05. Spiritual Discernment
Spiritual Web Chat
Session 1: Sat 15 Nov 1997

Ben< Okay, my clock says 11:00 pm. Let's go. First, I have several paragraphs to post, so please bear with me for a bit.

Discernment is a larger, more general topic than spiritual discernment, so I'll start there, to set a frame of reference for this seminar.

Some say discernment is a gift that one either is or is not born with, part of one's positive karma, or a subsequent gift by the Holy Spirit or God or a god or the gods. Although any of those assertions may be true in some cases, and we can discuss them later if you wish, I'd like to focus on a more functional view of this topic.

Discernment is defined (by Webster's Dictionary) as: 1. an act or instance of discerning. 2. the power of discerning; keen perception or judgment; insight; acumen. -- None of which helps us very much. So let's look at the verb.

To discern means to separate one thing from another or others; to recognize as separate or distinct or different; to tell apart; to identify mentally (for example: to discern one voice among many; to discern a person's motives).

What does discernment actually separate and sort out? Perceptions of all sorts. Concepts. Opinions. Hypotheses. Facts. Values. Ideas. Ideals. Any of the contents of the mind. Therefore, I believe discernment is a mental activity. As such, it is not a mysterious gift; it can be learned, and taught, and improved with practice.

Ben< ALL: Okay ... Based on your experience in this and perhaps other Internet chat rooms, how do you discern one "voice" among many? How can you tell who is "speaking"? What doesn't work, or may not work reliably enough to depend upon, and why? YOUR TURN

namu< 1) do messages make sense or are they gibberish? 2) do they sound like they are parroted from another source? 3) what appears to be the sender's reason for making the statements -- sharing knowledge, self-glorification, mischief?

Ben< namu: Good. Others?

namu< Over the years, I've developed a fairly good sense for "truth" and non-truth or altered truth. It's more difficult on a chat site, however.

Buster< In my case, I tend to "hear" the most clearly what I immediately know to be true, and then if that same voice is consistently true, that's who I listen to.

greyman< By the way they express themselves: language constructs, interactive signposts, etc.

Jello< Not only the way they express themselves when they have time to prepare, but how they respond to questions and queries. That way, mere parroting will fail sooner or later. (Of course, parrots should be insulted by the usage of "parroting" here.)

greyman< Squawk, squawk!

SLIDER< The discernment would have to be in line with an individual or group's thought pattern, or what someone wanted to be heard.

Ben< ALL: What about nicknames?

Buster< OK ... what about them ????

namu< Ben: Good point. But to me only valid when a nickname is an obvious overstatement of ability, super-cute, or purposely shocking. (By the way, I notice all nicknames in here are relatively short, indicating people who realize the value of brevity for quick communication.)

Ben< Does the nickname prove who is "speaking"?

Buster< Prove?

Ben< Buster: Yes, prove ... as a way of knowing for sure who is "speaking".

LunaWolf< The nickname would not prove who is speaking, but would only somehow show an interest in something about a chosen name or how someone wants to portray themselves. Not really any proof.

JamesRD< Doesn't prove it, but it may be assumed.

Jello< Hi, I'm a gelatin product with a trademarked brand name. Not! (i.e., just because I say I'm Jello doesn't mean I am a jello.)

LightGrrl< Jello: ROFL!!! [Which means "Rolling On Floor Laughing"]

greyman< What clothes you put on in the chat room. A nickname is a mask. It takes time to observe the characteristics of that mask.

Buster< Truth identifies the source... probably.

Jello< And just because I use Jello doesn't mean I'm the same Jello as last week.

blueye< A nickname tells a bit about someone, how they portray themselves. (i.e.: like a bowl full of ... hehehe ... couldn't help myself.)

rogar< Once a person chooses a nickname, doesn't that name become attached to his identity as much as his real name, and emanate his personality?

Yopo< Guess I think nicknames are only tags. It takes time to know their owners, and even then, there is a tendency to project our expectations.

LEGS< As an editor, I find that different ones speak in a "voice" that is their style of conversation. I use their choice of subject, their likes and dislikes that they champion, to identify them.

SLIDER< Identity.

agapi< But some people in reality have the same names?

Ben< Okay, another hint: why did the web-master for these chat rooms have to set up the procedure for registering one's nickname?

namu< A boldface nickname is a registered one, so it should be consistent, but that's about all you can discern.

blueye< Your name is sacred to you and tells who you are. We don't want someone else walking around with our names.

JamesRD< In that, if followed, one can see the nickname is registered by the bold type, and then one can discern they are indeed talking to the proper personage.

Buster< So nicknames couldn't be stolen!

Ben< Buster: Bingo! The web-master had to set up the registration procedure because some folks were pretending to be someone else.

agapi< And so, what of trust, Ben?

Ben< agapi: What do you think this experience says about trust?

agapi< Hmmmm. Well, this is my first experience on a chat line. About my fourth day. I feel if I respect others, the trust follows. But I don't splash my e-mail address all over the site. This is anonymous, after all.

JamesRD< I do place my page and my email address on my name, though. I have channeled poetry and feel it was meant to share. It is placed there for anyone who wishes to have it. I trust that all will get something from it though I know some may not.

agapi< James: That sounds good.

greyman< Allen Turing's work in the late 1940's discusses discernment in this environment. His conclusion is that given enough time to query on a terminal, he (Turing) could determine active human intelligence or an expert system (by its eventual "parroting" ).

Ben< ALL: Okay ... the point I was looking at is this: Nicknames don't prove who is speaking if anyone who wants to can use anyone else's nickname.

agapi< Really, Ben, I haven't tried that. But I like being me!

wonder< Ben: It's true we could have 50 people coming in as GOD for instance. Of course, I believe we ALL are GOD, so it would be totally appropriate -- but that's another topic.

agapi< Amen, wonder.

greyman< As for me, I'm the artist formally known as greyman. *G*.

Buster< If we register nicknames, that eliminates the possibility of fraud?

Ben< ALL: Okay, let's apply that observation from Internet chat to channeling. Can you depend on the name that a discarnate soul (spirit entity) uses?

Yopo< Hmm... I think not.

agapi< I would think not?

Buster< No...

greyman< Not generally. Actions/verbs speak louder than words!

LunaWolf< An interesting concept. I never thought about it before.

JamesRD< If it is felt, yes, Ben.

rogar< I would think that names are less important to discarnate souls.

namu< The names of the channeled are usually rather meaningless until the entity fills the listeners in. And few can be verified through historical records, etc.

Buster< But names are very important to us incarnates. We tend to depend on them a lot.

windy< I think what a person says or what an entity's message is, is more important than their name. (I can never remember names anyway.)

greyman< windy! Yep!

wonder< I agree, windy. I think we are getting to the discernment thing again.

blueye< Some guides don't even take on names. I read once they only take on names because this is what we need to relate.

FRAML< Name means nothing. It is the content of the message that must be examined to see if it is valid against known historical positions of the "named" spirit.

Yopo< I'd sorta think some discarnate souls would have all of the same motivations for misrepresenting their identities as some folks on a chat: to cause mischief, to attract attention, to try to compensate for inadequacies perceived by the ego, etc..

namu< However, to make sense of what an entity says, it often needs to be considered in relationship to previous channelings. Names are our way of connecting these.

JamesRD< The names have meaning to those that are channeled through, though many are not given. The words and wisdom have the greatest impact for me.

Ben< ALL: Suppose you saw on your computer screen, or heard in your head, these words: "Hello, earthling. I'm your spirit guide, Megadork the magnificent." What would be your inner thought?

SLIDER< Don't trust a dork!

agapi< I would sort of laugh that one off.

blueye< Well, you made me giggle just reading it, so is this my reaction? hmmm?

greyman< What a mighty dork.

windy< Just my luck ... someone named Megadork think he's the answer to my prayers. ;-)

wonder< Ben: I would be interested in a little more of what he had to say, before I had any opinion.

Ben< wonder: Yes, to reserve judgment is often a good move in discernment. Many leap to conclusions over-quickly.

Buster< The name brings with it certain vibes ... Judas versus Peter ... etc..

Ben< Buster: And if a discarnate named Judas wanted to deceive you, he could say his name was Peter.

blueye< I agree the name isn't important. It is the message ... the feeling or message you get.

SLIDER< It would depend on the level of education of the person approached, along with their spiritual orientation.

agapi< I think if Megadork wanted to go public with the info, I'd convince it to change it's name! Would anyone take it seriously?

LEGS< Again, to decide if is a high meaning spirit-voice: What is the agenda proposed, the advice? If it is of the highest and doesn't try to take the place of the highest God ... then listen?

Buster< Exactly ... so only by their wisdom, truth, love ... shall ye know them?

LunaWolf< But the name gives you your first impression.

namu< I doubt Jane Roberts would have gotten very far with a book titled "Megadork Speaks."

windy< Actually though, I've never had a "spirit guide" identify itself with a name unless s/he was a living person, and then I just usually know who it is.

agapi< I have several Reiki guides with no names. I still trust them.

GOD< c_breeze: Greetings.

Buster< There's one in every crowd.

windy< I really think one has to go with the message, the overall content ... and whether or not there's pressure to believe. Pressure usually indicates that something's not right.

agapi< Windy: I agree. Part of discernment is intuition as well.

JamesRD< I have many guides, though one prevails and has a given name that was shared to me. I don't give the name as it doesn't feel right to do so. I have learned to rely on these feelings as my path has changed greatly for the better when I heed them.

Ben< ALL: Okay ... to summarize a lesson that I learned the hard way: In spirit communication, names don't prove anything at all, because any liar can use any name he thinks will deceive you into believing he is something he isn't.

agapi< (light-bulb goes on in head)

Buster< Willing to expound upon the lesson?

the_Muse< Oh, Ben, I have something to say about this. Please do not take offense until you consider it and check my reference, Okay? I believe that Abraham was even fooled by a voice that claimed to be JVWH.

agapi< Muse: Too right! If GOD came to me and told me to kill my daughter, forget about it! I would become an atheist!

the_Muse< And Abraham knew what the voice of JVWH sounds like. So when this voice says "I want you to take your son out and sacrifice him in the style of Molech" Abraham should have said No!

agapi< Muse: But this seems such a paradox to me.

the_Muse< I would think if Abraham could be fooled, then we should all do what he should have done and search our own heart. If he had done this he would at least have argued as he did for Sodom. And he would have realized that God made a promise concerning Isaac that required him to be very much alive. And God always said how much he hated the burnt sacrifice of children. Abraham's heart had all the answers, but blind obedience almost caused a colossal mistake. Luckily the Spirit saw what he was doing in time to provide a ram instead.

windy< Perhaps Abram's wife, in her prayers to God, incurred a miracle to save Isaac.

the_Muse< windy: Possibly. But he told no one. And in the bible it says that the Spirit SAW (like it didn't already know) what he was about to do and provided the ram. It does say Abraham heard the voice of God, but that is what he "heard" and he chose to listen to that instead of considering all he knew of God's feelings and promises that he already knew. But even so he certainly could and should have argued with God for his son at least as much as he did for Sodom. When Moses did that for the people God repented of destroying them.

Gavriel< Abraham was also naive enough to believe what the so-called "religious scholars" of the time had to say about sacrifices and being a god-fearing individual. That's also why he was willing to sacrifice his son against his own wishes.

the_Muse< Yes, and when Abraham chose blind obedience instead of reasoned dialogue and possible disobedience, God forgave him and realized we were not quite ready to be true gods and Sons and Daughters of God. God gave us brains in order to think.

[Ben< the_Muse: I agree that we should reject any such test of faith or obedience, and argue with any source that demands it. "Prove that you love me" is an attempt to acquire or exercise power to dominate you. And the whole concept of sacrifice is easily abused; it has been terribly abused, by humans and institutions and spirits, all over the world, since before the dawn of history. But don't be too hard on Abraham: after all, he was listening to the right spirit in that crucial moment when he held his knife raised over his son. Who among us would have been listening that well under those circumstances? Without inspiration, who would have thought to look around and see the ram caught by its horns in the bushes?]

Ben< ALL: Next: What about titles? What do they prove? Can one rely on a title that someone assigns to himself or herself? "I am your guide." "I am an ascended master." "I am the First Chohan of the Purple Ray." What do you *think* when you hear or see such self-descriptions? YOUR TURN

namu< My red flag goes up (my intuitive "watch out here" alert). Often those wrapped in fancy titles, or who make a big play of titles, don't live up to their impression of their own importance.

Buster< I like titles like president ... or colonel ...

greyman< Mundane titles are for the insecure or those who need an defined social structure (like me).

Yopo< The more grandiose, the more suspect? (Oops! Yopo's distrust of all authority is perhaps showing.)

blueye< Cute, Yopo.

namu< Yopo: Those with real authority often don't have to use it ... at least not flaunt it.

Buster< But also, how about titles like teacher or host ... words that are more descriptive than pompous?

JamesRD< It is in what is felt. We were given the ability to discern good from bad in the beginning. Whether we accept or deny that ability relies on one's own doubts.

blueye< I agree with James.

agapi< Titles can be meaningless. Anyone can become a Reiki Master in one weekend if you have the dough. What's it prove?

SLIDER< Your intuition will guide you, unless you are lost and grasping. Titles mean nothing.

windy< When God speaks with me, God is not pretentious, so I guess I would not be very trusting to an entity with a title.

Jello< Any need for a showy title reminds me of "Come down off the cross and prove..."

windy< Perhaps the titles are more for the person receiving the message. What I mean is kinda analogous to visions and such. Some say that it is the less-believing that need something more substantial, or showy: something to get their attention, to help strengthen their belief. Perhaps a title might work that way.

Sacred< Hello, everyone. I was out crusin' and I noticed God was in here. Now how can any one resist that?

blueye< I always question who speaks to me. I trust no guide until I am satisfied he or she is from the light and for the good of mankind and isn't a trick. I have been tricked before. Didn't like it much.

Ben< ALL: Okay ... to summarize: I believe that spiritual discernment is best approached as a mental activity, a set of logical processes akin to the scientific method of reasoning.

Ben< We have touched on two weak and therefore unreliable criteria for spiritual discernment. Many people have learned this the hard way: Names don't count, and titles don't count.

Ben< /topic Open discussion of spiritual discernment

Jello< Words don't count, either. "Angel" is neither name nor title, by my book. Yet it seems to be the most heavily abused.

[Ben< Jello: Angel is a job title. Angel means "messenger" in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin. There are fallen angels, and so the questions for discernment are: Whose messenger is this? Where is this message coming from?]

Gavriel< Jello: A few other words that are abused: love, god, and fair.

Jello< Gavriel: Don't forget "light".

windy< I think titles and names are really not things "of the spirit". A spirit is beyond names and titles.

JamesRD< It is simple, my friends: listen and feel. You will know what is truth. It will bring you joy, and it's source will be known. May love and light reside within you always. Bless you all.

agapi< Ben: I understand, but what if we are -- I am -- a bonehead? Sometimes I feel I should have listened to my heart. A decision made with too much mind, we have computers for that. We are feeling humans, too.

Ben< agapi: I believe there is an important role for feelings. We'll get into that next week. But every con-man (incarnate or discarnate) tries make you feel the way he wants you to feel. That's why they lie.

agapi< I understand, Ben.

greyman< Ben: I just hope that a reasoning mind can transcend physical death. And what of the moment to think when there is no such thing as time?

[Ben< greyman: Dialogues with discarnates have convinced me that we take our reasoning minds with us beyond physical death. Although we may lose track of chronological time, we do not necessarily lose awareness or psychological time.]

windy< greyman: I used to faint a lot, so I got good at observing the coming and going. Once I came back through time ... what a whirlwind! It was like I was in a place of no time where I knew everything and it was all as simple as 1 + 1. Then I flew through centuries ... zoom ... and then back to consciousness. I didn't know who I was (my name) or where I was (what time, what century, what place). It took a couple seconds to get a grip, but I have never forgotten the experience.

Jello< greyman: I dunno. I suspect some sort of causal reality exists without the body ... and if there's causality, there's a kind of time (even if entropy doesn't quite work the way we're used to it). Just a guess.

Gavriel< greyman: A mind will only last as long as the soul that sustains it, and time doesn't exist any more than an inch or a kilogram. It's just another unit of measure to track actions and events and put them in perspective.

greyman< Gavriel: Just take this as data: I have experienced the death of others, and time simply stops. You may experience for yourself and then process the above sentence as information. Do not take your life to prove the experiment.

Jello< greyman: Experienced the death of others?

greyman< Jello: Yes. On one occasion, I was OBE and came across a little girl. She led me to a place in the woods where there was an old refrigerator, the kind with an outside locking handle. She went in and closed the door. It was dark and hot. After awhile it was hard to breathe, and panic turned into hysterics and beating at the door. It was not pleasant. She was reliving this for my benefit. After that, I called for angels of light to rescue her. They did. I have had other such interactions ... some not so nasty.

Jello< greyman: Hmmm, interesting! Though not a lot of NDEs report the "time stops" thing before they reach the Light. (After that, I guess they do.)

STARX< Ben: Forgive me ... but how can anything of the "mind" know anything "spiritual"?

Ben< STARX: Our mind is what knows anything, whether physical or spiritual.

STARX< Ben: I disagree. Assuming "spiritual" is that towards "enlightenment" you can never get there with the "mind" ... only from NO mind.

Ben< STARX: I have noted that you disagree. Yes, I know when and why one must stop thinking in order to receive spirit communications. And I know how to transcend the limits of rationalism and rationalization. But I do not subscribe to mindless spirituality.

STARX< Ben: No, me neither ... not mindless spirituality. I was just making the point that eventually all our ideas, concepts and beliefs ... all that comes from the mind ... gets in the way of being in the moment ... and allowing Divinity to live us.

Ben< STARX: Discernment is necessary to make sure we allow *only* Divinity to live us. Many spirits who are not at all Divine want to live us.

STARX< Ben: Perhaps I missed the beginning of this evening. How would you know when something other than divinity was living you?? Would we not have attracted that experience??

LEGS< Good question, STARX.

Ben< STARX: Next week I plan to start looking at some ways to perceive whether something or someone other than yourself is living you or trying to live you.

Buster< Ben: What do you mean, "living you"?

Ben< Buster: "Divinity living you" was an expression STARX used and I was responding to. The types of perception I plan to discuss have to do with discarnate entities (spirits) that may attach themselves to a person.

Buster< Oh.

STARX< Ben: Will tune in next week then. I think I have plans to go out tonight, so will review then.

agapi< Also, Ben, prove to me that there is a GOD. Yeah, I know he's on the site now, but you know what I mean. I think the Dalai Lama said that if someone could prove to him scientifically that there was indeed a God, there then would be no belief for him.

[Ben< agapi: As Gavriel mentioned earlier, "god" is a much-abused three-letter word. Several people have recommended that we devote an entire seminar to it. For now, the most basic meanings of "a god" are: "one called out to or invoked" and "an object of worship". What can and cannot be proved scientifically depends on how one defines what is to be proved.]

Buster< Prove to me that there is life.

greyman< Buster: Prove to me that you exist.

Buster< greyman: That's my point: the whole discussion of "Is there a God?" is like a fish not believing in water.

LEGS< Buster: I, too, find it more difficult to not believe in God than to believe in God. Everything demands an author.

Buster< LEGS: God just IS. It really doesn't matter if you want to believe in Him or not. Is that too simplistic?

namu< Ben: So we've learned you can't discern anything from a name or a title. Agreed, but does that leave basically our intuition or faith then? Much of what we hear cannot be checked with an outside source.

Ben< namu: No, we aren't forced to rely on our feelings or our faith, although many try to convince us we must do that. This seminar still has a long way to go, in looking at, sharing, and working with mental tools for spiritual discernment.

Jello< namu: Intuition and/or faith? Every cult member probably over-relied on intuition and/or faith.

namu< Jello: I agree with you re: intuition and faith. But where does that stop and logical thought/discernment begin? It's not a yes-no situation. As I said, much of what an entity says cannot be checked out from another source.

the_Muse< namu: The key is to get to the point where we understand the way our emotions affect our thoughts so we can be honest with ourselves. It is hard to be honest when one is dealing with something that makes one have to reexamine all one believes.

blueye< For as long as there is light, darkness will creep, so we need to use our hearts and souls to sort out that which we believe is the path to follow.

rogar< Several of you think that certain feelings can discern whether a discarnate is on the up-and-up, but many channels (i.e., Edgar Cayce) were not aware of what they were channeling, and their words were taken literally. I suppose there could be some deception there.

Yopo< It is sometimes hard to know WHAT to trust. One of my own "bullshit-detecting mechanisms" is a tendency to distrust anything that sounds much like what I WANT to hear.

windy< Yopo: I have the same tendency, but I also find that I must try hard not to overlook opportunities that will bring me what I want.

Ben< Yopo: Yes! "Bullshit detecting mechanisms" are precisely what we need, and what I'm hoping several people will share. And "Sounds too much like what I want to hear" is a very good rule for spiritual discernment. It is, to be specific, a defense against flattery and other forms of temptation.

Jello< Temptation can even include anti-flattery. "You are nothing. You should obey others. Let me think for you, since you can't do it for yourself."

[Ben< Jello: What you said points to another rule for discernment: "Anti-flattery" is slander. Both flattery and slander are lies. Therefore, any source of either flattery or slander is a liar.]

Yopo< Ben: The down side is that it can also be a filter that prevents truth from getting through, if it happens to be truth that one would receive with happiness. My bullshit detector could undoubtedly use some fine tuning. (*smile*)

Ben< Yopo: Yes, you're on track with the type of discussion I've been hoping for ever since I decided to do this seminar. I hope to look at the strengths *and* the weaknesses of various mental tools, to see where they fit and where they don't.

Yopo< Ben: I look forward to that. I've found the TOOLKIT on your site worth reading more than once.

namu< Ben: Will this seminar be continued next Saturday then?

Ben< namu: Yes, this seminar will continue next Saturday. I've scheduled three sessions, of which this is the first, but it may take more than that. We'll see.

namu< Yopo: That's a very good mechanism. Another of mine is: Do they get upset when you ask questions and say "Just believe." (That explains why I walked out of organized religion 39 years ago.)

the_Muse< namu: Con-men and "masters" go absolutely nuts when you argue with them. Arguing shows you are thinking, and the goal is to get you to rely on them to do your thinking for you.

Jello< I walked out of religion when I looked around and said, "Hey, they all claim to be true, and yet they all contradict. How do I know which one is right?" Discernment helps, doesn't it?

agapi< Asking for inordinate amounts of money is one turn-off for me. Remember tithing? Also, if you have to recruit people into this religion, that is not good.

namu< Another mechanism ... "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." Reincarnation sounded too good to be true, until someone threw in this karma thing. *S*

Ben< namu: Yes! "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." That's another mental tool for spiritual discernment. [Like other tools, not infallible, but useful.]

Jello< Re: too good to be true: But isn't God a lot like that? Too good to be true?

greyman< Jello: I hope so.

agapi< Jello: Right. Someone who loves us unconditionally, full of love and light, probably never has to clean his house.

windy< (in my opinion) to spiritually discern, one must listen with the heart ... with one's connection to all other souls and spirits. When one learns how to listen with the heart, one can "know" things even if one cannot prove them to others.

the_Muse< As long as there is an either/or conflict about emotions and thought, we will not have a reliable barometer of truth. Thoughts are generated as much if not more by our emotions. You "feel" a reaction immediately, and it affects what you think about what caused it. Even if the emotion was not correct.

Jello< I would be suspicious if anyone told me to abandon logic.

the_Muse< I think the hardest person to be truly honest with is oneself. After all, whose opinion of you do you care about more than your own? It is horrible to look in the mirror and not see the person you'd like to believe you are looking back. But once you face that big liar in the mirror, it is hard for anyone or anything to fool you again, because you have learned to recognize hypocrisy. And I believe that hypocrisy is the measure of a heart. Does the spirit or God or Master live by his teachings? Does he fudge even a little bit? Then he is no master.

namu< the_Muse: Yes, being honest with myself is something I think I have fairly well under control now. And I agree, it has opened up many other avenues and levels to explore.

the_Muse< I don't trust anyone who acts like they have some kind of corner on Truth that is not available to everyone else.

Jello< the_Muse: I liked what you said about "corner on Truth." I have seen that in too many texts and books and articles, too.

the_Muse< Thank you, Jello. :) // Ben: This is lovely, thank you for stepping up to the plate and taking it on.

windy< I think first of all one must truly wish to find the truth, or seek truth, or however one wishes to put it. If one truly wishes to hear and understand truth, then the truth keeps coming back to you, even if you have rejected it at first. It keeps showing up (usually nicely, sometimes humorously, and sometimes a bit annoyingly), and it rings like a bell vibrating throughout your soul (at least that's one of my favorite analogies, being a musician at heart). It vibrates your heart; it resonates within you.

[Ben< windy: What you have described is part of the results of a motivating force that guides every soul who aligns with it. It has been called "The Spirit of Truth".]

agapi< Yea, windy, and if you don't listen to that beautiful message, the universe sometimes follows with a whack on the head.

Jello< windy: If you're in tune. If not, you "vibrate" to stuff that is "off" and never know it. :)

namu< Windy: Nicely put. You're right about it keeps returning. // Jello: Is that how your took your nickname ... you're vibrating? What a sight? (*G*)

Jello< I've never heard of musical Jello before, but hey!

the_Muse< Ben: This is an important topic: why do you think so many want to allow others to define Good and Truth for them?

wonder< the_Muse: It's much easier if people can blame others for being misdirected or misguided, rather than listening to their inner guidance. Society has "conditioned" a majority of people not to think. (In my opinion)

Ben< the_Muse: Many people would like someone to define Good and Truth for them because trying to do it yourself is hard work, with many lessons learned the hard way. Sharing lessons learned is a much less painful (and less dangerous) way of learning.

greyman< Yes, Ben, lets hear it for vicarious learning.

Jello< the_Muse: I think it's like getting a map. If you don't know what good and truth are, then you want to start somewhere.

the_Muse< Jello: But can anyone not know? I think we all have a map printed on our hearts. We ignore that map when we allow any one Church or individual to tell us their truth transcends our own.

Jello< the_Muse: Well, maybe if people knew what the real map looked like, it would work. But they don't. Just look how screwed up so much of the world is. If we all had maps that were correct, which we could read, would there be so many mistakes made, and cries of "If only I'd known better!"?

wonder< Jello: Just as road maps have many different ways to reach a destination, so our souls have many different ways of getting through life. There are no wrong ways of doing it, just different experiences. Some easier, some more difficult.

Jello< wonder: I know I got into this discussion before, but I believe there are BETTER ways of going to a destination than others. Like, for example, paths that don't involve running over innocent pedestrians.

the_Muse< Jello: I'm laughing about the "innocent pedestrians" walking their own path to truth, run over by the busloads of tourists of Truth.

Jello< the_Muse: Yeah, may well be! Tourists who gather briefly, ooh and ahh, and then head back to the shadow-lands.

the_Muse< Jello: I think most of the problem of the world doesn't come from people who want to know truth, but is instead caused by those who want to tell others, "This is Truth, believe it or else".

Jello< the_Muse: Well, I dunno. Aimless kids seem more like they are in need of direction. But maybe they're simply under the influence of destructive spirits.

the_Muse< Jello: I agree, but I do not believe aimless kids are well served by gurus like Jim Jones and the group at Heaven's Gate. They need to be shown a way to discover their inner voice. Groups based on disciples and masters do not want individuals, they want sheep.

Jello< the_Muse: I agree that gurus are dangerous. And this seminar is currently on *discernment*, after all. Telling one source from another. But by the same token, let's not filter everything as "bad."

wonder< Jello: It is true there are perceived "better" ways, it is all just experience, and just IS.

Jello< wonder: Well, maybe it just is, but then why have all the greatest teachers tried to show us other ways? What's the point of doing that if everything just is?

wonder< Jello: That is but your opinion. How do you know what is driving those kids? They may be frustrated because no one is listening to them. WHO KNOWS? What difference is it to you? It is ONLY experience to SOURCE. Everything is PERFECT at that moment in time.

Jello< wonder: As it is your opinion that things are PERFECT?

wonder< Jello: The teachers, too, have a vested interest in you buying into their way. What would happen if we all just believed in everything just IS? The teachers would no longer have their power, ego, whatever.

Jello< wonder: Do you believe all teachers are so selfish?

wonder< Jello: No, I don't believe they ALL are, only those you were referring to.

Jello< wonder: I simply said "the greatest teachers." I gave no names.

windy< I think we are meant to learn from each other. Perhaps there was a need at one time for a ruler, a priest, whatever, but if there still is a need, their roles have to be redefined. Something is terribly screwed up when one needs a mediator to commune with the source.

the_Muse< Windy: I agree, so much! God does not want anything to come between us and the Creator. We have replaced the methods of divination in the past with gurus, none of which are direct communication. Maybe they are a starting point, but one must try for direct with God.

Jello< the_Muse: I agree. I don't think teachers are things to be clung to.

Shaman13< Ben: If you are a loving person, do you think a bad spirit could attach to you ? Would not your own nature your own path that you chose determine this ?

Ben< Shaman13: The general rule is: What we want determines the type of spirits we attract. So, yes, a loving person tends to attract loving spirits. However, other spirits sometimes attach to loving people. For example, see "Detachment Session, Karen" on my website.

Ben< ALL: Okay, by my trusty timepiece, it's 1:00 am here. Time for me to rest. Peace and blessings to each of you. Namaste.

Ben< /topic Open Discussion

Ben< Thank you all. I have enjoyed the evening. Shalom. *poof*

the_Muse< Ben: Thank you again for doing this. I will pray that you do not have the problem with spammers that I did. I believe you have better ability with group dynamics so it should be great. Count me in. If I have talked too much, just let me know, as there was plenty here to think about without yapping my own self. :O)

taramira> We are all getting attached some times by the dark forces. If you have a lot of fright and anger in you, they will use these things against you as they know what scares you. Ask the universe to protect you. Take down the golden light, and ask the angels to be with you in their love. You must also work out your anger and your fright in therapy or drama acts. There someone can play the person that has harmed you, and so on.

the_Muse> I was thinking about the "bullshit detector" thing.

the_Muse> For me, my bullshit detector clangs when I see some pseudo-master expounding something that SEEMS to have meaning if only you look at it long enough. Something like a koan, the Zen question that makes you think "If only I meditate long enough, I know I will understand." This sets my detector clanging. False spirits talk like this. False "Masters" talk like this. To make you feel they have grasped something divine that is just beyond your reach, so you feel inclined to allow them, in their superior "wisdom," to guide you. But if a wanna-be master or deceiving spirit of the more ethereal sort cannot speak plainly so even the smallest child can grasp the Truths, then that one is not a good Teacher for all of his supposed mastership over the concepts.

the_Muse> Truth is not like that. When a true master says something profound, it walks up and grabs you. You slap your forehead and say, of course! It is so simple! Why didn't I see that! If the person or spirit says something to me that does not grab me like this, I know it is bullshit. If it is not, then my connection to Spirit will at some point do something that makes me say, "I get it now..."

05. Spiritual Discernment
Session 2: Sat 22 Nov 1997

Ben< Last time, I mentioned that discernment can be applied to perceptions of all sorts. Now I'd like to explore the question: What sorts of perception are there?

Ben< To perceive means to grasp mentally; to take into the mind and process any data received through any of three mechanisms: sensory perception, inner perception, or extrasensory perception.

Ben< Yes, I know: behavioral psychologists deny we have anything other than sensory perception; cognitive psychologists usually deny we have extrasensory perception; trans-personal psychologists usually acknowledge the possibility of all three, and parapsychologists spend a lot of time trying to prove that extrasensory perception exists. I don't intend to get involved in those arguments. I have proved to my own satisfaction that I have all three of those mechanisms, and I assume most people do also, so the question is: how do each of these mechanisms relate to spiritual discernment?

Ben< Sensory perception samples the physical world around us: sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell. None of these senses actually detect anything spiritual, but we can infer spiritual hypotheses from some patterns of physical perceptions. That's why we can say a spirit-force is like a wind: we can't see it, but we can see what it does. On the other hand, we can create an endless variety of superstitions by attributing spiritual causes to physical effects. ("Thunder is the wrath of God.")

Ben< Inner perception provides data from within our body and mind. For lack of better terminology, we call most inner perceptions "feelings" -- pleasure, pain, tension, relaxation, temperature, visceral reactions (gut feelings), emotional reactions of all sorts, elation, depression, mood. Thoughts are a category of inner perceptions: and so are dreams and hallucinations. Inner perceptions can be produced by a variety of causes: physical, biological, psychological, psychic. Therefore, they are important indicators that something is happening inside, and very useful guides for introspection, but it is not always easy to discern where they are coming from.

Ben< Extrasensory perception provides inputs to the mind from the psychic counterparts of sensory perception and inner perception -- clairvoyance, clairaudience, telepathy (thoughts), telempathy (feelings), etc. -- plus some abilities such as precognition that have no physical counterpart. In most humans, these abilities seem to be more latent than developed, but that may be changing. In any case, as an aircraft navigator, my attitude was: use whatever equipment you have, as well as you can, and don't waste time bemoaning the fact that someone else has more or better equipment than you do.

Ben< Okay, end of lecture. Now let's try an exercise in spiritual discernment using sensory perception. If you would, please let me dialogue with one person while the rest of you watch. That will speed things up. Afterward, I'll ask you all to post what you would have thought or said or done in this situation.

Ben< Jello: As you get out of your car in a shopping-center parking lot, you see a man looking at you and walking toward you. Can you discern his motivation? What do you do?

Jello< I do multiple things. The first is probably an instant, automatic appraisal of the man's expression. (This is assuming that nothing has obviously happened that would cause him to come over, like if I'd just driven into his car.) I should amend that to appraising not just expression, but body language. I also appraise the surroundings. Is this a dark section of the parking lot? Are there others around? (I generally only get to go shopping at night, and I'm a bit paranoid.)

greyman< More information is required; however if you hesitate too much you may be toast.

Ben< Okay, you need more data than I gave you. That's the nature of inductive inference: we don't have all the data, so whatever we infer is less than certain. Here's some more data: he is smiling. Does that help you discern his motivation? What do you do?

Jello< Smiling helps, but it isn't enough to assure me of intent. I have to read the whole situation, as much as possible, with as many senses as possible, and I run through different scenarios in my mind. As for what do I do -- it depends on other factors that haven't been described yet. But I do generally take precautions; it's better to be safe.

greyman< Sure, if the person is not recognized, more information is required. A smile may mean "friendly" but if the person is not known, better safe than sorry.

minidill24< Do we know this man?

Trudy< What do you feel in your gut? What's your stomach doing?

the_Muse< Are you male or female?

Jello< Whether male or female, someone who projects an air of inattentiveness and helplessness makes an easy victim.

Elijah< Really, Ted Bundy came across pleasant, smiled at most of his victims, and they apparently believed him.

Ben< Okay, a comment: your reaction to the fact he is smiling is inner perception, a conditioned response. You take smiling as a symbol of something.

poweress< Perhaps you should remember that, when we feel fear, we bring the need for it into our reality. If you perceive and believe a friendly encounter is imminent, I think the likelihood that it will become the reality will be increased by the love that you are emanating.

Trudy< Poweress: Sorry, but I don't buy it. Bundy killed a lot of women because they believed in a friendly encounter.

poweress< Trudy: Yes, I respect your view, but I choose to remove fear from my life. That does not mean that I am helpless or a victim, I trust in what my path has in store for me. I do not get into a situation that I know will be dangerous, but neither will I look for danger around every corner. That would be like living as a hostage.

Ben< Jello: He stops thirty feet away and raises both hands, open, with the palms toward you. What to you infer from that sensory perception? And why? What do you do?

Jello< If he raises both palms, open -- I wonder what the heck he's doing! "Earthling, I come in peace"? Seriously, though, that is societally unusual, and over-extension of peaceful gestures makes me a little suspicious. I'd look around and see if anyone else (accomplices?) is approaching. (Yes, I'm paranoid.)

Ben< He cups his hands beside his mouth and shouts: "You left your headlights on!" Now what do you infer? What do you do?

Jello< Oh, do you mean it's a "Stop!" gesture?

greyman< Check headlights carefully.

Jello< Probably glance at the car and make sure he's right -- assuming there is nothing else that is making me suspicious, and he's out of "ma-ai" (immediate attack range). (Are you guys shaking your heads yet?)

Ben< Your headlights are on. You turn them off. Now what? Do you continue to watch him, to see what he does next?

Jello< I may continue to watch him, depending on what kind of body language he was displaying, and how close he remains. That sort of thing.

greyman< Thank him and go about your business.

Jello< Yes, I would thank him. Profusely. :)

Ben< ALL: Okay, feel free to post what you would have thought or said or done, for the next few minutes. Then I'll toss you a curve-ball. (smile)

namu< I tend to go along with Jello. Although we live in a fairly safe area, so if it were daylight or dusk, I probably would "drop my guard" after I realized what he wanted. On the other hand, late at night it stays up even when no one is there.

SLIDER< Nod in appreciation and then go about my own business.

MonaHawke< Ben: I too would have thanked him and gone about my business, probably thinking it was nice of him to point it out.

Spirit57< I would have locked myself in my car and started it and waited to see what he wanted.

Monkeya< Well, I think I would have felt his presence before getting out of my car. Secondly, I probably would of booked [i.e., fled rapidly] into the store.

Elijah< Answer: someone tells me my lights are on. They are. I say thanks, wave, and go into the store. Contact ended.

Monkeya< I think I would have realized my lights were on once I was in the store.

Trudy< Ben: I asked Jello earlier in the scenario what she would have been feeling in her gut. I think it's important that we pay attention to our insides ... our intuition.

poweress< Trudy: Yes, that is a very good point about trusting your inner voice.

Ben< Trudy: Intuition is an inner perception. It is often a conditioned response to certain symbols or previous experiences. Worth consulting. But not an absolute guide, as you mentioned about what Ted Bundy did.

Trudy< Ben: Yes, not an absolute guide. Just another tool, along with watching body language, being aware of your environment, presenting a strong presence.

Jello< I describe putting up my guard, but usually I find that people are genuinely friendly and helpful. To them I extend my gratitude.

namu< I agree, keeping your guard up and being wary doesn't have to be hostile. I generally assume the best and prepare for worst (within reason, I hope.)

Spirit_Lady< Why would one stay in that position anyway, if caution is brought to one's insight? Then if there is no other reason for being there, couldn't you just say "Thank you" and be on your way?

the_Muse< I was out on a Friday night when I was 25. I left the bar early as was my habit to avoid the rush. As I got to my car, a very attractive well-dressed guy about my age was approaching.

the_Muse< I would have been delighted to dance with him, but I feel any male approaching a female in a deserted area is being rude and inappropriate. I didn't put my key in the door as he was too close for me to get into my car. He smiled and asked if I knew the time.

the_Muse< I told him there was a clock in the bar. He admitted he just wanted to meet me. I suggested he could have done that in the bar, also. I circled the car keeping it between us. He was very cute wearing a sport coat.

the_Muse< He told me I was acting strange. I told him one of us certainly was. He saw the door to the bar open and left. The next day a woman's body was found in a field next to the bar.

the_Muse< It would have been me. A man approaching a woman in a secluded location knows he may frighten her. That is rude. I was broke down another time and a gentleman stopped and said "I will call a tow; do you have AAA?" He never got close to my car. He then came and parked across the street until the tow came. HE was showing respect to my sex in the reality of these times.

Firefly< Gut feeling to the rescue! -- not sure what it is, but it is a guiding force. Unexplained reason for trust or distrust.

Jello< Ideally, I would not be afraid. However, I would remain very aware of the other person. Not necessarily suspicious, but not expecting any particular behavior: i.e., ready to react appropriately to whatever occurred.

Ben< ALL: Now let's transfer that exercise from sensory to extrasensory perception. Same scene as when we began the previous exercise: a man is looking at you and walking toward you in the parking lot. Except this time, you notice that you can see him with your eyes closed. You don't see anything else with your eyes closed, just this man looking at you and walking toward you. What do you think? What data do you need to discern his motivation? His intentions?

namu< Unless you really understand the nuances of your ESP, that still could be a threatening or non-threatening situation.

the_Muse< I would be intrigued, although it is unlikely I would notice that as my eyes would be very much open.

namu< the_Muse: LOL

Trudy< I agree with Muse. I wouldn't close my eyes for an instant!

Jello< I'd be very concerned.

glyph< My intuition. First impressions. His air.

MonaHawke< The images within this 'eyes-closed' image of this man still are important. Does his aura show? Is it bright? Is it dark? And what else do I 'sense' about him? Most importantly, what is my instinct-intuition telling me at that moment?

poweress< MonaHawke: Thank you. I agree. If I have the ability to see this man with my eyes closed, it follows to me that I would also be able to sense his intentions with that same sensitivity.

Ben< poweress: Clairvoyance and telepathic mind-reading are two different abilities. I'm assuming we have the former, but not the latter, for this scenario.

MonaHawke< poweress: I was approached on the street outside of work two days ago ... a very disturbed street person. I smiled at him the entire time we spoke, and I ran lots of energy, too, but I didn't run, leave or even back up, as I knew he was harmless and in need of healing and caring. Most people probably go to great lengths to avoid him ... but his spirit is no threat.

the_Muse< Street people approaching me are not generally threatening. I find a person who understands society's concepts of proper behavior enough to be well groomed and put on a good appearance must be deliberate in his rude approach. This deliberate act is much more threatening than a street person. I generally buy street people food.

poweress< MonaHawke: Yes, I agree, I find that very few people percentage-wise are actually dangerous, and even less when we approach them with love instead of fear. Okay, I can't read his intent. I would try to determine his intent in the same way that I would with the previous scenario, since the only added sense here is the ability to sense him without physical sight. What are his mannerisms?

the_Muse< I would be less threatened by this person, as I know any evil spirit could not approach me. I am only worried about the sort of monsters that are clothed in human flesh of a more mundane variety.

Elijah< Ben: Anyone with the presence that is immediately perceived with eyes closed is worthy of a lot of attention. Would certainly be a " broadcaster" but safe under any circumstances.

FRAML< Elijah: I'd not treat him automatically as friendly. Why is he coming to me? Am I in need, or am I vulnerable?

Elijah< FRAML: Being who I am, possibility the individual needs a hand. Why the assumption? Next thought is to project fear, attract problems. I have never had a problem on the streets of many of the biggest cities in the world, I'd think maybe I could be of help.

Spirit_Lady< I think I may be a little more cautious. Physically I would feel threatened, I think.

Elijah< What I find a bit odd here is the alarm at the deliberate approach of a stranger, especially from folks purporting to be of love, of spirit. The message seems to be, unless I know you, stay away, I'm suspicious of you.

Shihiyea< Elijah: I would agree with you. All of my friends were once strangers! Most of them I met in places that were not considered to be "safe" to meet people! Than means other than work or clubs that I belong to!

Spirit_Lady< Elijah: I can't speak for anyone but myself, but that is part of why I'm here: to become what I express here. That does not mean I can't have safe guards.

Monkeya< Elijah: We're women, and when a strange man at a mall walks up to you in this city, you bolt. Heard of rape or mugging?

Jello< Elijah: People who are loving aren't necessarily so stupid as to assume that everyone has a good intent.

namu< As we have a nuke plant nearby, I'd be a bit spooked and wonder what was happening, but that is a special situation. Even without the nuke plant, I'd certainly be curious. I've had jobs where I had to be the approaching stranger, but I'm not a threatening type generally.

SLIDER< This scene will put me on guard, knowing my inner instinct is telling me to stay alert, as there is a mind or spirit contact here.

Monkeya< I would wonder why I am seeing him, and what is the purpose, and whether he was good spirit or a bad spirit.

Jello< And that's when I'd start praying. Hard! :)

Lightdreamer< I would read his "intent" through the energy he was projecting if the contact were extra-sensory.

Jello< Well, if a person has trouble psychically reading intent, then maybe the person should do the same things as if the guy weren't visible to the inner eye.

Lightdreamer< Okay, I'd do the same in the physical scenario, but I understand what you're driving toward.

Spirit_Lady< I have seen some pretty horrible things and have been jumped more than once. It is my nature, coming from a city, to be cautious at all times and prepare oneself for anything and everything.

Ben< ALL: He is wearing a white coverall suit.

Buster< I would buy ice cream!

glyph< If these perceptions are in my mind, I would perceive white to be a good sign.

namu< With or without a helmet or mask? Even then, I'm not sure what that would mean to me.

In2light< Think I would have to welcome him, and know that anyone coming into my world would ultimately be for my greater good, and find out the purpose.

Somber< Knowing what I do of colors, I would assume the white symbolized purity and that I shouldn't necessarily fear this being.

Ben< ALL: Do all good guys wear white hats? Are all those who wear white hats good guys?

SLIDER< No way. We talked about the masks and perception of identity last week.

Somber< Ben: No, no, of course not ... but the initial feeling of white, for myself, and for most, would be that of a "good guy" as you said. Someone once told me, ugly things (beings/spirits) can come in beautiful packages.

Jello< And of course, white coverall suits don't mean anything.

FRAML< Somber: I agree with Jello that the white color has no immediate "truth" as to the intent of the person.

Jello< I have seen more bad guys showing off light than good guys.

Lightdreamer< Humph! Ben, I've "seen" entities dressed in all manner of ways -- both negative and positive. It means only what the entity desires it to mean, based on what it can glean from your own mind. That is not a basis for discernment. Again, I would read "intent" and affirm my connection to Spirit and Higher Self for "Knowing".

glyph< Hmm ...

poweress< Why are we assuming that this person is unearthly? Did I miss something? I thought the point was the increased ability to discern from another sense we are not used to using on a daily basis.

Shihiyea< I don't feel what he is wearing is an indication of his intent. However, you had said that, although he was not smiling, that I had the perception of a smile; his body language was open. I also have my headlights on. I would believe that he was informing me of the headlights, with the knowing of the inner smile, I would not feel threatened!

Monkeya< What difference does the suit make if he is coming towards you in sight? I would draw one of two conclusions: he 's a car guy or he is a psycho.

c_breeze< Ben: I am Southern, but I would already have said, "Hi, nice weather" (or crappy weather), no matter what he had on. Then I could make a judgment based on his response.

Ben< ALL: Here's a hint for discernment by clairvoyance: look at the aura. Is he radiating his own light? Or merely reflecting light? This one is not radiating. That's why he wears a white suit.

Lightdreamer< Ben: Exactly. That's what I mean when I say "read intent" -- the energy emanation from the entity.

Jello< Ben: Again, it doesn't work if you can't tell if a person is radiating versus reflecting. If this guy is reflecting, hmmm, I pray harder and avoid, avoid, avoid.

poweress< Ben: Are we missing the point here? Are you pointing out our societal reactions to a new situation as being fearful, and that in doing this we are maintaining old patterns?

Spirit_Lady< Although I do not believe there is no light at the end of the tunnel, and would like to think there is good in all of us, I think we all have a blockage from fear. Is that right, Ben? That is why we would have the caution?

minidill24< I agree with you very much, Spirit Lady.

poweress< Spirit Lady: I am with you. I do not choose to live my life in fear. What will happen, will happen. The only thing that fear will do is increase the intensity and frequency of negative occurrences.

Spirit_Lady< poweress: Yes, I agree, but sometimes we find we cannot escape from our own fears, and sometimes I think I would rather deal with physical fear -- THAT I *can* get away from.

poweress< Spirit Lady: Yes, it is a challenge sometimes, but I feel it is a worthwhile endeavor for me, each time I recognize fear for what it is and does to me, and am able to release a specific fear, I find my peace increases and then it compounds itself in a cyclical nature, the more peace the easier to release fear.

Spirit_Lady< poweress: I'll keep that in mind, as I can relate to it and maybe if I can better recognize it, it will be easier.

Jello< Justified fear and caution is a protective mechanism. If one is imperfect enough to be vulnerable (like, most of the population), then justified fear often serves a good purpose, I think.

MonaHawke< Ben: Are you implying that he is a pretender? If so, some would sense that instantly through their own intuition or guidance; some would assume he was good; some would presume a need for self-defense. Probably everyone's reaction would be somewhat different depending on other circumstances.

FRAML< MonaHawke: But we need something beyond "feel" to determine if this is a threat or friend. How do we decide to trust that guidance you mentioned?

MonaHawke< FRAML: Either way, threat or foe, if one is truly aligned with THE POWER of the universe and know they are truly untouchable in that love, they trust instantly in their 'guidance' and probably heal any attachments this person has on the spot ... and transmute a 'threat' into an opportunity to heal another.

glyph< Can't you ask the being to show you their light? Demand it from them?

Monkeya< So if he is not appearing as he is, then he is purporting to be something he is not, right?

the_Muse< If this person knows what Good is enough to put it on as a costume, then one should truly beware. I see some of that in this chat, occasionally.

Elijah< Why assume white coveralls are a costume? How about work clothes?

Firefly< They're coming to take me away ... HA! HA!

LEGS< Ben: The advice to never allow yourself to be perceived as a victim should extend to where you park, walk, time of event, etc.. Stay in control as much as possible. Not just good advice for a woman, but men also. Now as to discernment, once this scenario is in effect, all available perceptions should be employed while presenting an "in control" presence if possible and getting into the light, the store, with others around you, etc.. (My prayers would be working overtime, too. *G*)

greyman< Sometimes we are the victim-rabbit. Sometimes we see the coyote; sometimes we don't.

Ben< ALL: Another hint for discernment by clairvoyance: look at the eyes. This one's eyes seem to be smiling, but the light inside them is glittery red. What does that mean?

greyman< Book! [i.e., Flee rapidly, right now!]

Jello< It would mean I have working psychic sight for the first time in my life.

Shihiyea< I would then feel that his intent was not honorable. I would send him love and get out of there!

Spirit57< Red inside eyes means I am running for cover.

Monkeya< It would mean that he is evil. Get into the store, or stay in the car, back up and get out of there. Insight that he is evil.

MonaHawke< Possession, perhaps?

Sewa< Anger.

Lightdreamer< Red is the color of aggression and hate/pain/fear when reflected in the eye, if it is malevolent in color and glittery. Combined with an "absorbing" aura, I am going to assume an entity consumed with negativity and darkness -- therefore shielding myself with White Light and raising my vibration beyond his ability to penetrate ... then MOVE IT!

Monkeya< Ben: Why would we question after seeing the red eyes?

the_Muse< Ben: Look at the eyes! Absolutely! That is what made me survive years as a street kid hitch-hiking Los Angeles. One like that would immediately drop his facade when he saw you look at his eyes. It is like arguing with a master in here. He knows he has been seen through. But he may become very angry.

poweress< Okay, if he is not radiating light, and if I remember correctly white absorbs light and black reflects it, then his light is being drawn in. Do I have the part about absorbing versus reflecting correct? I always get those confused.

[Ben< poweress: Black absorbs light. White reflects light.]

Somber< Back to the white clothing thing ... I can't truly say I would feel him to be "good", but I can say that I wear all black practically every day and have for years now, and I'm not a bad person ... so your first impression of what white as a color might seem to the individual, would most likely be the best perception.

Monkeya< Somber: I would get vibes of what type of person you are. You could have purple hair and still get vibes, dear.

glyph< I too would become very nervous. Red glittering eyes is not something I am familiar with. What I don't know will unsettle me.

blade< Ben: Is this man from the subtle (astral world), or is he of the material gross world? Am I seeing him with my third eye from my subtle senses, or am I seeing him from my gross physical eyes?

Ben< blade: Earlier in this scenario, I said you saw this one with your physical eyes closed.

blade< Ben: Okay, so we're dealing with the subtle world. Well, the best defense if you encounter a demon from the subtle is to chant the mantra of god; e.g., Om Krishna Rama, or to pray, or to protect your thoughts and emotions so to allow no fear into you, or call on a high spiritual being such as Paramhansa Yogananda or Jesus or your own guru.

the_Muse< I do not feel that the Spirit who loves me would become upset if I erred on the side of caution. If it is an unsafe situation, then I move on. If the Spirit has a message for me, it can get it to me without making me take foolish chances. I do not have to talk to every person, or even spirit, that decides to talk to me.

Jello< the_Muse: Well said.

glyph< the_Muse: Good point.

Monkeya< That-a girl.

Ben< ALL: Okay, end of scenario. In clairvoyant vision, which not everyone has, glittery red lights in the eyes are a reliable symptom of malice. Beware. Send a blast of your own energy to hold him at bay (like holding up your hand, "Stop!") Break off psychic contact. (For some, that means to stand up, walk around, have something to eat.)

greyman< Roger that!

Spirit_Lady< Boy, I missed that part about red eyes.

poweress< Spirit Lady: Yes, I think so. I missed the red eyes thing until late myself. My computer is really slow, having a hard time keeping up.

lovestar< Is this a dream?

namu< Has anyone ever actually seen a stranger with glittery red eyes? I mean this is the classic image of the "Devil" and I think most of us would start doing whatever we can to protect ourselves, physically and psychically.

Shihiyea< Namu: I had a husband with those eyes. I left him shortly afterwards, as I knew that I would not live much longer if I were to stay! It is a look that you would never forget. I've never encountered anyone else with such a color!

namu< Shihiyea: Were his eyes that color when you met him? I can image eyes glinting that color, but I would really be nervous if it were the predominate color. Although red is a color I envision for anger, hate, etc. Don't want to get hung up on this ... oops, too late. LOL

Shihiyea< Namu: In retrospect, I believe there was very much a lower quality to this man when I met him. I don't believe that his eyes were red then. I also know that after I married him, I started on my spiritual path. *smile* I believe my guides were very insistent upon my attention!

the_Muse< Namu: Yes, glowing red. I had a hitchhiker I picked up with me, and was talking about a guy I had known as a runaway in L. A. that I thought was a demon at least, and told him, "There he is in that car!" The hitchhiker was on his way to the first rainbow festival in Oregon. I took him from Bakersfield to Sacramento. He decided I was nuts and asked to be dropped off. We pulled into the off-ramp. The car that had the one that looked like this guy I knew pulled around us and got off in front of us. We pulled up to a light and he put his hand out the window and did a strange sign. Then as they pulled away he turned and looked right at me with glowing red eyes. The hitchhiker said, "Uhh, I just wanted some water." And rode the rest of the way.

Ben< namu: Yes, many have seen discarnates with red eyes. So many have confirmed this that it's one of the criteria Dr. Baldwin uses (and teaches) in Spirit Releasement Therapy. (There's a brief overview among "Resources" on my page.)

windy< Ben: I've read that in dreams an orange body glow means a malevolent spirit ... is this also true in clairvoyant vision?

Lightdreamer< Windy: Orange in the auric emanation means courage, warmth, sociability, creativity, high emotion, and open awareness. Only if muddy and unclear does it have negative connotations.

Ben< ALL: Summary: in spiritual discernment we need to use all the senses and all the sense we have. From these two scenarios, I hoped to demonstrate that one can be too paranoid, or not paranoid enough. Those who are too paranoid fail to recognize the people and spirits who are trying to help them. Those who are not paranoid enough fail to recognize the people and spirits who intend to harm them. Thus, neither extreme is good for us.

Ben< /topic Open discussion of spiritual discernment

Elijah< 'tis sad, so many of you apparently live in places where strangers are viewed with such suspicion. Here in Montana, we still greet strangers on the street.

the_Muse< I am wondering what the whales did to create the reality of their murder? Or might it be said they have attracted our malice through malice of their own?

Jello< the_Muse: Well, certainly some dolphins aren't saints. Still, that's beside the point.

the_Muse< Jello: My point is: to blame the victim for having attracted evil is like saying an old grandma was dressed like a slut and so deserved to be raped. I don't buy it. I do think mindless fear can shut us off from some magical people. (My hitchhiker on his way to the rainbow festival, for instance.) But to be safe is to live to learn better discernment in the future.

minidill24< the_Muse: I agree with you 100 percent.

the_Muse< Thanks. My attitude is maybe not "spiritually correct".

Jello< the_Muse: Oh yes, I'm agreeing with you! I don't hold that people necessarily deserve what they get.

the_Muse< Jello: I know you feel similarly. I was paying attention. I was wondering why your good sense answers made you feel sort of "guilty"? You kept excusing them with words like paranoid. We do get better at discernment, yes? I hitch-hiked for three years from 13 to 16 as a runaway. Luckily, I made no fatal mistakes, as at that time I was by no means fear based, or even sensible.

Jello< the_Muse: Well, I have to agree with many that fear itself is not ideal. But I do think it's a very valuable tool until one can get better tools.

the_Muse< Jello: Your answers struck me as healthy open-eyed caution. This is not the same as baseless fear. I do take homeless into stores and buy them a sandwich. Fear stops the logic process. I think that one of the problems with the "fear-base" thing is letting others define our behavior to their standards. I would risk my life to save another. The same theology that states a victim's fear attracts the crime states that they are thus learning an important lesson and so should be left to it. Fear is one of a symphony of emotions, all of which are needed to play true music, in my opinion.

Somber< The-Muse: Nicely stated ... great food for thought!

Jello< the_Muse: An interesting topic: flavors of fear. Perhaps fear is just a corruption of good-sense caution.

glyph< Who was it said the eyes are windows to the soul? They reveal much about a person. Can a person demand to see a spirit's light? And if so, does refusal indicate malice?

Monkeya< Eyes tell a great deal about a person. You can see love; you can see all sorts of things. You can look into the soul.

Jello< Spiritual discernment of people is a lot like discerning a book. Reading nuances. Reading intent, motivation, the direction the text or person is going, the logical consequences of certain stated beliefs ... finding hypocrisy, or earnestness. Ever notice a book that practically seems to have a glittery red light -- or a book might be practically shining with warm light? Even people's writings seem to do that. The way they say things. What they say.

[Ben< Jello: Good point. Spiritual discernment of writings, scriptures, etc.]

SLIDER< Ben: Why do eyes so many times reflect red in photos?

LEGS< Red eyes in photos are usually caused by taking the photos in a dim room. The sudden light of the flash opens the pupils and the momentary energy of that action is reflected as red. If subjects can be photographed in a bright setting, you don't get the red eye effect. Or you can use a mini-flash just before the shutter and the full flash ... that also stops the effect.

the_Muse< SLIDER: Human eyes reflect red, but most animals reflect green. ?

SLIDER< the_Muse: Yes, this is true, and most animals reflect artificial light at night from their eyes, whereas most humans do not. ?

Ben< SLIDER: The fact eyes reflect physical light isn't a psychic indicator. There sometimes are psychic traces in photographs, but that's another subject.

Spirit_Lady< Ben: I thought that just had to do basically with light reflections.

SLIDER< Ben: What would green light in an animal mean, without artificial stimulation, as on a dark night?

Somber< I once saw someone's breath in the dark ... it was green. Then soon after, I saw a green light glow coming from their heart area ... weird?

[Ben< Green light on the outside could be phosphorescent bacteria. Any light on the inside would be seen by clairvoyance. To me, green is an earth-plane color that varies from clear and bright (healthy) to dark and muddy (sickly).]

windy< I've never seen glittery red or anything like that, but when I see people over whom evil has great sway, there is generally a bright energy about the eyes, an intensity, usually coupled with a smugness in face and eyes. There always seems to be a "coldness " emanating from them, although many (in personality anyway) seem to be quite "hot."

Jello< What are some POSITIVE qualities that people have seen? So far we have been mainly concentrating on dark nastiness.

Shihiyea< Jello: I have to agree with you! I have more people in my life that radiate light! I am so honored to know them and hope someday to emulate that same light! It is as if the lights are turned up when they walk into the room!

Jello< One quality I like about light -- that is, the good kind, not the fake kind -- is that it is gentle and warmth-giving. It is a light that gives.

minidill24< Jello: What do you mean?

Jello< Anyone else have personal experiences of the qualities of "good" light? (As opposed to the cold, chilling nastiness of reflected light used to confound people.)

Ben< ALL: What I look for, and hope to see, and have seen many times, is a warm white light radiating from the entire being, and clear, bright, smiling eyes that don't defend against being looked into.

Jello< Ah, Ben, yes! But what about people who defend against being looked into because that's how they've been attacked too many times?

minidill24< I believe that you can't let fear or people get in the way of your life and dreams or it will ruin your life, but if you have no fear, only your life will get in the way.

Jello< minidill24: Did you mean anything in particular about "only your life will get in the way"?

minidill24< Jello: If you don't have a fear in the world, that means you are willing to do anything including something that could get in the way of your life.

Jello< minidill24: And something that could get in the way of someone else's life. If I get your meaning right, I like it!

minidill24< Everyone has good in them even if they don't act like they want to be good.

Jello< Light shines in the most unexpected of places sometimes. It is a relief and a joy to find it.

poweress< Ben: I really enjoyed the session. I must say though, I am a bit surprised at the amount of defense of fear as a necessary sense to maintain.

Jello< poweress: Well, humans are still, in a physical sense, animals. If prey-animals had no fear, they'd be eaten in no time flat.

poweress< Jello: Frankly, I believe humans have much more fear than animals. Animals have survival instincts and they use them. Our fear is mostly emotionally based and tied to the ego, as a protection from connecting with the spirit and recognizing our lack of need for the physical.

minidill24< poweress: If animals were fearless they wouldn't have survival techniques.

poweress< minidill24: There is a distinct difference in my mind between survival instincts and fear. I am not trying to convince anyone, I am expressing my view. I know a good deal about fear. When I was told by medical doctors that I was going to die of cancer, I can assure you I felt a great deal of fear, and I needed to conquer that fear in order to survive, and in doing so, I learned a great deal of the freedom and peace that comes from releasing fear. I am not saying I have released fear entirely. Just as all of us here, I am a work in progress, but I do not strive to hold onto it as I do not see that it serves me well. *S*

FRAML< poweress: Nicely said.

Jello< poweress: Perhaps we are talking about slightly different types of fear.

Ben< poweress: I'm trying to point to a balance between unnecessary fear and a dangerous lack of caution. Both of those extremes are not good for us.

poweress< Ben: I do understand what you are saying. In my opinion though, as we increase our faith and state of peace, less and less fear is necessary, because our ability to listen to our inner voice also increases, and it will always guide us well. I trust my spirit whenever I doubt my physical senses, and in these cases, even if the answer is that the situation should be avoided or moved away from, I don't really feel fear is called for, but rather the sense to find a way to remove yourself to a safe environment. Fear to me only serves to cloud perception. Perhaps we are confusing fear and caution.

Ben< poweress: Yes, unnecessary fears should be released as soon as possible, because they cause psychosomatic illness as well as spiritual problems. Even necessary fear can be paralyzing if it is too strong.

poweress< Ben: Yes, that is true. And in my opinion, fear can create more than psychosomatic illness, but real illness as well. There is no doubt but that my cancer is real in medical terms, but from the circumstances in my life at the time, I still firmly believe that to a large extent it was created from fear.

sekaijin< poweress: It is very true that the spirit can maybe not cause an illness but rather let it happen.

poweress< sekaijin: Yes, I do believe that. Our minds have much more power than we often give them credit for.

Ben< poweress: Psychosomatic illnesses *are* real. The causes are spiritual or psychological but the effects are physical and biological.

poweress< Ben: Okay, I had a different understanding of that definition.

Somber< Ben: Define Psychosomatic illnesses for me, please.

Ben< Somber: Psychosomatic illnesses are caused by the mind, and especially by emotions, usually through the biochemicals that certain strong emotions release. There's a long list of such illnesses, largely related to stress, and other illnesses often have a psychological component.

Somber< Ben: Mental disorders? Depression?

Ben< Somber: I don't remember the URL, but awhile back I found a lot of info by doing a web-search for "psychosomatic".

Spirit57< Ben: I saw a being of light whose white robes had brilliant colors of the rainbow and looked like the new snow that sparkles when the sun hits it. His eyes were warm and loving and deep pools of dark brown and had little bursts of a soft dark red swirling. I was not at all afraid of this being and he struck me as the personification of Holy. Should I be worried about that?

Ben< Spirit57: White robes reflecting light, but not radiating; eyes deep pools of dark brown with soft bursts of dark red ... I would be very cautious of that one.

Shihiyea< Spirit57: I would ask him if he is of the light and what his intentions are for you! I had a guide that I felt threatened by and he ended up being highly helpful through some very difficult situation. I'm glad that I had asked him what his intentions were and if he came of the light!

FRAML< Shihiyea: Asking him is good, but then you have to evaluate his answers. What is the scale you are going to use? Is what he is offering to help you or to help him -- does he seek purpose or power?

Spirit57< Ben: I would have to say the white robes were radiating. There was no reflecting. I once saw the colors of those eyes again in the light reflecting off my fish eyes. I know that is funny, but I had fish with dark eyes, almost clear dark, and when the light hit them there would be a soft red glow for an instant. Looked like the robe had tiny rainbow flashes in every fiber, but it was white.

Somber< Spirit57: I will tell you a really brief story; maybe it will help you decide whether or not you should be cautious of this being. The person I am dating once was meditating in his room. Directly after the meditation, he saw, at the foot of his bed, a very short, gold cherub-like creature smiling at him and staring at him deeply. He blinked and it vanished. He got a very, very odd feeling about this cute little being, and the next day, he told his Wiccan priest about this. And his Priest told him, "Ugly things can come in beautiful packages." (Don't know if that will help or not. I wanted to tell you just hoping to make you think, and trust your first instincts.)

Spirit57< I saw him in a near death experience, and his purpose was to review my life and help me not to condemn myself. He healed me and gave me advice before I came back. My first instincts were that this was HOLY. There was incredible love emanating around him. Some time later, I saw a description of Christ in Revelation where it describes his eyes as fire.

[Ben< This illustrates the need for discernment of both experience and scripture, and the need to carefully weigh both experience and scripture against each other.]

Somber< Spirit57: Then your first instincts seem like they were right. I was telling you that story just to maybe help you in some way or another. I figure if anybody read it, they were meant to and it could somehow help someone. (smile)

Spirit57< That is all right Somber. I understood your intention to help. Thank you.

Jello< Hmmm, dare I say that I don't necessarily trust those that emanate "Love"? So, (in my book) while it's good for a spirit to emanate love, it's not proof positive of what it is.

Spirit57< That being healed me by having me lie on my sides and putting his hands about two inches off my feet, drew them up to the top of my head and healed me. His advice was good. He said "Try not to offend other people." So, is there a red that is in the eyes that should not be feared?

Somber< I believe red can also symbolize love, not just anger. Depends on the feeling and situation, to me.

Ben< Spirit57: Ah ... now you are providing more data for discernment than only clairvoyant perception. What a discarnate does, where he or she tries to lead you, is more data for discernment. I hope to get into that later in these sessions. From the results (fruits) you describe, I agree with your appraisal of this entity.

Spirit57< Thank you, Ben. I understand that a hard glittery red would scare the pants off me. This was like a warm glow of a welcoming fire. Normally my instinct is to be afraid of any red in anyone's eyes, and this has me in a mental twist because in my guts I KNOW this was a HOLY being and he had those red spins.

windy< Spirit57: Perhaps there was a brief overlay of spirits in your experience. You say the rainbow man wanted you to "lose" your guilt. Perhaps at the end of the rainbow man's teaching/message for you, a moment tinged with your still lingering feelings of "guilt" allowed a hint of an adversarial spirit to enter in just briefly through the eyes of the benevolent spirit. Just the sort of thing that kind of entity would do.

Spirit57< windy: I was trying to convince him I was worthless, and he was countering by showing me what my intent had been at each time.

windy< It's hard not to get swept one way or another ... trusting or fearing. We live in a world where it often seems like we have to choose. I try to strive for balance: cautious, yet open to new possibilities. Ben, a white light is pretty much all I ever see surrounding a person ... sometimes it is tinged with blue and/or yellow ... but some people seem to have larger auras than others. I never know if it is something just for the moment or a permanent condition.

Jello< Ben: There is a difference between hiding oneself because one is afraid of attack, versus those who hide because of fear of discovery, yes?

Ben< Jello: Yes, and the difference between fear of attack and fear of discovery is one that we need to be able to discern, in humans and in discarnates, because the better response on our part is so different in these two cases.

windy< Jello: Perhaps your "hiding" is like a bandage protecting a healing wound ... but if you strive to be free from your fear of others, no matter how well founded it was or is at a particular time ... then one day you will be.

Jello< windy: I was commenting on Ben's earlier note about those who hide from light. But I do think you're right -- yet to earnestly want to be free of fear is a lot of effort, and many people don't find that path.

windy< Oh, sorry, Jello, I must have missed that part. Also, I am a great believer in paying more attention to the message than the messenger. If the message is/was a good one, does it really matter who delivered it?

Somber< Windy: Cool point.

FRAML< Windy: That is, to me, a key element in discerning whether the discarnate is friend or foe, helpful or hurtful.

Jello< But if a messenger you know to be someone who is out to hurt you gives you a good message, wouldn't you be a little concerned? I would.

SLIDER< Fear is that which we do not understand or do not want to understand, that which is unknown, or that which is known which we do not want to re-experience.

Jello< I think my main point has been that it is better to keep some fear (not too much), rather than discard healthy caution. It is hard for many people to separate caution from fear, and until that is possible, then let some fear remain.

windy< Re: listening clearly to the message: Add how the message makes one feel, rather than the person delivering the message. Advertising, so much of our world, is built on building up a personality or leader -- some star so that people will follow that person blindly, without discerning the message. We can be led astray just as easily (if not more so) by our heroes as we can by our enemies.

Jello< windy: I guess this goes back to the same point: Use all the faculties at your disposal to size up a situation (if at all possible) before making a decision.

windy< Jello: I agree with you, but my life is rather topsy-turvy at its best. I take truth when it appears. Those who dislike me are just as likely to give it to me as those who love me ... even more-so at times (for reasons too complex for me to go into). I have come to rely on discerning the truth of the message. Now this may not help in the case of some of Ben's examples ... there was no message, just an entity. I guess at that point I am just like any other wild animal ... I have to trust my inner senses.

Jello< windy: Yes, and I hope, your logic. And if you get training on how to gracefully handle tough situations, that's even better!

windy< Jello: Agreed. I have no problem with using logic. Logic and I have been good friends for quite some time ... but I find that for most people, their logic isn't very helpful when discerning whether or not to trust a truly evil entity. Such entities often appear quite friendly, patient, and have a host of positive attributes. Usually logic only comes in handy when analyzing their actions and the outcomes over time ... and most people don't seem to take the trouble to do that.

Jello< windy: Yes. I think, though, that it's not so much lack of logic, at the time, as lack of information on how and when to apply the logic. If only more people heard of the spiritual deception running rampant, of its effects, of its symptoms ... maybe it would help.

windy< jello: Spiritual deception running rampant?

Jello< windy: Yes. For example, today's sample spirit. A spirit wearing white coveralls in an attempt to look like a good guy. It happens all the time in real life, both physical and non-physical.

Jello< windy: re: training: I bring this up with the memories of people I knew trained in martial arts to the point where their reflexes would take over when they were surprised. Unfortunately, since the martial arts they knew were "hard," they almost wound up injuring their friends in some circumstances!

LEGS< Jello: You are a good sport to be the one to behave as the "straight man" and I really enjoyed your reasoning through the problem as stated by Ben. I think women have more fear deliberately instilled in them than most men do (or more than men realize women have) concerning situations such as the one Ben posed. In all cases, self survival is not eminently trustworthy, and neither is leg power or brain power. If fear takes over, all may fail. In a physically threatening situation, discernment (and knowing what to use to kick it into play) can help keep that paralyzing fear at bay. So, in a spiritual situation, particularly if one occurs without being sought, we can't afford to let fear take over then, either.

Jello< LEGS: As I just said to windy, I think training helps. Physical and spiritual self-defense training helps us to keep our cool in unexpected situations -- automatically. The trick is to find a form of defense that is spiritually good!

LEGS< Jello: I hope that is what these discussions are going to help us do ... find that spiritual defense. As former state military, I have the physical defense techniques down pretty good (hopefully), but the spiritual ones give me pause. It is fairly recent for me to realize that entities capable of pointed attacks on someone actually do exist. I suppose I've been living in a sort of fools' paradise, thinking religion protected one.

windy< Jello: Totally agree regarding spiritual training and defenses. Perhaps sometime when I am not so sleepy we can talk more regarding some specifics.

LEGS< Ben: I seem to be totally useless tonight as to "seeing" because most of my decisions involve a feeling that I get ... solar plexus ... agitation or a spreading warmth. Guess this would be a different class, huh? Thanx. ***HUGS***

Ben< LEGS: We'll get into using other perceptions for discernment. Tonight I was only working with the use of physical sight and clairvoyant sight.

Shaman13< Ben: I believe if what you're seeking is for the right reason, for you to be right, to love all, the spirit of truth brings you the correct answer. If it's for any other reason, any spirit could come to you.

[Ben< Shaman13: Yes, I agree that one's personal purpose is important. It is the primary way we align ourselves with celestial, terrestrial, or infernal spirits.]

Ben< ALL: Thank you. I was wondering what you would do with that curve-ball I tossed you. (smile) A good discussion. Peace and blessings to each of you.

05. Spiritual Discernment
Session 3: Sat 29 Nov 1997

Ben< Last time we dealt with two scenarios for spiritual discernment, one using only visual perception, and one using only clairvoyant perception. This time I'd like to start with an outline of how perception works.

Ben< All sorts of perceptions are processed in the subconscious mind, but they are not automatically labeled according to which input mechanism they came through. That's why we often don't know where a perception came from, why discernment involves the testing of various possibilities, and why certain presumptions limit the range of possibilities considered.

Ben< For example, last week I presented a scenario in which you saw a man with your eyes closed. Closing your eyes is a quick-test to discern which mechanism a visual perception came through: if you see it with your eyes closed, it isn't a sensory perception. What else might it be? Inner perception (imagination, hallucination, etc.) or extrasensory perception (clairvoyance, telepathic image, etc.) How do you discern those four sorts of perception? For now, I'm just trying to stimulate your thinking about such possibilities, and set the stage for some future discussions.

Ben< A large portion of subconscious processing is pattern recognition, in which data is used to scan memory to find a similar pattern. If a similar pattern is found, the name stored in memory is used to label the data: "This (visual data) is a horse."

Ben< Our neat little subconscious pattern-recognizing program works very rapidly and very well, but it doesn't work perfectly because it is basically inductive inference from partial data. The next batch of data may find a different pattern in memory: "Oops ... I thought it was a horse, but the ears are too long. It's a mule."

Ben< The memory used to label a batch of data often includes a value-judgment (good, bad, pleasant, painful), and so that value is automatically assigned to the perception along with the name. This is why and how perceived facts so often seem to include perceived values even though there isn't enough data to form a value-judgment.

Ben< Example: three people are seated around a table. On the table is a large cardboard box, upside down. Someone lifts the box, and there sits one each "felis domesticus" (cat). One person smiles and reaches out to pet the cat. One sits and observes the cat. One screams, jumps up, and runs out of the room. What caused these three very different reactions? It wasn't the cat. Or the sensory perception. It was three different values, automatically assigned to the perception: "This (data) is a cat."

Ben< Yes, I'm talking about conditioned response. I consider this subject relevant for three reasons: our own conditioned responses can preclude, distort, or enhance our discernment; they are important indicators that we can use for introspection to see what's going on in our normally subconscious minds; and self-mastery very largely consists of conditioning or reconditioning our own automatic responses.

Ben< Last week we had an opportunity to look at some of our own and other peoples' conditioned responses to a couple of perception-discernment scenarios. From that type of shared, vicarious, simulated experience, you can -- if you wish -- elect to review, introspect, and decide whether to retain or start trying to modify your own conditioned response to such situations. That's the payoff from this outline of how any sort of perception works.

Ben< ALL: Okay. Short break while I take a few breaths and you read through all that, then we'll play.

SLIDER< Sounds like Pavlov's dogs?

Jello< Ben: Sorry, but I only caught three types of perception: sensory, inner, and extrasensory ... was there another?

Ben< Jello: Three classes of mechanisms: sensory, inner, and extrasensory. There are further distinctions within each of those classes.

Jello< Ben: OK, you wrote "four sorts of perception" so I was confused.

Ben< ALL: Okay, let's look at audio perceptions. You are sitting in your favorite chair, reading a book, when you hear someone speak your name. What do you do? And why? What are you trying to accomplish by doing this? From what we have been discussing, can you name the purpose of your action? YOUR TURN

Jello< My first automatic response to the scenario is to process whether the voice is familiar or not. Immediate and involuntary.

Azriel< Recognition of the speaker.

poweress< Well, I would imagine that my response would be to turn toward the sound to see if I recognized the person and to see if they were addressing me or someone else by the same name.

Yopo< Look toward the voice ... assuming first that someone is physically present ... to acknowledge I heard ... and, if I thought I was alone, to confirm that I heard someone actually there.

Ben< poweress, Yopo: Yes. Turn and look. What is the purpose of that action? To cross-check audio perception with visual perception.

poweress< Yes, it has been my experience personally, that I am more of a visual person as opposed to audio, and that is why that was my immediate response.

Jello< Though I don't bother to cross-check if the voice is someone in the household I'm used to hearing.

Awenydd< Sounds to me like pure "reaction."

greyman< Identify person, then prepare a response.

Lor< Wouldn't your reaction to hearing your name called depend a good bit on just how it was called?

windy< Listen. The calling of the name would be very important. I probably wouldn't listen otherwise.

SLIDER< It would depend on the tone of voice, and if the voice recognition was friend or foe.

Ben< ALL: There's nobody in the room or anywhere near enough for you to have heard their voice. Now what do you think? What do you assume? What do you do?

poweress< My first reaction would be to try to decide whether the voice was internal or external.

FRAML< No one there. It is my imagination.

SLIDER< Listen for another sound.

Yopo< Uh, most likely the book will be forgotten. (*smile*) Momentary puzzlement ... possibly followed by "Hello?"

Azriel< Curiosity, seek information, access visceral response to the voice -- 'test the environment'.

Jello< Check walls for sound reflection. :-)

Lor< If no one was there, it'd get my attention!

Ben< Okay. Good. Some personal responses to this scenario. More?

rkangel< My "bells" would go off and I would be "on guard" to see what the next action would be. Concentration in the book would be gone and I would investigate.

Jello< It really does depend also on if the voice is familiar or not. If familiar: "Oh, probably some weird acoustics." If unfamiliar: "Uh oh!"

shellrose< It happened this morning for the second time. I still don't know who it was. "Shelly?" I turned around and saw no one! "Shelly?" eeeeek! I left the room!

Ben< ALL: Some presume that any such perception must be inner perception: "It's all in my head. It's just my imagination. My mind is playing tricks on me." That's what Carl Sagan did. After his mother and father died, he kept hearing their voices calling his name. He was an intellectually brilliant man, but his dogmatic materialism prevented him from assuming those voices might possibly be his mother and father trying to get his attention.

poweress< Well, I have had similar experiences, and although I do not fully understand, my response has been to narrow down the possibilities to the possibility of either my spirit and physical mind sort of crossing or short circuiting -- sounds strange -- don't know how to describe this, or that a spirit is present but able to vocalize.

windy< If there was no one around and I heard someone call my name, I guess I would tense up and listen harder.

Azriel< I wouldn't be on guard, but excited and alert might describe my feelings.

FRAML< Ben: Does one have to be clairaudient for this?

[Ben< FRAML: Technically, no. Although the literature on ESP doesn't always distinguish between clairaudience and telepathic audio reception, clairaudience is an ability of one's own such as mind-reading; telepathy is between two entities.]

Jello< Even if the source were clearly a discarnate spirit, the accounts about after-death encounters indicate that familiarity plays a big role in responses.

Ben< ALL: You hear it again. It isn't in your ears. It's just a little thought like a voice, saying your name.

Shihiyea< I would then know that this was spirit talking to me!

Jello< "Oh no, last week I saw a guy with my eyes closed, and now I'm hearing voices for real!" (or consciously, at least.)

Azriel< SHI or a guide!

windy< This has happened to me. I usually recognize the voice, but the voice usually doesn't say more than my name. Perhaps as poweress said, it could be a cross-circuiting, or maybe that person's in trouble, or warning one of something.

Awenydd< That happens to me from time to time. Strangely enough, the voice is not familiar, and when I invite it in or try to talk with it, it fades away, and I am left wondering ... sometimes trying to sort out the flashes of impressions which also occur.

rkangel< Who is it? Where are you? What do you want? Then probably go into a 'defense mode'.

greyman< After eliminating physical possibilities, open lines of communication. If help is needed, observe how assistance can be given. If the communication continues in a friendly manner, simply make yourself available to continue with the communication. If "unfriendly" then turn off or block communication.

JJ_1< I would feel the presence. If I did not like what I felt, I would do an astral healing. If still there, I would talk to it. No fear, for that would lower my vibration and make me susceptible to it if it was a discarnate spirit of a lower vibration or astral level. Would also ask it right up front if it comes in the name of the Christ.

Ben< ALL: Some say: "This isn't my imagination! It's a ghost! Eeeeeaaaahhhh! Run! Run away!!" (And Casper the Friendly Ghost sadly turns away from them.)

SLIDER< I would start to concentrate on my surroundings and see if any danger is present first. If not, then relax and listen.

FRAML< At this point I'd wonder "Who is this?" Was I in prayer or meditation while reading the book?

poweress< I would try to quiet my mind to determine if a message from inner voice would clarify the situation for me.

shellrose< A psychic friend sends a "wave" she calls it, to me to call her. I hear a phone ringing in my head though not my name. My response, because she told me to be listening for it, is to call her. :)

windy< Ben: Do you mean actually "hear" a voice inside your head? or, as you say later, a little thought-like voice? I have had experiences with both. In fact, and it didn't occur to me at first, my son and I often "hear" each other's thoughts and think that the other one has just said something.

[Ben< windy: Telepathic audio reception can be more like a voice or more like a thought. Telepathy can occur between entities who are both incarnate, or both discarnate, or between incarnate and discarnate entities.]

poweress< Actually, as I think more of this, I do recall a very specific situation where this happened and I found out the following day that my father was trying to contact all of my siblings and myself, because of serious heath situation, and I did not have a phone at the time. Also other times I have found that immediately afterward I narrowly escaped danger without being aware of the danger, so I do not make a negative association with such a phenomena -- more of a protective or communicative energy boost, sort of.

Shihiyea< I use spirit very lightly!

grunblau< And what if this was a visitor not from this planet? There are many ways to perceive this situation.

Yopo< I suppose, on a second hearing, I'd try to engage the voice in conversation. Probably by asking "Who are you? What do you want?" I'd still be withholding judgment on the "reality" of the voice.

Ben< ALL: Some presume that all discarnate entities must be either angels or demons. This is a primitive type of discernment (dualism) that only uses two categories, so it automatically lumps all the possibilities into those two categories.

greyman< Ben: Ahhh, I wouldn't do that.
Azriel< Ben: But in the physical world, dualism is inadequate and too concrete to explain human diversity. Doesn't that also apply to incarnates?

Ben< Azriel: Yes, dualism is a primitive form of discernment no matter where it is used.

greyman< Ben: Yes, I would believe a nice "bell curve": A*exp (-b*X*X).

Ben< ALL: From all I've read, heard, and experienced in spirit communication during the last 30 years, I believe the assumption that is statistically most likely to prove true is: This is probably a human ghost seeking something he or she wants.

Yopo< Ben: Hmm ... Would it not be wise to first consider the possibility that the origin of the voice is oneself? Don't think I'd be considering ghosties and such, until I had first ruled that out.

Shihiyea< I just believe that whenever I am contacted by spirit guides, teachers, etc., that I am being taught a lesson! It is up to me to pay attention to what that might be! If I ignore them, I do pay prices! My life becomes a bit chaotic!

SLIDER< The voice changes to pictures in my mind's eye, so verbal conversation is usually a series of pictures.

Ben< ALL: You hear the same little thought-like-a-voice-in-your-mind again: "Hi. My name is Joe. I don't know if you remember me. We met at a party and talked for awhile." Now what do you think? What do you assume? What do you do?

poweress< I would be very surprised by that indeed. I hardly expect that sort of focus to be generated for the purpose of small talk. *S*

Azriel< poweress: I must agree. The limited times I have experienced this has not involved 'party chatter'!

Jello< I assume it's either (1) Joe or (2) some pretender.

Azriel< I would question the voice about the reason for the contact.

windy< Somewhere along the line I would ask Joe if he is aware that he is having a conversation with me. (To clarify: I mean that well. Souls talk with one another, but I don't think most people are very conscious of this.)

rkangel< ahhh ... thought-like-a-voice-in-your-mind ... I would 'project' the next question: "What do you want and why?" Defenses would still be up at this time.

Lor< I'd be rather shocked to hear such a call -- not ever having had such an experience that I can recall.

Jello< Lor: Yes! I know what you mean! :)

poweress< Okay, this would lead me to believe that this was either a very highly developed spirit on the physical plane, or a being of differing origin, due to the assumption that the average spirit on this plane is not able to communicate telepathically with such ease. As to considering inconsequential statements as deemed worthy of such focus, and the statement that I had met this person at a party or whatever, would imply that this person had a physical form. So either that, or the person was playing with electronic gadgets for a practical joke.

JJ_1< Would do an astral healing first. Masters are not offended. If his name is Joe and it doesn't have a "seph" behind it, good chance he is a mechanic or plumber. (smile) Could help you fix your faucet, but feeling his unresolved issues if not a trained sensitive would make them yours. There are signals to know whether or not an entity is a guide or teacher of the light. Can be felt within the body as pain in the heart chakra or solar plexus. (Of course, projectile vomiting is also a clue.)

greyman< I would ask "Joe" how he was doing. I would ask where he was, what time/year it is. Determine if he was in a body, OBE, or discarnate. If discarnate, ask the source of light how "Joe" could be helped. If no response, just make my self available as beacon for the folks who serve the light to come to "Joe's" rescue. If "Joe" is OBE, then enjoy the visit.

windy< I would ask Joe what he wanted, and why he was contacting me this way, after perhaps waiting for him to tell me what he wanted.

FRAML< I'd ask myself "Who is Joe? How many Joe's do I know?"

Azriel< Malevolent or kind, the discarnate would be able to give details, even 'imitating' Joe -- not a good check!

Ben< ALL: Would you ask Joe about the party he mentioned?

Jello< I probably wouldn't ask Joe about the party, because I probably wouldn't do that even in real life. I'd nod stupidly and say, "Oh, really? (I don't remember, but I'll pretend I do.) What do you want?"

poweress< Probably not at first, as I would be somewhat confused by this message and would probably take some time to consider sorting reality from illusion.

rkangel< Farthest thing from my mind at this point. More on how I would react, and that would depend on how I was feeling, or how the energy was feeling.

windy< I agree with rkangel. How the whole interaction felt would be important as to whether I would allow the contact to continue or not.

Yopo< Guess I would ask about the party. But I would want the voice to tell me something I don't already know, something I might verify later. Gotta rule out some part of me, talking to me.

poweress< I believe, after fog cleared, I would not at all be interested in the party, but more wanting to know more of this entity. I would ask who this person was, and why they were contacting me.

Ben< ALL: If you asked him about the party, this one would say, "At the house of Tribune Maricus. Don't you remember? All our friends were there."

Jello< First thought: "Tribune Maricus. Is that some sort of Roman newspaper?"

LightGrrl< Jello: Tribune Maricus? Didn't we graduate with him?

greyman< Whoa! 79 AD? [The year Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried Pompeii.]

poweress< Okay, so this person is actually a spirit that I have known in a previous life in ancient Rome. Then I would ask him my name at the time, and my position or title.

Lor< And I'd ask: "Who is Tribune Maricus?"

windy< Ben: Are you assuming that one would ask about the party to further identify the individual? I would think that unless the individual was trying to mask his or her identity, the identity of the individual would come into focus simply by virtue of their "being" there.

[Ben< windy: I'm not assuming what anyone will do. I'm just presenting data, plus a few comments about what various people have presumed in such cases.]

Jello< I'd still be saying, "What do you want?" Sounds like a guy who has been hanging around Earth too long, and has not in mind the things of Heaven.

Ben< ALL: Okay, let's suppose you assume this is a human being, remain wary, reserve judgment, and simply ask (aloud or in your mind) "What do you want?" This little thought-like-a-voice-in-your-mind says, "Nobody listens to me anymore. Nobody even looks at me. I think something is wrong. Can you help?" Now what do you think? assume? do?

LightGrrl< Ask for background or details: who are you? Who is neglecting you? Why aren't you in 3D? etc.

poweress< I would ask the person to look around and tell me what they saw.

SLIDER< I look for the scene to see if I can recognize the person or place.

Azriel< Back to someone's previous questions to the voice: what is the date? where are you now?

Yopo< A plea for help tends to put a different spin on things. Doubt remains, but gets put on hold.

Jello< Still being careful, because Joe could still be a liar. Why is he called "JOE" if he's from ROME?

poweress< Jello: Good point.

Jello< "I'm Megadork" comes to mind. :) :) :)

LEGS< Ben: Could it be some spirit that doesn't realize they are a ghost?

Ben< LEGS: Yes. What would you ask or say to such an entity? [Many ghosts don't realize they have died.]

LEGS< Ben: I would say: "When you were talking to others who answered you, were you eating or drinking with them? What year was it?" The physical things that presumably the spirit cannot do now might help this one realize there's been a change ... easier than me pointing it out.

windy< Assuming I felt unthreatened by the contact ... I guess I would treat the conversation like any other conversation.

rkangel< It could babble 'til the next blue moon. My action would depend upon how the entity or energies 'felt'.

poweress< Ben: Why is this person named Joe if the scenario is set up to be ancient Rome?

Ben< poweress: Discarnate entities are often confused (and confusing) because they have had different names in different lifetimes.

poweress< Ben: Okay, all variable were not considered. It is possible that this person shared a life with me in ancient Rome and then also lived other lives after that, and his last was as Joe? But if that were the case, why would he not use the name I was familiar with from the Roman life? Also the possibility still exists that this is some sort of trick with electronic equipment. Can you clarify if you want us to accept for the sake of discussion that this is indeed a legitimate spiritual contact, as opposed to a trick?

[Ben< poweress: Trying to discern from the data given whether this is real or a trick is part of the exercise. Some possibilities include: physical sound? electronic trickery? imagination? spirit communication? and if so, what motivation?]

poweress< Ben: Okay, my last post was written before I saw the one you posted about spirits being confused, so I will accept this is a genuine spirit. I would want to know if the spirit is dissatisfied with his current location.

[Ben< ALL: "Joe" or "Joseph" was originally a Jewish name, and there were many Jews in ancient Rome.]

greyman< It would appear that "Joe" could use some help. It is time to connect to the source of light and request some help for poor old "Joe".

Ben< greyman: Yes, I know that's what you would do, and have done. (smile)

Awenydd< Why try to analyze the situation; i.e., the name Joe from Rome? I mean here you are talking to someone you can't see and you have a problem with his name? What's in a name anyway? I would be more interested in finding out what he had to say, and why he was telling me. My experience has shown me that many details in these matters don't make sense at all in 3d, BUT in a dream state or meditative state, they appear to make perfect sense.

Jello< I used to think some spirits made perfect sense ... 'til I found out they were lying knowing and consciously.

LightGrrl< Awenydd: I am not overly concerned with the name; rather, I would try to discern the entity's intent based on the material he was presenting to me. Just because he has an anachronistic name doesn't mean I would deny him help.

Jello< In any case, it's obvious that "Joe" from "Rome" is confused and in need of help. I would choose to try to help, but via prayer, not direct counseling.

windy< Ben: Could you clarify please ... Joe is a real live person, yes? and he is speaking in a thought-voice (not a voice which literally has sound in your head)? Again, I ask ... does Joe know he is having this conversation, or doesn't it matter?

[Ben< windy: This is a thought-voice, not a physical sound. From the little pieces of data I've given, it isn't easy to discern whether Joe is incarnate or not. If you ask Joe if he knows he's having this conversation with you, he'll say "Yes."]

Azriel< If I felt 'comfortable' with this entity (trust the gut), I would ask what help he is seeking.

Jello< If nothing else, if you directed a thought and the voice answered, it would be pretty obviously of a spiritual, and not an electronics, nature. I hope. :)

greyman< Jello: Help, help, help. "Joe" may not trust joking.

Jello< greyman: Joking? Oh, if you mean "Megadork" that's a reference from one or two classes ago, where Ben asked what we'd think if a spirit suddenly announced that it was "Megadork, your spirit guide."

Awenydd< How does one know that it is Joe who is in need of help?

Lor< Why not just ask how I can be of help?

EveStar< Simply, "I am listening" is my reply.

star_eyed< Well, the thing I would probably be wondering is how come I am able to hear and respond to this voice, when it said that nobody else did ... ?

[Ben< star_eyed: Good point. Perhaps you can hear him because there is an old caring-connection between the two of you. He said "All our friends were there."]

greyman< After it is determined that "Joe" may not be a threat, go with his paradigm. If he stays long enough and you can connect to the light source, he may be rescued.

Jello< Hmmm, I think I am not where I would feel safe in going with every spirit's paradigm. I would try to connect to the light source first, and work via that if at all possible.

Jello< greyman: Ideally, I would try to get initial inspiration from the Source, before trying a possibly dangerous route.

Ben< ALL: Okay, end of scenario. To summarize: this was a lost soul, perhaps a friend from a past life that you may or may not remember, seeking help. This scenario is only slightly modified from thousands of similar experiences, in the use of a Ouija Board or pendulum, direct and indirect voice mediumship, and in Spirit Releasement Therapy sessions, my own and those I've read about.

Ben< /topic Open Discussion of Spiritual Discernment

windy< Ben: So the reason no one notices Joe is because Joe is not a living person but a discarnate soul?

[Ben< windy: Yes.]

LightGrrl< I run into trouble *if* Joe is discarnate, because I have no idea how to direct him back to where he needs to be. Ben, any suggestions for an appropriate course of action?

Ben< LightGrrl: Yes. The simplest response to such a request for help is: "Okay, Joe. Look up. Look for the brightest Source of the Spirit Light. Then rise up and go Home to the Light. Release whatever is holding you back."

Lor< Giving help in the spirit world is perhaps best done by those in the light, unless of course those in the light need our specific help to reach someone they can't reach themselves, at least readily.

Yopo< Ben: Forgive me if I am belaboring the point, but how DOES one distinguish between voices originating outside of oneself and those that might have their true origin within?

[Ben < Yopo: Please forgive me for not answering this question. I was hoping it would stimulate more discussion, and didn't want to preempt that discussion. I'll come back to it next time, but the point is: We often have to go with our best guess, before we are able to absolutely eliminate (rule out) either of those possibilities.]

Jello< Ben: You did write "four sorts of perception" earlier. Which four did you mean?

Ben< Jello: Oh, yes: I mentioned two sorts of perception in each of two categories. Inner perception can be imagination or hallucination. Extrasensory perception can be an ability of your own like clairvoyance, or reception from another entity like telepathy. It is not always easy to discern the difference between, for example, imagination and telepathy.

Jello< Ben: Thanks! Yes, it's not at all easy to tell the difference, even between sensory and extrasensory, or imagination versus telepathy.

Azriel< Ben: Opening the door to the imagination enhances perception.

Lor< I suppose that the process of discerning the nature of Joe and his problems, should not be a whole lot different from talking to an incarnate, except for how it would affect his perceptions and how you would have a different type of guard up.

windy< Ben: What would you recommend one doing in the situation with Joe? What steps would show use of spiritual discernment? Also, are there ways to discern the difference between someone literally playing "mind games" with you, and someone genuinely seeking a spiritual contact with you?

Ben< windy: We all need to be able to discern the difference between a sincere request and someone trying to play mind games with us, whether the person is in a physical body or not -- and the ways of doing that are the same in either case.

Jello< windy: How do you know if a human being is just "buttering you up" versus really "trying to be sincere"?

Lor< Someone once said that by the results you shall/can know them -- I suspect that might apply here.

Azriel< Manipulation sets off definite visceral/emotional triggers -- wouldn't that apply to spiritual contacts?

[Ben< Azriel: Yes, one's gut reactions against perceived manipulation can be very important in spirit communication. Mine have kept me from being deceived. However, gut reactions are conditioned responses, so we need to fine-tune them.]

FRAML< Ben: I'm recalling my experience with the spirits at St. Joe. I didn't hear anything, yet knew I had to say the Hail Mary and began looking for a priest to hear confession. I didn't evaluate, question -- I just knew I had to do it without knowing why.

Jello< FRAML: But if you were a person who was more gullible, you might have been "taken in" by gut feelings to do something not good. (I think you are not the gullible type, but as an example.)

FRAML< Jello: Well, the interesting thing was that I was "drawn" to visit the chapel. I had no intention of going there when I came on campus to visit the book store. And the rest is on my web page.

Jello< FRAML: Yes. :-) I'm just saying, what of people who are misled by ill-intentioned impulses? Do they know who they are? Can we do anything about it? Should we?

FRAML< Jello: I understand now. If they are led by ill-intentioned impulses, then their personal moral standing must not be strong, or is aligned with doing bad rather than good.

Jello< FRAML: Yes, and the scary thing is that *they may not realize they aren't aligned correctly.*

FRAML< Jello: Many young people today have no sense of right and wrong. That is something the military has discovered in it's new recruits. The military not only has to teach them military stuff, but also teach them a system of morals and values, which the military has always depended upon society teaching them.

Jello< FRAML: Though oddly, I think society is better today in some ways than it used to be. :)

windy< Jello: Mislead by ill-intentioned or well-intentioned impulses?

Jello< windy: Ill-intentioned was what I was thinking of. I probably don't need to mention the extreme version of this: "psychotic" people doing what the "voices" tell them to. But that's the extreme and overt cases. There are many subtler ones.

windy< Jello: I think a lot of it has to do with one's intuition, one's clarity of self at any particular time, one's feeling about trust, taking chances. I try to protect myself from "false intrusions" by keeping a fine shield about me.

Jello< One needs to know oneself, and know the universe.

windy< In general, I feel that a spirit or soul wouldn't contact you unless it felt that you could help it. If you don't feel as though you are capable, then I think that one should not get involved, one should be more skeptical of the contact. At best, direct the entity elsewhere and pray or surround it with healing energy or light.

Azriel< Any contact on the earthly plane or astral that causes 'discomfort' should be terminated. Trust your own true inner voice.

windy< Ben: Would you have tried to help Joe? What kinds of discernment would you use to decide whether Joe was legitimate or not?

Ben< windy: Yes, I would have helped Joe to look up and rise up and go Home to the Light. I have long since lost track of how many entities I've helped that way. And I don't do it alone. There are vast hosts of loving spirits who dearly enjoy helping souls Home to the Light. Some examples are on my site. (See "Sampler")

LEGS< Ben: What was the answer to Yopo's query about determining/discerning if "question/voice" comes from within or without? a simple test? or more difficult?

[Ben< LEGS: Sometimes it's more difficult, sometimes less. Oftentimes I go with my best guess. One quick indicator is: does the voice speak your name? Unless you are in the habit of talking to yourself that way, it may be another entity.]

SLIDER< Ben: What about seeing pictures, versus the voice?

Ben< SLIDER: Both video and audio are good, useful instrumentation. However, as someone has said, "One picture is worth a thousand words" -- and that isn't necessarily good news, because a visual image is more difficult to interpret than spoken or written words. Even Simon Peter missed the point of a message sent to him in a vision. (The cloth let down from Heaven with all kinds of animals in it.)

SLIDER< Ben: I've also heard: Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see. *S*

Ben< SLIDER: Yes, I've heard that, and I've also heard "Seeing is believing" and "Actions speak louder than words" -- so, those are the kind of assumptions we're exploring in these seminars.

SLIDER< Ben: So much to cover in so little time.

Jello< Sometime (though I think discernment is more important by far) it might be neat to talk about differentiating between extrasensory and sensory perception.

windy< Ben: I would like to see your checklist of spiritual steps of discernment, or something akin to one.

Ben< Windy: It isn't so much a checklist for discernment (like a linear computer program), as it is a set of mental tools that I can grab in any order I need them.

windy< Ben: Perhaps next time you can share with us your set of mental tools. Thank you and God bless. :-)

Jello< A think a lot of discernment is based on knowing which way is up ... and that's not as easy as it sounds.

FRAML< Tis time for me to go visit St. Sealy's for the night. Remember to count your blessings before you sleep; it is better than counting sheep.

Jello< Unless they're very cute and cuddly sheep.

FRAML< Jello: The next time you see the movie "White Christmas," look for the song that Rosemary Clooney sings: "Count your blessings instead of sheep." One night it hit me what the words were actually saying.

Jello< OK, if I see the movie (I really need to see more movies), I will!

FRAML< Ben: Will this continue next week? And will there be a Christmas/New Years break?

Jello< Ben: Any more classes on discernment? I feel as if we've hardly scraped the surface. Or is that just me?

Ben< Jello: Yes, I agree. We've barely scraped the surface of this subject. I plan to schedule two more sessions on spiritual discernment, the next two Saturdays. And that may not be enough, but I'm thinking of taking a break over the Holidays.

Jello< I will probably not be around for a couple Saturdays over the holidays myself.

Jello< It has really struck home, though, how intertwined discernment and spiritual understanding and orientation are ... and the application of orientation and understanding is *Elevation*. Urk! Need more practice!

FRAML< Jello: You said it all with your last post. EXCELLENT.

Jello< FRAML: So, what DID you realize about sheep and blessings?

FRAML< Jello: I went to bed, was restless, and began counting all the good things that had happened to me, those I had seen happen to others, and those I had done. I fell right to sleep. It focuses my mind on the light and on good that has been done.

Jello< FRAML: OK! I thought you meant that. I need to practice more. Bad habit of falling asleep with answers to tomorrow's exam questions roiling through the brain instead! (And my exam years were long ago.) :)

SLIDER< Ben: What manner of contact do you feel spirits use through the Ouija board -- physical, mental or both? and no, I haven't used one in a number of years.

Ben< SLIDER: It's partial possession. Spirits operate part of a person's physical body by taking over control of part of the person's subconscious mind.

Jello< That sure sounded sinister on first read. Even though the affecting-the-subconscious part arguably happens a lot of the time in daily life anyway.

SLIDER< Ben: So that is what controls the hand movements?

Ben< SLIDER: Sure. There's no power in the Ouija board or the planchette. All the motion is through the muscles of the person or people using the board, and those muscles are controlled by the spirit(s) through the people's subconscious minds.

Jello< I once read a book on hypnotizing yourself and using a pendulum to get yes/no answers from the subconscious. That's a case in point.

SLIDER< Jello: Have you hypnotized yourself?

Jello< SLIDER: Without intending to, I think so. Sorry, I wasn't clear. The book was about hypnosis, but the particular section on getting yes/no answers did not require hypnosis.

SLIDER< Jello: I've read about that but never wanted to try it -- might forget the word to wake me up. *G*

Jello< So, using the pendulum is a lot like using a board.

[Ben< Jello: In either case, the impulse may be coming from the subconscious mind or through the subconscious mind from another entity.]

SLIDER< Just curious as to whether the spirit has to control two subconscious minds at once.

Ben< SLIDER: That's why early use of the board produces unintelligible writing: too many spirits trying to run things. Later they may work in pairs, but often there are still two or more arguing with each other. [That's part of why I quit using the board in 1964.]

Jello< SLIDER: Ironically, the spirit's own "subconscious" may be under the control of someone else!

SLIDER< Jello: Isn't that why you put up your shield before using the board, so as not to lose control?

Jello< SLIDER: Oh, again: to use a pendulum or board doesn't require hypnosis, but it can lead to semi-permanently leaving the "door" open to your subconscious. Which is arguably bad.

[Ben< Jello: The major risk in spirit communication is that discarnates may try to take more and more control of a person's subconscious mind, more and more often. That's why we need to leave the door closed and only open it momentarily.]

Ben< ALL: Okay. Goodnight, friends. It's been good.

SLIDER< Goodnight Ben. Sleep well. Peace and blessings.

05. Spiritual Discernment
Session 4: Sat 06 Dec 1997

Ben< Okay, let's go. I won't be posting much preliminary material tonight, so warm up your typing fingers.

Ben< Last time, Yopo raised a very good question that we didn't discuss: How DOES one distinguish between voices originating outside of oneself, and those that might have their true origin within?

Ben< While editing the transcript, I added a comment -- We often have to go with our best guess, before we are able to absolutely eliminate (rule out) either of those possibilities -- but that comment doesn't answer the question.

Ben< Because the "voice" is usually more like a thought than a sound, let's expand the question to include thoughts in general: How can you discern whether a thought or a series of thoughts is coming *from* your own subconscious mind or *through* your subconscious mind from another source? (telepathy)

Ben< Okay ... Ready?

Ben< ALL: From your own experience, how do you tell that a thought is probably not your own? Or, from your own understanding of how this works, what do you think some of the indications might be? YOUR TURN

Jello< Tone, volume, spiritual orientation, timing.

greyman< Thought patterns are different.

the_Muse< I know what my mental voice sounds like.

Ben< the_Muse: So, you recognize as "other" any thought that doesn't sound like you. Okay. Can you add any specifics?

the_Muse< I have an internal dialogue as I believe most of us do. Thoughts that intrude on a subject are not generated within. But as I mentioned, my inner voice and the voice of my Soul sound like me. I hear other voices all the time. Sometimes the voice is male or female, but it is not my own.

Jello< Any gender-neutral voices?

the_Muse< The key for me is to establish with outside voices if they are to be listened to.

Lashanta< That has been one of my biggest questions: Is it true guidance or from my own mind?

Jello< Or it could be none of the above. Something not guidance, but not from your own mind.

Lashanta< I apply the same question to "visions", etc., in meditation.

Ben< Lashanta: Yes, that's why I expanded the question from "voices" to thoughts. Thoughts can include visual images.

rkangel< When it comes *through* I have a momentary feeling of detachment, like a knock on the door may startle you if you're standing next to it.

Yopo< Well, one obvious way would be if the thought contains information I don't already have.

Phaedrus< Or an attack thought that doesn't belong there.

Lor< Seems right ... particularly if you know the thoughts do not fit you.

Trudy< A thought not my own frequently doesn't sound like me -- doesn't sound like something I would say, or it doesn't sound like the way I would say it.

[Ben< Trudy: Yes.]

FRAML< I guess my experience has been here at the keyboard. I type in a comment and "know" it is right and then read it after I have posted it and realized that it was exactly what needed to be said next. I'm usually in prayer uplink at times like that.

blueye< I went out to meditate on whether or not I should stay in the job I have or take on another job I was thinking about. The answer I got was to write a book. So this thought didn't even enter my mind before, so was this the true message?

Ben< blueye: Yes, "This thought didn't even enter my mind before" can be an indication that the thought is not your own. Whether this means it is "the true message" or not is another question.

rkangel< When someone or something attempts to go *through* without permission, a feeling of queasiness resulting from barriers going up.

SLIDER< It's hard to have two thoughts in your mind at the same time, and the one that interrupts or just pops in I feel is coming from somewhere else.

Lashanta< Good point! I guess I haven't had two voices simultaneously in my head ... at least not yet.

Ben< Yes, a thought that just "pops into your mind" is an indication. This is why the literature on ESP is full of statements like "It suddenly occurred to me that... "

namu< The most difficult times for me to tell are when I'm trying to get more information from someone I've "talked" to before, either immediately or long ago. When I start asking questions, I often think I'm answering them myself.

5foot2< Thoughts being electrical impulses in these human forms, I believe it is common for other energy sources (people/events) to react/generate thoughts in our minds. As more stimuli are received, new networks are built in our minds, expanding our thoughts, so the stimuli can be but one brief glimpse that we "run" with.

Yopo< Perhaps if the voice or thought seems from a source wiser than myself, or having greater moral discernment than myself, that might be a clue.

Ben< Yopo: Yes, I watch for thoughts in my mind that are wiser and kinder than I know myself to be. (smile)

Jello< Ben: But you have to know yourself!

Ben< Jello: Yes, I have to know myself in order to recognize what is not myself.

OM< Ben: Perhaps you are not giving yourself enough credit!

Ben< ALL: An inner dialogue is a very good indication that there is probably more than one source of thoughts operating. Inner arguments are an extension of this example, and usually easier to recognize.

Jello< Yeah, when you start saying "Shut up!" to "yourself" that's a pretty clear sign.

blueye< Jello: I understand that one. Sometimes the voices can be so persistent in getting the message across ... repeating themselves, if you will.

the_Muse< Ben: I have an inner dialogue with Spirit all the time. Talk about everything. I think most people call this prayer. I just hear a voice that replies. Whether that voice is my Soul or the Spirit varies. Sometimes it is Jesus/Joshua. And a couple of times I heard God!

Jello< How do you know the identity behind the voice?

sandy< What'd He say? Or She?

the_Muse< But as I mentioned a couple weeks back, if the Voice I know as God told me to take my baby up and make her a burnt sacrifice I would tell it NO.

SLIDER< When you find it hard to think about a particular subject because some other thought is over-riding, that's a good indication of a thought other than your own.

greyman< Bouncing a thought from the back of your mind and it comes back different.

~Uum< What if you hear the "voices" because they're coming out of your mouth and you know they are not yours because you are listening too?

FRAML< What about cases when one just blurts out something -- like "Such nice high heels! Do you have a leather dress and whips to go with them?" -- and it comes out of your mouth without you even realizing it is in your head?

Ben< ~Uum and FRAML: If you physically hear yourself speaking things that you are not thinking, that is a strong indication that someone else is operating your vocal mechanism.

Lashanta< I have noticed that the times I receive information are when I meditate in an open, exploring manner or when I'm in a guided meditation with plenty of flexibility and time. These are the times when teachers appear in various forms.

Jello< The less outside influence, the less I have internal conversations.

Lashanta< Ben: What do you mean, internal dialogues are a good indication? I am concerned. I have had a problem with constant internal dialogues for years, and I argue, debate, and rationalize, too.

Ben< Lashanta: I didn't mean that internal dialogues are necessarily good or bad, only that this is a strong indication there is probably more than one source of thoughts operating.

namu< Ben: I question whether a "two-sided" conversation with yourself necessarily indicates a voice from another source. I feel it is often just processing what I may know and have forgotten.

Lashanta< namu: Cool, thanks. I feel better. I neglected to mention that I am a loner and live alone. That probably has something to do with all my internal dialogue. However, with all that chatter, how will my guide get through?

5foot2< Is the voice processing what we know? or possibly weighing up the potential consequences and determining risk/repercussions of past and future actions/reactions?

Lashanta< I have noticed that since I have a lot of internal dialogue, when I get quiet and meditate I get flooded with visuals. It seems information is given to me through seeing and visuals since my audio channel is overloaded. Something to ponder.

OM< I'm sorry for interrupting ... all this talk of "separate" voices ... does no one believe in ONE??

Jello< One what?

the_Muse< Of course we believe in the Creator, the One, but as long as there are those who can think and speak, there will be many voices.

namu< Muse: Don't assume that all believe in "the Creator" although I imagine most of us here believe in a strong central voice, whether it goes by that name. Traditionally, however, the "big guy/gal" is not the one doing the talking.

Elijah< OM: All is one, I agree. Any fragmentation within the mind is also a fragmentation of perception of the world. If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinions for or against anything. To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind. When the deep meaning of things is not understood, the mind's essential peace is disturbed to no avail.

[Ben< Categorical assertions preclude discernment. For example: "All men are pigs" precludes consideration of the possibility that some men may not be pigs. Likewise: "All is One" or "All voices are voices of God" or "All your thoughts and feelings are your own" preclude consideration of other possibilities by implying, "It's all the same; there is no difference."]

OM< Elijah: Yes, being non-judgmental is easy to say and difficult to do. The things we do not understand are a SPECIAL message we are trying to give ourselves.

KatZenBou< What about drug use influencing internal dialogs? Example: could Heroin be a spirit in itself and enter the mind of the user (or prior user) and influence (or try to influence) the mind/soul and cause internal disruption?

[Ben< KatZenBou: Yes. Semi-intelligent spirits have been found in association with hallucinogenic or conscious-altering drugs. Some people see these beings, feel them, and describe them in a similar manner. See "substance spirits" in the Glossary on my website.]

the_Muse< KatZenBou: One time I was in a deep meditative state and I had the clearest mental communication with a person ever. He told me he was using some type of device that focused on certain brain waves like a radio tunes in radio stations.

rkangel< KatZenBou: Methamphedamine psychosis is a result of no sleep that causes an imbalance in the brain that makes one hear and see things in the physical.

greyman< rkangel: Yes, "seeing" snakes come out of the wall after long periods without sleep (72 hours or more). However, I've written some impressive software during long periods without sleep.

rkangel< greyman: That is why the prophets fasted. Many things can come to you.

greyman< rkangel: Yes, it is common knowledge that many prophets were also good programmers. *grin*

rkangel< Ben: Are not all thoughts collective, and can you not "tap" into this collectiveness naturally without training or study?

SLIDER< rkangel: Thoughts are collective, but they can also be aimed at individual or groups.

rkangel< SLIDER: Yes, thoughts can be aimed at individual or groups ... how well I know, my friend.

Lashanta< rkangel: It is difficult to tell sometimes where the information is coming from. I have often wondered about collective consciousness.

rkangel< Lashanta: There are many levels or circles to that collective.

Tracey< I would like to ask a question. What do you think about warning thoughts that are so (just there) that I always take them seriously? An example: SLOW DOWN and a deer appeared in my path in just a moment. By then I was almost stopped, as I have learned to listen well to these over the years.

the_Muse< Tracey: I would say to try to really discern that voice, and ask it to help you filter all the others that might pop into your mind. It has shown it is from God and is your "guide".

Tracey< the_Muse: Thank you ... that was my take on it also. I assumed it was my guide since I was being protected.

Ben< ALL: Now let's look at feelings. How might you discern whether a feeling is coming *from* your own subconscious mind or *through* your subconscious mind from another source? (telempathy) YOUR TURN

the_Muse< This is why I had so much trouble giving a good answer to the first question. For me, my emotions are the base for my thoughts. They are linked so closely I can't explain one without the other. I know what I am thinking because I know what I am feeling, so both must agree for it to be internal.

namu< Ben: Your take on feelings is interesting. I find I experience unusual, unexpected feelings at times because of where I am, the location, the memory of the land.

Ben< Here's a tool for discernment: If a feeling seems to take on a life of its own, one or more discarnates may be amplifying it and prolonging it. For example: you feel a little flash of anger at someone -- but the feeling of anger persists and even grows stronger after the event that triggered your anger is past. The additional anger may be a symptom of discarnate influence. What type of discarnates might amplify and prolong your anger?

Lashanta< Certainly not ones I would want around.

Jello< Anger is not usually a constructive emotion, so the answer to that is fairly obvious. But blissful joy isn't always the most constructive emotion, either.

greyman< Ben: Surely discarnates who care for you would not prolong anger. It is destructive to the soul. The set that is left are those who do not care for you, or are angry/destructive themselves.

[Ben< greyman: Yes.]

Yopo< Hmm ... The source of feelings strikes me as more difficult to pin down. An unexplained anger, or an anger that grows after the obvious triggering event has passed, might be the result of some unconscious association with a forgotten event that evoked that same emotion.

Elijah< Anger represents fear. Anger equals the furthest separation from oneness (god) one may approach.

Phaedrus< But aren't scorn and contempt the brothers of anger? vengeance?

Lor< Feelings of scorn, contempt, anger, or vengeance do not seem to come from the warm light, being of a much lower variety, me thinks.

Phaedrus< Lor: Nevertheless they seem to exist, where they don't seem to belong, from nowhere.

Lor< Phaedrus: Perhaps the question is how to tune up and away from lower attractions or feelings.

~Uum< Might it be memories from previous lives?

Ben< ~Uum: Yes, thoughts and feelings that do not seem to be our own may possibly be karmic memories. Diagnosing the difference between a past life memory and an attached entity is a rather challenging part of Past Life Therapy. (Some illustrations of this by Dr. Baldwin are under "Resources" on my site.)

FRAML< Those who have agendas of their own to push, those who are looking for someone because of love or revenge. See my earlier comment. Saying that hurt me internally for a long time after the person forgave me for saying it.

Jello< FRAML: For having been "used" by an outside entity, or ... ?

FRAML< Jello: Not for being used, but because "I" had said it. It is not "me". Later I found out that I had a spirit attached to me.

the_Muse< I believe the discarnates feed on the energy of our emotion. So any that were negative would wish to induce those feelings for their feeding.

OM< Muse: Discarnates? ... Definition, please?

the_Muse< OM: There are spirits that have no life of their own. They have allowed themselves to be trapped here too long and cannot find their way to the tunnel. These beings need food like any other being. Their food is emotional energy. They thrive on confusion and strife. Drug addicts are ridden heavily by these.

OM< Perhaps these discarnates simply need our LOVE to be released ... not understood or analyzed ... only loved.

Ben< OM: Yes, many spirits need to be loved. However, all spirits need to be loving.

the_Muse< The energy of Love is of course our link to Spirit. But God does not wish anything to do with twisted emotion. Like the famous love/hate combination, it is too twisted and warped for Spirit. So these sad and sometimes malevolent spirits will seek to manipulate their host into these warped emotions to provide their feedings. And like beer, they have developed a taste for the warping of and feeding on warped emotion.

the_Muse< God desires only clear emotions that express an honest heart. Anger is honest as is love, but guilt and envy and things like that warp our hearts out of true. So if emotion has value, then the desire for the warped emotions would drive those negative souls to try to warp our hearts and lives to provide for their needs, and to deprive us from our connection to God.

OM< the_Muse: When did G-d tell you he wishes nothing to do with "twisted" emotions?

the_Muse< OM: Twisted emotions are lies. God does not like lies of any kind. If one loves a person, one does not also hate that person. If one is true in one's desires, then one does not feel guilt about those desires. And if one is true to these emotions of the heart, then one can have an internal dialogue with God that is based on honesty. Anger in that case would be honest. Not a matter of guilt, but a matter needing understanding.

Resh< God dislikes nothing.

OM< Resh: Agreed!

greyman< Resh: I believe that GOD would not like you to perish!

the_Muse< OM and Resh: God didn't much go in for Moloch's taste in burnt children. I would have to say he disliked that.

OM< Muse: You make it difficult to respond ... it seems people agree that G-d is inconceivable ... but then conceive of what G-d is or what "He" believes.

the_Muse< OM: I can only go by what God has told to all the good men and prophets throughout the world. I have to believe that what God said about God's tastes, God meant.

Ben< In a detachment therapy session with a friend whose presenting problem was prolonged anger, I found the prolonged anger usually started when someone cut him off in traffic -- but only if the threat came from the left side of his car. Otherwise, he had only a brief flash of anger that stopped as soon as the situation passed. By asking "Who got hit from the left?" I elicited two answers, both through the vocal mechanism of my friend. Someone said "I did" but my friend said "No, I've never been hit from the left." Thus we discovered a human ghost attached to my friend -- the ghost of a man who was killed in an auto accident when someone hit *his* car from the left. So, the prolonged anger didn't come from my friend. It wasn't his stuff. It came from the ghost, and it never recurred after that ghost was rescued (helped to rise up to the Light).

5foot2< Ben: We have the ability to CHOOSE which energy/emotion we apply to a situation and to what degree ... your friend had energy attach to his energy.

[Ben< 5foot2: Perhaps if my friend had realized what type of situations usually triggered it, he might have avoided the onset of prolonged anger by trying to stop his own little anger at the moment someone cut him off in traffic.]

Tracey< When you have a thought that is truly not yours (or at least who you perceive yourself to be), how can you tell where it comes from? This has happened a couple of times to me and I just said "Shut up!" or "That's ridiculous!" and it was over and I was back on track. Was that me keeping myself in place or some other entity trying to change my thought process?

[Ben< Tracey: That sounds to me like you were keeping yourself on track, even though some other entity tried to lead you in another direction.]

Elijah< Obey the nature of things and you will walk freely and undisturbed. When thought is in bondage the truth is hidden, for everything is murky and unclear. The burdensome practice of judging brings annoyance and weariness. What benefit can be derived from distinctions and separations?

[Ben< Hmm. What have we here? What is the spiritual direction in this message? Where does it lead? Why would anyone (incarnate or discarnate) suggest that discernment is more trouble than it's worth? "Don't do it ... don't distinguish between true and false, right and wrong, good and bad, better and worse ... just obey the nature of things..." What type of spirit might inspire such thoughts?]

namu< Beautifully put, Elijah. But how can those thoughts be applied to judging where the truth, in the form of thoughts or feelings, is coming from?

Elijah< namu: It is due to our choosing to accept or reject that we do not see the true nature of things. Be serene in the oneness of things.

[Ben< "Do not choose to accept or reject ... be serene in the oneness of things." Ah, yes, I have heard that doctrine before.]

Ben< ALL: What other feelings might various discarnates amplify and prolong? And in each case, why might they do so?

greyman< Any handle the discarnates can use. "Good" ones will influence towards "light" the bad ones will lead into "darkness" (forgive the duality).

SLIDER< Some spirits know where they are and how to manipulate what they want.

Jello< Here's my cynical input: Some spirits try to bring out feelings of joy and pleasantness because they want to convince you they're good guys when they're not.

Ben< Jello: Maybe so, but what type of spirits amplify and prolong cynicism?

Jello< Ben: Other than cynical spirits or those who want to drag down a soul, those who deceive tend to induce it (cynicism).

Lor< Jello: How do you discern such tricky deceivers?

Jello< Lor: Sometimes, only time will tell. Like trying to figure out if someone is a con-man trying to convince you he's honest, or a "person of standing" trying to cover up a dirty secret. Sometimes you have the tools and experience to notice; sometimes you don't. (Sometimes you feel like a nut.)

Elijah< How can a focus on illness but bring illness, a focus on wellness but bring wellness?

Yopo< Perhaps there might be aspects of certain emotions or feelings that require a physical body to be fully experienced. Maybe some discarnates have a need to feel these things, and latch on to someone with a body to "get their fix"?

[Ben< Yopo: Yes. That's it. Precisely stated.]

Ben< ALL: What about feelings of sexual lust? What type of discarnates might amplify and prolong such feelings? What is their motive for doing so?

rkangel< The most famous being of lust would have to be LILITH, and what is wrong with animalistic lust if no one gets hurt? Especially if you entice a Tantric state of bliss. The motive would be to "Feel" and "Be" in the physical.

[Ben< Here is a major tool for spiritual discernment: Their desire to feel and be in a physical body is the primary reason animals and humans reincarnate. Until souls transcend their animalistic lusts, frustration of those lusts automatically causes them to suffer when they are not in a physical body, and the intensity of their suffering is directly proportional to the intensity of their lust. Thus, they are both drawn and driven to reincarnate or to try to possess the body of another. They may be so frustrated they simply give up and sink into apathy. Whoever amplifies and prolongs animalistic lusts does so for their own selfish purposes, not for the benefit of the souls they influence. (See "earth-binder" in Glossary on my website.)]

Phaedrus< rkangel: The distinction between lust and passion isn't always so clear, is it?

FRAML< Here is the second part to my earlier post. I knew I had something wrong with me one afternoon shortly after the comment to the lady in the high-heels. I went into the office at church to drop off some stuff, and I was talking to the church secretary. She brushed her hair over her ear, and I got feeling of a come-on from her. A couple minutes later she did it again, and I had this desire to have sex with her right then and there. It shocked the heck out of me. I left promptly and called a friend about it, seeking help as to why I was having those thoughts. I was emotionally vulnerable at the time.

Elijah< Many are the alibis humanity finds for their behaviors. Acceptance, and taking responsibility, for who we are.

[Ben< Hmm. He responds to confession and vulnerability with contempt for humanity.]

FRAML< In my case, I chose not to act in the latter instance, but "uncontrollably" spoke in the first. It was perhaps the first encounter that was a clue that my thoughts were not all my own.

Ben< ALL: What about feelings of affection, compassion, benevolence, blessing? What type of discarnates might amplify and prolong such feelings? What is their motive for doing so? YOUR TURN

SLIDER< There are good spirits that help us to understand the good qualities of existence.

rkangel< Many spirits cause good feelings or amplify them. The reason: to feel the winds, fingers in your hair, the sun tickle your skin, the sweetness of a good wine.

{Ben< Here again, these are symptoms of the spirits' own cravings for physical sensations, feelings. Such spirits are not evil, because they are not causing pain or hardship. They are sensuous earth-bound ghosts, addicted to sensory stimuli.]

the_Muse< I think the ones that encourage the true and uplifting emotions show that they can be trusted in doing that!

Rags< Can the motive be entrapment? Like a salesman gives you something relatively insignificant so he can sell you something significant (at least to him).

Ben< Rags: Yes, some people and spirits pretend to be kind and loving when they aren't. But nevertheless, there are those who truly enjoy helping, healing, lifting, mending other living beings. These ought not be overlooked in the spectrum of possibilities.

Jello< Somehow discernment always comes back to: "What is your picture of reality?" Because what doesn't fit is what we reject. Woe to those who have a mistaken picture of reality! Or not, depending on your picture of reality.

Ben< ALL: In case you haven't noticed, I'm intentionally not addressing what is "good" or "bad" -- only some ways to discern which thoughts and feelings may not be your own.

the_Muse< I don't mean that to be told to love is proof that they are good, but an internal drive to the sort of internal truth that allows for understanding that leads to the growth of the ability to understand and finally love.

[Ben< the_Muse: Yes. Many demand love. Many try to coerce love. But those who respect individual free will do not try to force anyone to be loving. They may try to persuade.]

Jello< So, maybe what we decide isn't from ourselves is the material that doesn't fit into our present knowledge of things. (Though of course people have been attributing inspiration to the subconscious for years)

5foot2< Knowledge is an opposite of fear. Usually it is the unknown that we fear most.

Resh< I think our thoughts and feelings may attract spirits, but the thoughts and feelings originated with us attracting them.

[Ben< Resh: Good point. Yes, usually the initial thought or feeling or attitude or desire or purpose is our own. But in any case, the basic principle is: What we want determines the type of spirits we attract.]

Rags< Resh: You are so right. I believe all things come from "God" bad emotions included. We are blessed with a thinking mind that might be able to sort out the bad from good or positive from negative. Not being judgmental here, though I sound it.

SLIDER< Rags: Free Will.

Rags< SLIDER: Its really hard for me to believe in "free will" as I feel we are the products of our environment. We are what the environment dictates, based upon a genetic foundation. I think this is off the very good subject.

Jello< We CHOOSE which thoughts to accept and act on. They should pass our own internal standards before we act on them. There's where our free will really lies: our choices.

SLIDER< Jello, Rags: Well said. *Smile*

Ben< /topic Discussion: How to tell which thoughts and feelings may not be your own.

~*serena< I do automatic writings, and I know that when I go back and re-read some of the writings, they use different words than I do. They speak about golden resonating Energies ... sometimes they're soooo subtle that it is as if it is one's OWN but isn't.

rkangel< Whenever I reach out to others' thoughts I "use" green or blue light. When I am receiving it is red. If there is no red (lack of description), it is from elsewhere and not myself.

the_Muse< For me it comes down to hypocrisy. If we do not lie to ourselves about why we do and say the things we do, then our emotions are not easily manipulated. And we have a fine barometer for judging the actions of others if we can assess what they hold to be values and their obedience to their stated ethics. If a feeling or thought comes to me, I always examine it. I judge myself very harshly. So a spirit has to pass my own muster to manipulate me.

Tracey< the_Muse: That is a very good practice.

Jello< the_Muse: "The source doesn't matter; it's the spiritual orientation that counts"?

the_Muse< Jello: A good measure surely! I wonder why a person would take advice from some discarnate voice that they would not take from their mother or best friend?

Tracey< If I have a thought that seems foreign to my way of thinking and also one which does not fit my normal way of looking at life, does this mean someone else is coming in or I am just in a mood ... how can you tell??

Jello< Tracey: It's sometimes easiest to start with the obvious, and *practice* our way from the extremes. For example, a sudden urge to run out and become a chainsaw murderer is probably not you.

Tracey< Jello: That makes sense, although the couple of times this has happened it wasn't quite that extreme. I'm rather glad of that. Thank you.

Jello< Tracey: Still, if it's enough to catch your attention, odds are it's not you.

Tracey< Jello: I have had a couple that have definitely caught my attention, and really wondered why I would think something like that ... thank you.

Jello< Tracey: You're welcome! I've been caught in the same trap. Looking back, I am glad to know those thoughts weren't mine! (And also humbled to realize that some of my best thoughts may have been from elsewhere, too.)

Tracey< Jello: Yes, that does open up an interesting door, too, doesn't it? Maybe I just have a really nice spirit doing all the good stuff. Anyway, I just hadn't given this much thought before.

Jello< Tracey: It's definitely a topic worth thought! But it really does FREE us: it frees us from the duty to follow up on all thoughts. We can choose to discard those we think aren't up to our own standards!

Tracey< Jello: I think there is a great freedom in this realization, and I have always made it a practice to follow up on thoughts which do fit my standards; however, I have been bothered by having "the others" from time to time.

Jello< Tracey: If you are bothered by outside thoughts, there are ways you can work to "close" yourself from them, and also to try to tune to a different set of thoughts (i.e., better ones).

Tracey< Jello: Well said, and I hope I am making my own difference now in a positive way.

Jello< Tracey: It's tough, but ... well, I think it's worth it.

the_Muse< Tracey: For a while I lived two doors from a convicted child molester. It was horrible to get his mental effluvia. And a relief to move away from the thoughts that would occasionally intrude. I wonder what I would have thought of myself if I hadn't had a similar experience with another weird neighbor before. I would pray and tell Spirit to please block that man's mind from mine.

OM< the_Muse: Who on Gaia needs it more? ... the preacher or the molester?

Tracey< the_Muse: I have noticed a great difference in my thought patterns since I dropped out of Corporate America and am doing my own work for the animals. I was angry there, and anger is not me. I thought it was because of the job but came to realize there was so much negative emotion it was very difficult to fight on a daily basis ... thank you, dear one.

Jello< Tracey: I have found the same thing. Too often I just pick up on the nastiness around me. But we can have our own effect, too. We can become sources of peace and better things than corporate rage.

Ben< A foreign thought may be just that: from another entity. "How to tell" is the subject of this meeting.

Resh< All thoughts are entities.

Elijah< Ben: I'd say there are no foreign thoughts. If one is uncomfortable with how one thinks or is, is high time to take steps to correct.

Ben< Elijah: I agree there are times that one needs to take steps to correct how one thinks or feels or is. However, discarnate entities can influence one's thoughts and feelings.

Resh< Ben: That is because we are attracting them.

Rags< What does it matter if the thoughts are our own or something/someone else's? We still react to them the same way. Are you saying that if they emanated from something/someone else we would react to them different?

[Ben< Rags: The question isn't how we react, but how we can alter reactions.]

5foot2< Evil spirits are an energy that we CHOOSE to create.

Rags< If you think a thought, YOU think a thought. I agree with 5foot2. It's in your head, you thought it, even if it was put there by someone/something else.

Jello< How do you know that something claiming to be a part of you is really you?

5foot2< After establishing ownership of a thought it is up to us to CHOOSE how to react.

Jello< 5foot2: Though arguably whether one was the source of the thought or not is fairly unimportant to the question: "Should I act on it or not?" We may get a great thought from outside. We may come up with a crappy idea on our own.

OM< Jello: LOL I have come up with many on my own!

Jello< OM: Me too!

5foot2< Jello: I'm sure the crappy ones are from outside. *grin*

Jello< 5foot2: Of course! :D

5foot2< When does ownership of a thought take place? By being in your head, regardless of how it got there, wouldn't it still be your thought?

[Ben< 5foot2: If you receive a thought telepathically, it isn't your own thought.]

Jello< 5foot2: Only if you decide you want to keep it!

SLIDER< Ben: Spirits in carnal bodies can do the same influencing.

[Ben< SLIDER: Yes, they can. But discarnates show up far more often in Spirit Releasement Therapy, probably because most incarnate folks have better things to do than bugging someone else by telepathy, and are not as bored.]

Carnage< I think that your true thoughts come only during deep thought alone. Everything else is just a reflection of your environment and surrounding influences.

Resh< But we created our environment.

Rags< Resh: I didn't create where or to whom I was born. I think my beatings sort of warped my perspective. Where do these spirits that give us thoughts come from? Are they from "God?" The Devil? I am really ignorant of this.

Ben< Rags: Most of the spirits we encounter are human ghosts, no matter what they may say they are. Like humans, they are characteristically self-serving, and therefore serving neither God nor the Devil. I touched on this last time, but did not lead the group to fully explore the implications. I'm hoping to get to it before the end of this seminar. Discernment of the characteristic differences between divine and diabolical sources is certainly a major part of spiritual discernment.

Rags< What are ghosts? Why do they care what we think? So why do they try and influence us? Do they work on commission?

[Ben< Rags: Human ghosts are people. Many of them try to influence us to get something they want from us. They use what we want to get what they want.]

the_Muse< Carnage: I like your point about the true thoughts happening during deep solitary meditation. Most of the other times we are to busy reacting.

Carnage< the_Muse: My point exactly. What are your thoughts on the matter?

Elijah< Wondering, if some thoughts (perhaps impulses) are not our own, what then becomes of free will? Seems to equate with god or satan made me do it! Again alibis. Accept responsibility for who we are.

Resh< Elijah: I agree ... otherwise we are all victims.

OM< Resh: YES!!!

Carnage< Resh: How true! In fact, who is to say there is or is not a god? For all we know, God does not exist. To present, I have seen nothing but blind faith; nothing more, nothing less. Yet it matters not, for we will soon know the truth.

Lor< Carnage: Isn't the search for truth and loving care the reason we are here doing this chat? Can't we discern something of the nature of God by the results of our prayers and experiences? I believe so.

Carnage< Lor: Believe what you will; it's your right, and I do agree with you, in a way.

Rags< Elijah: It seems that humankind has an innate need to finger point. When we point at others we don't point at ourselves. When we point, we draw the attention away from our own failures. We must realize we are all failures and make mistakes, It's one way we learn.

Phaedrus< Rags: Maybe the only way we learn.

greyman< Phaedrus: I greatly appreciate vicarious lessons.

KatZenBou< Elijah, Carnage: Yes, but we can be victims or we can do something to liberate ourselves and end the slavery of our souls to these outside forces. How then to really know the difference?

Elijah< KatZenBou: Perceive yourself to be a victim, a victim you are; believe yourself to be subject to outside forces, such you are; or change perceptions, be free.

Carnage< One truly never escapes thought, only blocks it for a time until they are forced to look deep inside their soul and see the good, the bad, the light and the dark, and all in between.

Resh< I believe we have to take responsibility for all our thoughts and emotions. This is the only way we can get through them.

~*serena< I agree with Elijah. What he says is true. Change one's perspective. I believe that it is vitally important that we look at what good or positive can come from a negative situation, or what we perceive as such, thereby looking at the situation or lesson at hand. Find one small point and build on that, or take that anger and use it for a positive constructive use. When we walk our Earth Path we choose to walk every rung of the Wheel Of Life; thereby we know what lies in the hearts of others.

Carnage< serena: How true luv. That's how I get most of my power. I used to explode in violent fits of rage, but now I channel that power and use it for the good of my self and others positively. That's where my name comes from.

~*serena< Carnage: WOW! One of the few positive posts I have seen all night.

Carnage< Serena: Thanks for understanding.

Jello< ~*serena: How one chooses to react to a situation can indeed turn a negative situation into a positive one. But if the truth is X and I choose to believe Y, then it doesn't change X into Y.

Rags< Jello: I like your explanation. Very clear and so true.

~*serena< Jello: Sure it does. You are the one that changes. Change your perception ... and one changes their Truth. Only you are able to change you. By ridding oneself of the negative, one gets rid of that anger ... healing takes place. Or should one choose to take that anger and channel it to helping others ... start a program. I mean one's anger can literally make one deathly ill, and if that anger is used for a positive goal, then it is one takes Life and faces Life on Life's terms.

Elijah< When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way, nothing in the world can offend, and when a thing can no longer offend, it ceases to exist in the old way.

the_Muse< Elijah: Is that what you were doing when you said I sounded like a white supremacist? Seeing if I was in the Way enough to not be offended? I guess I passed.

Ben< ALL: Concerning personal responsibility versus being a victim: I have tried to indicate that the point for control is in our own feelings. To the degree we can reprogram our feelings by reprogramming what we want (our desires), we take control of our own destiny and the types of spirits we attract.

Carnage< Ben: Very interesting view.

Resh< Ben: Well said.

Jello< Ben: How to re-tune oneself to different types of thoughts is definitely an interesting subject, too.

the_Muse< Ben: My post to Elijah brings up an interesting fact. His statement was so far from who I know myself to be that I felt no reaction but laughter. When I was next door to the child molester and picked up his thoughts, and when a negative spirit puts equally ridiculous accusations or thoughts at my door, I know they are to be ignored.

Jello< the_Muse: The most obvious ones are sometimes the easiest to reject and laugh off. The subtler ones, though ... are subtler (department of redundancy department).

5foot2< Apply humor (sometimes you have to look for it) to a situation when you would normally feel angry ... the difference is amazing.

Ben< 5foot2: "Apply humor" Good point!

Carnage< Humor can destroy or build. It depends on how it is used.

Jello< FRAML: Did you intend to explain more about what you said awhile ago?

FRAML< Jello: I discovered I had the spirit (ghost) of a man who was looking for his girl friend/fiancé who was still in Ireland. He was frustrated with not being able to find her. Through a detachment session he was separated from me.

Jello< FRAML: Isn't that technically partial possession?

FRAML< Jello: Yes, I guess it was partial possession. I also noticed that after a weekend working at the local mall I'd be filled with anger and hate toward people, a feeling that wasn't there when I began work on Friday night, but I was full of it by Sunday night. I learned that I was picking up peoples/spirits' hate and anger, and I learned that I had to do a clean-out every night to rid myself of them.

Jello< FRAML: Unpleasant! But daily clean-up is a good habit, yes?

FRAML< Jello: Yes, it is necessary. Though since I quit working at that mall three years ago, I pick up fewer feelings/entities. Also since then I have been more aware of being in emotional states where I am vulnerable to attracting them.

Jello< FRAML: I certainly dislike certain places too. Like polluted air. But those areas are where a lot of people "live" (physically).

~*serena< Jello: One's own "SELF" knows what resonates and what does not!

Jello< "What you believe acts as the filter by which you accept or reject thoughts."

Elijah< Jello: Indeed what one believes to be, determines ones entirety of reality. Change one's belief, change ones reality, and truth. Truth is what one believes it to be ... it may not necessarily be so.

[Ben< This is the primary post-modern fallacy: denial that there is any objective reality or truth.]

the_Muse< Elijah: Are you every thought that enters your head? Is that why some people feel that thoughts are things to be defended like their children? Thoughts come and go. I am telepathic, so I get the thoughts of others. But it is what I do with those thoughts that says what sort of person I am. By this I mean also, do I dwell on thoughts that are hateful? or perverted in a way that is harmful? This choice about our thoughts is what Jesus was talking about when He said that a good man from the good that he stores in his heart brings forth good, and the evil man from the evil he stores brings forth evil. Do you spend you time on the kisses or the kicks your life has handed you?

Resh< The Muse: Very true.

Elijah< the_Muse: I AM free and awake, a clear pool.

the_Muse< Elijah: Sure you are. LOL

Rags< Don't all thoughts come from within? We are part of the whole and the whole is us. We are all. The only thoughts we have come from us since we are part of everything. All thoughts can be useful.

Lor< Rags: Doesn't it make some sense to perceive that we are yet becoming aware of the whole, that we are not yet fully complete as we really want to become?

the_Muse< Rags: So you do not believe there is any such thing as telepathy? And you either, Elijah?

Tracey< the_Muse: I'm with you. I also receive telepathic messages quite often.

Carnage< the_Muse: I pick up things telepathically if the person's emotions are pretty strong.

Rags< the Muse: I'm sorry, but I do believe in telepathy. What did I say to make you think different?

Carnage< Rags: All thoughts do come from within, but influences and suggestions, etc., can be perceived as thought all too simply.

Rags< Carnage: I understood your first sentence. Could you restate your second? I think you're on to something.

Carnage< Rags: The mind can perceive suggestions and other influences as real thought. For example a television commercial: You watch it and then want the product, but know not why.

Rags< Carnage: You are right. That is the point of commercials. If you knew the thought was coming from them, you would probably not buy. Thinking it is your own thought, you feel "How clever am I for thinking this -- I'd better go right out and act on this thought" (buy the product).

[Ben< Rags: Yes, that is an example of why we need to discern which thoughts are and are not our own.]

Resh< Ben: Are you saying we cannot control these entities?

Ben< Resh: No, I am not saying we cannot control the influence of discarnate entities. We can, if we realize that is where an unwanted thought or feeling is coming from. But if we think stuff is our own when it isn't, it is much harder to get rid of.

Resh< Ben: Interesting. I know I've arrived late, but what is it you say we can do with these entities?

[Ben< Resh: I haven't dealt with that topic in this seminar. Discernment is a prerequisite to Detachment Therapy, also known as Spirit Releasement Therapy.]

star_eyed< Ben: So, what of people who suffer from mental illnesses? Does 'responsibility' for their condition fall to themselves, or perhaps to discarnates?

Jello< star_eyed: I have read some NDE and ADC accounts [ADC = "After Death Communication" See book "Hello from Heaven!"], as well as some spirit texts, that imply that "responsibility" doesn't always fall on the one affected by mental illness. But sometimes it's the person's own fault.

[Ben< star_eyed: Discarnates can cause mental illness, but mental illness can result from many different kinds of causes, so any assignment of responsibility isn't likely to help the person unless it shows the person what he or she can to to get well. ]

Manatah< How do we tell what feelings and thoughts are ours and not?

Rags< Manatah: All feelings and thoughts emanate from yourself. All are yours. However, some are influenced by others.

Manatah< Rags: I disagree. I know that we receive thoughts, and emotions, too, and can easily mistake them as our own. They stick with us because of like vibration that allows them to have hold. But if we raise our rate of vibration through healing, we are less susceptible to them.

OM< Manatah: YES! Raising our own vibration makes us less susceptible to many things we consider "unavoidable".

Carnage< Very good, OM. You catch on quick.

FRAML< Manatah: Your question is the subject of tonight's discussion. Scroll up and you can get some of what we have already discussed here.

Manatah< I tried going back 150 lines and didn't see anything as to how to tell if stuff is ours or not. So someone please enlighten me. I have heard of using ultra-violet light to vaporize stuff not ours. With this light, our stuff intensifies and other's stuff vaporizes, usually.

FRAML< Manatah: No colored light techniques I know of. What we were discussing is how we can learn to discern whether "voices or thoughts" are our own or not. And a little on how to tell whether they are good or bad sources.

Manatah< Anyone with techniques out there to tell which thoughts or feelings aren't ours? I read about the blue/green/red light post, any others?

~*serena< Manatah: Honey, no one else can tell you. It is an individual thing. But I suggest you begin each day with protecting yourself, by wrapping and bathing in the Golden White Lights of Spirit and asking that ONLY the purest and most loving of all those with pure intention and working for the service of bettering ALL be able to come through.

Jello< Manatah: Very early on, people wrote about how outside thoughts tend to have a different tone, feel, volume, wording, spiritual orientation/attitude, or new knowledge. Those are all indicators.

Manatah< Jello: Then how do we tell outside thoughts that have a different tone from ones from unintegrated aspects of our soul?

Jello< Manatah: Ah, unintegrated aspects of our soul! Well, if the "fragment" is really different ... how do you know its yours?

Manatah< Jello: I don't know. I seem to either have a great deal of interference, or many weird unintegrated aspects. I believe in the latter, since I am giving up on fearing crap out of my hands. Besides, we still need to integrate anything that we take on, even if it's not ours.

Jello< Manatah: Why do you need to integrate anything you take on? Just wondering. I don't see why that is.

Manatah< Jello: I don't get it completely either. But it has happened to me in the past with stuff. I've had to integrate stuff from my dad, mom, brothers. Integrate it to make it your own, your I AMness of your soul. That feels right.

~*serena< Manatah: It is as fear can really become overwhelming, as fear feeds on itself and the ONLY thing you need to fear is FEAR itself. Fear is the opposite from love. Now, anytime one begins with self-doubts, insecurities, that is an opening for the shadows. They are NOT evil but are not of the Light to play havoc on you ... in that respect, it feeds on it. Stay in the Golden Light and focused and centered is MY suggestion.

JamesRD< Well said serena, for fear is the opposite of love.

Jello< Manatah: Well, maybe it depends on the definition of the word integration. If my parents were abusive, I sure don't want to integrate that into my own behavior. But if you mean "Be able to recognize and avoid or de-fuse abusive behavior" then that I understand.

Manatah< Jello: What I am meaning by integration is something that my soul does automatically. It is a melding of fragmented energy with the current "you" energy, or melding it with other fragmented energy. Integrating, mixing parts together into one color, your soul's I AMness color.

Rags< Manatah: You are getting pretty far out. I think I will have a quick brandy and see if that clears it up.

Manatah< Rags: It is a matter of following a pattern that isn't your own. Believing in issues that don't belong with your body. And overall, decreasing your workload for healing.

Jello< Manatah: OK, let me be very blunt: I once tried the full-course re-integration "meal" and it turned out to be one of the worst things I ever did. And best, because I learned a lot about spirits from it.

Manatah< Jello: Then that's your experience. In integration, the one I know of, there are also aspects that are thrown out, sent to the Light. So getting back to your abuse post, this may or may not be thrown to the Light, I don't know which to be honest.

Jello< "Experience is not transferable." (smile)

Manatah< Jello: No it's not. Words can suck sometimes. To add to the last post on what gets sent to the Light and what doesn't, I think it's up to the soul.

Jello< Manatah: Perhaps someday I will be capable of explaining myself better! Too bad I am not right now. But be careful of what you do, and don't believe everything you hear.

Manatah< Ben: I am ignorant of the astral, but somehow I think that healing is allowed and available to those who wish it.

Ben< Manatah: Healing is not only available for those who seek it; there are vast hosts of loving spirits who enjoy healing others and actively seek those who need to be healed. That's the good news. (smile)

Manatah< Ben: Then why would spirits need to return? Isn't karma just stuff yet to be healed?

[Ben< Manatah: Perhaps you would like to review the three meetings we recently devoted to that subject. The transcripts are on my website, under "Seminars".]

OM< Ben: What about this: the Bible claims Lucifer was of the most high, an archangel. Could it be that his love for mankind was reason to "anchor" darkness, so that man could learn?? To know the Light better, by traveling through darkness?? Is that what polarity and separation is all about?

Ben< OM: No, Lucifer rebelled against implementing the good-will of God. He decided that he would rather get than give, be served rather than serve. So he fell from the Light.

Resh< Didn't he fall from the light to fulfill the divine plan of separation?

Ben< Resh: No. Any free-willed being can rise or fall by the types of choices he or she makes.

OM< Ben: What a perfect mirror that describes what WE wish NOT to become. How would we know if it was not for the sacrifice that this most high angel provided? Try to IMAGINE his pain, to be hated by the ones he most LOVED for thousands of years.

Resh< OM: I think you have definitely touched into something.

Ben< OM: Evil spirits do provide contrast that may help us understand what is harmless and what is good. However, I have no sympathy for their contempt and cruelty to others. I do not honor Lucifer. What he did was not self-sacrifice but self-aggrandizement.

Rags< How do you guys know why the devil "fell from the light?" Who told you there even is devil?

FRAML< OM and Rags: Let us leave Lucifer for another time, please.

Carnage< FRAML: Amen to that.

OM< FRAML: Your wish is my command! It IS hard to discuss this with the shining rainbow Light of Serena on board!

~*serena< OM: AHAHAH! Should I leave? Is that what you are saying??

the_Muse< FRAML: I think Lucifer has a taste for twisted emotion and so works at creating it. I have too many to hug here, so ... Love you all, thank you all for this invigorating conversation.

Rags< Sorry, FRAML, it's hard not to respond to someone's point, even though it might be off the subject.

Elijah< Rags: The idea of any fallen angels is christian. Actually lucifer, a romanization, in hebrew is the morning star, not an angel. Lucifer came to be equated with shaitan by the third century christian father st. jerome. Most of the ideas of fallen angels came to us by way of such authors as danté, certainly not biblical.

OM< Elijah: The morning star has also been translated as "the Christ". Depends on just who you want to recognize.

Resh< I think we are getting off the topic.

Ben< Elijah: The recognition that there are evil spirits predates Christianity by several millennia. And I don't care about names such as "Lucifer" though I have encountered spirits who said they served Lucifer.

Elijah< Ben: Illusion predates antiquity. Folks have long been of a bent to duck responsibility for being who they are ... alibi's.

Carnage< I know a General of Lucifer. He comes and watches the gifted of this planet. He carries out others' works as well. His name is Natas; know him, fear him.

Elijah< Ben: What evil? Evil is what one fears in themself, exists not aside from ones perception of such. Look within, you'll find the source of all your perceptions of evil, and good; they exist not outside of your "ideas" of such.

Ben< Elijah: The English word "evil" translates the Greek "poneros" which means "causing pain or hardship." I define as "poneros" those who intentionally cause others pain or hardship. Do you disagree that such entities exist?

Elijah< Ben: That such exist matters not. What matters is whether I buy in. If I don't? Illusion perseveres from incarnation to incarnation. Why else would any have continued so long, bound to the wheel?

Ben< Elijah: Yes, you may elect not to care whether anyone harms another or helps another. Nevertheless I choose to help if I can. As to the wheel, souls return again and again because they are drawn to do so by their own earth-binding desires. The Bhagavad-Gita describes this very well.

Elijah< Ben: What the bagavagita describes is exactly the choices which must be made, the dialogue. Krishna, the enlightened aspects of ourselves, our innate nature; arjuna, the choices which we make, and the obstacles in life, which must be made.

Rags< Ben: You don't really believe Elijah doesn't care, do you? As to souls returning, I think they return to learn lessons they never learned the last time around.

Ben< Rags: I was only responding to what Elijah posted. I don't know whether he cares or not. As to souls reincarnating in order to learn the lessons they haven't learned, the Gita and other scriptures clearly state what those needed lessons are.

OM< Ben: Just ONE word: COMPASSION ... LOVE and FORGIVE ... very basic.

[Ben< My, my, I do think I was being preached at. But a good point none-the-less.]

Jello< OM: Implying that Ben needs to love and forgive even the most fallen of souls?

OM< Jello: Who needs it more?

Elijah< OM: Exactly so, complete with fall.

OM< Elijah: Let us all sit around and talk about how perfect we are, with our wonderful non-judgmental perceptions and concurrent damning attitudes! THINK! ... or be led.

Rags< Everything Elijah says seems to be true. People are "bent to duck responsibility." Evil/Good/Whatever spirits put thoughts into your head. It is your responsibility to deal with them. They become your thoughts. It is now your responsibility. Take it.

[Ben< Responsibility means "ability to respond." An infant is not able to respond in very many situations. As we grow and mature, we become more and more able, and therefore we can accept more and more responsibility. But we are not omnipotent, and therefore not totally response-able in all situations. A large part of wisdom is in knowing when we need help and where we can find it.]

AMILIUS< Elijah: I may add to Ben's comment that those who are on the wheel repeat their prior lives' mistakes and remain with their hard-core egocentric manners and do not follow the law of love and service are bent on a dangerous path of self destruction. Those will be the dead that JESUS will judge upon his return. Beware!

Elijah< AMILIUS: Why should I fear that which never existed? When someone says to me, "beware", I see an attempt at control, manipulative.

Rags< AMILIUS: I take issue with your warning. Jesus was probably the most loving person ever to have walked the earth. Why should I fear him? If his father made me, then he made me the way I am. Its not my fault I'm imperfect. Beware indeed!

[Ben< Hah! Okay, discernment time. Was "beware!" a threat or a warning? Who does "that which never existed" refer to? What do we recognize when the one who spoke against choosing to accept or reject anything promptly rejects perceived manipulation, and the one who chanted "responsibility" says "It's not my fault"?]

JamesRD< Fear feeds the negative. Love feeds the positive.

Elijah< Ben: The issues come back to outside manipulation, and responsibility for beingness.

Ben< Elijah: I agree that personal responsibility is paramount. To exercise personal responsibility, we need to be able to recognize and reject manipulation.

Elijah< To return to the root is to find the meaning, but to pursue appearances is to miss the source. At the moment of inner enlightenment, there is a going beyond appearance and emptiness. The changes that appear to occur in the empty world we call real only because of our ignorance. Do not search for the truth; only cease to cherish opinions.

Ben< Elijah: Do not search for the truth? But that is your own cherished opinion.

Elijah< If I have even just a little sense, I will walk on the main road and my only fear will be of straying from it. Keeping to the main road is easy, but people love to be sidetracked. Know the white, but keep the black. Be an example to the world! Being an example to the world, ever true and unwavering, return to the infinite. Why is the sea king of a hundred streams? Because it lies below them.

AMILIUS< Elijah: GOD our Creator is in me and I am in Him, and I am part of Him, His own LIGHT. For I AM THAT I AM, ONE WITH HIM. As such I am equal to all of us. And our Creator's LAW does forbid me from controlling any of my equals. But LUCIFER is not my equal, for it is darkness and evil out of its own choosing. You see, I still think you did not understood what BEN tried to express, let alone can you understand my observation. May peace, love, light, and yes, service, become part of you.

Elijah< AMILIUS: So what be your biblical reference which would indicate lucifer equates in any way with evil? It's not there, rather represents popular mythology, the writers milton, and danté.

Rags< AMILIUS: You appear to be raging. Here is probably a stupid question for you. Why is darkness worse than light? Is that why white hats are better than black ones? Black cats worse than white? Black skin? It's a thought.

Elijah< The God that can be known is not God. The substance of the World is only a name for God. God is all that exists and may exist; The World is only a map of what exists and may exist.

Elijah< One experiences without Self to sense the World, And experiences with Self to understand the World. The two experiences are the same within God; they are distinct only within the World. Neither experience conveys God, which is infinitely greater and more subtle than the World.

Rags< Elijah: Up until your last two posts I was with you. Is it the brandy in me or have you progressed beyond my limited capabilities? If you want to reach the truly unwashed as myself, you might consider keeping it a bit simpler. I am not that bright (regardless what FRAML says).

Elijah< Rags: Was as simply stated as I could make. Study it, understand it, and you will understand all.

Rags< Elijah: You are great. Sorry I haven't the capabilities to grasp. Keep up the good work. You obviously care. Love you, Rags.

Elijah< Rags: And I care a great deal for you rags, and for all beings. This universe we call home is a wonderful place and existence, heaven or hell, all dependent on perspective. The perspectives? a series of choices made along the Way, which in turn can be relearned. The best choice that of the unborn mind, makes all a place of wonderment, new and for the first time.

Rags< My question: Will I be able to understand you when I've done this awhile?

Ben< /topic Open Discussion

FRAML< Jello: I have taken to doing a clean-out of the bar I frequent every couple of months. Also worked on an auditorium last night while at a community school Winter (nee Christmas) Program.

Jello< FRAML: Cool! Full-scale clean outs, or simple ones?

FRAML< Jello: I do a mass, call for light bubble around people and then structure and ask for recon teams to come and see what is needed to help attachees ascend to the light, and to clean out any residue and other junk. I also did it before my Uncle's funeral, and ask for teams to be on hand as people came into the Church.

Jello< FRAML: Hmmm, have you found that to be more effective than asking for something like "May the Right Thing be done"? I read that "Thy will be done" worked better for some hospital patients in a study of prayer.

FRAML< Jello: I just ask for teams to come and do whatever is necessary. I don't expect to be told if anyone was helped or not. I just want to say, "Here is a field of opportunity ... help whoever you can."

Jello< FRAML: Ah, OK! I see.

SLIDER< FRAML: I was curious as whether you can project your cleansing over distance or must you be present?

FRAML< SLIDER: I haven't tried it over distance. I've just done it where I have been. I am aware that remote detachment can be accomplished, but the person on the receiving end must be willing to release all attachees.

Jello< FRAML: And dark connections too, right?

SLIDER< Yes, Jello, that was my question.

FRAML< Jello and SLIDER: Yes, and dark connections as well. The rescue teams will not take away any discarnate that a person is unwilling to release.

SLIDER< FRAML: What if they are not attachees, but are lost spirits?

Jello< Lost spirits are in need of rescue, aren't they? So rescue crews would naturally be interested in them.

FRAML< Jello: Yes, definitely.

Jello< SLIDER: There was also an intriguing study of prayer (reported in that most reputable of sites, www.cnn.com) that showed that people who prayed for the health of strangers appeared to really benefit those strangers. So I think everyone has some capacity to do remote work of a healing or cleansing nature (with training).

SLIDER< Jello: I was interested in the remote rescue of lost spirits, and I will check that www site out.

Jello< SLIDER: Oh, don't bother with CNN -- the article is gone. The best place for remote detachment info is Ben's pages.

SLIDER< Jello: OK.

Jello< SLIDER: Hmmm, the article may NOT be gone, but it would be fairly hard to find.

SLIDER< Jello: I'm studying the field. *S*

Jello< SLIDER: Very interesting field, but those who do it must really have a good knowledge of spiritual reality. And that's getting into philosophical warfare ground.

SLIDER< Jello: Been studying the entire aspect of spirituality for about twenty-five years, and have come to the point of giving back in the last few years through prayer and hands-on.

FRAML< Tis time for me to answer the call of St. Sealy's. Good night folks, and remember to count your blessings before you sleep.

Rags< FRAML: St. Sealy's indeed! Neat.

Ben< ALL: Okay, I've caught up on the private messages. Peace and blessings to each of you. Namaste. *poof*

Rags< Hope I'm not too late to wish FRAML a good night and a fine sleep. FRAML, "Count YOUR blessings instead of sheep." Love Rags.

Jello< I think FRAML regularly does count his blessings. It's one way to begin a daily spiritual cleanup: counting one's blessings.

05. Spiritual Discernment
Session 5: Sat 13 Dec 1997

Ben< ALL: Okay, let's go. I have a few things to post now, but not many.

Ben< This time I plan to look at discernment of values, regardless of where they come from. This type of discernment is applicable to messages presented to us through inheritance or experience, whether the message is written or spoken or otherwise portrayed, and whether the source is internal, external, incarnate or discarnate.

Ben< As I mentioned in a previous seminar, value-labels are relative, so I will be using relative terms (better, good, neutral, bad, worse), and I invite you to do likewise. Because people get into endless arguments over objective values ("It is good"), I will try to focus the discussion on subjective values ("Good for whom?").

Ben< I hope to look at some of the characteristic differences between divine and diabolical, but I'm not going to start there. Divine implies "better than human." Diabolical implies "worse than human." So, let's start with some reasonable value-labels that can be inferred from open-minded observations of human behavior.

Ben< Two years ago, a tornado went through this area and damaged about 100 homes. Our very pragmatic police department promptly cordoned off the whole area and only allowed certain people through. From the time they arrived, and for the next four days, the police at those barriers were practicing discernment of motives.

Ben< ALL: What motives do you think drew people to that area? Which *motives* did the police allow to enter the area and which did they turn away? YOUR TURN

Lor< Curiosity and concern for residents, perhaps.

Ben< Lor: Curiosity, yes. Concern for residents, yes. What else?

the_Muse< People who lived there or could show they had relatives. Rescue and medical personnel. Media.

HopToad< I imagine they allowed the owners and/or relatives into the area, while anyone they perceived as gawkers or looters were not.

Ben< HopToad: Nice classification. Others?

Moonval< I'm not sure what you're trying to say. Yes, this is a reality of polarities -- better than, worse than, etc. -- and what we all really want is to feel equal?

Ben< Moonval: I'm not presuming what anyone wants to feel. I'm just presenting some data for discernment, plus maybe a few comments.

Peachbird< Some are drawn to a disaster for material gain and some to sincerely help out.

Carnage< I think it had to do with, perhaps, the people's social stature.

FRAML< Those who came with chain saws to clear the trees and to bring food from the local church were seen as having good motives.

Lor< I would hope that they turned away people that came to steal things left unprotected.

poweress< Well, first I would look at what priority system I would assume the police department would be using and what they considered their task to be. I am sure people came from various reasons, from to look at devastation as a curious onlooker, to looking for relatives, etc. I would imagine first of all the police would limit the people they let through to rescue people at first, then homeowners and then insurance people.

SLIDER< Motives of concern over bodily harm as well as property damage and hazards. Of course the clergy would have been allowed in also. Those not allowed in would have been sightseers or persons that were of the shady character.

Mawaku< Discernment comes from experience.

Peachbird< People who could prove they had a legitimate reason for being there.

Carnage< Peachbird: Good point, but how?

Peachbird< Carnage: "Do you live there? Let's see a driver's license," etc..

poweress< Ben: I'm not very clear here on the point. Are you trying to point out that there are a lot of assumptions made as to actual motives, according to the official or unofficial justification?

[Ben< poweress: I only highlighted one of the countless cases in which people actually do try to discern other people's motives, using whatever resources they have available -- training, experience, logic, instinct, intuition -- whatever.]

5foot2< The police should represent the residents, allowing those into the area that the residents would and prohibiting all others.

[Ben< 5foot2: Yes. Precisely.]

Ben< The morning after the tornado, I went to see if our church was damaged. The police did not let me enter the area. So I stood there awhile and watched what was happening. Some bright-eyed wise-guys (mostly teenagers) fairly obviously came to take advantage of the situation by looting the houses. The vast majority came as spectators -- simply curious -- and from the perspective of the home-owners, both harmless and useless. Some came strictly to help the home-owners; they were trained, equipped and authorized to be there. Many of them were volunteers who worked around the clock without any type of material payment. As I walked away, I thought, "This observable distribution of motives, attitudes and purposes is applicable to discarnates as well as incarnates."

FRAML< Ben: Was this on a main traffic route or off in an isolated area where "crowd control" would be easier?

[Ben< FRAML: I was on a main traffic route. I think crowd control was easier for the police there, but other police were stationed throughout the damaged area.]

HopToad< I think the media would be allowed to film the devastation as it can bring relief from outside quickly. The Red Cross and medical personnel of course would be allowed in.

Lor< I hope they allowed people in that came to help repair the damage and to get things back to some semblance of order.

poweress< I would think that there would be a safety issue initially, and therefore that would justify only rescue people until they could make sure gas lines were intact, and cutting down any trees which may be leaning dangerously, or building that were precariously positioned.

Redtail< I believe many people have the desire to help, aid their fellow human beings. With such a dramatic event, the emotion of wanting to be of service would be heightened.

greystar< I think the police were using discernment based on, unfortunately, past experience. Protecting vulnerable property.

Ben< The perspective of the police was, "What is good and not good for the residents of this area?"

Lor< Ben: Is your point that some spirit nature is like human nature?

[Ben< Lor: Yes, I've found that spirits and humans often have similar motives.]

LadyV< Ben: Was the looting stopped?

[Ben< LadyV: Yes. I read that the police took a few looters away in handcuffs the first night. After that, there was no more looting.]

Carnage< Ben: I see what you mean. It must have been hell for the police to ban the looters. I think that the looters were pathetic and self-centered incarnates.

[Ben< Carnage: I don't think it was hell for the police this time, because they got on top of the situation early. The ones I saw were matter-of-factly doing their job.]

poweress< Personally, I usually feel it is best to stay away from those areas unless I have an assigned task, as many people, whether it is their intention or not, can make it difficult for rescue workers to do their work. We had a gas explosion just outside of my town, a very small town, and many went to look and it caused much difficulty for those men who were risking their lives to disarm a very dangerous situation.

FRAML< One factor was determining whether the people were there to HELP or HINDER. To GIVE to the victims or to GET from the victims for themselves.

Lor< The concern of the police would also include unblocking traffic, so needed helpers could function.

SLIDER< But sometimes one bad apple spoils the whole basket.

[Ben< SLIDER: Yes. What can be said of a policeman who lets his buddy into the area so his buddy can loot the houses? (No, it didn't happen in this case.)]

Ben< ALL: Did those whose houses were damaged or destroyed by the tornado create their own reality? Or did they bring it on themselves by something they did or didn't do in a previous life? Or was it an act of God by which he or she punished all the sinners in the devastated area? YOUR TURN

Peachbird< Neither of the latter two, in my opinion. A situation is agreed upon for growth by all the participants on another level ... nothing is inflicted on anyone ... my thinking.

the_Muse< I would suspect that the answer to did they create their reality would be (d) All of the above distributed about individually.

greystar< On some level they chose to be in that place at that time.

Mawaku< The earth and atmosphere made the choice to experience the tornado in that area. The people accepted to stay and experience or leave. No Victims anywhere ever!

HopToad< Tornadoes are a force of nature. Do they have discernment?

5foot2< The energy from the tornado created the next reality.

LadyV< I feel it was an act of nature.

poweress< Houses are pieces of wood constructed by the physical man, and in my mind do not have creative powers. I do not feel that people create their own harmful events out of bad actions or karma; they are merely sent situations which will aid them in the growth that they need at the time, and some of those situations are perceived as bad.

poweress< I should clarify my last statement, I do think that we create our own reality by our thoughts, but to a large degree, large situations which involve many people, such as what you have just described, more or less require collective thought as opposed to individual thought, and it is not a conscious effort of a group, but rather a gathering of like energy.

Peachbird< Poweress: I agree with you on that point as well.

LEGS< I cannot attribute evil weather events as evil in intent ... only incidental to non-directed weather patterns. The insurance may opt out under "Act of God" clauses but I cannot see it that way. The miracles of people not being injured in such devastation -- that I see as acts of God.

poweress< Legs: I like that.

Ben< Okay, various responses to that set of questions. More?

Moonval< There is no punishment. And yes, we do create our own reality, but the question of the day is, "Who is 'we'?" In my opinion, the victims of the tornado (or any other disaster, for that matter) chose (on a level other than the ego level) to be there and experience that for their own reasons. We all have our own reasons for the pain in our lives.

greyman< Interesting hypothesis. If predestination is reality, the tornado was planned, and some or all individuals may have had knowledge (at some level). Random chance is possible, but I do not think GOD is a statistical bell curve. I think it is just basic kismet.

the_Muse< Ben: In some cases the events happened for the benefit and lessons of those viewers you mentioned.

LadyV< Why would God want to harm anyone? Is the Divine in every act of nature? That is a busy God.

[Ben< LadyV: I agree. I don't believe that God (or whatever) micro-manages the physical world in order to teach a few lessons to humans.]

Peachbird< My thinking is that all time is now, therefore, all lives are at once, with bleed-over and a ripple effect perhaps, but all is for the growth of the soul, none as punishment of any sort.

Mystical< I feel that G-d connects us to the forces of nature. Because we are always believing and at the same time destroying this trust, ultimately it is to connect in faith with that aspect of G-d that is unlimited, higher than nature, that he-she wants us to feel.

MonaHawke< I believe that we get a pretty clear overview of our lives and paths when we choose to incarnate, choose our parents, our physical conditions, and many of our experiences and the opportunities they will present us with before we incarnate. These things are enhanced by our free will in life, and can be affected by discarnates before and after we incarnate. Did this group of homeowners choose this particular experience? Probably on a soul level, yes.

FRAML< MonaHawke: I don't see home owners choosing to have the experience. The tornado in question missed my house by 500 yards, then turned 90 degrees and came to ground. First tornado around here in several years.

MonaHawke< FRAML: Then I would say that on a soul level you chose not to experience that tornado in your reality. ((good choice)) My beliefs in this come from studies in quantum physics and my instincts, intuitions and from verifying these beliefs through practice in my own life.

FRAML< MonaHawke: Well my choice was sitting in my rec room watching TV when the electricity when off. I didn't know of the tornado until the next morning.

MonaHawke< FRAML: I believe there is a difference in our conscious perception and our creation of our realities on a soul level. I believe that in each incarnation we are allowed to choose certain lessons that we need to learn at that time in our soul growth. Divine energy then assists us in creating those realities that enable us to have our lessons ... and learn from them or not according to free will.

MonaHawke< FRAML: I also do not expect anyone else to subscribe to my beliefs. If something I believe resonates well with someone else, wonderful! If it does not, no problem either. I'm not attached to the beliefs of others ... it's their business, their choice. I learn much from others and their beliefs ... and I appreciate that very much.

SLIDER< Ben: Can you put the equation of probability into the realities that may have manifest the tornado in that geographical area and whose property it would damage?

[Ben< SLIDER: No. That tornado was spawned by the remains of a hurricane that was over Pennsylvania but still dragging a long skirt of wind and clouds all the way up the East Coast from the vicinity of Cuba. The Weather Bureau couldn't calculate the probability there would be a tornado, much less where it would hit.]

Lor< I tend to think that such things can just happen in this place where we have incarnated. It may or may not have been an act of God. I suspect that it just one of the things allowed in this "vale of tears" where we are permitted to visit and learn to work out the responses that we would rather have as our second nature, so to speak.

[Ben< Lor: Yes, I believe that tornadoes and such are just part of the risks that anyone takes who incarnates or reincarnates on this planet. Such natural events would take place if there were no human beings on Earth.]

Ben< Personally, I reject speculations that blame the unfortunate for their own misfortune. Instead, I accept the long-suffering soldiers' motto: "Shit happens."

LadyV< Ben: Spoken like a Military Man. (laughing)

HopToad< Ben: LOL My sentiment as well.

Mawaku< Well, Ben, this is where I'll disagree. Shit doesn't happen. We live in a perfect universe, no accidents of any kind. All is created in perfection.

Jello< Hmm. If it is all perfect, why aren't we perfect enough to realize it? Why do so many perceive things as imperfect at the moment, if all, including us, are perfect?

Peachbird< Jello: It seems to me that this is earth school, and if you have a test, it isn't a test if you already have your answers on a cheat sheet, so to speak.

the_Muse< Peachbird: Well said. I find it interesting to think that if we come here to learn that we also teach the course by "choosing" all our lives events. Do we have no faith in a creator to set the course?

Peachbird< the_Muse: I strongly feel that there is a connection. Student/teacher is a cycle. We all stand in one place or the other most of the time, whether we realize it or not. (*smile*) I think God/Goddess/All-That-Is really did give us free will to learn and grow.

Jello< Peachbird: But if we need to learn, we aren't perfect. Ergo, the universe (if it includes us) isn't perfect (yet).

Mawaku< Jello: I said the world is perfect just as it is. To explain would take another class like this one.

the_Muse< Mawaku: I cannot agree, as I believe that at every point in history where God has told a people that if you do this, this will happen, and if you do that, that will happen, that by speaking both those things they are created. Like the Schrödinger's cat hypotheses. And if you study the prophecy around the world you see we are on a limb of the tree of life that branches into time/space that is inhabited by people who, by and large, made the wrong choice.

[Ben< the_Muse: By the way, I'm sad to say, Schrödinger's cat is dead. It died of old age. In the 1970's. *smile*]

rkangel< Sometimes humans need their life taken, be it material, spiritual, or physical, in order to learn lessons not taught in any other way. Down the path one of the humans was treading may not have been his or her destiny. It is sad that others had to suffer though they may be better humans after such an experience.

SLIDER< Emerson wrote an essay on the law of compensation. Very interesting reading.

poweress< Sometimes at a certain point an answer is not obvious and the only option left is to trust that there is a master plan and try to make the best choice as to how we will react to a specific situation given us.

MonaHawke< Also, if we are created in the image of 'god' ... then what image is that exactly? Is it two arms and legs? or is it in the image of how we create, with our most deeply held beliefs, thoughts and actions?

Ben< ALL: Do you have a good neighbor? If so, what does your neighbor say (and not say) to you? What does she or he do (and not do) for you? In other words, give some examples of the behavioral characteristics by which you recognize a good person. YOUR TURN

greystar< We often rush to judgment about what is "good" or "bad". Everything that occurs in our life is a learning experience. Sometimes we interpret these as painful.

Moonval< If we are all God, how can some of us be good and some of us be evil? Granted, we can play good and evil roles, and really believe them, but in the end, what are we? Who are we?

Ben< Moonval: It is good and evil roles (behavior) that I'm looking at, in terms of its effect on others.

the_Muse< A good person is one who speaks the truth to save another even though it may bring harm or shame to them. A good person has charity, remembering when they see another in woe, "There but for the grace of God go I." A good person does what they can for another, but remembers that they are neither responsible for the soul of another nor are they not. But that they are an instrument that doesn't know the tune.

Peachbird< the_Muse: That was lovely. *Smile*

rkangel< Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as is good or bad. A human can live a life of crime for 3/4 of their lives and one day realize that what they are doing is wrong. Are they good for quitting the life of crime or are they bad for having lived so?

[Ben< rkangel: As a beholder, I would see that the human used to do bad things to other humans, but does not do so now. In terms of effect on others, he or she has changed -- away from harmful, toward harmless. In my opinion, that change is for the better, and that human is now a better person than he or she used to be.]

Mawaku< I have no concept for good or bad. All people just Are! I have worked hard to remove "Belief" in such things that judge others or anything. (Smile)

LEGS< When we had the tornado here, everyone became good neighbors. The nursing home 7 blocks from my address was unroofed. I carried blankets from neighbors all the way up the street and water had to be brought in, etc. We pulled together.

Redtail< A special quality of sensing another's needs and offering assistance before it is asked for, and having no attachment to the outcome of the gift, is one way I identify a "good" neighbor.

Moonval< Redtail: I very much like your definition of a "good neighbor."

Redtail< Moonval: Thank you! Trying to be succinct.

poweress< Well, as we are using the good and bad terms, which I find somewhat unnerving, to me a good neighbor is one who will help you out when you need it and ask for help when needed, but I also like a neighbor to respect boundaries and allow me my privacy, so that just goes to show that good and bad are relative. I am sure many people consider a good neighbor one who comes over and has coffee every morning with you and chat over the fence daily. A good situation where we define good and bad by our own desires, as opposed to a collective societal definition.

Mystical< I feel, on a practical level, it is for man to realize that personality has really no control, a total illusion. True faith is letting go. Love is when people gather to help each other spiritually, and if necessary financially, allowing others to help who may not even know the victims. This type of charity elicits a response from on high, and more compassion is given to the world.

Mawaku< You people are awesome. I am honored to be in your presence!

the_Muse< To be perfect is to try perfectly. It is the attempt that defines the person. The daily trying to be the best person one can be, by obeying the law of Love and Truth written on the heart.

LadyV< the_Muse: Need a new buddy? I like that comment. It is fair.

Ben< Okay, some interesting and pointed listings. More?

LadyV< When the tornado came, they cried out to God. I would have. Then maybe God heard and sent aid in the form of the police, etc.. So God hears. A good neighbor is one that is like a good friend -- there when needed, without having to ask -- and sharing a fence with you.

greystar< Ben: I have my own personal quote: "Evil does not know itself."

[Ben< greystar: Yes, and perhaps even more, evil does not want to know itself.]

FRAML< Ben, Moonval and Mawaku: I think we need to examine this from the view of GETTING and GIVING. Are we or discarnates trying to help (give) or get something (such as control).

Mawaku< FRAML: Didn't understand your question, dear friend.

FRAML< Mawaku: Getting and Giving. Do we seek power/control over others (get) or do we try to help them (give). Just as we evaluate people by which of these they do, so can we evaluate or discern how discarnates/ghosts affect us.

Mawaku< FRAML: I'm not ignoring you, or your question. I feel would be better answered at another time. This is going quite fast.

the_Muse< I judge the goodness of another by how well they live by their spoken values. If they feel something is wrong and do it, that is a bad thing. If I think something is wrong and they do it, it is none of my business.

poweress< I am ever so grateful not to have the responsibility of determining good and evil. If there is going to be such a judgment, I am happy to let it go to another. If the creator makes such judgments (which I actually don't believe he/she does) well then, so be it. I find myself quite fully occupied with determining my best course of action in each event without needing to determine if someone else chose correctly or not. Just my way of looking at this trial we call life.

Mawaku< poweress: Cool!

Ben< poweress: I'm not addressing final judgment of the soul. I'm looking at how we can see and choose what is a good or better course of action, as you said.

poweress< Ben: Okay, I am just uncomfortable judging actions other than my own. I am human and still a work in progress, so therefore sometimes I do judge others, but I prefer not to. Thank you for clarifying. *Smile*

Moonval< Ben: The effect of roles (good, evil, or indifferent) depends on the view (or beliefs) of the observer. For example, two people are standing at a bus stop on a rainy day. A taxi speeds by and splashes muddy water on both of them. One spends the next two weeks complaining about how this unfortunate incident ruined their clothing, and the other shrugs it off, goes on with his/her life, and meets a stranger who turns out to be a very good friend at the dry cleaners! I guess what I'm saying is that we can't always know what or who in our lives is good or bad. And good and bad are mostly value judgments, created by our environment.

Mawaku< Moonval: Yes!

[Ben< Moonval: Yes, good and bad are value-judgments, and they are subjective, and they are often unclear to us. But accurate judgment is a major characteristic of wisdom, and we can learn to do this more and more accurately. We don't have to blindly accept or reject the value-judgments we inherit from our environment.]

Carnage< Okay, Here's a value: the value of truth. Does it help or hinder?

[Ben< Carnage: Good question. Let's look at it. Objectively, knowing the truth helps (empowers) anyone who has it, regardless of their motives. It enhances the survival of sapient beings. Historically, it has been the primary source of human power to predict or control natural forces. Truth is the only antidote for ignorance, superstition, and deception. Bits of truth can be accumulated, tested, refined, and transferred from person to person across generations and vast distances. Bits of truth can be given away without losing them (which is very neat economics), but many refuse to share the bits of truth they have, because they don't want others to be empowered. Truth hinders those who have something to hide, so they keep secrets or tell lies or practice other forms of deception. Both predator and prey disguise themselves to prevent the other from knowing the truth. Thus, by observation, I believe truth is far more valuable than any earthly commodity.]

Mawaku< Being in contact with one's Knowing is the best, it surpasses discernment altogether! Discernment is a quality of the Mental, to remember events of the past and make a better choice in the now, but connecting with one's Knowing is far better.

[Ben< Mawaku: So, your knowing is better than your discernment. Perhaps your knowing comes from your previous lives. Perhaps it comes from a discarnate entity or entities. In either case, you can't do anything to improve your knowing. But discernment is a characteristic of wisdom that can be taught and learned and improved with practice. That is why I selected it as the subject of this seminar.]

Ben< ALL: Do you discern any difference between good parents and bad parents? If so, in your opinion, what does a good parent want his or her children to do? Not do? What does a good parent basically allow or permit without taking action? YOUR TURN

Peachbird< Ah, Ben, yes, exactly. The good parent wants the child to grow strong and independent for adulthood. *Smile*

the_Muse< Peachbird: I agree, that is why I also believe that there are alternate realities. We just pick our way amongst them. *S*

Redtail< Peachbird: I agree, we have free will to remember Who We Really Are, Divine Manifestations of God. Or we can choose Not to remember for a number of lifetimes. We choose our experiences to Experience as much of the Is/Is Not as we desire before ultimately melding, or re-membering.

Tracey< My parents were exceptional to me. My dad is on the other side, but I am still lucky enough to be with mom. Basically, they allowed me to make my own mistakes, but they were there if I needed them. They gave direction and love, and I learned by example. Basically they allowed me to be me without question, without consequence.

Mawaku< Tracey: Awesome childhood. Congratulations for choosing such parents.

Tracey< Mawaku: Yes it was. I feel it made me able to deal with the rest of my life, which has been more difficult.

Lor< A good parent really loves and cares for their children as best they know how. Of course there are better and worse parents, as we are not any of us really perfect (yet).

Mystical< It is hard to answer. Spiritual evolution has a role to play. Discerning boundaries, following spiritual laws, laws of the land, honoring and respecting, belief in the Divine. All souls are chosen for their parents because that experience is what will activate the souls' work in this world.

rkangel< There is no good or bad humans; there is either kind actions or cruel actions.

Ben< rkangel: There are kind actions and cruel actions, kind motives and cruel motives: these I label, respectively, good and bad, in terms of their effects on others. A person who has done bad things to others can change and become what amounts to a different person.

rkangel< Ben: Okay: a man in a leather jacket steals a purse from a woman. There will be negative effects upon that woman for men in leather jackets, for she shall think of the one that did the 'bad' actions upon her.

[Ben< rkangel: If the woman is wise, she will not focus on the leather jacket.]

poweress< To me, a parent loves a child unconditionally; in and of itself, that is the most important aspect of parenting to me. It is a parent's job to provide security to their child and nurture them so that they will be able to care for themselves and follow their own path, when they are ready to leave the nest.

greyman< If one is lucky, one is raised by "good parents". Some good parents may be guided by their unselfish love, and still make mistakes. I claim that mistakes may be damaging, but the mistakes do not make them "bad" parents. Thank the great Spirit for grace!

the_Muse< A good parent wants his child to be a good person. To be safe and sensible, to treat others with love and courtesy. All these things bring joy. But more than joy I want my child to be a good person.

rkangel< In a land of civil war would a 'good' parent teach his child to fire a weapon? Would a 'good' parent teach their child how to survive by any means possible?

[Ben< rkangel: I believe a good parent wants his or her children to live, and does not want them to die. Therefore, a good parent tries to teach a child what the child needs to know in order to survive. Specific instructions may vary from one set of circumstances to another, but the principle of parental concern does not change. For example, see how Native American parents taught their children to survive.]

Mystical< I know from my experience as a father of 6 children, that each one of them is an aspect of myself that I didn't want to face. Amazing mirrors, they are.

Redtail< What a tough question! As a mom, I know it is my job to help my child become independent from me, to make myself obsolete by allowing my child to remember and express the highest version of Who He Is. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to love this beautiful creature, and I strive to allow him to discover himself: without imposing my desires onto him. (Hard!)

[Ben< Redtail: Beautiful! Very well said!]

MonaHawke< Redtail: Totally well said! To encourage one's child to be what they came here to be and learn, to discover themselves. We always hope they will make great contributions to the world, but we cannot force them to BE anything, only give them all the love and security we can while letting them grow their own lives.

SLIDER< A good parent has to be a good person first. Children learn by association what a parent teaches a child to be, as a good deed may not be just that!

[Ben< SLIDER: Yes. Although actions speak louder than words, children often learn to emulate the real motive -- or the pretense -- behind a parent's good deeds.]

Jello< I don't know if this got out before, but I am having network problems.

greyman< Sorry folks, the server is acting like it's gonna crash. *poof*

LadyV< What a boot!! Hope I can catch up.

MonaHawke< Yep, server crashing ... hope this gets through. THANK YOU ALL for most interesting and pleasant conversations. I enjoyed all of the posts. Would love to hear more about the 'alternate realities' theory also.

[The SWC server kept replying that it was busy and not taking connections, from about 11:45 pm Eastern time, for at least the next hour.]

[When I downloaded the transcript next day, I found the following dialogue after the meeting. It illustrates a need for discernment.]

Rags< How can you say we have free will? I am really trying to understand this. If, as a child I have been sexually abused by a priest, then as an adolescent I have been totally intimidated by nuns who taught me fear, then I have been beaten by the good Catholic brothers who taught me pain. How can I accept the loving kindness of the Catholic church? How can you say I have free will to make a choice? My choice has been made by my sad environment.

Levi< Rags: I just got here but wanted to comment on your post. As horrendous as those circumstances are, ultimately you have the free will to choose to forgive or not forgive, to grow and be stronger or to be in a place of self-pity. We are given circumstances and lessons in our lives. What we choose to learn and how we apply it to our growth is ultimately up to us.

[Ben<Rags: I don't judge their souls, and I don't care what they wear or what title they bear, but I see what those people did to you was bad for you. The present name for it is child abuse. I do not suggest that you forgive in the sense of trying to pardon or justify or explain or excuse. To forgive means to let go, to release, to let the trespass go into the past and the trespasser go his own way. Be done with it. That type of release can keep the pain of your past from spoiling your present and future. I do not suggest that you go back to the Church, but I do suggest you look and see that Catholic people are not all like those who hurt you. These two choices do not depend on your environment: to release the past, and to discern more accurately in the present. Both are within your control as a free-willed being, and both are antidotes for the type of pain that you have described.]

[I intended to post two more questions during the meeting, a brief summary, one descriptive definition of a word, and one area for discussion after the meeting.]

Ben< ALL: What does a good parent want his or her children to do (and not do) to or for themselves?

I hoped the discussion would lead to this point: A good parent wants his or her children to do what they can to help themselves, as soon as they are able to do so, and allows them to take their little bumps in the course of learning and growing, but does not want them to injure themselves or hurt themselves severely.

Ben< ALL: What does a good parent want his or her children to do (and not do) to or for each other?

I hoped the discussion would lead to this point: A good parent wants his or her children to do what they can to help each other, as soon as they are able to do so, allows them a lot of latitude for quarrels and friction in the course of learning and growing, but does not want them to injure each other or hurt each other severely.

Ben< ALL: Summary: At the start of this meeting, I said that divine implies "better than human" and diabolical implies "worse than human." I tried to point to some observable characteristics of subjective values, from the perspective of the recipient -- helpful is good, harmless and useless are neutral, harmful is bad. I believe most people can see from the perspective of the recipient, if they think about it, and thus discern what is better than average human behavior and what is worse than average. I highlighted parental attitudes and behaviors because I believe we can build on this basis, and thereby see more clearly what is truly better than human (divine) and what is truly worse than human (diabolical).

Ben< ALL: Rather than going into a discussion of diabolical, I will simply post my understanding of what the word means.

Diabolical is from the Greek word *diabolos* which means "falsely accusing, slanderous" -- and slander is characteristic of the way diabolical sources operate. They slander divine sources, hold humans in contempt, and systematically twist the definitions of true and false, good and bad, right and wrong, to the eventual detriment of those who believe them. They are frequently clever and subtle in their approach, using suggestion far more often than outright statement. Here is a tool for discernment: Diabolical sources will say or do *anything* to keep people or spirits from turning to divine sources for help or guidance.

Ben< ALL: Let's take a look at parental discernment. From your own experience as a parent and/or your observations of parents (your own and others), how does a good parent see his or her children? From what basic attitude? perspective?

Ben< /topic Discussion of Parental Discernment

Although I expected this discussion to be wide-ranging, I hoped it would include or illustrate these three points:

Parental discernment is based on respect for each child, as that individual child is now, regardless of the child's relative weakness, helplessness, foolishness, immaturity, or anything the child may have said or done in the past that he or she is not saying or doing now.

Parental discernment uses three questions as tools, again and again: What would be good for this child right now? What would be Okay for this child right now? What would be bad for this child right now?

Parental discernment of a child's motives toward other children provides a basis for three types of parental behavior: (1) eagerly support and encourage any child who wants to help another child; (2) take no action for or against most childish play and other harmless activities; (3) neither support nor encourage, but try to redirect (and if necessary, restrain without injuring) any child who wants to hurt another child physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually.

Ben< ALL: To conclude this seminar on spiritual discernment, I would like to offer this piece of testimony from personal experience: There are vast numbers of discarnate beings who are much better at the art of parenting than any human being I know. Some of them say they have not lived in a human body. Some say they learned part of the art of parenting on Earth, and continued to refine their skills after they died. Be that as it may, it is only to these better-than-human discarnate beings that I personally apply the value-label: "divine" (God-like).

Seminars | Next |