank all the people who’ve cooperated in the sound symphonies and who have shared their inspirational writing for this booklet.  Many indicated that they wanted others to know that what a powerful channel of expression this process can be. May you come to discover something similar for yourself.

This material is adapted from Henry Reeds Edgar Cayce on Channeling Your Higher Self. It is available as a paperback from Amazon.com: click here!

To the the Examples of the Inspirational Writing that Have Been Inspired by the Symphony of Souls, Click Here!

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