Spirit GuidesBy SHEPHERD HOODWIN
What They Are & How They Help You
Connecting With Spirit Guides
Each person is the leader of a team assembled to achieve tasks. You organize your team prior to each lifetime. Some of your teammates are also currently inhabiting human life forms--other people. The rest are not. These non-incarnate essences are sometimes referred to as spirit guides or helpers. Most of your guides are not working exclusively with you. However, everyone has at least one primary guide.
There is much misunderstanding about spirit guides. A spirit guide is like a personal trainer. If you decide to hire a personal trainer to help you work out, you do so partly because of the objectivity that he can bring. You may know as much or almost as much about proper exercise technique, but you cannot see yourself. Of course, the exercise facility may be mirrored, and there are times when looking in the mirror is useful--this is why they are on the walls. But if you spend all your time looking in the mirror, you will not be effective in working out. Your trainer may also hand you the equipment you need, and when you do not feel like doing another set, he may remind you of the task you chose. Spirit guides perform similar functions.
When you were between lives, you may have been a spirit guide for others, including those who are guiding you now, on a number of occasions. Those who are fairly new at being a spirit guide undertake an apprenticeship. One does not become a primary spirit guide before one is ready. Guides are learning as much through their partnering of you as you are.
Spirit Guides Are Not Perfect
Spirit guides are not perfect, and some guides do better work than others. Some are more experienced than others. You generally get the caliber of guidance you need and can handle. Those on the spiritual path often have exceptionally good guidance because they can make use of it.
Your guides are usually in roughly the same point in their development as you are, although being non-physical, they are not subject to the illusions of physical existence, giving them greater clarity and objectivity. When you were in elementary school and had just learned how to divide, you may have been better at teaching it to your classmates than your teacher, who probably had long before forgotten what he went through to learn division. For the same reason, it is useful to have guides who are not too far ahead of you.
It is the natural design of things to help one another out along the way. As the poet said, no one is an island. Some people are prone to say, "No, don't help me. I'd rather do it myself." That is all right--there are times when you seek to meet a challenge alone, but you do not have to do it all alone. Coming to the physical plane is too rigorous to attempt without assistance. In fact, you never do it all alone. There is really no such thing as doing it all alone, although you can refuse to receive the help you are offered.
Spirit Guide Signs
Most people are not consciously aware that they have spirit guides, but may occasionally "hear a voice," such as one telling them not to board an airplane that later crashes. Many of those who board the plane may be ignoring such warnings. A competent spirit guide checks out planes before you get on them, and will, in general, be aware of the condition of your automobile and your condition in terms of driving it. Job number one for your primary spirit guide is to help you stick around so that you can accomplish your life tasks. Some people make this job very challenging for their guides. It is not your guides' responsibility to keep you alive; they merely support you in your choice to accomplish certain tasks, which you will not do if you die prematurely.
Spirit guides live in astral substance (just as you live in physical substance), so that is the primary medium through which they work with you. It requires an enormous amount of effort for them to slow down their vibration enough to do things like manifest physical apparitions, so instead, they usually manipulate energy through astral substance.
Imagine a game at a party in which you put on a blindfold and you are seeking to move from point A to point B. Your teammate has the job of letting you know if you are warm or cool in approaching point B, so as you walk off course toward a wall, he says, "No, no, no!" You turn and go off toward another wall. "No, no, no, no, no!" he says again. Finally, you get warmer and warmer. "Yes, yes, yes!" he encourages, so you keep moving in that direction. If then you are about to walk into a table, he needs to coach you away from and around it.
Guides generally do not yell in your ear, but they do let you know if you are warm or cool. If you are about to do something that is not in accordance with your life task and that would set you back, your guide may pull energy away from that direction. If it is really serious, he might gather together a large group to pull energy away from that direction. How might that feel to you on the physical plane?
Suppose that you are offered a job that, unbeknownst to you, is going to lead you in some directions that are not appropriate for you. The job looks very good to you on paper, including an excellent salary. Perhaps because of blind spots in you, or just information that is not available for you to know, you do not see that the main people you would be working with would be very draining on your energy at a time when you are seeking to do other things. So you are moving merrily along toward accepting this job, and then you feel the energy being drawn away from it. You may feel it emotionally: all of a sudden, something does not seem right. You may find that the process of being hired there bogs down because people get busy with other things. They are feeling the energy being pulled away as well. Your guides might enlist the guides of others concerned and ask that the person doing the hiring be instructed that this is negative for you, or for all concerned, if that is the case. That guide may trigger in his, shall we say, "guidee" a negative reaction or aversion to you.
You may have a tire on your car that is old and has weak places on it. Left on its own, it might have lasted another week, but when you go out in the morning to drive off to your second interview, you find that it is flat. The guide would not have stuck a pin in it, but may have been able to energetically manipulate it to accelerate its movement toward its natural end of being flat. On the other hand, if your guides see that there is a weak tire and you need to get somewhere, they may send it energy rather than withdraw energy from it, so that it can last until you can get it changed, if possible.
We do not want you to think that every flat tire is the work of your guides and that every job that you do not get is sabotaged by them. Like a good coach or trainer, they intervene only when it is necessary. Most of the time, they just watch you "do your thing." If it does not matter whether or not you get a certain job, they will likely do nothing. Let's say that there are three possible jobs and they all look equal from the standpoint of your life plan. If it seems likely that you will get one of them, they may not do anything. You might look at these three jobs and say, "Job number one is really, from my vantage point, the best one because it provides day care on the facilities and a better vacation schedule." Your guides may know nothing about those factors or may not be concerned about them because it does not affect your larger life plan. However, if you ask them to help you get this job, they will probably cooperate with you. That is what they are there for, and they like to have opportunities to develop their skills. If you are religiously inclined and pray to God, which we define as the overall consciousness of the universe, God will probably ask your spirit guides to give you a hand. Guides are part of what you might call God's crew supporting the physical plane. Your guides are in touch with their guides and teachers, who are in touch with theirs, and so on, all the way "up" to God. On higher planes, the guidance structure is different, but there is always support available.
Using Spiritual Guidance
Guides or teachers on any plane should not be seen as superior; they are colleagues. If you constantly say to them, "Do what you think is best," you are not participating in your process as fully as you might. Of course, it is good to be humble and acknowledge that there are times when you do not see what is needed. If you ask for something and it works out differently, there may be good reasons for this; it is good to be flexible. But you are the captain of your ship, and your leadership is needed. Do not become dependent on your guides. Do not look for them to lead the way. Occasionally, it is appropriate for your guides to take initiative and make suggestions--it is a team, after all; you are working together--but you are the head of your team.
It is true that guides see many things you cannot. On the other hand, you can see things your guides cannot see because you are here on the physical plane. Suppose that you are making a purchase and you would like some advice on it. Your guides can help you discern certain types of factors. However, they do not see color in the same way you do, for example. They can see, you might say, the vibrational or astral aspect of the color, and how it might affect you energetically; that is all they are qualified to read. You need to use your own discretion to determine whether the color will "go" where you are putting it, for example. You might channel them so that they can look out at your prospective purchase through your eyes, and they can think back to when they were physical. Then they might say, "We like this other color better." But you must be adept at channeling them and they must be adept at being channeled in this way. Generally, guides do not often work with you in this way. Besides, it is more important which color you like better.
Guides and Higher Plane Teachers
Guides are different from higher-plane teachers. We are teachers from the causal plane. We have many more students than a guide would have "guidees." There are over a thousand of us in the Michael entity, and collectively we have over 100,000 students, some physical, some astral, and a few on the lower causal plane. That is a fairly high teacher/student ratio. If you are our student, we cannot be constantly looking over your shoulder, nor would that be helpful insofar as what our function is in your life. If spirit guides are like personal trainers, we are like special consultants. We deal with a larger picture still. When you come to us with questions, we often consult with your guides, although we remember our own work as guides and can do some of the things guides do. Due to our position relative to you, there are certain things with which we can be very helpful, and others with which we have less to offer. We do not seek to replace your relationship with your guides. We are not an "all-purpose entity"! If we were all you needed in terms of guidance and teaching, we would be the only ones around.
We are not the biggest "cheeses." The highest source available is the infinite soul. However, the infinite soul is very potent and is also rather unnecessary most of the time. The infinite soul is an embodiment of the Tao that expresses through one of the three high planes: the messianic--Jesus manifested the infinite soul from the messianic plane; the buddhaic--Buddha obviously manifested from this energy; and the mental--Lao Tsu manifested from the mental plane [see Glossary]. Teachers from these three high planes are more concerned with the larger spiritual dimensions of life, whereas your guides and causal plane teachers are more concerned with the functional side of life. Both are essential. Higher here means broader, not better. In a corporation, there are those at the top who chart the generalized course of the corporation, and there are others in the field who decide how the specific needs will be handled. Could you successfully have one without the other?
Beyond the high planes is the Tao itself, and, in fact, all this is included in the Tao. The Tao is the All That Is, but the term mainly refers to what is not in manifestation. The Tao is the source. It made up this seven-plane game in the first place, which is why there are teams. You could say that the Tao is the stadium in which you play the game. Ultimately, not only is everyone in the universe playing the same game, but everyone is on the same side. Though there are teams, the game is not competitive.
If you begin to feel alone, remember that you are the captain of a terrific team. Ultimately, you cannot lose. However, you can have more or less fun playing the game. The question, "Are we having fun yet?" is a good one.
We are not belittling the challenges that arise in life; they are part of the game, after all. But because they are usually not seen from a larger perspective, they are often taken more seriously than is really helpful.
How to Ask Your Spirit Guides For Help
Learn to use your guides. Ask not only for their help, but for greater insight. Ask for better tools for handling the challenges that arise, and they will, one way or another, come to you. Some people, for instance, report going to a bookstore and being hit on the head by a book, that is later significant for them, falling off the shelf. Your guides do have a sense of humor! Such experiences help make it obvious that you are guided and assisted.
Your game--your life task--is what you signed up for. Some people are a little hasty in planning their lives, but you probably had good help with yours and did not take on more than you can handle. Sometimes things take an unexpected turn and it is wise to retreat. In general, however, unless you have gone out of your way to make a lot of negative karma for yourself, your life is about right for you in terms of your capabilities. If it seems too hard, maybe you are trying to do it all alone. It is not wrong to ask for help if you are sincerely doing all you can do. The support of others does not replace your own efforts. It supplements them. It is not "do it for me" but "do it with me."
Some people cannot accept help from others, even from their guides, because of low self-esteem. They think they do not deserve it. They think they if they receive help, they are taking help away from others: "No, I'll struggle along all by myself here. You go help someone else who really needs it. I'm all right," they may say, as they collapse on the ground! Can you imagine what team sports would be like if everyone took this attitude? "No, I will get the football over all by myself. Yes, I know that twelve people are about to tackle me, but that is all right. I will try to do it myself." The game of life is a team sport.
Mostly, we have emphasized the individual's game. There are collective games as well. Everyone on earth is part of a collective game agreed upon by all, and there are intermediate games as well. Your game is part of these larger games. If you think that you cannot play the larger game because you are too busy with your own, you do not understand the game. When you truly play your own game, you are playing the larger game. You cannot help it. What is appropriate for you is appropriate for the whole. Perhaps you are unclear about what is appropriate for you, but some part of you knows. If you ask, your guides will help you see it.
Your guides are usually old friends. They are not there to make your decisions for you. They will tell you what they think, sometimes loudly, sometimes not. Accept their advice graciously. Often they know things you cannot know, but do not assume that they are always right; they are not, and if you automatically follow the advice of others, you will not develop your choice-making skills. Work with them and with everyone else on your team. Play your part on the teams of others in whatever way feels right for you. We are all both teachers and students to one another because we are all ultimately one. There is great similarity between life lessons from person to person, yet every situation is unique. This provides the perfect opportunity to hone your skills in playing the game of life.
Questions About Spirit Guides
▪ Do guides ever go too far and form karma?
Guides do not form karma in the sense of a compelling debt that must be paid. They do go too far from time to time, just as you do; that is a part of learning. However, generally they are well trained and supervised, their intentions are benign, and their methods are gentle, so it is unlikely that they would do much harm. However, if they do make a serious mistake at your cost, they will probably want to make it up to you one way or another, in the spirit of reciprocity, just as a friend might. They may agree to let you do some experimental guiding of them, for example. They may also undertake some more training.
▪ How to communicate with your spirit guide?
A good way to communicate with your spirit guides is through meditation. If you allow yourself to be in a highly relaxed state and allow your imaginative faculty to be free, you can simply imagine your spirit guides. For example, you might ask to communicate with your primary spirit guide. After you have asked, just start imagining what he looks like. His appearance can be anything, because those on higher planes do not have physical form. They appear to you in whatever form is comfortable for you, and even if you think that you are just making up an image, you are probably not. Accept whatever form comes to you, whether it is a stately Indian prince or a shaggy puppy dog, and start having a conversation with it in your imagination. Ask questions and listen for answers. If you do not get answers, make them up. After a while, something will begin to flow. You can have quite specific conversations with your guides, but it is easier to begin with more general questions. It is a good idea to have a tape recorder or a pad of paper handy to record your answers so you can review them later.
This is just one technique for getting in touch with your spirit guides; there are many others as well. Remember that your guides always hear you, so you do not have to be concerned about that. You may not hear their answers back directly, but they answer you in one way or another. Your primary challenge is to ask clearly and precisely.
▪ Is there a maleness or femaleness to guides? Does a woman have a woman guide, and vice versa?
There is no actual gender when you are non-physical. Everyone has had many lives both as male and female. Each soul, however, is to some degree more highly charged with either male or female energy. Usually, but not always--rules are made to be broken, as they say--if you are higher in male energy, you have a higher male energy primary guide, and vice versa. You alter this, though, for specific purposes. Also, if you are higher in male energy but in a female body, your guide may also be higher in male energy but appear to you in the female form that it took in a life when it knew you, if there was one. So, you might have a guide with a female name or in female dress as you imagine it, but it might be rather aggressive or more outwardly focused in its style with you.
If you and your primary guide both have higher male energy, you probably have at least one secondary guide who has higher female energy working closely with you to teach you about the balance.
Your primary guide is your energy manager. Your secondary guides help you with specialized tasks. If you are a musician, you may have a guide who works with you on music. If you are focusing on a spiritual path in your life, you may have one that works with you strictly on spiritual attainment. And so on. If you want a guide on a subject on which you do not have one, you can ask for one. There are plenty of unemployed spirit guides looking for work. As we mentioned earlier, they receive as much benefit from guiding you as you receive from being guided. However, if you are a difficult "client," you might have more difficulty finding one of the caliber that you want. Of course, there are lessons in that as well.
▪ From what you are saying, I know that even when I was a little girl, my guides and teachers were around me. I just want to thank you all for what you provide. It is so useful for all of us down here.
Your guides appreciate your acknowledgment of their part in your life. You have probably found that when you do things for people who do not thank you or show any sort of gratitude, you are less inclined to want to work with them. The game itself is its own reward, but it is important to thank your guides and teachers, and all those in your life who enrich you. This opens you to receive more.
▪ Could you comment on the usefulness of Tarot cards, Rune stones, things like this? Can spirit guides help you interpret them?
Yes. When you work with divination tools, your essence (in partnership with guides who specialize in that particular system) determines, if you are open, what cards, stones, or whatever, will come up. Then your guides can help you to understand what their implications are. That is a good way to work with your guides.
▪ Could spirit guides be channeled through someone without the channel being aware of it?
Yes. People are sometimes responsive to your guides if they care about you and want to meet your needs in the best possible way. Generally, information comes to them intuitively rather than through direct, word-for-word channeling.
Once in a while, a guide or another non-physical being may look at you through the eyes of a child or pet. That could be called nonverbal channeling.
▪ I have a schizophrenic teenage son who seems to be communicating with negative discarnate energies.
This is not unlike your son hanging out with members of a street gang rather than with those who support his growth. This is not bad or wrong; it is simply not very growthful. At some point, he will probably tire of that and seek to grow again. Then he will open again to his guides. Guides are like therapists who are supervised for a number of hours when they begin their careers. They may not yet be very expert, but at least their intention is usually to help.
▪ What can you do to focus better on what your guides are saying when they are all speaking at the same time?
You could simply ask them to speak one at a time.
▪ How does the help you receive from your guides differ from that of your essence?
Generally, your guides focus on the external factors of your life, and your essence, the internal. Your guides help you open to your essence and complete your life tasks. Your essence, which is a part of who you are, thereby experiences expansion. Your essence encourages you to deal with and release inner blocks, and your guides help you set up your life to facilitate this.
Imagine that all your guides are gathered around you. See how beautiful they are, how much love they have for you, and how much fun they are. Enjoy being part of this team and the sense of connection it brings you.
About Shepherd Hoodwin
Shepherd has been channeling since 1986. He also does intuitive readings, mediumship, past-life regression, healing, counseling, and channeling coaching, where he teaches others to channel. He has conducted workshops on the Michael teachings throughout the United States. His other books include Enlightenment for Nitwits, Loving from Your Soul: Creating Powerful Relationships, Meditations for Self-Discovery, Opening to Healing, Growing Through Joy, Being in the World, and more to come.
Visit his website at ShepherdHoodwin.com
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