Read an Excerpt
A Sacred Path
By Alan Seale
Red Wheel/Weiser, LLCCopyright © 2001 Alan Seale
All rights reserved.
Finding the Path
Welcome to this wondrous journey into you. Me, you might ask? Yes, you. For if you want to find Spirit, if you want to find God, if you want to know Love and how this marvelous universe works, you must take the journey into you. As you do, you will begin to uncover extraordinary parts of you that you never knew were there. And you will come to much more profound understandings about parts you thought you already knew very well. The deeper you go in spiritual self-discovery, the higher you can fly in conscious awareness of all that surrounds you, seen and unseen, heard and unheard, known and unknown, thought and unthought. Sounds simple? It is. Sounds difficult? It is.
For now, welcome to the path—your path. It belongs to no one but you. Sometimes it will feel like you are creating it as you go, and other times it will appear to have been created for you. This is the mystical path, plain and simple— a path of co-creation, serendipity, miracles, and day-to-day, moment-tomoment human experience.
We all have experiences of Spirit and intuition in our own way. There is no single way. What is important is that people who so desire find their way, find their own sense of spirituality and its unfolding journey, and come to know their own intuitive process, their own sense of Love and its movement through their lives. This book is a result of my own spiritual and mystical journey to date. It has been a journey of awakening to the essence of who I am and the truth that is me, leading to the constant and powerful presence of intuitive understanding—profound communication with myself and with Spirit.
The words on these pages and the ideas they present all have come from some aspect of "doing the work"—daily meditation, Spirit Circles, teaching classes and workshops, clairvoyant counseling sessions and readings with individual clients, long and solitary drives from my country house to my city office and studio, walking the earth, and living with and in Spirit. What I want to share with you is the richness of life that can come from developing your intuitive gifts through a more acute awareness of Spirit, a process that involves self-discovery and leads to self-empowerment. This journey moves far beyond the fascination level of "psychic phenomena" and enters the domain of the soul. Developing intuitive gifts is an in-depth process of journeying to the core of your being and removing any and all obstacles that might separate you from the fullness of Love. The more we work through and let go of our own excess baggage, the clearer and brighter the soul shines out, and the easier it is for us simply to become one with Spirit, the Universal Mind or God-force, granting access to all of the knowledge and wisdom that is there for us.
I certainly can't say that my journey with Spirit has been without doubt, skepticism, frustration, or conflict; but I must also say that I can't imagine not taking the journey. From my earliest years, I was a child of curiosity and vision, always seeking the next step, the next place to go in order to perfect a skill or to find out who I really was. Growing up in Kentucky and Indiana, I followed my father through many of his daily activities as a Protestant minister. As active as I was in all the church affairs, I found myself searching for more. I knew that there had to be a bigger picture. It wasn't until many years later that I would begin to see into the other realms of possibilities.
My conscious awakening began in the early 1980s. I had completed graduate degrees in church music and voice performance, joined the voice faculty of a well-known college conservatory, and had begun serving as organist and choirmaster in a church. As I taught singers and dealt with some of my own personal issues, I began to realize that I was embarking on a journey that perhaps not everyone was actively pursuing. I realized that I was searching deeper inside myself and striving harder for an understanding about life and its mysteries than most people I knew. I began seeing many parallels between the freedom of singing and the freedom of life; yet I was still trapped within the confines of a former belief system.
Over the next several years, I began reading books, practicing meditation, and taking classes and workshops. I began to embrace the possibilities of other realms of awareness, and of the validity of experiences which had no rational explanation. As my daily meditation practice developed, I began to feel as though somehow I was being "taught." I would perceive thoughts or understand concepts that I had never considered or understood before. I received a lot of guidance for helping a friend, Mac, who had recently been diagnosed with AIDS. Spirit helped me understand the powerful spiritual healing that was occurring in the midst of Mac's debilitating illness. For many years he had been a very angry man. Through his illness he was able to let go of his anger, so that when death came two years later, he was a very peaceful man. Walking that difficult daily path with Mac was much easier with the guidance and insight from Spirit. As we sat and talked and struggled with his anger, fear, depression, and sadness, I would often think, "How can I possibly help him—I have no words or answers." And then Spirit would give me the words or lead me to a deeper place of compassion from which to listen.
As time went on, I began to understand the unfolding of my own life from a much larger perspective. It was as if Spirit was communicating with me through thought-forms. I would just "know" which choice to make, what my next professional steps should be, where I needed to go, and who I needed to see. On many occasions I found myself going someplace simply because an inner voice said I had to go. Once there I would meet someone important to my journey, or have a conversation that would lead to a shift in perception about something in my life. Only then would I know why I had felt so compelled to go there.
After a year or so of this form of communication, I began to hear specific words, as if a voice was speaking to me. The voice, as I perceived it, was not inside my head, but rather just above my head, speaking directly down into my thoughts. I was not hearing Spirit speak through my outer sense of hearing or my ears, but rather through an inner sense of sound perception.
At this point I placed a tape recorder beside my meditation chair. When I began to perceive that voice speaking, I turned on the tape recorder and simply spoke what I was hearing. After a while, I discovered I no longer needed first to listen to the voice and then repeat the information, but could simply let the voice speak through me. There was tremendous energy and love within this experience. As I listened to the tape, transcribing the wisdom and guidance from Spirit, I was hearing my own voice, yet obviously another energy moving through it. I continued this process for many months, receiving the teaching from Spirit, transcribing the tapes, and yet not being sure what I was to do with this information.
Not yet working with a teacher on a regular basis, I traveled to see Joey Crinita, a fantastic spiritualist medium from Toronto. I had taken workshops with Joey and knew that he could help me better understand what was happening in my meditation. As I shared my transcriptions with him, Joey helped me see that within them was an entire weekend workshop, and that Spirit was asking me to teach this material. I experienced tremendous resistance to this assignment, thinking that I could not possibly be ready to do such a thing. But, in spite of my resistance, I organized and taught several workshops.
Over the next couple of years I taught more workshops, and the work was both satisfying and appreciated. People spoke of the powerful healing energy there was in my singing and in my teaching, and how much love they felt just being in my presence. I accepted a lot of ego stroking, and basked in that for a while, until something in me screamed out, "Stop! What are you doing?" Suddenly I was confronted with fear and confusion. I didn't know why I had this gift of communicating with Spirit; why I should have these unexplainable mystical experiences; why I had been given what seemed to me to be a tremendous responsibility. I didn't want any part of it. I just wanted to lead a "normal" life. What was "awakening" inside of me made me very uncomfortable—so uncomfortable that I just wanted to go "back to sleep." I stopped teaching classes and all intentional or conscious communication with Spirit.
Some months after ceasing these activities, I was singing a recital for a university audience, and, for the first time in my life, experienced stage fright. Well-prepared and very excited about singing a program of songs that I loved, I went bounding out onto the stage as was my habit, started the first song, and suddenly was terrified. I had never experienced such anxiety in my life. In that moment I thought that I would never be able to get through the concert. I wanted to run as fast as I possibly could from the stage, from the hall, from singing, from anyone I knew, from God, from everything. I didn't know why I was afraid or what I was afraid of; I just knew that I would have done anything in that moment to get out of there. Over the course of the next several months, this problem only got worse. Each concert was paralyzing to me. I would somehow make it through, and tapes and reviews would tell me that they were actually quite wonderful concerts, but I was miserable. Finally, after a New York City concert of love songs on Valentine's Day, I said to myself that if this was how it was going to be, I had to stop singing. I couldn't take it anymore.
Through all of my doubts and resistance I had at least maintained my meditation practice, but had refused any direct communication with Spirit. I came home from the concert hall that night, sat down in my meditation chair, and demanded from Spirit some understanding about what was happening to me. I was all ready for a fight, when Spirit very gently and lovingly responded, Welcome back. That was certainly a surprise to me. The answer was so still and peaceful and embracing. Welcome back. Spirit went on to explain that what was happening to me was a result of abandoning my gifts. What was manifesting as fear was actually my resistance to allowing Love to flow through me in my singing. I would get on the stage, all that Love energy would come surging up through my body, and I would subconsciously try to push it back down. I interpreted the resulting inner conflict as fear. If I would only let go of the resistance and resume my communion with Spirit, my fears would dissolve.
I knew then that I had no choice but to actively resume my spiritual quest, my mystical journey. I began to work with a series of teachers in the Spiritualist tradition who helped facilitate my journey so that I would no longer step in the way of its unfolding. Spirit also worked through several friends who encouraged and finally convinced me to begin teaching classes again.
As I began to teach and resume my personal work with Spirit, it was like coming home again—home to me, the essence of me. For so long, I had been running away from home. I had been trying desperately to create a "normal" life for myself, one that I thought would be simple and without risk or challenge, one that would be "comfortable." But that was not to be my path. The lesson for me was surrender—surrender to Spirit, to guide me through a journey that was mine, not someone else's. Incidentally, the performance fears vanished immediately as well.
My journey remains full of challenges, conflicts, "growth opportunities," but it also remains full of joy and love and, at times, even bliss. My life has become a constant dialogue with Spirit. I begin every day in meditation, thanking Spirit for being with me and guiding me through every activity—teaching voice lessons, counseling clients, singing, writing, practicing the organ, composing, making decisions, teaching classes. With each passing day, I feel more peaceful, and less attached to outcomes: peaceful with being led by Spirit through each experience, and peaceful with exploring my intuitive gifts and seeing where I seem to be led next. I am very often surprised at where I find myself, for Spirit's guidance often leads me to unexpected turns. However, those turns have opened into wondrous new avenues of possibilities. My singing has expanded beyond the classical realm to also include cabaret and musical theater as I have opened the door to the songwriter within me. A CD recording of my songs has been released. I continue to teach singers and work with performers helping them recognize and release physical and emotional energy blocks in their work. I have completed seminary training, been ordained as an Interfaith Minister, and am the Minister of Music in a church. I look at my father and realize that we are doing the same work, but following different pathways. Spirit is working with me in many ways, and works with us all in many different ways, speaking many languages so that all may, in their own time, hear the words.
A Lifelong Path
Though some of the concepts presented here may seem simplistic—"just do this and everything will be perfect"—I fully realize that their application in daily living is often difficult and, at times, seemingly impossible. However, it is in day-to-day living that we face our inner struggles, conflicts, and growth and take the small steps that all go together to make up the journey. It is also in our day-to-day living that we learn to trust our intuitive guidance. As Mark, one of the students in my classes, says so clearly, "Doing the work means living in an awareness that every experience of every day is a part of the learning and growth process."
Spirit is pure Love. The journey in its fullest sense means surrendering to Spirit—an ultimate giving over of our lives to Spirit, and how It wishes to work through us. Spirit is the supreme teacher and healer. But It does not always create an easy pathway for us. Sometimes Spirit flows through us with the gentle healing balm of a peacefully flowing river. At other times It rages through us like torrential rapids, seeming to create havoc in our lives. Both kinds of experience are often part of the healing and learning process. Spirit creates pathways through which we can learn—pathways that can lead to clearer understanding of ourselves and our circumstances, and to a higher level of awareness. When we surrender fully to Spirit, we become at the same time student and teacher, parent and child, lover and beloved. Our path is not one of avoiding fears or conflicts, or of keeping them carefully managed and under control. It is a path of walking through fears, inner conflicts, personal issues, so that we can see them clearly, heighten our awareness, and open to the vast intuitive knowledge, wisdom, and guidance that the universe makes available to us through working with Spirit.
This journey is about allowing mystical experiences to enter our lives—experiences of joy and bliss and satisfaction that are inexpressible in words, but that to us are holy and sacred; experiences in which we know our oneness with the divine at the very depths of our being. It is about letting Spirit enter in and work through us. As a Western civilization, we have separated the sacred and the secular in our lives. However, in indigenous cultures, where there is more of an Earth based spirituality, there is no distinction between sacred and secular. Some modern-day religions consider these Earth-based spiritual beliefs primitive or pagan, but it seems to me that they are the enlightened ones. They honor the sacred nature of all of creation—the wisdom of the Great Mystery that flows through every plant, animal, element, person. The sacred is an integrated part of everyday life of all people, not just a selected few. In indigenous cultures, supernatural experiences begin in childhood and are encouraged by the elders as a part of daily life. It is considered quite normal to work with Spirit, to see beyond the realm of physical sight, to experience precognitive dreams.
Excerpted from Intuitive Living by Alan Seale. Copyright © 2001 Alan Seale. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
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