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Opening the Channel
On a nice day in 1987 I was looking around a bookstore when a book called Opening to Channel: How to Connect with Your Guide by Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer seemed to jump into my arms. Intrigued, I bought it, took it home, and sat down to read. That book would change my life forever.
Even though I had never heard the word channel as I grew up in the forties and fifties, I had many telepathic communications. But these experiences were all about ESP (extrasensory perception). It never entered my mind that they might have some connection to spiritual life. I just found that knowing things about other people was fun. As a teenager at the National Music Camp in Interlochen, Michigan, I discovered that I could actually hear my friend Peter's thoughts. I found this a little hard to believe, but after it went on for a few weeks, I finally said, "Peter, I know this is a strange thing to tell you, but I think I am hearing your thoughts. Were you just thinking about ...?" Peter not only verified that what I heard in my mind was what he had been thinking, but also told me that he had been hearing my thoughts. We were fascinated with our new mind-to-mind communication and constantly tested our ability. I would sit in one part of the camp and send images to Peter, and he would write down what he saw. Then he would send me images.
Coincidence—or perhaps fate—would have it that both Peter and I went to the University of Michigan. There I also met my husband-to-be, Marlowe, who was adamant that Peter and I be tested at the Society for Psychical Research in New York City. Around 1961 or '62 Peter and I showed up at the research center. A man named Doctor Ossi escorted us to two different rooms, which had steel walls. I sat in one room and looked at picture cards that the researchers had given to me. I mentally projected the image I saw on each card, and Peter wrote down what he saw. We then reversed the process.
Our experiment showed that we were communicating telepathically, as our scores were beyond what anyone could accomplish by pure chance. But although we were psychic, we did not have incredible scores. That news was a bit of a bummer, as naturally we wanted to be told our scores were the best ever.
After that experiment, I forgot all about psychic experiences. I was interested in writing songs and singing in Greenwich Village. I arrived on the coffeehouse scene shortly after Bob Dylan was just beginning to become famous. All of us singers and guitarists who played music and passed the basket for tips focused on being discovered by some talent agent, like Dylan had been.
Ten years later I was in Mill Valley, California, part of the San Francisco Bay area. While a famous talent agent had not discovered me, I was blessed with two children. So I was busy being a mom, singing in clubs a few nights a week, and teaching kids and their mothers to play guitar and sing. I had no time to become involved in what I learned, years later, was the "spiritual revolution" of the seventies. Women's liberation certainly got my attention, and I wrote and sang feminist songs in women's coffeehouses in Berkeley. There were times when song lyrics just seemed to pop into my head, as if the music and words had been already written someplace else and were simply being delivered to my brain. When I had those magical songwriting experiences, I did think that perhaps I was in contact with a power greater than myself. But it was only half a thought. (You know those thoughts that almost form in your mind but are not clear enough for you to recognize as a thought? Those are what I call "half a thought.")
When my dog, Queenie, died in 1980, I saw her spirit walk across my living room. While my vision was very real to me, I did ask myself, "Is this spirit or my imagination?" I had no idea that Queenie was the first of thousands of human and animal spirits that I would see in my lifetime.
In 1980 my husband got a job offer in Boston, and we moved. I continued to play music and take care of my kids. I had been living in the Boston area about seven years when I walked into that bookstore and bought Opening to Channel. I had no idea that my whole experience of reality would change and that dimensions I had never heard of or thought about would become part of my regular, day-to-day existence. I would learn that when people and animals die, their spirits live on. I would learn that those of us who are still living on the earth plane could actually communicate with the spirits of our loved ones. I would learn that there is an incredible power, greater than any one of us, and this power is the Energy that created this universe and continues to create it each second. I would learn that this Energy, which many of us call God, Infinite Spirit, Cosmic Consciousness, or the Divine, is the Energy that supports and guides us in our daily lives, if only we would listen.
I learned and I learned. I accepted that I was a medium (a person who can communicate with the spirits of those who have passed on) and started giving spiritual consultations where I brought messages to clients from their loved ones in spirit. I accepted that I was a writer and started writing books. I channeled and I channeled, but for some reason, I did not accept that I was a channel. Every day I sat in my basement and recorded cassette after cassette of the words I was hearing in my mind. I spent hours and hours transcribing those tapes. But then I hid the tapes and stuffed all the transcriptions of my channeling sessions into my dresser drawers where no one would read them. "People will think I am crazy," I told myself.
Between 1994 and 2003, I took courses with the American Federation of Spiritualist Churches and received credentials as a medium, healer, and minister. I flew across the ocean and studied at Arthur Findlay College in Stansted, England, where I heard about mediums who did trance work. At this school, I watched mediums go into altered states of consciousness and speak the words that "flowed through them" from the world of spirit. I was totally amazed, because this was what I had been doing in my basement for years. I had been going into an altered state of consciousness, asking a question, and speaking the words that I "heard" coming to me from someplace else.
"How do we know these mediums are really connecting with the world of spirit?" I asked my teachers. "How do we know that the wisdom they are bringing through, while wonderful, is not coming from their imagination?" There I sat in Stansted, in one of the most beautiful English courtyards that you will ever see, wondering about the source of the inspirational, life-changing words that flowed effortlessly out of the mouths of the trance mediums.
One day a teacher named Nora Shaw said something in class that transformed my life:
If a medium can do an evidential reading and bring evidence that she is in touch with your uncle or aunt or another of your loved ones—evidence that she does not have any knowledge of—and therefore prove beyond any doubt that she is communicating with Uncle John in spirit, then it is also quite possible that when this same medium feels that she is bringing through wisdom from a spiritual source, that she is.
When I heard these words, I said to myself, "I am going to become an evidential medium and prove that I can communicate with the spirits of loved ones who have passed over. And if I can prove to myself and my clients that I can communicate with their grandparents, their parents, sisters, brother, wives, husbands, children, and pets, then and only then will I take those transcriptions of the channeling sessions out of the dresser drawers and share them with the world."
In the years that followed, I proved to myself that I can communicate with the spirits of those who have passed over. In a reading, a person can verify everything I say about his or her grandfather. The person can say, "Yes, my grandfather was involved in a lot of legal battles," or "No, my grandfather did not have a son as you say he did." The person knows the answers and so can verify the evidence. When I tell people that I feel a Divine guidance bringing messages to help them have better relationships with their family, there is no way to verify that I am getting that advice from the Divine or from my mind. But, as Nora Shaw said, because I am able to give evidential readings, it is "quite possible" that when I feel I am bringing wisdom through from a spiritual source, I am.
Since I have proven to myself that I have a link with the world of spirit, I feel justified in sharing my many visions of spirit and messages brought from a higher source of guidance. Some would have shared their visions right away, but I needed proof that I could link with the world of spirit before sharing the experiences of my spiritual journey.
Now that I have that proof, oddly enough, it does not seem as important anymore. Of course, I continue my readings, as many of my clients still need the kind of proof that I needed years ago. However, I have changed. I now know that there is a part of all of us that survives death. I cannot explain how I know. I just know, and it took me from the time I was born in 1940 until 2008 to "just know."
Spirit Knocks on My Door
Many teachers from various religions and spiritual paths would have been more than happy to tell me how to live my spiritual life and what was to be expected of me. And for many people, the best way to get spiritual direction is from teachers and spiritual leaders. But the mystic personality needs direct communication with the Divine. The mystic personality does not want to be told what to do, but wants to discover the spiritual path through personal experiences with the Divine.
Years ago, I did not realize that the word mystic might apply to me. To be honest, I had never thought much about the word and did not really know what it meant. It was a word I associated with spooky people and marketing campaigns for places that wanted to appear to have a spiritual environment. I had heard of the Christian mystics, but always imagined them to be people who went off the deep end. Nobody understood them, and many of them were killed for their spiritual practices. When I heard Sunday school teachers talk about the mystics, it was always with an attitude that said to me, "Learn about these mystics, but do not try this at home." These teachers taught me that the mystics were people who lived long ago, and we do not communicate with God now as they did then. I was taught that mysticism belongs to the past, and we should leave it where it belongs. I guess I did not learn this lesson well enough, because later in life, I was open-minded enough for the world of spirit to get my attention. "Hey you, we are trying to get your attention. We have a job for you."
Once I had opened "the channel" and was receptive to hearing from the world of spirit, I was spoken to in many ways. The Divine led me to the spiritual work that I am doing today as a psychic medium and as a Spiritualist minister and healer. But I also needed to hear from the Divine personally. Over the years I would learn that the Divine has always had to communicate with human beings in mysterious ways, such as dreams, revelations, synchronicities, and the imagination.
Dreams Reveal in Frankfurt and Paris
In 1991 I was working as a public speaking consultant and singing coach. One of the companies I worked for regularly was participating at the International Textiles Manufacturers Association (ITMA) convention in Hanover, Germany, and asked me to come along. My husband and I flew to Frankfurt and checked into the Frankfurt Hotel and Towers. As I went to sleep, I had no idea that a Being from another dimension was going to greet me.
The Man-in-the-Mountain Dream
Here are the notes I took upon waking from the dream:
I am flying near a mountainside. The soil is red and dotted with low bushes and trees. The land seems dry but rich. The side of the mountain starts to look different, and I realize that the front of the mountain is not solid. There is a large curtain. I go up to the curtain and through it into a room. The room resembles a doctor's waiting room. There are people sitting in comfortable chairs. Some of them look unhappy. They are breathing through some large inhalators that come from the wall. The inhalators are white. They seem to be made of heavy plastic and have white tubes, which attach them to the wall. The room is pure white. In another part of the room a man sits dressed in a white suit. He has a very pointed head. [The picture I drew of him after I woke from my dream shows that he is also bald.] As I approach him, I realize that he is a special being. I fall to the floor on my knees as I greet him. The floor is not solid. I bob up and down. His assistant hands me a document. When I read it, I realize that it is an oath that reads, "I pledge to be kind to people." The man stands before me and asks me if I am willing to take this pledge. I agree and then read the pledge out loud.
The scene vanishes, and I am flying high in the air. I feel a little scared and realize that I am fully aware of my flying. At the same time, I am aware of my body sleeping in my hotel bed in Germany. I keep flying and look down to see the ocean below me. The wind is blowing and feels quite cold. I am impressed by how real the wind feels against my skin. I realize that part of me is out of my body, flying. I fly within this strange realm a little longer and then will myself back into my body.
I wake up feeling good, knowing that I have had out-of-body dreams before, but this is the most "tangible" dream and the first time I have ever been so aware of both my body in the bed and my body in the dream.
Years later, I would learn that the kind of dream I had is called a lucid dream: a dream where you know you are dreaming.
As I read my notes today, the dream is as vivid to me as it was when I woke that early morning in Germany. I am grateful that I drew a picture of the mountain, the room, the white plastic instruments, and the man. When I want to recall this dream, all I have to do is to look at my notes and drawings, and the dream comes back to me.
I have heard people say that in an earthquake, the ground feels as if it is rolling beneath your feet. That is how this floor in the mountain felt. I knew the man in white was a specialist of some kind, and I also suspected he was a very wise man from another world. But he did not tell me about his credentials or try to teach me anything. When he pulled out the pledge document, a large scroll, his manner was extremely businesslike. It seemed like he asked people every day to take kindness oaths, and my visit seemed to be one of many. When I woke up, I knew that I had taken a real oath in a real place, but where had I been?
Living a Double Life
I did not have a long time to ponder this question, as I had to get dressed and board a train to Hanover, where I joined my colleagues at ITMA. As I walked around the convention floor, which was crowded with businesspeople from all over the world, I felt as if I were in two places at the same time. My physical body was in the convention hall, but another part of me was still in that white room in the middle of a mountain.
Luckily for me, I do not scare easy when it comes to emotional and creative experiences of the mind. I am not much of an adventurer on a physical level: you will not find me hang gliding or parachuting out of airplanes. But mystically, I can cope with a lot. So I was able to adjust quickly to being in two places at once. This experience on the convention floor was the beginning of my double life. This dream while sleeping was just the teaser, the opening act, if you like. I would go on to have many visions and travel into many different dimensions while I was awake.
My husband had to be at a meeting in Frankfurt nine days after the end of the ITMA convention. Talk about an obvious window for a vacation. We did not feel like hanging around Frankfurt, and we boarded a train that took us to Belgium and on to Paris.
We checked into the Hotel de Notre Dame. It would have been a very posh hotel experience were it not for the fact that our 22-year-old son was street singing in Paris, and he and his buddy needed a place to take a shower every day. Of course we said, "Yes, you are welcome to our hotel room." The floor in our room quickly turned into a tapestry of wet towels, dirty socks, and guitar picks. Until they got busted for singing on the street and left town, our room became a place for them to charge their small amplifiers We escaped our hotel room and wandered the streets of Paris.
Excerpted from Cosmic Connection by CAROLE LYNNE. Copyright © 2009 Carole Lynne. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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A Warning ix
Introduction: Message from Carole Lynne x
Part 1 The Early Years of Awakening 1
1 Opening the Channel 2
2 Dreams Reveal in Frankfurt and Paris 9
3 Kalpulpulpik and the Essence of Essence 21
4 A Past-Life Agnostic 36
5 Why Riddles and Rhymes? 47
6 Many Births and Deaths within One Lifetime 63
Part 2 The Higher Cosmic Realms 77
7 A Little Girl Makes a Deal with God 78
8 The Sitting Project 84
December 15, 2005: A Universal Realm 91
January 8, 2006: Do Not Carry Extra Baggage 98
January 9, 2006: Time to Grow Up 102
March 9, 2006: Steady Yourself 106
April 3, 2006: A Symbol Becomes a Sound 111
May 4, 2006: We Are All One and Yet We Are Many 113
July 31, 2006: We Are Connections 122
October 10, 2006: What Is I Amongst All of That? 126
August 13, 2007: Spirit Wraps Us in a Cocoon 137
November 12, 2007: This Energy Is Moving 154
9 Reflections on the Sitting Project 171
Part 3 The Path Widens 179
10 Sri Aurobindo and the Mother 180
11 The Path of Direct Initiation 198
12 I Found the Ankh, the Ankh Found Me 211
13 Voices Echoing Voices Echoing Voices 219
14 All Is Healing 233
15 Love Is the Answer to the Question Living Brings 249
16 Love in Action for a Better World 257