Expert Intuitives Explain How They Receive and Convey Intuitive Information

All of CAI’s expert intuitives explain that they enter into their intuitive state by simply relaxing and shifting their attention toward openness and receptivity and away from daily concerns. They then report that they feel as if a subtle “presence” or “energy” is gently entering their mind. For most of them it is not necessarily profound or overwhelming  but which might be compared with interacting with a dear friend or guest who has arriving to share space with them. Those who remain fully or partially conscious then slip into an internal and nonverbal quietness in which the intuitive information may flow gracefully through them as the questions are posed. Those who enter a trance state report similarly but not any specific awareness of it beyond a feeling of peace and contentment, like being on the edge of a pleasant dream without the stimulation of ordinary thought and talk.

In all cases the actual content of the ensuing communication is typically vague and unknown to them at the time. It does not involve “thinking” for it occurs beyond ordinary conscious awareness. It is not remembered very well, if at all, afterwards even though the discourse which the inquirer hears expresses an un alertness, sometimes animated and not at all lacking in attention to the listener.

But we should let them tell their own stories. The following six accounts by CAI intuitives and a few others describe in their own words how they learned to receive information intuitively, what it feels like to do so on a regular basis, and what the experience means to them personally.[1]

Charles Nunn

Growing up in a Southern Baptist family in Georgia was not exactly what you would normally think about as the place to begin working with psychic and intuitive development …. I had difficulty relating to the people around me. I had feelings about things others didn’t seem to understand or recognize. Even in the first grade I found I approached things with a much different point of view than my classmates. So I judged myself as somewhat deficient, and drew back. I hated homework, even in college. … For years I felt very much separate and alienated. It was not because I wasn’t loved, for my family was supportive, but we didn’t communicate a great deal about the matters that were so central for me. I felt I couldn’t share the things that were deepest in me with the people around me. … It kept turning me back to look inside: what was it that I really knew? For a while I developed a way of talking with myself.

Later, working in labor relations and personnel management I came to realize that the things that made me most successful were the intuitive resources I used rather than the training I had received. But I kept feeling worse and worse.

Over a period of thirteen years, I’ve had a series of five near-death experiences, which resulted from illnesses that made hospitalization necessary. … On several occasions I asked that I just be lifted out of this whole thing because I felt that I couldn’t cope with the world. … [These experiences] changed my entire attitude toward life. They made me realize with great force that life is extremely short, that I must not waste time by being overly cautious but rather should simply trust and engage life. … I entered training for a while, and finally came out of my rational box. To my delight, I found that relying on intuition made my life very much simpler, and I was able to grow farther as a human being.

In my consultation and counseling work the intuitive information is simply available to me as I speak. I never know what I am going to say until I open my mouth. … Information just flows into my mind. … No entity talks through me. I don’t “channel”. I simply take a few moments to become quiet and the information comes to me. … I just have to trust the process, and trust that what I am communicating is exactly what the people in front of me need to hear. … Trust is essential, for sometimes I have no frame of reference for what pops into my head. I might be addressing a problem in an area that I know nothing about.

I don’t consciously gather information. On the contrary, I try not to do so. I find I do best when I know as little as possible about a company, so my intuitive reading of the situation is unaffected by my personal notions. … I don’t make a point of studying my clients’ respective cultures either. When I began consulting in Japan, for example, I wasn’t given enough time to be informed about Japanese culture and industry. I had to trust that the intuitive process would guide me through the complexities of foreign cultural patterns. It did, and it always has.] [1]  [CN]

Penney Peirce

I grew up with an absolutely normal childhood. Nothing weird happened to me. … I was interested for many years in the mysteries … in psychic things, the only stuff I could get a hold of in the Midwest. I read books. … Bit by bit I found I had ability in this area of giving counseling readings to people, and that I could study to learn how to do it.

I took meditation classes every week, and classes to develop my clairvoyant skill. What these classes were all about was learning to focus my mind. When I tried to meditate I was totally restless, so I just avoided it; the trouble was I was going at it from a very mental point of view, I was trying to be “mentally spiritual.” You really have to let your body in on it. My main motivation was a voracious curiosity about how everything worked. I wanted to know. I sponged it up and couldn’t stop. Maybe I just totally subdued my mind, for eventually I was just forced into my body.

I learned first hand that the intuitive process, or what I call direct knowing, is a natural human ability and not the realm of a special few. If I can learn to be intuitive, you can, too.

I see now how important it is to trust the pull of your interests. … trusting the current to carry you to your destiny, or destination, is a big part of intuition. By doing this I learned that the process itself is the teacher. … Eventually, to get answers that felt really right, I had to enter the intangible world of metaphysics. I wanted to know how consciousness, and the world, worked—from the inside out.

I work in [light] trance but I forget what I’ve said about five minutes after. While it’s happening I’m aware that I’m merged with the process but I’m not directing it, I’m not creating it out of will. Then [afterward] it’s like waking up in the morning and the dream fades away.

I don’t have any entities that I work with. Sometimes that feels lonely. I have to rely on my own self as God, as the vehicle to access things. I don’t have a guru, I don’t have a teacher, I don’t have a guide. What I have is a flow I feel I am in. Everyone who comes [to me for readings] is part of my teacher. If I have a need, someone comes and answers it. It doesn’t matter who it is —it doesn’t have to be someone who is “enlightened.” It is a humbling experience for me.

What works for me is to use my imagination first to create images and moods, actual scenes and feeling tones, a mood or space I can project myself into. … It’s tactile, I can smell it, there’s fresh air and golden light, and so on. Then I merge into that, so my body gets that nice cozy feeling and knows that all is well, is at peace. When the body relaxes, the mind relaxes, and the spirit projects through the body back to the mind.

Psychic phenomena, as it turns out, are just the first signs of a much greater and all-encompassing wisdom. … Intuition is not just about knowing who’s calling you on the phone—it’s about attaining crystal-clear perception. … If you persist in the search for a more elegant, more efficient, more living, more uplifting way of knowing, you’ll follow the intuitive way deeper and deeper into life. … In the end, the intuitive way is truly a spiritual path.[2]

Everyone is intuitive. Everyone can do what I do. I just kept going with my curiosity. And if you keep going, you too will get to someplace where the correct form of service and self-expression for you will be natural and passionate—and fun. It doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. [PP]

Lin David Martin

For years I was involved in a center in Phoenix, founded by a man who was an outrageously gifted psychic. He could do absolutely anything. … I was very interested in Edgar Cayce’s work, and read everything about him I could get my hands on. I was involved in meditation and was interested in healing. But I had firmly convinced myself that I didn’t want to be a psychic. I was the world’s biggest skeptic about my own process.

Our “classes” were given from an Native American spirit teacher, through this founder of the center. They were about waking up, not about being psychic or being healers. That was comfortable for me. … Over a period of many years I had dreams that were not dreams, but out-of-body travel, precognitive experiences, strong intuitions about others, etc., but I kept my mouth shut. … I practiced doing healing, which I found comfortable.

Once, when observing the founder working, I found myself picking up things before he said them, and realized suddenly that I could be a psychic—just what I had convinced myself for so long wasn’t for me! Later I had an insightful dream in which I was going around a room of 50 people giving them personal messages. Some were later verified. This showed me that the energy involved in this “psychic” work was the same as that used in healing, something I was already familiar with, and I knew I could do psychic work, too. This broke the ice, and I started doing it.

Two years of this passed, then one time I became conscious that this spirit teacher was talking through me: I was in trance. I’ve been doing it ever since, along with clairvoyance and healing.

As our intuitive self emerges, an important part is learning how to be in the body, to stay with the body. This means taking good care of it with diet, exercise, etc. Also, you must continue to love wherever you’re at and with whom you are with. You’re always striving for more and will never be satisfied with where you’re at.

I was working with a weird New York lady once and found myself getting irritated, sucked into her consciousness. After about five minutes I slipped into that framework of unity where healing happens. My outer “monkey mind” was freaking out, for here was this divine being that I was dearly loving! It was such a powerful shift in consciousness, this transition from the ordinary mind to the deeper mind. I was high for two weeks. … I became so very aware of how limited our outer mind normally is, and how it creates judgments that keep us separated.

I think we’re all trying to bridge to this inner mind, which knows no separation, from the outer mind, which runs around feeling totally separated all of the time. Any way you can find to bridge the two—through meditation, healing, music, working with groups—do it. You will recognize that there is part of you that knows, even though the outer mind continues to insist that it doesn’t. [LDM]

Mary Gillis

I grew up in the South in an Episcopalian family. I feel I got support there—not energy support but the sense of ritual and ceremony that gave me a protected feeling so I could go into that quiet place inside. … My intuitive skills were survival tools, growing up in this type of family where important things were not talked about. So it was really necessary to have my psychic antenna strongly tuned. I can remember talking with animals and plants, also seeing things in the air. My mother took me to the eye doctor! I quit talking about what I saw and what I heard and what I sensed inside, but I didn’t let go of it.

When I was little, and trying to go to sleep but not sleepy, I would sometimes play with going in and out of my body. I especially loved some of the stages, like expanding out into the whole room. I studied art in school, and feel that working with this non-verbal part of myself helped me to use the part of the mind where words are not the means.

For me the process has definitely meant a tremendous amount of change. I went through a rigorous training program through a series of schools in the Midwest. I worked with strong concentrative and meditative exercises that go back to Tibetan Buddhism, raja yoga and kriya yoga. In the early part of my training and until recently [my task] was to go to the furthest reaches I could touch of the superconscious realm.

I began to have many dreams in which I would be working with people, and then they would come to me in real life, in physical life, and I would get to work with them again.

The way I work is to contact first the divinity in myself, and then the divinity in the other person, and find how that person is caught in separation, where there are strong polarities and where there is a battle going on. My role is to speak first to that divinity, and say what needs to be said and to be brought through. Then I try to articulate what is blocking that divinity, what is keeping up the experience of separation.

I’m pulling now much more into my body and working with my heart, so the energies can move through me and allow me to be changed in the process.

Sometimes we want to know intuitive things to protect ourselves from what we fear, from having to change. The main process is not to protect ourselves from change, but to open toward it in the living experience. [MG]

Richard Lavin

At the end of high school I took a course in transcendental meditation. I started opening up and learned a lot. … Then I moved to California, and everything changed after that! I got turned on to the Seth Material from Jane Roberts—remarkable work, but it really scared me, coming from a source that was unknown. I was raised Catholic, you see, and trained to believe in demons and devils, and that God was somewhere out there. And here’s this “demon” saying, “No, it’s inside.” … But something felt very real about it so I continued to explore. … This exploration led me into training as a hypnotherapist.

I got to use altered states of consciousness—these are very potent tools for transformation— and I learned how to get into deeper and deeper trance states. … Once I felt a really benevolent energy around, really loving … and I got the impression that this energy wanted to drop into my body. So I said, “OK, why not.” It felt like this personality came into the top of my body and my personality got compressed into the back of my body. And out of my mouth comes this wholly different personality, with a different voice, and it identifies himself as “Ecton.” And here I am in the back of my body, thinking, “Hmm, this is interesting!” … Ever since them my life has been totally different.

This entity “Ecton” is profound in his love, in his awareness and in the information available from him. He stresses that he is no different than us, but has just made a couple of different choices: he doesn’t choose a body full time, like we do. He calls himself a traveler. … I don’t make any claims for what he is. I don’t know what he is. … When I work with people [for intuitive counseling] he travels through the deeper realms of their being in a really wonderful and unconditionally loving way.

So they [these “beings”] really love us and they’re trying to teach us unconditional love, which is real tough. It’s OK for people to be just the way they are. That’s unconditional love.

Doing this work has been alternately wonderful and grand, and sometimes it’s the hardest thing I can imagine doing. We’re stepping into territories we don’t know anything about. There are no road maps. … To get to the truth I’ve had to dig through a lot of stuff—old beliefs, old ideas, old attitudes, things that just don’t work for me any longer. Some of the journey has been very painful. … But I know it doesn’t have to be. And on the other side of the pain of the intuitive journey is a grand sense of your own self, your higher self! What else is there? What else is there? [RL]

Kevin Ryerson

My early interest in these areas was stirred by the conflicting versions of creation and man’s essential nature which I was exposed to as a child. At Sunday school, I was taught the biblical story of the creation, and about angels and archangels, “the hereafter” and souls. In public school, my science teachers called these “superstitions.” Considerations of higher purpose or moral principle were relegated to the domain of “religion.” None of these versions of reality matched my childhood experiences of déjà vu, out-of-body experiences, and prognostic dreams. So, at the tender age of eleven, I set out to resolve for myself these apparent contradictions.

In junior high school, after countless hours at the library, I came across a book on dreams by Carl Jung. His experiences with the dream state paralleled many of my own. From Jung I was guided to the parapsychology section, where I discovered that paranormal phenomena had been tested and documented over the last two [sic!] decades. I recognized parapsychology as the bridge between theology and science that I was looking for. I started to consciously develop my ESP abilities through psychometry, divining, and inspired writing.

Desiring to stimulate my creativity, I joined a meditation study group that was using Edgar Cayce techniques. After about six months the meditations triggered a trance channeling state. My first trance was spontaneous; I was meditating and seemed to drop off to sleep. When I awakened thirty minutes later, the group was very animated. But what transpired was by no means against my will. I had consciously given permission for contact with the superconscious levels all my life.

After about six months I could go in and out of the altered state quite easily, and the entity “John” was able to speak through almost as he does today.. All I really do is open myself up, or—not to mix metaphors—turn myself on, like a radio, for this consciousness to broadcast through me. Even when we are not listening to the radio it is still broadcasting. Questions [asked of me] were primarily philosophical and metaphysical [at that time], and drew responses from Spirit that were clearly above and beyond information I possessed.

I was fast beginning to see how the phenomenon of trance channeling could be harnessed to benefit individuals and society on both the practical and spiritual levels.

In the beginning and for the first few years, John was the only teacher to speak through my trance. A soft-spoken personality, John identifies himself as an Essene scholar of Hebrew ancestry and a disciple of the man Jesus. On occasion he has identified himself as John, son of Zebedee, and has talked about his experiences as one of the twelve apostles. But John’s knowledge is not limited to biblical times. He is able to give discourse on the spiritual and philosophical knowledge of all ages and cultures and seems to have spontaneous access to such fields as modern physics, medicine, and advanced technology.

Being a trance channel has expanded my understanding and appreciation of who we are as human beings and has given me greater opportunity and freedom to grow and experience life in its fullness. Above all else, I feel a deeper bond with all individuals, and an absence of barriers, whether ethnic, social, or religious. I do not see us as separate from that perfect Spirit that we know as God, even at this point in time. I believe we are aligned with that perfection at all times, and it is only the degree to which we choose to realize it and can take responsibility for it, that we are expanded or limited. [KR]

Non-staff intutives

Testimonies similar to these arose from several intuitives with whom CAI was very familiar. Undoubtedly qualified as expert on the basis of their extensive intuitive accomplishments over many years, they had a few additional points to make about the intuitive experience.

Jane Roberts spoke eloquently about the various “inner realities” she was able to enter at will.[3]* Regarding her most common trance state she says:

For me, [it] is an accelerated state. I would compare it to a higher state of wakefulness rather than to the sleep usually associated with trance—but a different kind of wakefulness in which the usual world seems to be the one that is sleeping. My attention is not blunted. It is elsewhere. … The trance state is characterized by a feeling of inexhaustible energy, emotional wholeness and subjective freedom.[4]

She dictated several books for “Seth,” the name of the “being” whom she channeled:

I am sure that Seth is my channel to revelational knowledge, and by this I mean knowledge that is revealed to the intuitive portions of the self rather than discovered by the reasoning faculties. … As to who or what Seth is, his term “energy essence personality” seems as close to the answer as anyone can get. I don’t believe he is a part of my subconscious, as that term is used by psychologists, or a secondary personality. I do think that we have a superconscious that is as far “above” the normal self as the subconscious is “below” it. … It may be that Seth is the psychological personification of that superconscious extension of my normal self. … I do not believe I could get the equivalent of Seth’s books on my own.[5]

Her descriptions of these intuitive states reveal much about the capacity of the human mind to access non-ordinary states of consciousness. They could be the basis of a fascinating psychological study:

I do know that each individual has access to intuitive knowledge and can gain glimpses of inner reality. The universe speaks to each of us in this regard.[6]

Pat Rodegast tells us her first experience of entering her light trance state.:

The first time I saw Emmanuel [the name of her guide] he appeared as a being of golden light. From the moment he appeared I felt a love that seemed unfamiliar in my human experience, but also familiar and remembered—one of those things that words don’t convey at all well. … There are moments during our sessions when I am able to feel personally the all-encompassing love he brings. This is not memory or vision or intellect but something far deeper and absolute.

Twelve years later she was still “in the flow,” providing workshops, lectures, books and especially “readings” for individuals and audiences.

What I find necessary is to remove my active mind from its dominant role. … It’s a willingness to simply say, I trust, I trust, I trust. … The more I can simply surrender, which is my task, the more I can simply say the first words. The result of this trust has been a positive upward spiraling in my life.

I have learned that we hear with our hearts, not our ears. We understand with our intuition, not our minds. [7]

Helen Schucman, a Professor of Medical Psychology at Columbia University, found herself receiving “dictation” for a mysterious manuscript. It would be published much later as the unique and now widely known spiritual text, A Course in Miracles. The effort involved a close collaboration with her colleague at Columbia, Professor William Thetford. Neither of them proclaimed to have any religious or spiritual interests before the transcription began:

Bill suggested that I write down the highly symbolic dreams and descriptions of the strange images that were coming to me. … I was very surprised when I wrote, ‘This is a course in miracles. Please take notes.’ That was my introduction to the Voice. It made no sound but seemed to be giving me a kind of rapid inner dictation, which I took down in a shorthand notebook. … Certainly the subject matter itself was the last thing I would have expected to write about. … The writing was never automatic. It could be interrupted at any time and later picked up again. It made me very uncomfortable, but it never seriously occurred to me to stop. It seemed to be a special assignment I had somehow, somewhere agreed to complete. The whole process took about seven years. [8]

A Course in Miracles is a 2000-page, three-section volume with 2.5 million copies in print and translated into twenty languages.


  1. The first five accounts have been transcribed and extracted from two panel presentations, one at the conference, “The Intuitive Process,” held at San Francisco State University on 18-19 April 1986, and the other at a special public event, “Intuition and Channeling,” attended by 1000 persons in Palo Alto, CA, on 6 February 1987.  The sixth is extracted from a book by Kevin Ryerson, one of CAI’s staff intuitives. [2]
  2. Ryerson, Kevin & Stephanie Harolde (1989). Spirit Communication: The Soul’s Path. (Bantam).
  3. Peirce, Penney, 1999. The Intuitive Way. (Beyond Words); p. xv, xvi. 
  4. The entire collection of Jane Robert’s books, unpublished notes and correspondence is now held in the Yale University library, New Haven CT.
  5. Roberts, Jane, 1977. The Unknown Reality,Vol. I. (Prentice Hall); pp. 15-16.
  6. Roberts, 1970. The Seth Material. (Prentice Hall);  p. 293; Roberts, 1972. Seth Speaks. (Prentice Hall);  p. xv.
  7. Rodegast, Pat & Judith Stanton, 1987. Emmanuel’s Book: A Manual for Living Comfortably in the Cosmos. (Bantam).
  8. Anon, “Introduction” in A Course in Miracles; (Tiburon CA: Foundation for Inner Peace).
  9. Feuerstein, Georg, “Intuition in the Boardroom: An Interview with Charles Nunn,” Science of Mind, pp. 34-42+ (August 1993).

Last modified: April 7, 2017