The Ethics Of
As in any other endeavor wherein you deal with other people, there
needs to be a code of right conduct in channeling that exists for
the protection of the feelings of the people with whom you are
dealing and of yourself. Although vast amounts of money seldom
change hands, people’s feelings are often deeply involved in
transactions with a channel, and just as others treat you, the
instrument, with a good deal of respect, so you respect them and
Money will come to you in the course of your channeling, whether you
ask for it or not, if your work has a stable basis of preparation
and dedication, and especially if you have made any of your
information public. In the Holy Bible, love of money is considered
quite nefarious; about money itself, that particular holy work seems
to conclude little, except that one should have a sense of
stewardship towards the money one does make. It is not unethical, in
my opinion, to charge money for serving as an instrument.
excellent channels do charge and since they spend their working
lives acting as instruments at the behest of others it seems only
logical that these instruments should be able to make a living.
However, anything can be carried too far. The price charged for,
say, an hour’s session with an instrument varies widely, and it is
difficult to say when “enough” has become “too much.”
most commonsense way to look at charging money for channeling is
that if you need to do so in order to channel, and if you feel that
you are doing work worthy of accepting payment, you should certainly
go ahead and charge. I would advise you to keep your price in line
with your experience and effort, and with your actual daily needs.
No amount of emolument can pay enough for your dedication, nor
should you hope for such. Some channels, for instance, lose a great
deal of personal time, not just during channeling sessions but in
their aftermath, being frail physically and unable to withstand the
rigors of serving in this way particularly well. If you are new,
young, inexperienced and healthy, be conservative in the price you
As you gain experience, charge more. Remember that like any
other professional you are “taking work home” in that when you
accept the responsibility of being a channel you are accepting what
I would call, with my Christian background, a lay ministry, a
ministry by one of the flock, not the shepherd; a ministry by a
member of the congregation and not the priest.
As a kind of deacon,
without dogma or doctrine, but totally dedicated to the service of
the Creator as you have come to know Him, and to humankind, you have
the responsibility of attempting at all times to place your life in
the service of those ideals you have decided are yours. If you are
charging money—and even if you are not—be sure you are offering a
good value, the best value you can make, of the way you live your
life. It is not only what is going on in your head that will
ultimately aid others. The life that you live will speak far more
loudly to people than any fine thought you might be able to opine or
There is another alternative to charging money: accepting
contributions. Because I have been extremely fortunate financially,
I have never had to charge for serving as an instrument. Many women
can with gratitude say the same thing. I have not ever had an
overabundance of this world’s goods, but have always had “enough,”
for myself, if not for this work, and so when I looked for a way to
allow people to support my work I found the nonprofit corporation, a
private or public charity, a desirable option. It is not as easy as
it used to be to acquire a 501(c)(3) ruling from the Internal
Revenue Service, but it is possible. The corporation, then, is able
to pay for printing costs, costs of mailing and other costs which
one who attempts to make channeling information available to others
There are metaphysical points to be made here in favor of not
charging. There is a kind of law concerning giving which suggests
that charging a certain amount of money for service limits the
amount which people can feel free to donate.
There is also a money
law which has more to do with keeping the green-ray energy center
open than with good financial thought: it is impossible for some
people to pay for materials which you have channeled; often
prisoners cannot pay; many older readers cannot show their
appreciation monetarily; youngsters still in school may have an
impossibly tight money situation if they are not working. On the
other hand, several excellent channels have advised me that I am
naive to think that many will listen carefully to me unless I charge
enough to get their respect and attention.
The argument posits that
a student’s potential for learning and transformation rises in
direct proportion to the size of the fee for your teaching and the
sacrifice involved in saving it. It also assumes that what is
offered to the student is worth its price. These are considerations,
and I hope you will think them through carefully before you decide
what to do about charging money.
When it comes to large projects, such as workshops and speaking
engagements out of town, money considerations change a bit due to
the amount of money which you would be owing if you did not charge
something. Again, it is not unethical to charge a fee or a fee plus
expenses for speaking or offering a seminar. If you decide to charge
a fee, try to make sure it is in the normal range for the time and
the services provided. You might also consider whether or not some
special people—the elderly, the very poor, the young—might be exempt
from normal charges. My policy is this: I’ll go anywhere to speak if
invited, provided that those who invite me pay my expenses.
puts me in a position where I have not lost anything by teaching.
There is more than a bit of selfishness there, but I do live on a
budget, like most people, and could not offer to go places were my
expenses not covered. However, once I am there, any additional
monies collected by whatever group I address are accepted as a
contribution, welcome but not expected. What you will find as you
continue channeling is that people are very grateful for this kind
of work and want to help you. You do not have to be on the lookout
for ways to make money.
Your main difficulty will be in keeping
things in perspective so that you do not find yourself overwhelmed
by temptation when someone is willing to pay you a good deal of
money in order to hear certain kinds of information which you do not
wish to try to channel.
One last word about money: if you are charging money, the acceptance
of that fee creates a bond of a contractual nature between you and
the person whom you have served. Be careful, therefore, whom you
serve. In this crazy day where more money is made in lawsuits, so it
seems, than in honest labor, it is well to choose with some care
those to whom you will be obligated. This is another reason I
personally prefer accepting contributions to charging a set fee.
There is an old gypsy ethic that suggests that fortune tellers never
divulge bad news, especially news of someone’s upcoming death. It
doesn’t matter how clear it is in the hand, or how plain the tea
leaves are to read, it is just not done. I have heard of very
inventive ways of getting around this. For instance there is the
case of my friend, Denny, who went to a psychic. She acted
disturbed, and among other things, told him never to accept a ride
in a red car. Quite a while later Denny was hitchhiking. He was
picked up by a red VW beetle, which crashed horrendously.
almost didn’t make it back to this earth plane, and when he did he
was to have a long, slow pull back to health, as he had suffered
brain damage. He is fine now, but will never be as he was before. It
is too bad that he did not remember to avoid maroon automobiles, but
on the other hand, news of this death would have disturbed him
perhaps more in mind than in its actual near-occurrence. In the same
situation, try just as hard to find ways of channeling which
If you are naturally gifted as a psychic as well as functioning as a
channel you may have no choice about what you perceive. You may get
a flood of information that you don’t necessarily want to have.
Nevertheless, because you are gifted and are receiving it, you are
also responsible for using it correctly. Try in what you say to
inspire people, not just with your channeling but in those things
which you share person to person.
Try for the “beware of red cars”
technique rather than either a bald statement like “You are going to
die,” or refraining from saying anything at all. Use both common
sense and whatever faculty of intuition and prayer may be yours.
Common sense is the more sturdy of the two faculties for this kind
of discrimination; however, some calls are too close to make using
Channels who have had success over a period of time doing good work
can often run into ethical difficulty by allowing people to become
dependent on them. Try not to do this with your own practice.
Remember that you are here to serve others. They did not show up in
order to serve you. Regardless of who does what to whom, your
attitude should remain one of openhearted and compassionate service.
Thus you need continuously to make distinction between what you say
as yourself and what your contact says through you as a channel. If
you have tuned carefully and challenged all entities who come before
your notice, the contact which you ultimately obtain will be of
positive polarity and will not attempt to make people dependent on
If your contact is channeling things through you which are making
people dependent on it and you, you need to rethink your channeling.
Ask yourself if you have a really sound and stable dedication to
serving through the practice of channeling. Ask yourself what the
shape of that commitment is and how you can improve your challenging
and tuning processes to prepare yourself to receive a higher and
If you have spotted channeling that seems to be
going in the direction of making people come back and back in order
to get something they feel they need, do not put this matter from
your mind until you have assured yourself that nothing you are doing
is in any way tying this person to you or to the contact. Some
people are naturally dependent, and there is nothing you should do
However, if you are not channeling specific information
but rather offering metaphysical and philosophical inspiration, you
should consider yourself to be on the right track regardless of the
number of hangers-on you may have accumulated over the years,
remembering always that most of your students and readers will come
back for years, perhaps, with the best and most inner-directed
motives. There’s a big difference between those inquiring spirits
who make up a channel’s audience and the occasional clinging vines
who don’t like to think, especially for themselves.
There is no one sure merciful way to discourage naturally dependent
seekers from attaching themselves to you. As long as you avoid being
self-serving and channeling specific prophecy you will not offer the
kind of naturally tempting environment which will keep hangers-on
hanging on! Examine your behavior to be sure that you are not
encouraging this sort of channeling in order to feed your ego.
People will seek at their own speed and along their own path of
inquiry. The answers important to them will be awakened from within
them, not from outside of them, through a process of recognition of
truth that is impossible to describe but which almost everyone has
experienced. You are not responsible to anyone except insofar as you
are living as well as you can in accordance with what you believe
and are channeling in a responsible and dedicated fashion.
Once you have been serving in this capacity for a while you will
start to discover your time disappearing, if indeed you had any left
over in the first place. People begin calling you up from around
areas in which you have spoken, wanting to know more about your
work. If you have a published a book, readership eventually becomes
a matter of national circulation, then international circulation,
and one day you are dealing with people who have never read English.
Everyone wants you to write to them or speak to their organization
and yet there is just so much you can do in any day’s time. What are
your ethical responsibilities? Do you need to make yourself
available to the public?
It is my opinion that you do. You do not have to carry it too far,
or give over your life, your home and your work to the business of
being with people. If you do that, you will find that you have also
stopped being an instrument. You need to allow yourself solitude for
meditation, contemplation, reading, goofing off and having a ball.
These are all highly constructive activities which make the
instrument far more able to focus and concentrate during the next
work period. However, it is important to make yourself available to
people. So how is it done?
One of the easiest and best ways I know to share yourself with
people is to put aside a certain day each week, or each fortnight or
month if such be your scheduling needs, for the public. Our group,
for instance, has had a Sunday night meditation almost every week
since January, 1962, with the meetings being at my house since 1974.
With this time already set aside it is far more possible to handle
requests from people who want to come see you.
You simply tell them the day and time of your weekly open-house and
invite them to it. Although this is a time-consuming way of handling
your obligations, it is also a time-saving method insofar as you
have accumulated all of your debts to those whom you serve into one
time-period per week. To the extent that you feel responsible for
making extra dates with out-of owners and strangers at times other
than that one day, this plan will be a failure. If you are setting
aside a specific time for this responsibility to be discharged, you
owe it to yourself and your work to try to keep your time with the
public limited to that day and time.
People are wonderful and I could probably spend all my time just
talking and being with folks. However, my Puritan background must
still hold a great deal of sway with me because I persist having the
illusion that there is something more for me to do than chat,
however charming or meaningful the conversation. If you are
tremendously enjoying meeting lots of different people, go ahead and
do it. It is likely that the experience itself will sate you and
once you have gotten your fill of people you will be far more able
to temper your enthusiasm with a little respect for your other
You really do owe all the people whom you are serving a
chance to ask anything that they want to ask, to share anything that
they want to share. You are not, however, responsible for doing that
at their convenience but rather for making the effort at all. People
who say “I will only be in town for one day and I must see you,” no
longer tug at my heartstrings as they once did, because I have sat
through far too many conversations where the people talked to me for
hours at a time very inconvenient to me.
It seems that at least half
of the people who “absolutely must see you” at an awkward time are
people who want to change you or to use you as a sounding board for
something outside your field of inquiry, and while I do not mind
listening to criticism or being sympathetic if I have the time, I
don’t think any instrument has the responsibility of taking the time
away from his or her own private life to do this.
If you have published any of your channeling, and many instruments
have, you will begin getting letters from people, some good, some
bizarre, some merely sad. This correspondence represents an ethical
commitment which I would encourage you to undertake, to the
balancing of any energy that wants to blend with yours.
A letter is
a far more grateful medium for sharing opinion than a personal visit
because the etiquette of face-to-face discussions is such that you
may well find yourself too embarrassed or polite to offer the
appropriate opinion and thus blunt your words because of courtesy.
In a letter both praise and blame can be tempered with compassion in
a far more careful and thoughtful way than is available to someone
face to face with another, since a letter can be written and
rewritten and sent out only after you are completely satisfied with
the degree of compassion that it shows.
When you are talking you
only have one chance per thought. People who send you letters are
sending you energy just as much as people who come to visit you. To
discharge your responsibilities to them it is well to blend your
energy with theirs in as compassionate and loving a way as is
possible. It is not always possible to get very close to people.
More than once in my life I have been very sad to notice the great
gap that exists between the close friendship that can be achieved in
letters and the uneasy comradeship that can ensue in person if two
people are communicating in two widely various ways with each other.
I have wished, in fact, that we communicated through the equivalent
of a letter at all times! We do so much better. So answer every
letter if you can. We do.
After trying to devise a telephone ethic for several years, I
personally elected to take an unpublished number and filter all
calls through our telephone answering device. People who hate
answering machines virtually never contact me by telephone. This is
my response to telephone tyranny. It you have a listed number, be
prepared for frequent incursions on your time at all hours by
strangers. You’re on your own on this subject, as I dislike
telephones to the exclusion of a rational ethic!
A discussion of the ethics of channeling wouldn’t be complete
without talking about confidentiality. I’m talking to two different
kinds of channels here, and so I will need to ask you a question.
Are you a priest or a lay person? Quite a few channels are actually
priests, having incorporated as a church or monastery, and having
set up a way of ordaining ministers in that church. The rule of
confidentiality of the priesthood is absolute. A priest does not
have to go to jail for refusing to divulge to a court the
confessions of a criminal. That professional ethic extends to
psychiatrists, who have the equivalent of a priesthood conferred on
them by the scientific community and public opinion in general.
however, are probably not legally a priest and, as a lay minister,
are as responsible to the forces of justice as you are the
confidentiality of the confessional. I believe you can play it
either way. However, it would be well to think this one through
before the situation comes up. If you agree to hear the confidences
of a person who, it turns out, has done or seen something relevant
to a crime, you will have to make a response to that situation,
either by calling on the ethics of confidentiality or by telling the
officer of the court to which you are responsible what you know.
This is a decision you will have to make for yourself. It is a gray
area, in my opinion. I lean towards absolute confidentiality;
however, I know that that opinion could put me in jail one day.
is simply my experience that in this illusion the forces of loyalty
have a deeper metaphysical meaning than the forces of mundane
justice. And, of course, each case needs to be judged, to a certain
extent, on its own merits.
Back to money and taxation! It is a great temptation, if you are not
already putting contributions in a special non-profit account which
you cannot personally touch, to pocket whatever cash may be given to
you as a contribution without making any kind of record of the
income. I am not fond of the IRS. I may be crazy, but I am not that
crazy! However, it is an unfortunate fact that the way one lives
one’s life is always relevant to the work one does as a channel.
Therefore, as an instrument you would do well to be painfully and
expensively honest. Keep careful books and pay what you owe.
Hopefully that will not be a death knell to your service. However,
it would, in my opinion, be better to stop taking money for your
work than to pocket it as undeclared income.
You are going to be asked an enormous number of questions if you
continue channeling and teaching channeling for any length of time.
Some of the questions will be repeated over and over again, but
there are always questions that surprise you, questions that you
would be delighted to answer if you only could. There is often the
temptation, when asked a challenging question, to move into
generalities which will sound pretty good, even though you don’t
know precisely what you are talking about. This is not an ethical
practice. Try to tell the truth at all times. When necessary, say “I
The more you respect the work you are doing, the more
clearly you will see that it is not well to speak beyond your
experience. People do not think you are ignorant simply because you
don’t know the answer to a question. They appreciate that kind of
People will ask you what you think about other channels and other
groups. Study your responses carefully, to be sure that they are
free from judgment. There isn’t anything wrong with giving as honest
an opinion as you can about someone else’s work as long as you
remember that each person’s work has an unique audience and an
unique message which may be far different than your own orientation.
If you can remember that variety is not an indication that someone
is wrong, your conversation will be well served.
condemn another group out of hand is unethical. To condemn any
channel or group is not advisable. In the first place you could be
wrong. In the second place, it is a wrong use of your power. People
need to discern for themselves, to choose and discriminate out of
their own experience and thought. Spreading your opinions far and
wide on other channels, especially if your opinion is negative, is a
way to make yourself feel good at the expense of others, which is
Add to that the fact that you are tying the
questioner to you by your judgmental information, making that person
dependent upon you to know what is right for him or her, and you
have a thoroughly unethical practice. Please try to avoid it. You’ll
find it difficult at first. When you have been upset by material
someone has produced, it is difficult to avoid condemnation. After
some practice you will find the words coming a bit more adroitly,
and eventually you will be able to say something honest about other
workers in this field without judging.
I have never seen anyone write, in this new age, on the ethics of
training new channels. Perhaps it is not yet a common enough
practice for there to be a felt need. However, I am making the
assumption that a significant number of channels will end up
teaching channeling. Apprenticeship is, after all, the oldest form
of teaching. As a teacher of new channels, I will share with you
some of my feelings, for whatever use they may be to you.
guess from what has gone before that I do not charge money for this,
as I myself was taught freely, and my teacher before me. I also
consider the work spiritual in nature and very exacting, and my
teaching of it as part of a sacred ministry, sacred to me and sacred
to my Creator. I am not, however, saying it is unethical to charge
money for teaching; if your financial circumstances do not allow you
to live comfortably without charging something, by all means do so.
Just be sure it is a reasonable amount. The ethics of some groups
which charge a very large amount to teach what they have to share
are to my mind questionable. There is always the argument that
people will not use what they have learned unless they pay for it.
In the American materialistic culture this is sometimes the case.
The theory further goes that if you pay a great deal for something
you will pay a great deal of attention to that something. This may
also be the case, but if you are doing that, try to make your
contribution very, very special. I do not have an avoidance towards
money, but only towards greed.
There are two main categories of students: curious and committed.
The curious will almost surely not continue channeling after having
learned the technique. That’s fine. There is nothing unethical about
sharing the experience of channeling with someone else who is not
dedicated to performing it as a service. You are performing a
service to that person in giving the person information. It is well
if you are convinced that the person’s curiosity is a legitimate
one, and not prurient or excessively shallow.
That person may have
another area towards which he is moving and in which he can be of
far more service than he could be by channeling. There are many,
many ways to be of service and vocal channeling is only one.
Therefore, I do not turn down the curious merely because they do not
have an ultimate commitment to using their ability to channel in the
service of vocal channeling. As long as there is a fundamental
commitment to the spiritual path and a dedication to the service of
others the necessary ingredients are present for teaching to begin.
Those whose curiosity is blank and devoid of any metaphysical basis
are a category of student it has not proven worthwhile to me in the
past to teach. The experience remains empty since the seeker has no
previous experience of seeking and finding to form a basis for this
experience of learning to channel. And so without any ethical or
moral load on it, the experience vanishes like smoke, as do all
neutral experiences. That category of student I do not feel inclined
to teach, and it will improve your temper to use similar
The committed student, of course, is a joy and a delight, and I hope
that you get many of them during the time that you serve in this
fashion. To these students you have the responsibility of remaining
a teacher to them for as long as you both shall live, as this is not
a relationship which ends except by death. You may not have heard
from a student for many years but if you have taught a person, when
he or she writes or calls and needs to pick your brains or your
heart on some matter related to your teaching it is unethical to
avoid that responsibility.
You will notice that I have not anywhere in this book said a word
about the mechanics of channeling. It is not difficult to explain or
to teach this technique, but I hope that as teachers you will keep
the technique to yourself except within the confines of private
instruction with selected students. It’s the great numbers of people
who are channeling these days, taught in a most unethical manner,
and set free upon the world with no one to call if they get into
trouble, that prompted me to write this volume.
There is a reason
for the word occult; it means hidden, and some things are just
better hidden. The keys to the invisible world are hidden because
they are invisible, and should remain so because that’s part of the
nature of inner work. To take this kind of key and put it before a
world which is an unpolarized amalgamation of positive and negative
souls is to cast pearls before swine.
Better teachers than I have
been against that! This chapter will probably be longer if the book
is printed again, because I expect a lot of questions from readers
on the ethics of channeling simply because the field is relatively
new and for the most part completely ungoverned. We dwell in the
lacuna between the seen and the unseen worlds, and laws are either
civil, to deal with seen things, or religious.
Since we do not
accept doctrine or dogma in the same way that a church does, no body
of religious persons can control us. Since it is not against the law
to speak or to print and distribute one’s writings, the civil courts
have no real way to control our activities. We must control them
I hope you will think ethically and behave ethically for
it will affect not only the personal ease with which you are able to
live your life, but will also shine through in your channeling work.
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