Monday, February 9, 2009

Which Channel Are You Listening To?

This morning I was thinking about "channelling".  You know, people who somehow connect and "channel" spirits or entities in realms other than this one.  I don't know exactly what brought this to mind, maybe it was writing about "asking for help" yesterday.  It's something I have mixed feelings about and I'm not even sure I have the terminology or language to write about it accurately but let's have a go.

I have a friend who is totally in to this.  A while back she collected a few friends together for a weekend with a couple of women who do channeling.  There is some lure and attraction in it, but I am not sure my attraction is particularly wholesome.  Here's what kind of niggles for me. One of the ideas of Buddhism that feels true  is that "we are always standing on the edge of the unknown."  This feels true to me because I believe we ultimately are not  in control.  There is an element of mystery about life.  And in our Buddhist practice this manifests as openness, the willingness to just be there in the moment with complete openness, free from our stories, free from our desires.  This is part of our training in my mind, part of what we are aiming for with our little arrow selves.

So in asking a channeler what's on the horizon, it feels to me that I am grasping after knowing.  The unknown is an uncomfortable place for most of us humans so we always rush to dispel and discharge that discomfort.  We like to know, we want the answers.  Ah, the security of knowing for sure.... When we don't know, we feel shaky and ill at ease and look around to solve that problem. ...If only I could know just a little, I could relax.  The bigger the problem, the bigger the shakes.

It feels to me like I am somehow betraying my Buddhist practice, for lack of a better word, by participating in "channeling".    I got to have a really good look at this near the end of 2007  when I had a significant "health opportunity" as one friend refers to it, and the fear in me fueled a grasping after answers.  I wanted at least a little hint of how all this would play out, some reassurance that things would be okay.  Standing on the edge of the unknown with a giant helping of fear was very hard.  I confess to dabbling.  It was helpful yet I was torn.  It felt like grasping.

I don't know if these channelers are connecting with entities in other realms.  They may be.  That is not for me to judge.  I do believe there is more than meets the eye and more than I can understand out there.  And I believe that some folks have a level of intuition and knowing that is less developed in me.  But I have no idea how to distinguish between those who connect and those who imagine they connect.  I remember attending a ceremony for the Hungry Ghosts at a Soto Zen Temple and a monk saying "if you think these beings are imaginary or metaphorical, think again.  And be careful what you invite in."  He also was quite adamant that people who were channeling were messing with trouble, with troubled spirits and that it was not a good thing to be involved in. 

So my experience was that my health fears created a strong grasping  that clouded my vision.  Instead of looking inside and asking for help I wanted an "easier" form of help.  I didn't trust myself.  I didn't have faith that life would unfold just as it should.  I had a hard time hanging out with fear and the unknown as my closest companions. As my Zen teacher has said "the universe is not out to get us."  And somehow I was separated from that truth.  And so in hindsight it seems to me, this is a place where it's important to be careful.   As the monk said, "Be careful what you invite in."    Are we abdicating responsibility when we consult a channeler?  If we follow some advice might we incur some  karma through actions suggested by outside sources?  Perhaps that need to know is like a little red light that is beckoning us to be careful here.


  1. Carole, I have been visiting your blog with my artist eye, feasting on your beautiful images, and then leaving without fully reading your words. Until today. You have drawn me in further with your very expressive and heartfelt writing.

  2. Thanks Martha, for the kind and encouraging comments. They were lovely little gifts to find under my post this morning! And I see that Zen sensibility on your flickr site with all those lovely "haiku" paintings and that spontaneous quality in all your work that draws me to it so much.