FINDING AND WALKING YOUR LIFE PATH
- FINDING AND WALKING YOUR LIFE PATH
- The Life Reading Program
- Background of Intuitive Counseling
- The Content of Life Readings
- Typical Intuitive Counsel
- The Life Purpose Issue
- Reincarnation—Sense and Nonsense
- Results of the Life-Reading Program
- Intuition and Psychotherapy
- Counseling in Emergencies
“There’s nothing that the public at large … would more like to learn from psychologists than what makes for behavior change. Thus far researchers haven’t gotten very far with this question.” [Huston Smith]
Intuitive Counseling International (ICI) was CAI’s most extensive, on-going and long-lasting of its several programs. It was a personal service, not as widely publicized or publicly conspicuous as the others but it was the largest and unquestionably the most impactful for the individuals drawn to it. The information which clients received (I am going to call them “clients”) was neither academic, scientific nor commercial yet it was directly concerned their personal lives, typically at a deep level not ordinarily experienced.
This program was certainly the most rewarding to both expert intuitives and supporting CAI staff members and it received abundant positive feedback from the clients themselves. It revealed better than all the scientific evidence and technical applications what words cannot easily convey, just how deep intuition may go in providing credible, meaningful and helpful “information” to those sincerely seeking it.
The Life Reading Program
A total of 1200 “life-path readings” (or simply “life readings”) were carried out for clients in the United States, Japan and a few other countries. Each 45- to 90-minute session, conducted with one of CAI’s expert intuitives on staff at the time, usually focused on two areas: first, the individual’s life purpose and what he can do in his life to achieve it; and second, answers to the specific questions he was invited to submit. The first area sought to help the client recognize—even if only to a limited degree—of why he was living, what was driving his life forward and the various factors of which he was not yet aware regarding his personal growth and fulfillment. The intuitive answered these basic questions to the extent of his ability to face and understand this aspect of his life path and “destiny.” The second area, the response to his own questions, typically covered the various challenges in his daily life as he saw them—health, family and other relationships, career, personality issues, emotional obstacles and spiritual issues—and how they could be ameliorated or resolved in the light of his life purpose.
The following sections describe the background of individual counseling in general, then how CAI devised, announced and carried out its particular intuitive version. Some important but less familiar underlying aspects of intuitive counseling and several examples of life-reading content are discussed. These are followed by a summary of client reactions to the intuitive information given them and how the program as a whole performed over the ten-year period (1981-91) in which it functioned. Finally, intuitive life readings are compared with typical “psychic readings” and with the practice of psychotherapy, both of which are more widely known forms of personal counseling.
Background of Intuitive Counseling
The practice of “counseling” was set in place thousands of years ago by shamans, priests, astrologers, political advisors, fortune-tellers and wise grandparents. They sought to advise those who sought their help on all of life’s problems, were willing to listen and could choose to act upon it. Most of such counselors relied upon both common sense and the wisdom gained from prior life experience, and some surely utilized their intuition as well when reliable knowledge was lacking. .
In more recent times consultants, psychologists, clerics, psychiatrists and others have practiced their art counseling through organized professions. Modern societies now educate most of these counselors through formal training and education, according to established credentials and standards for maintaining a verifiable level of expertise and responsibility. Specialized versions meet specific needs: marital relationships, employment, grief, addictions, abuse, etc. Non-professional forms also prevail: astrologers, graphologists, numerologists, card-readers and others who practice with few public standards or accredited training but they appear to fulfill a public need. A minority of the latter do excellent work outside of the strictures of conventional social frameworks. They can be no less accurate and valuable despite the lack of credentials, though they vary greatly and command less respect as a group. The reliance on intuition also varies over a wide range.
Intuitive counseling, not always recognized as such, undoubtedly played a significant part in human history even when the intuitive component was weak or hidden to the counselor and/or client. It often remained undeclared as protection against charges of witchcraft or demonic possession. More recently clairvoyance, mediumship and popular psychic readings, which are largely intuitive by their nature, are usually acknowledged, though they too have a shaky reputation. The lack of official credentials has allowed much irresponsible practice. While notable instances of competent intuitive counseling have been cited and valued at particular times in every major culture throughout recorded history, they are less common now in the industrialized world, following the rise of science. They have limited respectability today.
The Cayce Legacy
The ice was broken in large part by the work of Edgar Cayce, obviously an expert intuitive, in the early 1900’s. He provided health and “life” readings for thousands of Americans and set a high standard of quality in his counsel in the accuracy, specificity and relevance of his intuitive information. His health counsel included detailed medical diagnoses, corrective remedies, dietary recommendations and therapeutic procedures, many of which were confirmed through subsequent healings despite their striking contradictions with medical practice at the time. Others were confirmed much later through advances published in medical science journals. His life readings dealt not only with physical health but also the psychological and spiritual life of the counseled individual, which he claimed to be the overriding factor governing all physical health and illness. Cayce described the long-term purpose of his client’s lives and examples of how this purpose was manifesting in his present life. This counsel included pertinent excerpts from his “past lives.” He consistently proposed specific steps, including prayer, meditation and spiritual practices, which his client could employ to align his present life with his long-term purpose. (Stearn 1988, Cayce 2006)
Cayce carried out his exceptional work in the finest spirit of selfless service. It set the pattern for many subsequent intuitives in the U.S., Britain and elsewhere, who began to offer similar counseling. It was an exciting time of openness, experimentation and discovery. Many of these latter-day intuitive counselors worked consciously or semi-consciously, not in full trance as did Cayce. While their readings naturally varied in depth, accuracy, credibility, specificity and compassionate concern, the best were comparable in quality to Cayce’s and often more communicative. (Cayce was a devout Christian and his religious allegiance affected the clarity of his channeled language, though not its content.)
A wave of popular interest in self-development, including intuition, followed these many secondary efforts and were gradually integrated into the emerging “new-age” movement. This early stage was followed in turn by today’s broader interest in spiritual awakening and conscious awareness.
CAI’s Life Readings
CAI’s chosen approach to intuitive counseling rode on this wave when it fashioned its modern version. We adopted a life-reading question format (shown in the accompanying box) similar to Cayce’s but modified to fit the styles of our staff of intuitives and the clients of the 1980s. An ICI brochure, sent to all applicants on request, explained the life reading process and recommend how clients could prepare in advance for their sessions, including advice on how to formulate clear questions so that the answers would be genuinely helpful.
The use of standard questions may suggest that clients played only a passive role in their life readings, but this was not at all the case. The ICI application brochure offered guidance in formulating questions so that the answers, typical quite literal, would be genuinely helpful. We encouraged each applicant to think carefully ahead of time about what new information he most wanted to obtain from the intuitive source, so that he might make upcoming decisions and move forward in his life. The value of this preparation lay less in informing the intuitive, who would already know what was needed, than in sensitizing the client to what he truly wanted to know, how he would actually apply the new intuitive information in his life. This preparation therefore sharpened his attention and feeling of participation, since the intuitive would be doing most of the talking while he passively listened.
As pointed out elsewhere on this site, responsible intuitives never make decisions for their clients, give commands or attempt to restrict their free will in any way. They may explain confusing points, raise new issues, point out opportunities, describe the consequences of choices (past or future), give factual information and “teach,” but they never presume or compel what the client should do—which is never fixed but up for change at any time. This freedom of choice is indeed the whole point of the counsel: to increase the client’s awareness and understanding so that he can make his own independent choices, and thereby accept personal responsibility for them in the face of whatever consequences may ensue.
When you seek the counsel of an expert intuitive—or any counselor, for that matter—it is is essential that you rely on your own individual judgment, common sense and personal intuition to select, interpret and evaluate the advice you receive, before you accept it as a basis for decisions and actions. You already know well that if you follow anyone’s advice blindly, as if “he certainly knows better than I do,” you can be worse off than if you had never sought advice at all. In fact you will be inclined later to lay credit or blame for the aftereffects on the advisor instead of yourself. Your intention, your questions and your acceptance of responsibility are what make you an active participant in your own life reading.
- Give a description of the individual’s true essence and capabilities, and any beliefs, attitudes or conditions that may be blocking the full expression of these qualities.
- Give suggestions to assist this individual to accomplish his/her life purpose.
- Give information on predominant “past lives” having a current impact on his/her present life, and indicate any relevant karmic patterns still to be worked out.*
- Describe any significant astrological or numerological conditions that may be important to this individual at this time.*
- What steps are recommended to help improve this person’s physical body, so it may better serve his/her mental and spiritual development?
- Give specific suggestions to assist this individual in harmonizing body, mind and spirit—especially through spiritual practices and tools that may be helpful.
* Past-life, astrological and numerological information was often provided, but only when the intuitive deemed it would prove beneficial to the applicant.
The availability of life readings was announced through CAI publications (a membership newsletter New Eyes and the magazine Intuition), in a few magazine articles and at CAI’s conferences and at public talks and demonstrations. Many clients first heard about intuitive counseling through personal referrals. Those in Japan responded to announcements from our major contact in that country. Some clients reapplied months or years later to update their earlier life readings and receive answers to further questions.
When applying for a life reading the client indicated on the application form three preferences for an intuitive counselor out of several available at the time, each of whom was described in the ICI brochure by a resume and a photo. When scheduling the reading we selected one of the three, depending on location, timing and availability, and occasionally on our own (intuitive) impression of which might best serve the client’s openness and needs as reflected in his questions.
We sometimes wondered why clients chose one intuitive over another. They usually answered that they preferred a deep-trance channel over one who functioned fully or partially consciously, apparently assuming that a trance personality could provide better information. As described elsewhere, this belief is not generally correct. If an intuitive is qualified to provide life readings at all, his mode of doing so is not important to the accuracy or relevance of the information given. Some clients may have felt more secure in discussing their personal issues in the privacy of the intuitive’s unconscious state. Most likely, though, I suspect they were attracted to trance channeling just because they wanted the novel experience of conversing with a “non-physical being.” To be sure, they may have better heeded its seemingly authoritative counsel.
Remote Life Readings
About half of CAI’s life-reading sessions were “in-person”; that is, the client traveled to the intuitive and was physically present with him in his office, home, the CAI office or another location if he was on tour. For these readings the client posed his own questions and followed up on the responses in dialog with the intuitive, just as in a ordinary counseling interview. The session was taped and the tape record given to the client.
The other half of the sessions, termed remote or distant, took place without the client being present. It should be obvious from the foregoing description of intuitive inquiries that there is no need for a client to be physically present when receiving his life reading, though it undoubtedly adds to the intimacy of the experience and probably facilitates the questioning and answers. He mailed his questions to CAI, and a conductor sat in for him. We selected our conductors to be sympathetic, sensitive and intuitive in their own right, though not necessarily expert.
At the beginning of the session the conductor stated the client’s name, address and date of birth—just enough information to identify him uniquely from everyone else in the world—then posed the format questions and personal questions. His main task was to follow up on each answer until it was clear, responsive and appeared to be complete. Before closing he asked for “any additional information that the client should to be aware of.” After the session he mailed the tape recording to the CAI office, where a typed transcript was prepared from it if ordered, and both tape and transcript were mailed to the client. Duplicates were retained of all mailed materials to guard against loss. All sessions were treated as confidential.
More than five hundred life-readings were conducted for Japanese clients. About 85% of these were remote and required transcripts to enable accurate translation into Japanese. The remaining 15% took place in-person, using interpreters, when CAI teams visited Japan and during two CAI-arranged tours of Japanese to CAI. Three CAI intuitives [PP, RL and KR] continued to visit Japan over the decades following the ICI program to give lectures, teach classes and provide life readings for Japanese clients.
For a few years CAI sent a follow-up evaluation form to every client a few months after his session, to help us keep track of the level of satisfaction and to solicit suggestions for improvement. The responses were helpful in occasionally refining the application brochure and reading protocol. They also provided a few testimonies we could pass on to future applicants.
The Content of Life Readings
“The average man sleepwalks his way through life and seldom questions his motive and intention. He is driven by his unconscious and conditioned mind. This man does not know the purpose of his life, or why he was born or what he is doing in the world. He thinks he can think a thought, but actually his thoughts think him. His life is driven by thought forms until he awakens.” [Reshad Feild]
Procedures aside, the heart of CAI’s life readings lay in their content. The unique type of exchange between intuitive and client was unique when compared with ordinary conversations, most psychic counseling typical public interviews (on the media, by police and in court). It is difficult to describe this uniqueness. It seems perfectly natural when actually experienced, or even just witnessed, but ordinary language seems inadequate for explaining this subtle form of human exchange. We must struggle to find adequate words to identify and describe the distinguishing qualities of this intimate inner communication at the boundary of the waking mind.
The explanations which follow are based upon my direct presence in about twenty life-readings with ICI clients, my own dozen or so life readings, several later testimonies from clients whom I knew very well, and after reading at least fifty typed transcripts and reviewing more than two hundred evaluation forms.
Three ancillary features of typical life readings show some of the unusual aspects of the intuitives’ interactions with their clients.
First, while the intuitives’ answers to both the format questions and the client’s prepared questions were usually direct and to the point, they sometimes equivocated by first answering “the question behind the question”—for example, the origin of the particular problem, relevant factors that had been repressed or disregarded or seemingly unnecessary explanations. The client was apparently being “warmed up” before hearing fuller truths about his situation. The purpose of this delaying stratagem appeared to build up trust systematically before attempting to convey the requested information. Indeed, the statements about him were coming from a total “stranger” who was not supposed to know his private affairs.
Second, in similar fashion, the intuitives occasionally included a small lecture or “discourse” on a related matter, as one might divert a troubled child to give him reassurance and support. Again, I understood these discourses as primarily to put the client at ease and prepare him for the more difficult words to follow, and secondarily to provide relevant substantive information as he might expect from any teacher or counselor. They may also have directed his attention to an important issue to which he was not paying sufficient attention, thereby alerting him to confront whatever obstacle was preventing him from making his own breakthrough.
A third component consisted of a single, specific piece of impressive, valid and evidential information, quite useless in itself but which the client would never have expected anyone to know. It could be a secret he had carefully kept to himself, an almost forgotten memory from his childhood, a future action he had privately planned or a special question he was just about to ask. Fragments of evidential information normally emerged naturally in the course of a life reading, but sometimes they seemed to be needed at the beginning to get his attention, to allay his concerns about the intuitive process or to just get him accustomed to speaking with this strange guest he has invited into his inner mind.
What Made the Difference?
While these preliminary words from the intuitive surely had a purposeful place in the life-reading content, their most outstanding quality at this stage was the empathetic consideration, candid honesty and obvious compassion with which they were given. Whatever the intention, this factor certainly superseded the informational content. It was like soft background music behind the dialog that was gradually unfolding, often in the face of some resistance. This overture was never solicitous, patronizing, judgmental or condescending but always had a calming, light touch, and sometimes a tease or sense of humor.
In retrospect I have come to believe that this subjective background behind the factual information and actual words spoken was the major factor responsible for softening the client’s doubts and resistance and permitting the subsequent acceptance, attitude changes and even personal transformations to take place in the client. Without this element the reading could easily be seen as palliative back-stroking, just another demonstration of a bizarre phenomenon, or an intellectual explanation of little personal significance—as typically occurs from county-fair psychics, gypsy readers, many astrologers and intuitives who are less than expert. Indeed, a very few clients chose to see their reading in just this limited way. In speaking with them later about their disappointment it was not hard to discern the limited attitude behind it.
This warm and trustworthy quality was all the more remarkable because the issues brought up and dealt with in life readings were so often highly sensitive for the client. They could be taken as threatening if offered factually and objectively, even by a close and trusted friend, yet they were being discussed here openly, frankly and without apparent offense.
The expert intuitive appeared to be reaching into the client’s unconscious mind just beyond the boundary where his conscious attention and control ended and his central psyche began, and it was done carefully so as not to awaken deeper, unacknowledged fears. As far as I could tell as a somewhat informed observer, most clients who were present at their sessions felt safe with the process, accepted the “intrusion” into their minds and were therefore able to experience at least some measure of corrective healing during their life reading. An emotional reaction and tears were a common response.
For those who received remote readings from Japan or elsewhere we have little direct feedback. Their later comments in evaluation forms, occasional letters and secondary reports from our Japan coordinator, while not so numerous, were at least consistent with the in-person responses and almost all were overwhelmingly positive, even though the reading had taken place unilaterally, without personal clues, through a tape recording and translated transcript and the client was several thousand miles away.
Let me stress again three points. First, these results were achieved with expert intuitives; the same qualities and results cannot be claimed for intuitive counselors who are not properly qualified for this type of work. Second, the life reading was a cooperative interaction between client and intuitive, not a therapeutic treatment imposed unilaterally by the intuitive or against the client’s will. Both parties must be credited for the positive result. Third, in almost every case the client was completely unknown to the intuitive, who was given no substantive background or explanatory information beyond identification and the questions asked. Even the personal questions seemed to be unnecessary to the intuitive, who sometimes answered them before they were asked. They did serve as an expression of the client’s intention, his willingness and agreement to receive the answers and his acceptance of responsibility for handling the consequences by himself, without blaming the intuitive for misleading him or giving the intuitive undue credit.
The Client’s Questions
Clients’ individual questions varied considerably, for they dealt with the full range of typical problematic personal issues. For example, several clients complained that their lives were “stuck,” not going anywhere, and they did not know how to get moving. A young woman was active and moving but unsatisfied, running out of control with her emotions and in her behavior. Some felt closed up, insensitive to other people and lonely, while others felt threatened as their personal relationships became too close for their comfort. Trying to overcome low self-confidence was a common struggle. Occasionally a client wanted to free up a creativity he knew he possessed, or to otherwise release blocked potentials. Health difficulties, naturally reflective of less visible problems, were also common. Most frequent of all were those who felt empty and useless in their lives and sought a meaning they sensed was there but could not find. Sometimes these personal challenges were recognized by the client, while others were just on the edge of awareness and could not be named or described beyond a state of uncertainty, confusion and fear.
In contrast, the best questions were well thought out, clear and to the point, focused on truly important issues and asking for useful information that could be understood and applied in the client’s life. The majority fell short of this standard. They were either superficial, ambiguous, poorly worded or too broad to be answered within a single session. Some applicants obviously did not to know how to ask for what they wanted, and were primarily seeking reassurance against a vaguely perceived fear. A few babbled on without ever acknowledging their problem or stating what they wanted, and they expected the intuitive to make decisions for them. Many sought pointless predictions (see below). Others wanted arguments to justify petty resentments, support fixed beliefs, or confirm that they were helpless victims. A very few were tricky: they were trying to test the intuitive’s “psychic”skills.
The intuitives handled these poor questions in various ways but always with attention, concern and patience, as a loving parent responds to the persistent questions of a young child. I never witnessed them become cross, impatient or condescending toward a badly behaving client. They corrected errors firmly and gently, turned aside accusations with a humorous suggestion and kept on course. I was amazed by a patience I could never have mustered myself.
A few of the questions submitted were strange indeed, despite our admonitions in the ICI brochure. For example, an application from a physician included four single-spaced, handwritten pages of personal background, current life situation and unsolved problems and pet theories—but he never asked one question. CAI returned his application with a reminder: we need no background, explanations or justifications, only a clear indication of what you want to know. We also pointed out that it would have taken much of his reading period just to read his treatise to the intuitive.
It was common for questions to contain implicit or invalid assumptions that rendered them meaningless as stated. For example, one woman asked how to deal with her husband who was cheating on her. But was he? The intuitive said no, he was not unfaithful, and suggested she examine her own jealousy and suspicions. A physician wanted to know with what drug he should use to treat one of his patients. The intuitive proposed a safer and more effective non-drug treatment. “Tell me about my mother,” asked a middle-aged man. A ten-hour lecture could be given on that topic. What did he want to know about her?
Some clients sought information about stock investments, currency markets or real estate. In a few of these cases the intuitives provided the client with substantive, specific information they could use. More often, though, they gave only a nugget he could check out, as if to demonstrate that such information is indeed available intuitively, then they focused on the inquirer’s motivation. Making money was not in itself discouraged but the key issues were the means used to acquire it and the purpose behind possessing it. Why was he trying to make fast money without due effort? What was he going to do with it if he received it? Was this pursuit really the best use of his abilities? And so on.
A number of clients seemed to be more curious than serious. Many had obviously not thought ahead about the consequences that would ensue if their questions had been fully and literally answered. The intuitives almost always encouraged these clients to learn to use and trust their own intuition rather than rely heavily on external intuitive counsel. Clients often asked questions about other people in their lives but expressed little interest in facing their own issues. A few wanted to locate lost objects or a missing member of their family, but did not seem to have considered whether it might be better to leave them on their own. Two clients were secretly conducting parapsychological tests; the intuitives caught both at their game, gave them an impressive fragment of evidential information and sent them on their way.
Many clients sought medical advice, usually with hope of a quick fix. The intuitives readily provided diagnoses and sometimes treatments but most commonly took clients back to the disturbed state of mind that had generated the disorder in the first place: anger, resentment, bitterness, guilt, lack of self-love, victimhood, deep distrust of life, lack of openness to new experiences or holding back personal energy that was trying to express itself. Their suggestions invariably lay in attitudinal and belief changes rather than external medical action alone. This emphasis on the non-physical origin of physical illness was also a persistent theme in Cayce’s several thousand medical readings. (Cayce 2006)
Preparing for Your Own Reading
“Perhaps at times your burden will seem heavy, and you will feel as though you have passed the same way many times. Yet, in reality, you are on an ascendant path which spirals gracefully upward and onward.” [John/Kevin Ryerson]
When preparing for your own life reading these many poor examples can help you pose more appropriate and productive questions and avoid what not to ask. Your primary guide remains the simple rule stated earlier: ask only for information not presently at hand that will enable you to make the important choices and decisions coming up in your life. Secondarily, avoid questions which the intuitive will not or cannot answer and those that would be inadvertently harmful. Aside from these few limitations, you may safely assume that the intuitive is with you to provide whatever information you would like to know, and do so accurately, responsibly and with full concern for your well-being and personal growth. You are not going to be deceived or misled, though you are free to do so to yourself.
The requirement that you should not tell the intuitive the background of your questions, but just enough to define what you seek, is not for his sake but for yours. You do not not want to suspect later that he may have deduced his response from what you told him rather than through his intuitive source.
Everyone is curious about the future, of course, but many are fearful of it and preoccupied with trying to know it in advance. Many clients wanted information about future business opportunities, political and social developments, forthcoming personal changes, natural catastrophes, etc.
CAI’s early experiments with intuition invariably showed that expert intuitives can indeed predict much of the future, even natural events. However, it was not always beneficial to do so. More likely, they usually offered clients some of the reassurance they were seeking and then pointed out future opportunities they could take advantage of, but without giving specific future information unless it could it be directly beneficial without limiting their free choice.
The clients’ main concerns were invariably personal security rather than constructive action for their own or someone else’s benefit. The intuitives handled these questions by reminding the inquirer of his underlying fear, and how it might induce the feared event to actually occur. They pointed out that his future is never fixed because he can always change his response to whatever events might arise. They proposed that he may better focus his attention on the present, the only point in time when he can make conscious choices. This counsel was a reminder that the main value of a prediction lies less in how precise, accurate, impressive or assuring it might be, but more in its potential for inducing a positive life change. Indeed, this is the only reason for making predictions in the first place.
Several clients were seeking protection from their fears of natural catastrophes. During the ’60s and ’70s, for example, rumors were spreading from several popular psychics (including Cayce) of forthcoming cataclysmic events to occur in California, Hawaii and Japan: great earthquakes, volcanoes, tidal waves, islands emerging and entire coastlines sinking into the Pacific Ocean! As is typical in such cases, these “prophecies” were too often taken literally and then amplified by individual fears into actual beliefs. The recipients were not asking about the conditions under which the predicted events would occur, from what sources the predictions had originally arisen and the likelihood that they would really happen—all relevant questions anyone should ask before accepting any offered “prediction.” CAI’s intuitives assured them that such presumed catastrophes were always technically possible but were extremely unlikely to occur. They might better redirect their attention toward the character and source of their fear, the prime issue to be confronted, rather than the presumed and believed catastrophe.
Typical Intuitive Counsel
“Intuition does not lie.” [Helen Palmer]
As you read the following excerpts from intuitive counseling sessions, do keep in mind that they are given completely out of the context in which they were prepared for, carried out and responded to. The nonverbal qualities described above, which are so personally meaningful to clients, simply cannot be expressed in a selection of extracted examples. You cannot really understand the purpose of someone else’s life and what it means to him, even if you understand your own purpose and less if you do not. These few excerpts, necessarily brief, omit almost all of the peripheral and background information about the client, and the kind of counsel he was able to hear and was given. Note especially the absence of any programming, fortune telling and interference with the clients’s freedom of choice. (Of course, counsel given to one client could be totally unsuitable for another.) Nevertheless, these samples may enable you to envision yourself as an active participant in your own life reading and imagine the counsel that might be given to you—what you want to know about yourself and are able to hear.
“You need to change very desperately. Let the fear go. It is not necessary. You have quite a few years left yet and you cannot stay in the prison you have been in. You must make a dramatic stand for your own goodness and your own love. As you do … your ability to express yourself fully will manifest for you.” [ICI-72; RL]
“The individual has been born into this life with many diverse talents, including an acuteness of intellect and both a sensitive and spiritual nature. This natural sensitivity … works both for him, and, when over-extended, against him, … appearing as stress both in the body and in the mental capacity. … His happiness is linked to the balancing of these capacities, through a certain spiritual resiliency [then described in detail].” [ICI-805; ??]
“The time is coming to take some risks in relation to your career, love and marriage. Put yourself on the line instead of hiding behind a shield of safety. You can’t do this any longer, for the cost is very high. The cost is your integrity.” [ICI-1060; RL]
“During this particular time, over the last several years, there have been elements of sadness, doubt, and questioning. Now shall be the turning point in opportunities. These will come forth fully and completely. It will also be the forthcoming of love. This will entail going deeper into the soul search and releasing old attitudes, finding ones which provide love and joy.”[ICI-1141; VY]
“Are you willing to touch all facets of yourself? Are you willing to share with people all of your feelings? Are you willing to be naked in a world that finds nakedness appalling? Are you willing to step out on a limb and experience the danger of preparing to fly? You know the mother bird will push her children out of the nest even though they would not go of their own free will. And as a bird is pushed, it experiences the most extraordinary primary care. As the bird falls, feeling its mortality coming closer with every inch, it realizes it has something it forgot it had. It has wings!” [ICI-1055; RL]
Many life readings, when discussing the non-physical origin of health problems, encouraged the applicant to take advantage of poor health instead of commiserating over it, thus using it as a motivation to examine and change underlying attitudes:
“Understand that the reason for this high blood pressure in due to the fact that you are such a passive person, that you do not allow yourself to cleanse the angers, anxieties and frustrations which have occurred in your life. Instead of the negative energy being released, it has been stored in your body. Now there has been some permanent damage, but as you align yourself with love more clearly and fully, you can lessen the effects that this circulatory difficulty has had within your life.” [ICI-175; RL]
“If you continue to try to pack all of you into this balloon, not only will you gain an excessive amount of weight but you run the risk of having some of this emotional devastation turn into a physical ailment. Right now there is a manifestation of this in your circulatory system. Your little box cannot hold you anymore, my friend. You are afraid to come out and play because the child within is so wounded. … Well, let this child lick his wounds, for if you continue to protect the child, you prevent him from healing himself. Let this child breathe fresh air, and look at his pain.” [ICI-178; RL]
“You have wrestled in the past with the issue of judgment. You have worked especially with ways of protecting what is between you and the world, as if the part of you that the world would wish to see, this part of you that can truly assist [others], as you now want, has been denied you. Therefore, it has been necessary [for you] to create several significant negative thought forms in your life pattern—[which manifest] particularly in the chest area and in the solar plexus. This is to remind you that, if you continue to protect, to judge, if you stop this flow of energy any longer, you will have to deal with these things internally and directly.” [ICI-1121; MG]
“Now there is a danger that you might choose to depart physical reality much earlier than you think, for right now there is a health difficulty, which, if not addressed, you will die from in your early fifties. What I’m sensing is a tremendous blocking of energies right there is your intestinal region. There is already somewhat of a difficulty with your digestive workings, a danger of colitis, and beyond colitis, rectal cancer.” [ICI-189; RL]
“At this point in your life you have some choices to make. [women, age 63, with many health problems] … Much inward-looking is necessary now, and examination of your beliefs. … Go through them, one by one, write them down. [Much specific advice followed] … For you have reached a point in your life at which you know deeply that you must act. .. If you choose not to do this rethinking, then your health will become worse, your relationship with individuals will become worse, your feelings about yourself will become worse.” [ICI-1102; LDM]
[An outspoken homosexual.] (Why was I born into U.S. society?) “You chose a country as progressive as your own nature. … Your country was discriminatory against persons of your persuasion, yet … was being forced to be progressive and accepting of those persevering in their basic rights as human beings.” [ICI-805; KR]
Many life readings dealt mainly with emerging opportunities:
“Many of the things you have worked for in the past are changing. Many of your beliefs are changing as you move into a realm of awareness beyond anything you imagined. You might identify this as what we call a middle aged syndrome. You might think you are merely restless, but in reality you are preparing to change everything in your life, preparing to discard what does not work for you.” [ICI-1060; RL]
“Allow all the facets of yourself to manifest completely, to rise to the surface so that you might be in a more conscious position to choose the realms of your personality that you wish to keep and those you wish to discard.” [ICI-1056; PP]
“When you begin to see your creativity in motion you will not be harnessed infinitely to the concept of aging, which is a belief, a rampant belief, upon this planet. So is the belief about death. It is an illusion specifically manifested to help mankind move beyond the illusion of being out of control of his or her own reality.” [ICI-1074; RL]
“We would suggest that to be driven to the point of ecstasy, and of complete alignment with all of life, is to move oneself beyond one’s limited will, beyond one’s ego, to push oneself into complete surrender. This means uniting the personal will with the divine will, uniting the personality with spirit. Surrender means coming into divinity rather than losing oneself to outside forces.” [ICI-2003; MG]
The Life Purpose Issue
The format question about life purpose was central to the life readings. This was a contrast to the fairly obvious fact that most persons are quite resistant to examine the purpose of their life. (Just try out the question on a few of your friends!) While most are not willing to confront the issue directly, even in their later years of review and reflection, a minority go so far to reject the very notion that their life has any purpose at all. And even if it does they consider it inherently unknowable, God’s business and not theirs, and an imposed destiny within which they are being fatefully manipulated. I was shocked to discover that so many persons consider human life, including their own, to be a series of random biological accidents and chance events that lead only to a meaningless death, followed by a dissolution into nothingness as their bodies decay into dust.
Such negative fatalism had never been my belief, not at all. Since very young I knew my life was indestructable and was part of a much grander, long-term development, with many stages and much variety. Moreover, it had an overall personal purpose which guided this development. I knew too that it was not external to myself but very much my own, somehow a product of a personal design which I was now living out in this physical world—a customized opportunity and responsibility. The full picture emerged only at about age 45, when the scenario became eminently clear. It was not merely a belief, and it had not been instilled by religious or spiritual training, childhood education or the beliefs of my parents, who were kind and supportive but essentially agnostic. It was if this knowing had been wired into me from the start, and in one sense it certainly was.
These beliefs in purposefulness are largely consistent with the general picture of human life presented by the expert intuitives during many life readings and inquiry sessions. Everyone’s life has a deep and essential purpose, they say, which is a particularization or stepping-down of a common, universal purpose in all life, animal, human and beyond. The purpose of each individual life is extracted from the universal one, then self-created and shaped before coming into form, and then held within the mind at a potential, largely unconscious, level of consciousness until the time comes to acknowledge it, embrace it and perhaps recognize it for what it is.
Even apart from the intuitive counsel, there is no lack of witnesses who testify from their own experieces that this is how human life works. Support and explanations are abundant in the spiritual traditions of the world’s major religions, stated variously and widespread, for many ages. Any honest and serious seeker must encounter this common understanding at some point of his search and be offered the opportunity to acknowledge and accept it—or at least to be examined later—and not sloughed off as irrelevant nonsense. A life reading can mark this turning point.
The ICI brochure served as an initial filter to encourage only those applicants who were not totally rejecting the notion that they had within them a living purpose for their life.
“Purpose” in Life Readings
Judging by their elective questions, the great majority of counseling clients had only a vague notion of why they were living and going through the difficulties of their lives. Indeed, the term “life purpose” meant quite different things to different clients. Many thought of their purpose, if they thought of it at all, solely in terms of a professional career or family goal. Some found their purpose in service to others but had little awareness or concern with serving themselves. Others saw their life task to be one of overcoming emotional or neurotic obstacles and little else. Many were obviously hanging onto childhood beliefs and were confused by the contradictions between these beliefs and what they were experiencing every day. In contrast, many clients saw themselves on a definite, self-chosen track, and they only wanted to understand better where it was headed, what they might expect to accomplish and how they might best focus their energies to achieve this specific end. While these may all be worthy paths, a minority saw their life purpose in terms of a long-range process of inner growth and spiritual fulfillment.
Ignorance of your life purpose can be a heavy burden to carry, and to become aware of it and accept it can be a great release from the confusion, vagueness, uncertainty and indecision that naturally follows when you do not know where you are going and why you are doing what you are doing. Just the knowledge that you have a purpose can help you rearrange your priorities on many issues that relate to this purpose. A fuller knowledge of your specific life purpose allows clarity and certainty to emerge naturally, impacting all desires, thoughts and actions. Many kinds of personal decisions, even deep ones, may then follow effortlessly. External circumstances can be discriminated, interpreted and responded to much more effectively. Fears of insecurity, which are always based on what one imagines might happen rather than what will happen, begin to fade and dissolve. Perhaps most significant, this newly directed state of mind can free up your intuitive capacity and allow it to flourish.
The answers offered by the intuitives respected these differences, with a sensitivity to the broad range of interpretations of “purpose.” Their answers to the life-purpose question varied considerably from one client to another. Still, their approach always appeared to be one of nudging the client to discover this crucial piece of self-knowledge for himself, rather than just feeding it to him outright and in full detail (though this occurred occasionally). While the intuitive counsel invariably contained much specific information and many suggestions, it also preserved the sense of mystery and encouragement that can allow self-discovery and self-choice.
Here are a few examples of individual life purposes as presented in intuitive counseling sessions:
“The dynamic here, the life purpose and the life lessons, all relate to growing into your own power. We mentioned before working through an “ownership’ difficulty with your husband, a dependence difficulty with your mother and a power difficulty in your job. On a deeper level all of these relate to the same issue: understanding that you are the controller of your own destiny. Your primary purpose is coming to the awareness of yourself as a god, as a powerful being who can affect change in your own life. As you come to recognize your own power and wield it justly, then indeed you fulfill your life’s purpose. All your life dynamics revolve around this one point.” [ICI-1441; VY]
“The individual’s purpose in this lifetime is to master the high creative energies that come through spiritual service and various unusual means: meditation, examination of personal life affairs in autobiographical format, and perseverance in creative endeavors.” [ICI-805; ??]
“I sense a tremendous creative ability for your life to be as you wish it and as you see fit … but also a great deal of anger, of blockages, of resentment and bitterness. … For deeply within you have allowed your life to be one of suffering ,… of non-fulfillment of the deepest purpose in your life. You have allowed your life to be led by others, to be misled by the essence of what you thought to be true. … Your purpose is to fulfill this creativity by removing the obstacles you have built up.” [ICI-1102; LDM]
“Your life’s purpose is to come to terms with all of these lessons [just described] and to allow your face, at last, to be disclosed to the world. Your ability, then, is to be a leader, to be one who would draw others to you, who would stand strong and allow others to revolve around you. This might not seem possible or even available to you at this moment but this is, indeed, your life purpose. You are the one who may soon clear the path, so to speak, and create the opening for those who would come behind you.” [ICI-1121; MG]
“Your life purpose is to come to a final realization that you are a loving, giving being. There is nothing evil in you. I say this because down deep there is a belief that you were or did something very wrong at some point in your past, and that you are having to make up for it. But, you see, God does not want you to sacrifice yourself, but to be yourself, fully. …” [ICI-1036; PP]
Again, these are not the advisory comments of conventionally educated counselors and teachers, but are coming from lay persons with little if any background education in psychology, psychotherapy or psychiatry , but who allowed themselves to utilize their intuition. What you are reading here is the intuitive process at work at a very personal level.
Reincarnation—Sense and Nonsense
“All day I think about it, then at night I say it: Where did I come from? What am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that. And I intend to end up there. Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.” [Rumi]
Reincarnation is the notion or “theory” that human life persists over not just a single life span but over more than one, indeed very many, so what we usually call “life” actually consists of many “lives” taking place in different times, locations, cultures and circumstances. The individual who experiences these multiple lives is obviously not a physical person since the physical body dies in between lives, but is rather a core being of that person, variously called a Higher Self, essence or soul. (The latter term is use variously with other meanings not always consistent with the concept of reincarnation.) The familiar Lower Self is not necessarily aware of the Higher Self, so it’s no wonder that for most people reincarnation appears to be only a imagined fantasy or delusion, no more real than a dream, if not a concept quite alien to normal human life.
But not everyone perceives reincarnation this way. In some cultures of the non-Western world reincarnation is an accepted aspect of life, not strange or alien at all. In fact, the spiritual traditions that underlie all major religions not only accept the existence of the Higher Self, whatever it may be called, but also agree that the highest purpose of human life is to awaken normal consciousness to a realization of this Higher Self. They offer various disciplines and practices to enable motivated individuals toward this awakening, and history provides ample evidence of success. Even in the West everyone experiences subtle clues throughout his life to the presence of his Higher Self, so it can never be totally forgotten. We are compelled to take the notion of reincarnation very seriously and remain alert to these clues, as a doorway to the deeper understanding of life which they offer,.Past lives, reincarnation and karma are not necessarily what most persons assume them to be.
The associated past lives implied by reincarnation have a value of their own but are often misunderstood. We may assume that if they really occurred we would remember them, but they need the associated acceptance of reincarnation before they can be seen as more than fictional stories with no meaning. In addition, the common assumption that they exist in the past is misleading, for the realm of the Higher Self is essentially timeless, beyond ordinary time and space, just as are dreams, so the memories are no more past than future. Past lives are ordinarily experienced clearly only by the Higher Self, outside of ordinary awareness. Fragments may leak through to waking consciousness in serendipitous moments and dreams, and as we fashion our destinies through the many small choices of daily life. They serve as small reminders that human life is much greater and grander than it usually appears to be, and they are inviting us to participate.
More challenging is the notion of karma, the related principle of enduring accountability that connects the series of past lives and gives them purpose and meaning. Through karma a person’s actions and behavior in each earth life are carried over into the next and following ones. Taken all together they shape the long-term and unique personal growth each Higher Self undergoes through its hundreds or thousands of lives. The Higher Self then returns in a perfected state to the Source from which it was first came as a primitive spark or seed of the Source, usually seen as God. Each life adds to or detracts from this growth, depending on how the Lower Self has chosen to live it.
The growth process is automatic and self-regulating, without judgment, punishment or external rewards. It proceeds through trial-and-error learning, just as do our children when young: every positive step has beneficial results, and whatever does not work well tends to be painful sooner or later. Nothing is ever forgotten or lost, so the experiences accumulate to make effective the overall growth process. Karma guarantees this continuity and progress throughout our many nonphysical lives. It is therefore a natural law of cause and effect in human life.
Karmic law is inherent, impersonal, inviolate, never broken and more fair then anything man might conceive of as “justice”—any more than you may break a basic physical law such as gravity within the material domain and get away with it. Every individual transgression of karmic law, intended or not, must eventually be accounted for through improved understanding and behavior until the transgression is fully corrected and integrated into the person’s consciousness. As the growth proceeds one’s awareness of the overall process naturally increases, his strengths become amplified and his choices become more directed toward the ultimate goal.
How to Regard Reincarnation
It is not difficult to accept the interconnected notions of reincarnation, past lives and karma intellectually, for they offer a sensible and even logical explanation for the finiteness, apparent injustices and contradictions of human life as we know it. However, rational arguments cannot stand up under the pressure of actual life experience, which is a more realistic test of validity. You might therefore best regard these three notions as a invitation to a different way of thinking and perceiving about the world in which you live, rather than a “theory” which may or may not add up to logical and literal truth according to the rules of ordinary thought. They may not agree with whatever you may have heard and read about them from others who may not be familiar with the associated expanded awareness. Those who have experienced it directly may choose fiction, poetry or music to “explain” such seemingly abstract and intangible matters, rather than common forms of communication. This is why mystics are often so hard to understand.
A first step toward this deeper understanding is to recognize that the level of consciousness from which you entered life, and to which you will return when you leave it, is not just an abstract idea but very real. It is readily accessible but not usually experienced as an obvious part of your daily awareness. This level or stage is made of the same mind-stuff as are exceptional dreams, serendipitous insights, the magic of falling in love, feelings of great awe, the highest state of two-person interaction, the ecstasy of the deepest religious experiences, the passage into death and certain kinds of personal crises. Like intuition itself they exist in a subjective mental world, outside of time, space, causes and effects, but no less real in their happening. They are highly relevant to ordinary life. We do not need to exclude them from life because they are intangible, invisible, mysterious and defy explanation in ordinary language. We may welcome them as special moments and reminders that we are much more than we ordinarily assume ourselves to be.
Since our modern minds are not so accustomed to them, it is often difficult to distinguish the accurate and meaningful versions from those that are merely imagined and fanciful dramas. We tend to discard the former with the latter through disbelief, disregard and forgetting. This rejection is not justified, and with due attention and sensitivity, your past lives can emerge into awareness and play a part in your present life.
Past lives are inherently personal and private but those reported by persons who choose to speak about them cover a fantastic range of events. A valid personal memory of an actual “prior” existence can be highly useful as an addition to your growing base of inner knowledge about yourself. You have the inherent intuitive capacity to recognize a genuine past life and attest to its accuracy and personal relevance. As these “memories” come into your waking consciousness, they provide an opportunity for you to screen, interpret and reveal to yourself their deeper meaning, just as do you for your deepest dreams. Experience and skill are needed to affirm their actual accuracy and relevance and to interpret them properly.
We were warned by the intuitives that it is a mistake to force the emergence of past life memories before one is ready to assess their validity and can handle the recovered information. Without preparation they can bring up unresolved karmic issues, awaken unresolved fears and generate a heavy emotional reaction. For these reasons past life information was not always given in life readings. The intuitives explained that many persons need to focus full attention on their current path of growth without being diverted with either enticing or threatening new information from prior existences. When past-life information was given in life readings, its present relevance was invariably explained. This relevance appeared to be the only reason for mentioning the prior life; otherwise the client could not make profitable use of it.
Are your past life recalls always valid, and do they conform to actual human history? Not necessarily. They may be no more than constructions of your ego. They need not correspond to the actual cultures, locations and events of real earth history. They are no more past than future, which are almost equally accessible. Even the inclusion of an unknown but verifiable fact—the location of a tombstone, say, or the name of the ship you sailed on—does not validate the personal account since an intuitive can retrieve such information without delving into your past at all. Even experiences that match an actual past era and recognizable location on earth do not necessarily belong to you alone. While very realistic in one sense, like having an ordinary dream or watching a movie, apparent past life recalls are typically more a reflection of your prior education, current concerns, hopes and needs and inner emotional life than they are fragments of real human history, or your history.
Past lives as commonly reported may range from relevant and helpful information to the most absurd accounts which only a very gullible subject would accept. Consider these typical examples from credulous persons who received them from either their own minds or others who were “regressing” them:
Self-importance: “I was a famous queen in ancient Persia, you know.”
Irresponsibility: “I can’t shake this neurotic habit I picked up in my hard life in China.”
Resentment: “No wonder I hate my wife—she was once my executioner!”
Guilt: “I’ll never make it up to my son, whom I sold off as a slave in that life in Peru.”
Romance: “I’m spending the summer in Greece so I can explore where I once lived.”
Career: “I’ve decided to give up nursing and become an astrologer, like I once was.”
Relationship: “I’m so excited! I’m marrying the man who was my teacher in Atlantis.”
Any of these past lives could be valid to the speaker, of course, but we have good reason to believe otherwise. Indeed, why did the speakers choose to go public and brag about them?
Past Lives in Life Readings
“Reincarnation is part of the larger framework in which any individual’s health and well-being must be considered. … [It is] not nearly as rigid as many believers in the concept think.” [Seth/Jane Roberts]
Here are a few typical examples of past-life information as expressed in individual CAI life readings. All show their relevance to the clients’ current lives. Again, the full context in which they were given is not included in these brief excerpts:
“.The next major lifetime was as a scribe in the library in Alexandria in approximately the time period of 100 BC, when the individual [spent] many long hours of retreat and studies as a highly scholastic fellow. … He mastered meditation and knowledge of his past lives. He was born in Cairo to an Egyptian father and Grecian mother. … Many lifetimes were spent in esoteric groups or monasteries…. In this [present] lifetime he seeks at times a cloistered existence among individuals of either a common degree of philosophy or an interest in spiritual pursuits, but these retreats are not now serving him fully.” [ICI-997; AA]
“Let me suggest that you look at a lifetime in which you were a pioneer woman in the late 1800s in Utah, north of Salt Lake City. You lost your husband when you were 22 years old and spent the rest of your life alone. You were not powerless, however, because you could plant, you could take care of yourself. You were the only person you could rely on. You lived a very strong and healthy life even though you were lonely. …This translates to your life right now, when you have forgotten how to do this. You forgot how to satiate and fulfill loneliness in yourself. You might wish to even meet this individual in a past life regression for instance, so she can give you more information, so you can more fully understand how you may pull out of the prisons and chains of your life at this time.” [ICI-1022; RL]
“There was one [lifetime] that took place in the time of Christ, a period of tremendous upheaval and change. The lesson you learned there, as a woman, was that this change, this [new] way of understanding the world, would come again and you would then be ready to accept it. … At your death, you decided that your life would end in a way that helped others, that you would will a certain inheritance not to your family but to the beginning church at that time, for writing down the words of Christ. … This was of great benefit, but you saw later … between incarnations … that the money had been misused. There is yet within you a certain regret toward family members. Your willingness to share with them often comes from guilt rather than the true way, of love.” [ICI-1032; JF]
“From an early age you have worked to please other people, to be a “good girl,” not to make waves. At the core of your being you have a very strong desire to serve and to help other people. You have had quite a few lifetimes in which you learned how to give of yourself. … [Now] is the culmination of that lesson. … I feel a strong sweetness about you, a delicacy, a poetic quality, for creating an environment to heal people—physically, emotionally, mentally.” [ICI-1036; PP]
The above examples provide a partial impression of typical counsel conveyed in a full life reading. If you feel you are ready for this kind of personal help, why not prepare a set of life-reading questions for your own life reading? First, try to answer them yourself, and then seek out a competent intuitive to help you answer them.
Results of the Life-Reading Program
Clients who responded to the follow-up evaluation questionnaire or wrote to CAI later on their own tried to explain what their reading meant to them. Almost all spoke about how much it had enhanced their life as a whole and in many cases had redirected or transformed it. Clients present for their reading often reported the joy and release that can arise when a truly felt connection occurs with their deeper selves, which may happen at births, graduations and weddings, for example. Those whom I knew personally and intimately testified that their reading was the first occasion in their adult lives when they felt truly seen and accepted for what they were, without judgment or criticism. Some were tearfully moved much later when recalling the reading, even whee time. They claimed that these open, revelatory experiences had great value in them. Clients who received remote readings could only write us, but the tenor of their responses were consistently similar, if more subdued.
In fifteen of the 1200 life readings—about 1%—the clients expressed disappointment: “The reading was too general,” “It could have been said about anyone,” “My questions were not answered” (the way I expected) or “Some of the facts were in error.” We examined all of these cases in detail, listening to tapes and reading transcripts and discussing them with the clients by telephone to try to understand what had gone wrong when it has gone so well for the others.
In five cases we traced the difficulty to an inaccurate expectation of what the counseling offered, as if the client had not read the brochure sent with the reading application. In almost all others the problem lay with unusually poor questions, either from carelessness or perhaps an unwillingness to address their key issues. They received just what they asked for. It seemed they wanted the reading to confirm certain of their beliefs and were disappointed when they did not hear what they expected. A few were obviously looking for a quick fix, one not disruptive of their chosen way of life and not requiring any personal change. Four of the disappointed parties had received their readings as gifts from enthusiastic friends but were not much interested, at least at the time. We discontinued the gift-reading offer a year after starting it.
Six of these dissatisfied clients wrote us six to ten months after their reading to thank us. They were apparently not ready at the time of their reading to accept what they could accept later. Similarly, several satisfied clients reported that pieces of information in their life reading seemed irrelevant or wrong when given but became correct several months later. (I have experienced this delayed reaction more than once myself.) Others may have been disappointed but did not complain, of course, and still others who complained may have found value later but did not tell us. All recipients of life readings has a chance to explain if they wanted to.
Ten or so clients with whom we remained in close contact for a few years afterward were especially enthusiastic about their life readings and very grateful for them: “It totally changed my life!” I do believe many clients were drawn to an ICI reading just when they could benefit from it.
Intuition and Psychotherapy
“In psychotherapy it is easy to recognize what is wrong, but more difficult to focus on what is healthy and can be worked with. … The client gets better not because of what the therapist says or does, but because of what the client says or does.” [Frances Vaughan]
Psychotherapy is a well known counseling modality in which the therapist catalyzes a client’s healing and growth through a conversational dialog aimed at self-discovery. At its best it is an effective process for dealing with many emotional problems, common neuroses, a few mental illnesses and personal development in general. Like all successful healings, psychotherapy is not something the therapist does to the client but rather a guide so that the client can effect his or her own changes. The therapist does this guiding mainly by taking advantage of the client’s motivation (from malaise, discomfort, pain or a desire for growth), along with his values and strengths. He responsibly creates a safe space for honest self-examination, self-confrontation and personal growth.
Many people think erroneously that psychotherapy is for the mentally ill or handicapped but not for themselves. They view it as a repair process similar to medical intervention for physical disorder. Their image of it is distorted by a fear of external pressure to force them to make changes in themselves they don’t want to make. Tclient’sresistane os strongerhe central purpose of psychotherapy is personal growth, a process we are all involved in whether fully aware of doing so or not.
Intuitive counseling and psychotherapy are therefore complementary counseling approaches. Both are collaborative between counselor and client and both are client initiated. The intuitive form may work best with the client who is better motivated, self-responsible, open to self-examination and ready to accept help. Psychotherapy, on the other hand, may be more appropriate when the client’s resistance is stronger so that the necessary changes require day-to-day internal work, best facilitated by repeated psychotherapeutic sessions. Just as some persons prefer psychotherapy because they distrust the intuitive process, there are those who prefer intuitive counseling because they are suspicious of apparent psychotherapeutic manipulation.
In the psychotherapeutic dialog the client does most of the talking within a framework of careful attention and guidance according to psychological principles. Intuitive counseling seeks to achieve the same eventual goal but is more guided by spiritual principles and is more direct. While both are non-intrusive and respectful of the client’s free will above all other considerations, the psychotherapist’s work is usually gradual, long-term and subtle. The intuitive counselor displays his skill conspicuously in a single active, unilateral and intensive session. He already “knows” the diagnosis and appropriate treatment, and also which information the client can hear and use. The listening phase of psychotherapy is replaced by a sympathetic discourse which reaches directly into the receptive portion of the client’s inner mind.
The intuitive counselor can sometimes better target the basic issues, blocks and strengths in the client’s mental world than is possible through psychological assessment and verbal expression. While psychotherapists are especially skilled at maintaining attention and focus on the issue at hand, they must continually resist the client’s defenses through diversion and other escape mechanisms to reflect their intuitive understanding back to the client. An intuitive psychotherapists do not need to declare that they are utilizing intuitive information, their own or another’s. Frances Vaughan, an accomplished psychotherapist and scholar on intuition, reminds us that the therapist’s role is never to inform her clients of what she perceives intuitively, or otherwise show off her own intuitive talents. “My task in psychotherapy is to listen to people,” she says. “When it’s finished it’s not something I can say I have done.”
Instead, the therapist’s task is to stimulate and support the client’s knowledge, insights, self-responsibility, trust and also their intuition. She may even have to resist short-cutting the process if the client insists on knowing what she “sees” about him. After all, intuition is only a tool in these situations, and it does not need to occupy center stage in the therapeutically aided growth process.
Both may work together
Intuitive counseling works best, of course, when the psychotherapist is already an expert intuitive but the two can be effective together when both know how to interact in this cooperative mode.
I was fortunate to be on hand when one of CAI’s expert intuitives [DR] met for an afternoon with a group of psychotherapists-in-training at the Counseling Center of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, then in Menlo Park, California, to discuss their difficult cases. After being given only the names of several difficult clients, she described accurately their more difficult issues and then offered suggestions for how the therapists could be more effective with them. For two of the therapists she described how their own personal issues had been blocking their efforts. While we had arranged the meeting to lend practical assistance, and not so much to show off the power of intuition, the therapists present were obviously very impressed with these intuitive contributions to their practices.
For many years Anne Armstrong [AAA], not on the CAI staff but an expert intuitive with whom we worked occasionally, met monthly with groups of psychotherapists in a similar fashion. This work too sought not only to benefit the clients, albeit indirectly, but also to help the therapists refine their intuitive skills so they could apply them to become more effective in their work.
I believe we can rightly claim that this kind of collaboration between intuitives and therapists holds much promise for enhancing therapeutic practice in the future.
Counseling in Emergencies
CAI sometimes received requests for emergency counseling sessions: “I’m in a terrible situation and am really upset. I must see one of your intuitives as soon as possible. Can you arrange an appointment this afternoon?” Sorry, it’s not possible.
On one hand an emergency situation can present a fine opportunity for effective counseling because the client, being more desperate, is better motivated to listen to, accept and follow guidance. He may even be close to a long awaited breakthrough. On the other hand, a crisis is often the best time for independent personal change, without the intervention of a counselor with whom credit must be shared. There is no fixed formula for deciding how to respond to such a crisis, except compassionately, but at root anyone in a psychological or other crisis must work with his own inner resources when solving his problem, with or without external help.
When dealing with crisis situations, the information most needed for the an appropriate response is not always at hand at the moment of assistance. We are all inclined to offer help first and reflect only later on what kind of help would have been the best. Each occasion has to be decided on its own, and often intuitively rather than according to prescribed psychological guidelines.
In the absence of a set formula, we took the position that intuitive counseling serves best when it helps to prepare the ground for change rather than when it intervenes in the midst of change. We did not arrange the ICI program to provide life readings on immediate demand, and we refused all requests for emergency intuitive help by referring the petitioners to other kinds of counselors. In any case we were so usually heavily booked that we could not react promptly anyway, and there were often geographical constraints as well since the ICI intuitives were not necessarily near the applicants. Even when a few exceptions were made early in the program they did not appear to be really helpful. They seemed to have been utilized only as hand-holding and consolation, perhaps of some value and useful but this help could have been provided just as well by others.
“Only intuition gives psychological understanding, both of oneself and of others.” [Robert Assagiolli]
During the 1980s CAI provided more than 1200 “life-path” readings for a wile variety of individual clients from the United States, Japan and other countries. Each reading was carried out by a single CAI expert intuitive in order to assist the client in solving his personal problems and enhancing his spiritual growth. On the basis of extensive feedback of various kinds, the life readings were undoubtedly beneficial to almost all of those who received one. Moreover, the content and personal depth of these sessions typically exceeded greatly that of conventional forms of psychological counseling such as psychotherapy. The sessions provided confirming assurance to CAI’s intuitives and staff that the application of intuition to counseling is viable, versatile and useful, despite the short sessions and the sensitivity of content that frequently arose. They also gave CAI’s research staff, including myself, greater understanding on the capacity, breadth of applicability and depth of inquiry of the intuitive process as a means for obtaining novel and detailed information. There appear to be few if any limits on the quality and detail of information that can be accessed when the need for it is seriously requested.
In practice the intuitives’ answers to the format questions on life purpose and the clients’ personal questions were direct, thorough, detailed, supportive and sometimes profound. The complaint rate was 1% and half of the complaintants reversed themselves later.
Intuitive counseling can be a significant factor in facilitating healing in many difficult life situations and especially spiritual crises in willing clients. At its best it provides a transformative boost to clients by encouraging them toward greater self-understanding and wise life choices. It also works by suggesting favorable solutions to practical personal problems and enhancing personal development generally.
Of the several applications of intuition explored and reported on this website, counseling emerged as the most individually significant and broadly applicable to all kinds of clients. We concluded that it is the most positive and humanly effective application of intuitive skill, over all information oriented applications.
- Assagiolli, Robert, Psychosynthesis (Hobbs Dohrman, 1965).
- Bailey, Alice, From Intellect to Intuition (Lucis Publishing, 1932); p 5-25.
- Cayce, E. E. & H. L., The Outer Limits of Edgar Cayce’s Power (Harper & Row, 1971).
- Cayce, Edgar, Reincarnation and Karma (ARE Press, xxxx).
- Cayce, Edgar, The Complete Edgar Cayce Readings on CD-ROM. (ARE Press, 2006).
- Chödrön, Pema, The Wisdom of No Escape (Shambala, 1991); p. 53.
- Field, Reshad, Steps to Freedom : Discourses on the Alchemy of the Heart (Watsonville, CA, U.S.A. Threshold Books 1983).
- Myss, Caroline, Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing (Random House, 1997). p. 33.
- Palmer, Helen, Ed., Inner Knowing: Consciousness Creativity, Insight and Intuition (Tarcher/Putnam, 1998).
- Roberts, Jane, The Nature of Personal Reality (Prentice Hall, 1974; Bantam Books, 1988). p. 160.
- Ryerson, Kevin Stephanie Harolde, Spirit Communication: The Soul’s Path (Bantam, 1989).
- Smith, Huston, Beyond the Post-Modern Mind (Wheaton, IL,: Theosophical Publishing House, 1989).
- Stearn, Jess, Edgar Cayce, the Sleeping Prophet. (Bantam, 1989)
- Tucker, Jim B., Return to Life: Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Past Lives. (St. Martin’s, 2013)
- Vaughan, Frances, The Inward Arc: Healing and Wholeness in Psychotherapy and Spirituality (Shambala, 1986).
- Ryerson 1989 ↑
- Most of these remote readings for Japanese clients were arranged through the Comet Research Institute in Tokyo, under the direction of Mr. Minoru Kodera (now deceased). He and his staff carried out all translations and arrangements with Japanese clients. ↑
- Some remote life readings were conducted over the telephone, a practice that increased near the end of the 1980s. Nowadays on-line digital dialogues such as Skype are often preferred. ↑
- Date of birth was requested not for astrological purposes but only to discriminate among family members having the same name and address. Two mistaken identifications actually arose before birth data were required. ↑
- This statement is based upon dozens of observed occasions in which the intuitive addressed specific personal questions before they were posed, provided what the client wanted but had not asked for correctly, and detected requests that were secretive or manipulative. ↑
- These “prophecies” emerged in the readings of Edgar Cayce and subsequently with several other popular intuitives. They probably had some probabilistic basis but the events never occurred at the predicted dates. Their appearance from sources that were otherwise reliable and accurate raises some basic questions about the fears that underlie all prophecy. (Cayce 1971, White 1988)↑
- Helen Palmer, 1998, p. 177. ↑
- The digits are life-reading identification numbers and the initials indicate the name of the intuitive. ↑
- R. Field 1983 ↑
- Roberts 1988, p. 160. ↑
- Smith 1989 ↑
- Vaughan, 1986. Also from talk Intuition and Perception, at CAI conference Opening the Intuitive Gate, San Francisco CA, Jan. 1988.↑