Channeling has become a popular phenomena in the last several years. We see it featured in News-Magazines and on talk shows. We read articles about it, and bookshelves everywhere now hold volumes of books written by channeled entities, with more appearing every month. Some channeled sources have gained a great deal of notoriety, drawing large crowds for seminars and workshops, often at a steep price.

How can we better understand this sudden outpouring of information? Webster defines "channel" as: " a means of access, a route". In the context of New Age work, channeling provides an access-way through which communication can be achieved between planes of existence. Channeling is a route through which those who are NOT focused in physical reality can give information to those who ARE focused in physical reality.

Though it may seem to be a fairly recent phenomena, channeling in various forms has existed as long as humankind. The most common form of channeling, in fact, is one we all have experienced: That sudden helpful insight that occasionally comes to us from "out of the blue". This form of channeling has created many works of art and has helped us find solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems. Unlike other forms of channeling, this inspiration is always available to us and whether we receive it rarely or often may simply depend on our receptivity and openness.

Dreams are another avenue through which channeled information can reach us. In the dream state we are open and spiritually attuned, creating an un-obstructed gateway through which Universal knowledge can flow. While the dream channel and inspiration are both valid routes of channeling, dreams, for many people, are more easily ignored. We tend to respond to and use those insights which inspire us.

The most spectacular form of channeling is, of course, "Trance Channeling". In this technique, the channel gives up the use of his or her body by entering a trance state, allowing the "source" to speak directly to a third party.

Although most trance channels work with only one source, sources can be a number of things or beings. Many believe that channeled "sources" reflect the channel's subconscious mind or a "collective unconscious".

Channeled material may also flow from one's "Higher Self". Information communicated to us through this Source definitely "counts" as channeled material, for our "Higher Selves" are not focused in physical reality. Others may channel material from the Cosmic Mind or from the God -Goddess-All-That-Is.

Most channeled material, however, comes to us from spirit guides or Masters and, ultimately, it is the material which is important regardless of who or what we believe our source to be.

Another way of communicating with ones "source" is through "Automatic Writing". In this form of channeling, the channel first meditates then sits with a pen and paper or a typewriter and allows the source to write. Meditation should be practiced each time before automatic writing since meditation puts us at peace and makes us more receptive to true spiritual sources.

The technique for automatic writing is fairly simple: After meditating, sit in a comfortable position holding a pad of paper and a pen, resting the point of the pen on the paper. Keep the body relaxed and ask if there is a "source" present. Stay relaxed and just wait for writing to begin.

At first the writing may be unreadable, just fine little scribbles that mean nothing. After some practice, however, the scribbles will become readable words and phrases which allow the source to identify themselves and discuss whatever subject we wish. Success may not be achieved in the first few sessions. It may take time and daily practice to develop a strong connection but it is well worth the effort.

. No matter what technique we use to channel our information, it is very important that we not follow blindly. Until we are satisfied with their believability, each of our sources should be regarded with a certain amount of healthy skepticism. We should examine all channeled material with a detached and questioning mind.

Although the material may vary in content, there are certain qualities which will always be present in information which is "channeled" by a true spiritual source. Such information will be positive in outlook and will always direct us toward the spiritual path. Since our sources will always try to help us as much as they can by giving us sound and usable advice, sources who attempt to dazzle us with incomprehensible garbage should be regarded with suspicion. A true source will not lie nor will they gossip. Our guides will not tell us to do things, and they cannot predict the future because the future is always changing.

When we attempt to channel our spirit guides, it is important to keep these points in mind. Non physical entities have "personalities" just as physical ones do. Someone whose attitudes were negative, or depressed, in LIFE, might carry remnants of these qualities into spirit life. Edgar Cayce was once quoted as saying: "The only difference between a LIVE Episcopalian and a DEAD Episcopalian is that one is DEAD and one is ALIVE." .

In reality, there is no such thing as communication with the "dead". We tend to see life in physical terms but LIFE is a SPIRITUAL reality which, for us, is presently housed in a physical form.

Though misguided entities can not harm you physically, their influence could produce negative side effects which could make your experience of channeling less fulfilling or pleasant, just as being around ANY negative personality might tend to do. For this reason it is important to establish a secure system of protection and awareness when attempting to channel. Observing and following these guidelines can protect us from the inevitable confusion which results from contact with these misguided "sources".

A certain amount of preparation is also necessary if we hope to be a clear and responsible channel. With this as our goal, it is probably not advisable that we attempt any form of channeling until we have attained some degree of proficiency at meditation.

Meditation makes us more centered and loving. It also acts as a shield against contact with negative spirit personalities. Meditation should be practiced daily, for besides facilitating our ability to channel clearly, it is the most important thing we can do to expand our spiritual lives.

Your spirit guides can become life-long friends and advisors as they have a wonderful outside view of our lives and life in general. They have access to information that we could not otherwise obtain. They help to deepen our understanding of ourselves and help us through our times of crisis. Contacting these spirit friends is not difficult. There is no loss of control of our bodies and nothing to fear for we can quit any time we choose.

Spirit friends, just like our friends in the physical world, should always be treated with respect. They should not be expected to entertain our friends or answer a lot of trivial questions. (If it is important to us, then it is not trivial.) Probably the most serious mistake we can make, however, is to become too dependent on our guides as this is the one thing that will cause us to lose them. Like any true friend, our guides do not want us to count on them too heavily.

The process of channeling our spirit guides is truly a great adventure. It may take weeks or months to develop but it is an amazing process and will bring invaluable results to those who persevere. Good luck and happy channeling.

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