Perennial Favorites

A MYSTIC’S TAKE ON KARMIC DEBTS:Only the Giver Can Stamp the Record “PAID IN FULL” Because the Receiver Never Will

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WARNING LABEL: Please note that some of the information in this newsletter is from a channeled transmission from the Akashic Records regarding the Laws of Karma and, as such, may make for some seriously heavy reading, as well as pushing more than a few buttons.:)

MATERNAL–Joan Pancoe

“When you argue with reality, you lose—but only 100% of the time.”–Byron Katie
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how exceptionally fortunate I feel to be in a precious human incarnation during such an exceedingly fraught, challenging and down-right mucky time on planet Earth. How about you?

This messiness includes being in the midst of the Kali Yuga, as well as witnessing and, at times, having to contend with 21st century-style plagues, autocrat wannabes (and their followers) and man-made natural disasters like global warming, to name just a few types of ongoing crises that we could spend our time catastrophizing about.

Or, we could choose to invest our energies in doing enough daily spiritual practices to set a tone of peace, equanimity and faith in the Flow in our personal realities, thus affecting the mass tone via the ripple effect. This inner stillness allows us to witness all the divine order-ly chaos swirling around us as spiritual resistance training–relentlessly pushing at us to make us internally stronger.

In fact, it’s exactly all this mishigas (craziness) that catalyzes our potentials for accelerated awakening in an off-the-charts, totally unprecedented way in human history, especially with the energies of the Quickening supporting our flight. As Thich Nhat Hanh said: “No mud, no lotus.”

For more on the Quickening:
The Quickening Phase II Is Here to Rock Your World

Before I even had a chance to study the major astrological influences of the summer season and beyond, the subject of this newsletter (which I’ve never publicly addressed) was emphatically downloaded into my channel system. I thought the topic was perhaps prompted by recently having so many loved ones (clients included:)) going through a lot of tsuris (aka trouble, distress or aggravation) while deciding whether or not they had completely paid off some karmic debts in significant relationships.

But, sure enough, when I did get around to checking, there is a major transit starting in mid-July which corresponds perfectly with how to raise the level at which we relate to our karmic debts. And that is: The Dharmic North Node of our Destiny moves into warrior Aries along with the Karmic South Node of our Past into people-pleasing Libra–and this theme will be with us for eighteen months.

The premise laid out by these nodal positions will be playing out in our lives in a multitude of ways. For example, how do we find the balance in our most meaningful relationships (which are all karmic btw) between: Having a warrior mentality, which means bypassing the heart to survive even if it harms others–versus always putting others’ needs first, even if it harms self.

This dichotomy in our relationships can only find a deeper merging through an open heart/mind. For, if we can raise our operational frequency to becoming a warrior of the heart (rather than running off our ego/root chakra/survival instinct), we can still take care of ourselves first and then all others. I call this healthy selfishness and it’s a very good thing to cultivate, like placing the oxygen mask on ourself first before taking care of the baby on our lap. In the bigger picture, it’s a win-win!

The key operational difference in refining the level of all our relationship dynamics will be through a commitment to keep our heart open no matter what to all beings, especially ourselves. Through doing this, we may begin to find the middle way, rather than stricturing or armoring our hearts which, while seemingly protecting us from pain inflicted by others, only harms us in the long run and thus incurs karma, or unfinished business, which will need to be resolved–sooner or later.

This is quite the balancing act, like walking on an emotional and psychic highwire. This is especially so when we’re dealing with those we feel indebted to–even if we don’t remember all the past-life details. On the one side, we don’t want to incur more karma by being too selfish and harming others and, on the other side, we also don’t want to incur karma by giving away so much of our life force energies that we harm ourselves.

Please note: Relationships involving parents, children and committed life partners are all special karmic cases which I’ll address after covering all the other types of relationships first.

In most bonds involving karmic debt, we may find ourselves, over long periods of time, giving away so much of our resources of time, energy and/or money to feed the recipients of what feels owed, that we start feeling less joy in the giving and more depletion and resentment.

The tipping point comes when resentment becomes the predominate emotion more than 51% of the time. This is when we need to reevaluate if it’s time to free ourselves from what has become a form of emotional bondage.

It’s at this point, which can take decades for us to reach, when we may realize that through our support, we’re helping to bring out some of the lowest aspects of the receiver by feeding their greediness, hungry ghost, and/or entitled ruts of identity. This is when most clients come to me to ask: “Am I paid in full yet?” I let them know that only they can decide when they’re done, and give them the criterion on which to base this decision.

They also need to hear that the taker of their gifts of time, energy and resources will never say they’ve received enough and the debt is paid in full. Why is this? Because it’s human nature to always choose the lesser pain which, in this case, means getting attached to a root chakra dynamic of feeding off others. And, most get so stuck here that, if their benefactor withdraws what feels like life support, it triggers their survival instinct so that they literally feel as if they’re going to die if they don’t get their regular fix.

The key guidance I give others, who are thinking about closing their account as paid in full, is that the karmic debt we carry is never completely cleared unless we’re able to maintain an ongoing commitment to keep our hearts open and wish the former beneficiaries of our largess well on their journeys. When it becomes clear to us that weaning them is for our highest good, then it’s Divine Law that ultimately it has to be for the highest good of all concerned.

Once we stop enabling them to feed off us, rest assured that, while they will initially kick and scream like they’re dying, over time, they’ll feel “encouraged” enough by their change in circumstances to learn how to feed themselves (or find another “benefactor,” which is not our business.) This is a form of what is called “tough love” in 12-step programs. And, it’s a tool that we may choose to switch to as our modus operandi, rather than staying with what Chogyam Trumpa calls “idiot compassion.”

We know we have gone a page too far when we realize, sometimes slowly and sometimes suddenly, that our feelings have flipped into aversion. This is way beyond feeling resentment more than half the time and, once aversion kicks in–in any relationship–there is sadly no going back to happier times, no matter how much denial and delusion we cover the screen of our perceptions with.

If we continue to engage in the dynamic once aversion has arisen, it will, without doubt, become increasingly more toxic and thus harmful to our well-being, as our life-force energies are being depleted at a faster rate than we can replenish them–even while doing daily practices such as chi gung.
We may also start feeling as if our emotional and psychic boundaries are under attack–even though we know how to seal ourselves energetically while keeping the heart open through psychic empowerment practices.
For more: Psychic Empowerment Practices

And, while all the inner work and daily practices will certainly help, especially if one is a primary caregiver for someone ill, and there is no immediate recourse to be found. But, sooner or later, in these cases especially, burnout and PTSD will ensue.  For more:

The Karmic Consequences of Entitlement (and it might not be what you think)

A Mystic’s Take on Hungry Ghosts, Karmic Setpoints and How to Truly Feed Our Souls
Here are some karmic case studies:
A client came to me after decades of loaning his ex-girlfriend money and other kinds of support as she was always “down on her luck.” And while this man certainly wasn’t in great shape himself financially and struggling to get by at times, he felt “lucky” to be more functional than her and felt guilty at his comparative good fortune.

I told him that if it made him feel joy more than 51% of the time to be a channel of giving to someone he at least once loved who was suffering and needed help, than it was all good. But if he wanted to be done with this karmic debt dynamic because it didn’t allow for joy to arise anymore at all, only he could decide if he felt “paid in full.” 

This is how all our unfinished business (aka unresolved karma) with others works. It’s always an inside job and only we can draw the line and say enough, and then do the inner work to release any guilt–which is a wasted emotion–and move on to healing through self-forgiveness for our imperfect humanness. We are truly our own karmic judge, jury and parole board all wrapped into one:).

In the end, with all the giving we do, we need to recognize that it is all for us as it cultivating loving kindness, compassion and joy in Being as the heart continues to open ever wider and deeper. But if the dynamic has flipped, so that only resentment is arising more and more, and there are no more moments of joy, then we need to invest in more self-care as our number one priority.

Another case: A dear old friend, who was a great psychic healer, was enmeshed, personally and professionally, in a karmic bondage spanning decades with a woman who was very toxic and drained the life force energies out of everyone she came in contact with. I call this type an “ego monster.”

When I did readings for him over these decades, it was clear that this relationship would eventually kill him. But he said that in a past life as male warriors together, she had given his life to save his. So, he felt duty bound to repay the karmic debt selflessly and unconditionally even though she was quite ruthless in her feeding off him on all levels. I could see he was completely stuck in this dynamic. He got sick and dropped his body at the age of 60.

So, in this case, he did all this giving consciously and chose this probable outcome to be clear of the karmic debt, but also for many other reasons of balancing and resolving other karmic issues within himself. Only his soul can decide in the accounting of his record if he is now “paid in full,” but I’m pretty sure he is.

For many of us, we may feel as if we owe the recipient of the karmic debt our lives, without necessarily remembering the karmic story-line preceding the events in this life. However, if the feeling of debt is relentlessly undeniable, then only we can decide if we’ve paid in full as the other–especially if they’re an ego monster, hungry ghost and/or psychic vampire–never ever will.

Here’s one more (before my personal case study): A client, originally from China, who lives in the USA now, was partially supporting over a half-dozen family friends and relatives back home. This had been going on for decades, as they were comparatively poor and suffering and, since he lived in America, from their view he must be rich and doing well.

But, over the years, he had fallen on hard times and declared bankruptcy. As he was trying to get himself back on his feet, the demands for their monthly money orders, along with numerous emergencies–illnesses and so forth that required extra funds–continued unabated even with the change in his circumstances.

When I first did a soul reading for him, about six years ago, just before his yearly trip home, I was hoping that the reading would give him the good news that the karmic debt was paid in full.  But, unfortunately for him at the time, the reading confirmed that he still owed them all, and then went into the past life karma in detail which kept him in each of their debt.

But recently, he came back for a reading, as he had reached the end of his rope and was feeling resentful that he could never get ahead in life with all the recipients of his giving always clamoring for more. The reading confirmed that through all his benevolence, his heart had opened more than ever before in this life, which is what he is working on as his soul assignment. And that paying off these debts had been the perfect teaching vehicle to cultivate generosity and compassion.

I told him that at this point in his evolution, he could now decide if the karmic debts are paid in full, as long as he is committed to maintaining his generous open heart in an ongoing way by paying forward, if you will, into all his future affairs, as well as wishing his former recipients all good things on their journeys onwards without him.

In my own case, I had an aunt and uncle that I was close to for many years, and we even went on holidays together for seven years in the eighties in Sedona where they had a time share. The agreement we made was that, in exchange for a luxury suite, I would give them each one psychic and one astrological reading every year.

But, after they retired, they started relentlessly harassing me by phone on a daily basis for readings–not in health crises per se as I was there for them completely then–but just questions about the minutia of their daily lives. It was driving me nutz!

On our last trip together, as I was doing a reading for my uncle, having reminded him not to keep me in trance for more than an hour as it strains my nervous system/psychic circuitry, I came out of trance after 90-minutes, completely drained, to discover that he had kept me under way too long for my well-being with his endless questions.

I was so toasted, I told him that I was going to sit in the tiny jacuzzi on their terrace to try and congeal my boundaries and reconstitute my form and to please leave me alone. But, almost immediately, my uncle–quite a large man–jumped into the jacuzzi with me–both of us in bathing suits, thank the goddess–even though the space was not big enough for both of us.

I went into shock at what he had done in invading my space on all levels, and jumped out of the jacuzzi. I have never spoken to him or my aunt again, except to be civil at family gatherings.

I was DONE! A friend at the time, in Sedona witnessing our dysfunctional energetic dynamic, had told me just before this culminating event that I needed to stop hanging with them as my energy was too important to squander on them alone, rather than all the clients who needed my help.

And he was right! It just takes what it takes and, in my case, when the dynamic flipped to aversion–there really was no going back and I felt totally paid in full. I won’t go into the karmic storyline here, as most of us (even if we don’t know the past-life details) can feel when resentment continues to grow until aversion kicks in.

Over the following years, my mother begged me to speak to my uncle (her baby brother), but I declined. In her last year, she told me that her brother was making her so crazy with his pushiness and bossiness that she finally sanctioned my decision as she at last fully understood why my wellbeing and work must come first, and actually started avoiding speaking to him as well.

And, speaking of mothers, it’s time to move onto the special karmic bonds (or bondages) and the nature of the debts owed between parents and children as well as committed life partners.
To begin with, let me just say that, with all the other types of karmic debts, we can reach a point to say “paid in full” while the recipient is still embodied.

But, in these special cases, we are NEVER done while the receiver is still in the body–as the unresolved karma is a debt which we carry inside of ourselves and the paying out of what is owed must be done in an ongoing way–there is no “one and done” here. Sorry, folks.

“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” ―Rumi

The good news is that the healing of relationships with our parents is a karmic final exam, especially with the primary role model who pushes our buttons the most. And that’s why we chose them, to activate the karmic themes we took incarnation for. This means that we need to own that our karmic buttons were already fully installed before entry. It’s a final exam because once we can maintain an open heart and wish them well in an ongoing way–it means that we can do this with anyone on the planet.

For those of us who have heavy karma with a parent, it’s important to remember that we chose this soul to be our parent for very specific reasons which, while myriad in nature, can be as basic as learning how to maintain healthy boundaries and not just survive but thrive. All this makes our parents some of our greatest spiritual teachers in disguise.

In addition, at some point we also need to cultivate gratitude and cosmic humor for how well they played their roles. For, we are who we are through their activation of what we took incarnation to heal. I always say to clients, when they’re kvetching about their parents, that they deserve to get “Karmic Oscars” for playing their roles so impeccably (if unconsciously)–especially if they were the perfect negative role models, as many are. And all this was pre-loaded into the Divine computer by our souls and fully committed to before entry!

Once we have come to love who we are, it’s much easier to let go of the blame game. But, if we’re still blaming our parents for who we’ve become–and thus giving all our power away to them–we’ve got a long way to go, baby.

If we were abused by either or both parents on any level, it is not our job to change them. The wheels of karma grind exceedingly slow but exceedingly fine, and the timing of their karmic resolution is ultimately not our business. What is, is to heal and clear our side of the karmic street with forgiveness and compassion for all concerned, especially ourselves.

This full karmic healing by no means necessitates ever having to be in the physical presence of an abusive, negative, toxic or draining parent (or child) again. But rather, it does mean that, while we may choose to never allow them within any physical proximity, we must never throw them out of our hearts.

This is also true with a divorced life-partner–the high road to healing our karma is to keep the heart open even if we need to throw them out of our once-shared home and change the locks.

Starting in my late 30s, I realized that I could maintain the witnessing perspective with anyone on the planet except my mother. So, after a lot of inner work and past-life regression therapy, I was finally able to maintain the witnessing perspective and see her, as well as all my family, with a fresh eye, with no negative history or baggage in relation to me.

What I saw was a bunch of suffering mentally ill human beings, just like all of us, to different degrees, of course. And, since then, my ongoing commitment is to hold this view with compassion for all suffering beings, especially including them.

By the time I was in my fifties, my karma with my mother was fully resolved through maintaining an open heart and we became the best of friends until she passed at age 89 in 2015. Not to mention that now she is always available for comment from the other side on an almost daily basis.(I wrote about this reincarnational drama in depth in my memoir Cosmic Sugar).

Keeping my heart open towards her and giving her a continuous feeding tube of Divine love from the infinite supply vertically was one of the greatest and most challenging things I ever accomplished karmically. This heart opening to her changed everything in my life for the good, as it was the final cork that needed to be popped to open my heart fully and allow me to move to the next quantum level of my evolution. I finally got that sealing my heart from her as a protective defense mechanism was not only harming me but slowing down my soul growth big time.

NEXT: Children choose their parents, which allows the parents the probability of having their hearts cracked open to unconditional love, like nothing lesser ever could. Parents are also given the priceless opportunity to heal any karma for harms done in past lives to the souls that are their children–or visa versa.

Many times, in past lives, while the roles may have been very different, it’s very common to have one or both being too bossy, judgmental, controlling or abusive–even to the point of killing each other, which is exceptionarily unexceptional in the Akashic Records.

Many times, the karma incurred was for only offering conditional love based on them serving their wishes of how they thought their child/servant/slave/subordinate/spouse etc. was supposed be.

In this life, the karma gets played out by the parent, usually under the guise of “only wanting them to be happy”–but with a lot of projections and shoulds attached. Again, the karmic debt is paid in full by parents only if they can maintain love without conditions as an ongoing dynamic–with no ifs, ands or buts.

With committed life partners, in sickness and in health, right? Besides children, there is no greater vehicle to allow selflessness and empathy to crack our hearts open wider than ever before with compassion then when we have the opportunity to care for our “person” when they’re suffering. Over time, as we evolve to a higher level of transpersonal heart development, we can see all beings as our children and loved ones.

I’ve recently been reading memoirs of those with chronic or life-threatening illnesses as well as those who are the primary caretakers of loved ones. And, just as with my previous reading preference of holocaust survivor memoirs, I’m just as convinced that, as hard as it is, caregiving is one of the greatest vehicles for heart opening and karmic healing ever. But never easy. In this case truly: No pain, no gain.

However, the key is to choose to recommit daily to our roles and cultivate joy and gratitude for the privilege of serving loved ones who are suffering–and do enough self-care to keep any resentment, which can arise by exhaustion, to less than 51% of the time. In this way, we’re receiving a priceless gift for our soul growth–no matter how high the price paid by our ego/personality. 

Once our mirror is polished, we can see and viscerally feel that everything we do for others, we’re always doing for ourselves. The gift of a completely blown open heart is incomparably precious especially because the external price weighs so very heavy at times. 

Here’s a karmic case study: I did a reading for a very gentle and kind man in his sixties whose greatest fear was realized when his mother was in a nursing home with end-stage Alzheimer’s. He was an only child, and he dutifully went to see her weekly–a six-hour round trip. She didn’t recognize him in her dementia and raged at him in her suffering. 

He told me he so dreaded this weekly visit that it was consuming him on all levels and taking over his life to the point that he had no joy left. I did a soul reading for him, which first assured him that he didn’t need to become Mother Theresa and go to India and bathe lepers’ sores. This needed to be stated first as he had an aversion to visiting India because of all the suffering visible on the streets which triggered his own unresolved karmic PTSD memories of witnessing such suffering before and feeling powerless.

Instead, the reading promised him that all he needed to do was take care of his mother with the weekly visits until she passed, and his karma with her was done. It was essential that he consciously chose to do this completely for himself, so he wouldn’t carry guilt or regrets into future incarnations. His soul assignment was all about stepping into his personal power and this karmic final exam with his mother was the vehicle.

This reading freed him up to play out his karma with his mother and to see it as: “An opportunity rather than a burden.” And he played it out with gratitude and joy that he didn’t need to take care of all suffering beings–just her and himself.  Ta-da! Hey–one soul at a time, right?
In conclusion, we all have a specific amount of allotted karma we choose to come in and work with in any given incarnation. And the deepest karmic healing occurs within our most significant relations.

I love doing soul readings from the Akashic Records to help clients remember what they took incarnation for: To fulfill their soul assignments along with a foundation level of healing karma within themselves as well as in their most significant relationships.

A note about the Akashic records which contain the ever-expanding and evolving records of each soul: Everyone has the potential of equal access to this plane of consciousness as their Divine birthright. I also call this plane: The 6th dimension, the causal plane, the cosmic ocean of Becoming or the universal Flow state. Jung described it as the collective unconscious.

This dimension transcends linear space and time and is a lovely plane to hang out in, as being in the Flow becomes one’s new normal to fully enjoy in Leela (cosmic play). I highly recommend it!  (As all my psychic therapy clients can attest to:).)

I’ve always had clients who come to me and want to compare what other channels or psychics have told them in an Akashic Records reading. This seems to be happening more lately as there appears to be more channels accessing the Records these days.

Problems can arise however, if the channel (I call some of them “baby psychics”) is not yet skilled and open enough to be discriminating and know how to calibrate the information–of which there is an almost infinite supply–as well as coloring it with their own stuff (such as limiting beliefs, uncooked karma, etc.).

So, many times, I hear varieties of this story: That another Akashic channel told my client that they should be saving mankind at the UN, and the fact that they are not makes them feel unworthy, guilty and a failure.  Not helpful!  I share with them that the reading in question was a grandiose way of saying that they’re here to open their hearts, be of service and alleviate suffering–and performing this function by even helping to save one soul is actually equivalent to helping to save them all.

Then I get clients who say another Akashic reader told them that they were here to be a psychic channel and not whatever they’re currently doing–even if it’s already a helping profession and of great service.

Recently, I reminded one client of long standing who had this question about doing readings for a living (inspired by another Akashic reading elsewhere), that decades ago, when we had done past-life regression therapy into a life when she was a channel, a multitude of souls got destroyed on her watch. Oops!

So, while she has the psychic skillset developed and fully intact, it was safety-sealed in this life–as is often the case. This is many times reflected in the birth chart with a retrograde Neptune indicating a misuse of psychic gifts (by sins of commission in harming others or sins of omission through fear of the gift and thus harming self).

Furthermore, when the retrograde Neptune never releases karmically by going direct by secondary progression over the course of a lifetime–it usually means that the gifts are sealed to protect the client from accessing them too easily and thus incurring karma again.

So, the Akashic reading telling her she should be a trance channel in this life was not particularly useful. For, while it’s true that she has the abilities already developed, using them in this life as a public vocation, rather than as part of her expertise through utilizing her inner voice and intuition in her chosen helping profession, would be karmically counterproductive as it could trigger the hubris connected to the misuse of her psychic abilities based on her past history.

For anyone getting a soul reading from the Akashic Records, the most essential knowledge to receive is that which contains the most pertinent time-sensitive information for this exact moment in their karmic development. The reading needs to be calibrated with a refined discriminating awareness and articulated clearly, so that, out of the almost infinite pool of information in the soul records of literally hundreds or more incarnations, only the most relevant knowledge is conveyed.

To do this, the abilities of the channel need to be able to hone in with a laser-focus and transmit verbally, as well as energetically, what is most needed for the receiver to know about their soul evolution at the present time, as the point of power is in the Eternal Now. So, timing is everything!

It also may not be so helpful for the psychic reader to dwell over much on the high points of soul development. In most cases, unless it’s optimal for the recipient to live from that level now, it’s much more important to focus on guiding them to work on healing their allotted karma for this life by developing their least mature aspects, instead of resting in a karmic rut of solely what they’ve been good at before.

This is because we’re here to grow and expand the range of our humanness, not rest on our karmic laurels. As I said to one psychic therapy client after she expressed disappointment that several of the past lives we had visited were of subsistence-level potato farmers: “Well, we all can’t be the Queen of Sheba in every life:).”

Channels who only give clients info that feeds delusions of grandeur may unfortunately just be feeding the recipient’s ego and “making the customer happy” with the reading. But, in doing so, they’re not truly offering what can be of the highest use and may even be causing harm.

I long ago recognized that while people-pleasing is something I’m a natural at (with five planets in Libra), it was not the most useful role to play as part of my psychic vocation. For many years, I used to joke that I was a “recovering people pleaser,” and now I can most happily confide I’ve outgrown the need to please anyone but myself and my “bosses,”–who I call HAGF–the highest available Galactic forces:).

I wrote an article called On Spiritual Teachers: Buyer Be AWARE!” Although it seems one is also needed about trance channels, I doubt I will ever feel so inclined. So, here’s the short version: “On Akashic Records Readers, Psychics and Assorted Channels: BUYER BE AWARE!”  haha

After doing readings from the Akashic Records for over 50 years in this life, and after an entire karmic cycle of this development–as an Egyptian as well as Druid high priestess, a Taoist wizard, and a Delphic oracle, among others, I’m clear that being a trance channel in the heart of NYC is my karmic final exam of this cycle.

According to witnesses, on my very first LSD trip at age nineteen in early 1972, I experienced having my higher centers crack open completely and my psychic gifts emerge fully intact as I commenced to spontaneously do my very first reading.  And, I’ve never come back from that trip (it really only takes one very good one:).)

Since then, as part of my commitment to fulfilling my allotted karma in this area, I have done ongoing inner work to heal my emotional immaturity (which, compared to the psychic levels, was quite undeveloped in my twenties) as well as daily practices to keep my vertical channel crystal clear.

By age 31, I was so fully devoted to the high priestess archetype that I decided not to have children, as doing so wouldn’t allow me to fly so freely in higher dimensions. It was also very clear that it wasn’t karmically necessary anymore–as all beings are my children. So, as soon as my gyn would allow, I had a tubal ligation at age 39.

In the Spring of 2016, during my third psychic circuitry rewiring, it viscerally felt as if I was being downloaded with the entire Akashic Records of what seemed like infinite souls, each record downloading with visual images in a zip drive at warp speed every few seconds. And this went on for weeks, I kid you not.

This increasingly intense rewiring upgrade happens every twenty years to help my nervous system acclimate to ongoing higher frequencies, as I’m receiving continuous downloads which always raise the level of psychic power available to transmit to others.

But, this last time, the rewiring necessitated even more time sleeping than my usual nine hours, with me waking up feeling as if I was rising up from the depths of the cosmic ocean with no memory of space, time or identity. Added to this were daily naps which were really more like passing out or being knocked unconscious as psychic surgery was being performed. And all this continues to this day in a slightly less intense and more moderate form–or maybe my comfort zone has just moved closer to infinity.

Since the Fall of 2016, I’ve felt like a walking, talking library of the Akashic Records, which is continuously being added to and revised as souls evolve and grow. And, while I’ve always easily accessed the Akasha for Soul Readings (as one of my most ancient non-physical functions is as a guardian of these realms), but, now, there truly is no frequency shift between dimensions to allow for, as I am always right there—and here simultaneously.

I jokingly call my vertical channel the “galactic autobahn”–as it is very wide, speedy and safety sealed. And, also because, while I primarily read for clients from the Akashic Records, for my own readings I go to the Galactic plane, (or 7th body of consciousness in the Taoist system) and these days primarily operate from this frequency and beyond into the 8th body of the Void.
And, finally, if we fulfill all the allotted karma we came into this incarnation to heal, it doesn’t mean that we’re off the wheel and no more incarnations will ensue. It just means that we have fulfilled at least the foundation level of our soul assignment as well as hopefully continuing to evolve more through deeper levels of realizing our mission or purpose here.

Many clients want to know, as their primary question, what they need to do so that this will be their last incarnation. All I can do is internally sigh, as I share with them that aversion to the Earth Game, equally as much as attachment, keeps one on the wheel like nothing else.

For more on this:
If This Were Your Last Incarnation, What Would You Do?
I salute us all as we embrace our karmic debts as grist for the mill. I love sharing my experience that it’s possible and optimal to simultaneously fully enjoy the Earth Game/Divine Play in the Eternal Now while we pay our dues.

For everything we do for others; we’re always doing for ourselves. There is truly only One Being–with billions of faces. I write this to my Self through all of you. Thank you for graciously receiving this offering.

In love with Leela and the rules of the Earth Game (aka the laws of karma),

 HEART OF FIRE–Joan Pancoe

“When you open your heart, you get life’s ten thousand sorrows and ten thousand joys.”Chuang Tzu

A Mystic’s Take on Hungry Ghosts, Karmic Setpoints and How to Truly Feed Our Souls


PLEASE NOTE: After over 100 newsletters over the last 12 years, this is the first one that is so good and so timeless, I felt called to repost it in my PERENNIAL FAVORITES:)

Beast Becoming Human—Joan Pancoe

“In the Hindu Religion, where harmlessness is the ideal and flesh-eating is prohibited, Shiva has allowed meat for psychics, for the very reason that psychic power is power of the mind and the body must be strong enough to sustain it.”—Hazrat Inayat Khan, Sufi mystic

“A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”
—Simon and Garfunkel

Dear One,
This summer we have the perfect opportunity to allow our enjoyment of Life to be exceptionally sweet. For, most of us need some extra time to relax and recover from the global pandemic PTSD of the last year.

It’s also good to keep in mind that the next few months are peak season to add to our spiritual bank account by replenishing our energy in Nature. This inner focus is supported by the current retrograde cycles of Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Pluto and Uranus (in August) all whispering: “Go within.”

To maximize the benefits of these planetary energies, a daily investment in our inner growth through mind/body/spirit practices will incrementally add priceless pearls of equanimity and stability onto an unbreakable strand within our beings. This will enhance our ability to withstand the vicissitudes of chaotic external reality, whose tumultuous nature will only be speeding up rather than calming down in the foreseeable future. Intensive inner work now lays the foundation for a good harvest in the Fall and beyond.

As we start feeding our souls from the infinite stream of creative life-force energy available to each of us from Source as our Divine birthright, it allows us to cultivate a taste for being fed by these intangible fruits from the Tao aka the Flow, as well as through our communion with all of Life via Nature.

When we choose to make this our primary food resource, the bonus is that we’ll be on the receiving end of a boundless ocean of unconditional love from the heart of the Universe to support this new relationship with All That Is. It also means that we’re finally ready to unwind some of the hungry ghost energy of our karmic setpoint, which only knows how to feed off ephemeral people, places, things and circumstances, rather than from the limitless reserves of Source, and thus keeps us on the wheel of samsara and suffering.

In fact, the majority of us have a karmic setpoint from dozens, if not hundreds, of incarnations in which our primary food supply—energetically and emotionally—is from feeding off other people. This lower-chakra energy dynamic is why so many committed intimate partnerships founder. For, if we make our partners our primary food supply, rather than All of Life, Source or the Tao then, sooner or later, power struggles will ensue on the ego levels, as to who is giving or taking more from the other.

The high road in relationships is when both partners are full to overflowing on the heart level through their inner work, thus allowing a playful interchange of fullness shared, instead of two half-empty vessels trying to get the other to fill them up, which is all too often the case.

This hungry ghost phenomenon is also evident at some of the seemingly advanced levels of spiritual attainment. In fact, many self-styled spiritual teachers or masters, who may be at their highest expression while teaching, when “off-duty,” choose to feed like psychic vampires on their students, lovers, partners and others. This does not negate their teachings per se, but rather it merely indicates that their overall karma has not fully ripened yet.

Even though they could decide to be fed directly from Source as most have this capacity, they’re like whales, high-up in the energy food chain, who find other human beings—energetically, at times sexually and especially emotionally—far juicer than solely feeding on the intangible fruits of All That Is/Source. That’s also why they need large crowds of devoted guppies to feed them (not to mention their bank accounts.) For more on this:On Spiritual Teachers: Buyer Be AWARE!

So, this hungry ghost facet of human nature is not an isolated phenomenon by any means. The majority of us don’t know any other way to be—as per our karmic setpoint—and even those that do know of a higher way to be, may not desire to raise the level of their interchange with others.

The vast preponderance of human beings who form the mass consciousness (which is always the lowest common denominator), are still asleep to their spiritual nature and soul purpose. I call this unawakened state “deep cover”—meaning that they’re on assignment but they’ve forgotten what it is.Their personal reality is one either solely based on the struggle for survival—food, shelter, clean water, etc., on the root chakra levels or, at best, to feeding the ego through the lower centers of personal power, delusions of control and over-indulgence of the sense pleasures.

So, when I speak of hungry ghosts—a Buddhist term for those who, out of greed and addiction, keep trying to fill the black hole or infinite void in themselves with the ephemeral seeking of more, different or better on the lower levels—I’m not referring to those in challenging incarnations on the basest survival levels.

I am addressing those of us who have awakened enough from sleep-walking to be aware that there must be more to life than just feeding our egos. I’m not into ego death by any means, but rather that, ideally, the ego be utilized as a translucent tool, with no armoring, which the soul uses to function in 3D.And yet, so many of us still continue to be stuck in karmic ruts of hungry ghosts living in the earth plane as a hell realm rather than experiencing the joy and bliss of being in paradise or heaven all the time by making the Tao, the Divine or all of Life our primary relationship.

I wrote about this at length in The Nature of Addiction—It’s Only Human. The main premise is that addiction is an integral part of human nature. That being said, as we awaken more to our spiritual identity as souls learning and growing through cycles of lives in Earth School, we can consciously choose to continuously upgrade and refine our levels of addiction.

This means moving from those on the lower-chakra/ego levels that feed our death urge through anesthetizing us—such as sex, shopping, power, money, romance, drugs, alcohol, TV, etc. As well as (added to the list more recently): computer, smart phone and social media addictions. All the above can become habitual patterns for distracting our monkey minds from ever being fully present, heart-centered and embodied in our being.

If we choose instead to raise the level of our cravings to habits which feed our souls, then we are recommitting to the Life force through our actions as to how we invest our precious time and energy on a daily basis. This means nurturing a taste for activities that operate from the midpoint of the heart center upwards in the vertical channel through focusing more on transpersonal love and service, mind/body/spirit practices and study with spiritual books and/or teachers.

However, desires to fill the being on the more subtle levels can also bring out the hungry ghost in us if we become overly attached to teachers, gurus or even higher-center practices that feed us in an addictive, unhealthy or disempowering way.

So, even here, once we become aware of feeling empty and dissatisfied without our daily fix or stagnating with it, it’s time to raise the game once again so that we can merge with the Tao more unequivocally and be at peace with this direct communion. I call this level of awakening “eliminating middle management.”

This is especially true for addiction to fire-method practices in the Taoist tradition and kundalini practices in the Yogic tradition. These practices, in particular, feel so good because they raise our energies in the central channel, whether our nervous systems can handle it or not. As we begin to experience that the more accelerated (and hotter) frequencies create the best “high,” we become addicted to this feeling, as is also the case with many mood-altering substances. But, even more than drugs, we may just discover that psychic energy is the most addictive of all.

So, over the long-term, these higher-center addictions can be, at times, almost irreparably harmful, especially if we practice them to get this “seeker’s high” at the expense of frying our nervous systems and psychic circuitry and damaging our sexual organs.These warning labels are especially relevant for those under the age of forty and, even after this age, they’re only relatively safe if we’ve already done enough inner work to be full grounded, rooted and embodied in our bodies and continue to maintain this grounding—before we start checking out by leaving the physical body behind. As I always say: “The only way out (of the wheel of karma) is through (the body).”

Also, if we’re operating from the goal-oriented ego-levels when pursuing spiritual awakening, this also feeds our hungry ghost as our seeking comes from greed, addiction for more, and acquiring success as spiritual dilettantes to add to our resume of external superficial identity.

All bottoms have infinite trap doors, as do all hungry ghosts, and to the degree that we’re still trying to fill ourselves up from ephemeral sources then to this degree will we remain as hungry ghosts living in the earth plane as a hell realm rather than being in paradise or heaven all the time.The only solution is to reach a point where we draw a line and say “enough” to the endless and impossible task of trying to fill the infinite inner void, aka god hole, with finite external fixes—as nothing less than an infinite supply can ever fill the black hole, which we all contain in our central channels as microcosms of the macrocosm.

What is a karmic setpoint? We may be familiar with the term’s use in referring to the body’s setpoint in terms of weight management. Those of us who have been heavier and then lose weight but have a hard time keeping it off long-term have learned that our body’s setpoint holds on with a strong attachment to the heavier weight, as if for survival, especially if we have kept this weight on for the greater majority of our lives.

On an even deeper level than just this lifetime, we also have a karmic setpoint in terms of our weight based on past lives in which being larger served us optimally for security and survival. This creates an unconscious karmic attachment to the idea that bigger is better. I’ve written about karmic attachments to being physically bigger than current cultural standards at length here:   Why is This Happening to Me? Body Karma Explained

One of my spiritual teachers, who lived in a cave in the Himalayas for over forty years, when speaking in a darshan in Mysore, India in 2007, said: “Greed is the number problem plaguing humanity from time immemorial.” And so, especially now, with dwindling resources, climate migration, global warming, pandemics etc., it behooves us make it a priority to raise our karmic setpoint to vertical feeding as our primary way of nurturing our souls—as there is an infinite supply of energy in the Universe.

The vast majority of our suffering comes from the hungry ghost part of our karmic rut of identity, who dwells within the delusion that more, different or better—in terms of horizontal feeding—must ultimately satisfy our greed. This is one definition of insanity—of continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results for millennium.

After almost fifty years of doing psychic readings in this life, I’ve found that many of my clients have a karmic setpoint of emotional suffering as an integral part of their identity—especially in affairs of the heart. This is caused by the ego or little self’s resistance to growing pains.

This setpoint of suffering also means that if their relationships—personally or with life itself—do NOT cause enough ongoing suffering, then they will create an almost endless supply by resisting What Is. They wouldn’t know who they would even be without this emotional tone and have minimal tolerance for handling any prolonged states of emotional wellbeing without mentally sabotaging any good feelings as they conflict with their karmic setpoint of identity. For more:  On Pleasure, Joy and Bliss

Another prevalent limiting karmic belief is that: “If only I had the perfect (fill in the blank)—mate, job, home, body, health—then I’d finally be satisfied and satiated.” HA! When I work with those who have this belief, I’ve found skillful means becomes quite the balancing act. For, if I only feed their hungry ghost aspects with hope and faith in the future—without also guiding them towards a higher way of being by learning how to feed the self directly from Source—then the stagnation of soul growth becomes a downward spiral karmically over time.

Also, comparing our karmic journey with anyone other than with our own history—either slows us down or makes us feel inadequate. I call this “the grass is always greener elsewhere” syndrome—another major cause for having a karmic identity/setpoint of suffering.

Desire for more or different is the not the problem here. It is attachment and clinging to the timing or outcome of our desires as the basis for our satisfaction with life as it is that is the issue. In fact, I believe that it’s the Divine’s desire to know herself that created the manifest Universe and so, as budding cocreators, our desires are natural expressions of our Divine heritage and identity.

I like to say that we need to make all of Life our cake and our desires for “fill in the blank” the icing on the cake of life. For, if we make, say, a life partner or mate, or a certain level of money, or more perfect health or body image the cake that determines our setpoint of wellbeing, we are truly missing the point of how the earth game is a school for the soul to learn how to be at peace with What Is as our cake—while simultaneously being a cocreator for icing.

Now, I’M ALL FOR ICING—as a preference—and while we’re certainly entitled to have preferences—we’re never going to experience being in heaven while incarnate if we’re addicted to getting our preferences or desires—aka icing—on the ego’s time frame.For those of you who have known me personally over the years or have read my memoir Cosmic Sugar, you know that I’m totally supportive of manifesting our desires as cocreators, as long as we’re not attached to timing or outcomes.

The correct interpretation of the Buddhist Second Noble Truth is that it is the attachment or clinging to desires that causes human suffering and subsisting as a hungry ghost, not the desires themselves.

 Second Noble Truth: “There is a cause of suffering. Suffering is due to attachment. It is the desire to have and control things. It can take many forms: craving of sensual pleasures; the desire for fame; the desire to avoid unpleasant sensations, like fear, anger or jealousy.”

The truth is, in this relative plane, events rarely occur on the ego’s timetable, and even expecting this is an illusion of control that causes much suffering. But rather, when we can hold the faith in the Divine timetable aka the Flow—in which all will be manifested at the perfect time for soul growth and karmic healing in the Divine plan for each of us—it helps us release and dissolve components of our hungry ghost identity. And, in the meantime, we always have our cake—our primary relationship with Source, the Tao, the Divine and all of Life.

In the immortal words of Ram Dass:“As long as you think what you’re looking for is outside of yourself, it will never be enough.”

In other words, it’s always an inside job—we just need to expand our concept of identity to the eternal soul or Witness and, from there, to becoming one with the Tao. Ask yourself: “Who would you be without needing people, places, things or circumstances to fill you up, as you’re already full from within?” I remember being impressed long ago by Ted Turner saying, just after he acquired his first billion, that “Success, power and money are an empty bag.”  This reminds me that some of the unhappiest and most dissatisfied clients I’ve worked with are supermodels and billionaires, followed by trust-fund babies. Can you figure out why?

In closing, if we’re ready to release more of our hungry ghost karmic setpoint of identity, there couldn’t be a better time to wean ourselves off of addictive ephemeral pleasures that have become stagnant in terms of any growth potential and choose to go with a primary relationship with all of Life to truly feed our souls. And, please remember, it’s not either/or here, as we can also enjoy a multitude of relationships with others as heart-centered direct vehicles through which we can playfully commune with the Flow together as a form of dual cultivation.

Ultimately, we can experience vertical and horizontal feeding becoming as one, as the space/time continuum naturally dissolves as we evolve. This is most empowering—as no one can take our infinite food supply away EVER—and this creates a Flow of sustainable joy and bliss in Being as our new normal. What a heavenly way to play the earth game!

Whether we choose to fill ourselves with the infinite bounty of Source, the Divine or the Tao—vertically or horizontally—this communion can be transmitted viscerally through practices of merging with all of Life most easily through Nature. Mindfulness is key. For more: Thich Nhat Hanh’s Miracle of Mindfulness and  Walking Meditation

For me personally, as is true for most of us, communing with Nature is the easiest way to become one with the Tao, or Flow of Life. But if we add on to being in nature some mind/body/spirit practices—such as mindfulness and deep breathing—then we are upping the ante of our return investment a thousand-fold.

I remember with eternal gratitude the final day of my first long Taoist retreat in the early nineties, when we practiced chi gung on the beach while simultaneously merging our energies with the energies of the ocean. I started weeping uncontrollably during this, as I viscerally experienced the priceless gift I had just received of becoming one with the Tao directly through Nature and the vehicle of my own body. It was the most empowering moment of my life!

The next level of communing with Nature itself is to become one with the Tao by communing with all of Life via human Nature as a whole single entity—thus my metaphysical philosophy in a nutshell:  One Being with billions of faces. And it also explains the famous Taoist adage: “The lesser sage lives in a cave in the mountains; the greater sage lives in the heart of the city.”

The practices which have served me well over the last almost 40 years, in addition to yoga and breath practices, are the Taoist water-method practices of chi gung, including moving practices and, especially, standing chi gung and sitting meditation. They have kept me fully rooted and grounded in my body as well as with a karmic setpoint of equanimity and inner stillness. No small feat, as being a trance channel in NYC for almost fifty years is one of my final karmic exams.

But first, in my late teens and early-twenties, I had to bottom out on lower-chakra addictions to mood-altering substances, mind-blowing sex and sick excitement in general. I had to firstly activate and play out my karmic pleasure rut by experiencing the Flow of Life as level-five rapids emotionally and erotically. And, then, by my late-twenties, I slowly chose to refine and upgrade my addictive human nature.

So, now—and for the last few decades or so, I can honestly say: “Ah, the joy of calm waters at last!”   These days, this is my baseline attitude, regardless of what is going on externally on the planet—which I view as ripples on the periphery of Being. For more: Taoist Practices MP3s (only $20 each/$35 for both)

Finally, for some very addictive beach reading, I hope you’ll enjoy my psychic/erotic memoir under the pen name, Leela Jones:
COSMIC SUGAR: The Amorous Adventures of a Modern Mystic

Wishing us all a summer filled with much joy in Being any which way you go,

J o a n

Guardian of Transformation—Joan Pancoe
“They say the excitement of love is not part of soul growth. They say all this talk of love is sentimental mysticism. Those are the worst lies.”


Why is This Happening to Me? Body Karma Explained

We always have free will in how we choose to deal with our body karma as it arises, and this choice determines our destiny.”

After doing thousands of psychic readings and past-life therapy sessions dealing with the health of the physical vessel, I’ve decided it would be helpful to elucidate some of the basic premises which have become abundantly clear from my decades of experience in this area.

Firstly, whether we’re consciously aware of it or not, most of us have had several dozen to several hundred past incarnations, and the details of these lives are stored in our psyches’ cellular memory.

Consequently, if we think of all the injuries and shocks to the system that our bodies have sustained in just one life and multiply this by all the lives in our cellular memory bank, we can begin to get an idea of the pool of unresolved body issues that may be coming up to be healed in any given incarnation.

In addition, when we think of all the lives in which we didn’t die peaceable in our sleep with no regrets or unresolved emotions, these may also come up to be healed at pre-programmed times in our karmic story-line, also known as fate.

What about our genetic heritage? Our souls choose their genetic predisposition as the tip of the karmic iceberg to reactivate the body karma we’re here to heal─just as we choose our parents, environmental factors and personality potentials as part of the perfect karmic activation package.

So, when my clients complain that years in psychotherapy have still not resolved their issues, I remind them that this life is just one chapter in the soul’s story and that, unless one goes into the previous chapters, it’s almost impossible to fully make sense of the root causes of our challenges.

That’s also why, when I get the question I’m most commonly asked of, “Why is this happening to me?” I’ve found that attaining clarity from a higher perspective and becoming willing to embrace all levels of healing involved are the pre-requisites before the most successful and long-lasting results can be achieved from any physical protocols.

For example, one prevalent body karma theme has to do with being overweight in a way that doesn’t allow one to be fully accepting and loving of their body just the way it is.

There are a multitude of past life reasons for this. One that’s common is a form of balancing karma from lives in which one died from starvation during times of famine and the last dying wish was to be in a heaven of unlimited earthly delights in the form of food. One woman whom I regressed said that her dying vision was now her and her husband’s greatest joy: “We roam through the aisles of our local all-night supermarket filled with abundant food.” Unfortunately, the husband’s obesity-related diabetes has caused him to become impotent, so food had literally become the source of all that is blissfully orgasmic for them.

With karma, the old saying “Be careful what you wish for” is certainly true. In fact, all unrequited desires, sooner or later become manifested. However, because it can take many lives, in certain cases, by the time we get what we wished for, the circumstances may be so different that we feel victimized rather than empowered. Cosmic humor, indeed.

I’ve also done dozens of past-life regressions where women have become overly-attached to a large and voluptuous body type because at various times in human history─bigger was literally better. They were considered the most attractive at their largest and, now that they have the same body type and it’s out of fashion, they have a challenging time coming to terms with themselves just the way they are. What’s a girl to do? 🙂

For men, many large and seemingly over-sized guys have had past lives fighting woolly mammoths in ice age conditions where large was good, bigger was better, and furry was an added plus in frigid temps. But since we’re not in an ice age at the moment, they might appear as throwbacks, attached to their big bodies for survival when it doesn’t serve their highest good anymore.

Other large men (and women) are attached to their body-type because as warriors their bulk in times when food was scarce allowed them to win half the battle before it even started because they appeared so intimidating. NFL players, as our modern-day gladiators, are remnants of this body archetype.

In all the above cases, there’s a need to become aware of the root causes of the karmic attachment to food or body type for survival or attractiveness and, from this, one can then more clearly choose to bring the relationship with food and the body into balance without the heretofore unconscious fear of death or lack of love inhibiting the karmic healing in this area.

For more on this, please view my TV Episode entitles “the Weight of His Past” on this exact karmic issue, which was healed through past-life regression therapy: VIDEO

On a more personal note, in the case of foot karma, I’ve written a whole chapter about my body karma in this area in my memoir, Cosmic Sugar, entitled “The Concubine Chronicles─The Foot Binding Unwinding.”

After many lives in China of being hobbled by having tiny tulip-shaped bound feet as my ticket to survival, attractiveness, and more I’m dealing with many ongoing painful foot problems in this life. To open up my feet, so that I could ground my psychic energies to the earth, I’ve done standing chi gung daily for over 20 years as well as having much healing work and deep massage done.

One of the upshots is that my feet have expanded from a petite size 5 to a size 8 1/2 double wide in less than 20 years, and they just keep growing. My lesson is in letting go of any aversion or vanity in having to wear more functional footwear and just being grateful that I can still get around on my own and am now more fully rooted to the earth.

I’ve had many clients with severe energetic imbalances in their body which run the gamut from hyper/manic to lethargic/depressed, on all levels from the mental/emotional to the physical/sexual and sometimes both in an alternating current. Many of these have had karmic cycles of past lives of overindulgence on the sense level alternating with cycles of complete asceticism and denial of the body. Obviously, in this life the karmic healing would be in choosing to go for the middle path bringing balance to the being.

Until this is addressed, the extreme nature of the cycling can continue to escalate until some form of breakdown occurs, forcing attention to be paid. In this case, the karma can be healed at any point in the downward spiral when the individual chooses to go for the course correction. As they say in 12-step programs, “All bottoms have infinite trap-doors.” This is especially true with issues of body karma, because if the root causes are not resolved before the body is dropped, the karma gets carried forward.

In the case of phobias, any traumatic past life event, especially death, can create an activation in the cellular memory when similar circumstances trigger it. For example, in cases of OCD, many have had past-lives in which they died from some sort of plague, thus creating a fear of death from anything connected to germs.

Past-life injuries, from battles or otherwise, can come up to be healed in the same parts of the body, almost feeling like ghost limbs and where, in many cases, medical tests reveal nothing substantially wrong. Those who have neck pain may have been hung or wounded there. Asthma sufferers may have had lives of being buried alive. Those with fear of water may have drowned. Claustrophobia can arise from being imprisoned in a small space. Even certain geographical locations can trigger an irrational aversion if it activates a past life memory of a not-so-happy ending there.

Obviously, I could list literally thousands of case studies─but you get the idea.

With mental illness, including cases of arrested development or retardation, the karma carried can be from cycles of lives in which mental development was prized above heart or any other level of the humanness. Thus, the soul chooses to come in with one part of the mind handicapped, so that there can be a more balanced development in the fullest human range of the soul. Other times, mental challenges can be a form of karmic rut in the identity, past-life patterns of suicide being a common example, which the soul is here to overcome and grow beyond.

Before I get into case studies of cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, let me say this: my Channels have defined pain as a signal tone from the Higher Self that a course correction is indicated. It comes first as spiritual pain, then as mental and emotional, until finally if we haven’t gotten the whispered message our Higher Self yells in our inner ear: “COURSE CORRECTION INDICATED!”we’re getting blasted by some level of physical discomfort. If that still doesn’t do it, then the unlearned lessons of choosing to go for the growth are carried into the next incarnation ad infinitum thus setting up the playing field for our present-day karma.

The most important thing to remember, especially when it comes to the physical pain that accompanies much of our body karma, is that we’re not consciously responsible on the ego/personality levels for creating it by anything we have done or not done in our present incarnation.

But rather, our body karma arises at the perfect time to get us to focus on whatever course correction is indicated in some aspect of our being, and that nothing less than what has manifested on the physical level would have gotten our attention enough to be willing to address it and take action. So, while we’re not responsible in this life for our illnesses and other forms of body karma, we most certainly are responsible to it, as our symptoms are speaking to us.

In cases of cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, the karmic roots are too numerous to mention them all. However, ALL are chosen by the soul for karmic healing and soul growth where no lesser drama would do. Please remember that the personality NEVER consciously chooses such conditions.

In many cases, especially with breast cancer, the course correction is in placing the need to nurture Self first. This could mean pruning any toxic jobs, relationships, environments, addictions or unhealthy food choices that are a symptom of not putting Self-Love before any other.

Where other forms of cancer, heart disease or life-threatening illness arise, especially in men or yang-types, there is a karmic predisposition in the identity to be a giver, a doer, a teacher, and/or a healer. The severe nature of illness forces those who are challenged in the area of receiving love, aid, and nurturing from others to surrender to developing the softer, yin and more vulnerable side of their Beings.

In many of these storylines, the karmic healing comes from getting the lessons inherent in being sick and not necessarily in healing from the illness. But rather, sometimes what needs to be brought into balance is through the healing that occurs within the dying process.

When one fully surrenders to what is, one may be gifted with the grace, nobility and true power that can spontaneously arise from this, then healing can occur up to the last moment of breath. Conscious dying then becomes the foundation from which no new karma on the themes of fear of death or imperfect humanness needs be played out again at this level.

Lastly, let’s look at aging gracefully. Did you know that over 50% of the human race that have ever lived to be over 65 are presently alive on the earth today? That means that as a race we have no cellular memory of how to age gracefully in an empowered way into our 80’s, 90’s and beyond.

This is one reason why there’s so much fear around aging. As a race we haven’t as yet learnt how to do it in a positive way, especially in modern western culture. So, it’s very exciting to be part of a new generation in the evolution of consciousness planting seeds in the racial cellular memory about how to live long, with health, vitality and no diminishment of power, but rather a continuous gathering of our forces and an ever-deepening wisdom. How’re you doing with that?

In closing, in the Vedic traditions of Ancient India, there are three levels of being bound by the wheel of karma: iron chains, silver chains and golden chains─-and some lives can be a combination of two or three of these stages.

Iron chains signify that one’s in a life of balancing karma from lives in which there were sins of comission from harming others. To the degree that we consciously choose to do no harm and come from the heart, we are released from this level of bondage. But body karma in the areas we have harmed others may be part of the healing of this karmic package through developing compassion for self and others.

Silver chains come from lives in which we harmed no one but ourselves (sins of omission). Releasing ourselves from these chains means placing the love, nurturing and empowerment of self-first. Here, body karma arises as needed, to inspire us with this lesson. 

And golden chains, ah golden chains, as good as they may sound they’re still chains! These come from lives of good deeds in which there was any level no matter how subtle─of ego aggrandizement from our benevolence. In this case, we’re pulled back on the wheel of karma into incarnations to reap the benefits of all the good we’ve done. In these lives, we need to learn how to receive our good fortune graciously. Body karma can still arise here, primarily as a reminder to maintain our open-heartedness and compassion, so there’ll be no backsliding.

Vedic philosophy teaches that the higher one’s consciousness evolves in the Divine game of Leela, Cosmic Play, the further one can fall. It’s exactly like a game of chutes and ladders. As one rises higher, the levels of misuse that can incur karma become ever more subtle.

To be free from the wheel, one needs to become completely non-attached to the fruits of one’s actions─like walking on sand and leaving no footprints. That’s why having a very long-range perspective on the human evolution of consciousness and recognizing that Leela is beginningless and endless is the most peaceful way to Be.

So, when next you have some body karma arising, as we all will sooner or later, rather than just asking “Why is this happening to me?” the most useful follow-up question is: “What am I supposed to learn from this?”

For a detailed description of the philosophy of Cosmic Play, please click here: LEELA

If you’d like a psychic reading with Joan to explore the full nature of your body karma and how to heal it:  CONSULTATIONS



Seeing the sicknesses as the teachers, pray to them.

Sicknesses are coming to you by the kindness of the mastersand the Three Jewels.

Sicknesses are your accomplishments, so worship them as thedeities.

Sicknesses are the signs that your bad karmas are beingexhausted.

Do not look at the face of your sickness, but at the one (themind) who is sick.

Do not place the sicknesses on your mind, but place yournaked, intrinsic awareness upon your sickness.

This is the instruction on sickness arising as the Dharmakaya.

The body is inanimate and mind is emptiness.

What can cause pain to an inanimate thing or harm to theemptiness?

Search for where the sicknesses are coming from, where theygo, and where they dwell.

Sicknesses are mere sudden projections of your thoughts.

When those thoughts disappear, the sicknesses dissolve too….

There is no better fuel (than sicknesses) to burn off the badkarmas.

Don’t get into entertaining a sad mind or negative views (overthe sicknesses).

But see them as signs of the waning of your bad karmas andrejoice over them. 

By Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa (1729–1798)

From Apparitions of the Self: The Secret Autobiographies of a TibetanVisionaryby Janet Gyatso (author)

If This Were Your Last Incarnation, What Would You Do?

1. I would meditate daily as if I were sitting on the highest ledge in the Himalayas witnessing the karmic wheels of all souls spinning round and round in an infinite amusement park called Leela, Cosmic Play . . . and smile.

2. I would be aware of my eternal nature while simultaneously being fully engaged on the personality level in the play of the Earth Game . . . and smile.

3. I would acknowledge that everyone is always trying to help me in some way as part of my curriculum in Earth School, if I would only allow them to, say “Thank you” . . . and smile.

4. I would embrace everything that happens to me as a “Plus” as, from the perspective of the Void, of which there are infinite levels─all manifestations in the Earth Plane are pure Co-Creative Aliveness . . . and smile.

5. I would smile equally as much when disaster happens as when things go smoothly because they’re a matched set in this Plane of Duality.

6. I would smile equally as much when pain occurs as when bliss and joy arise because they’re a matched set in this Plane of Duality.

7. I would smile equally as much when loss happens as when gains are made because they’re a matched set in this Plane of Duality.

8. I would smile equally as much when blame and shame come my way as when praise and fame fall into my lap because they’re a matched set in this Plane of Duality.

9. I would choose to cultivate the path of always taking the high road in word and deed so that this course becomes spontaneous and effortless in the Flow . . . and smile.

10. I would know that while this might be my last incarnation on the wheel of karma, new adventures await me in infinite dimensions of Unrelenting Spaciousness . . . and smile.


The above list is something that I enjoy contemplating as an experiment in consciousness─as for 99.9 % of us, the wheel does keep going round and round. But acting as if this were our last sojourn on Earth makes each moment that much more precious and inspires us to Be fully and mindfully in the Now with whomever we are with or whatever is going on.

This practice allows us to get in touch with our attachments while being on Earth so that we can work them through consciously. For, if we can play the Earth Game fully, when we drop our bodies, we’ll have no regrets for anything left unsaid, undone or unhealed which pulls us back on the wheel. This includes even nostalgia, which is one of the subtlest levels of attachment.

Aversion to any part of being in the human condition keeps us firmly on the wheel of karma as well. So, if we feel unhappy or discontented or even ambivalent about being in an incarnation, this also keeps us firmly entrenched on the wheel.

Our ticket to ride all the way through appears to be a middle path of neither dissatisfaction with What Is nor clinging to that which is juicy and good as this creates a continuous loop of karmic suffering─until we cut it. This by no means implies that we can’t completely enjoy the full range of our human emotions, physical senses and communion with Nature─but only within the present moment.

Trying to lock things in on this ephemeral plane kind of misses the point, but we do keep trying─don’t we? A perfect remedy for our illusions of control and security is watching one of the best meditations on impermanency: Tibetan sand paintings. (For a glimpse: CLICK HERE)

As we unwind our samskaras, i.e. karmic grooves, one layer at a time, from lifetime to lifetime, we get to dissolve three levels of karmic bondage, which most of us have going on simultaneously to some degree:

1. Iron chains: Which allow us to experience the balancing karma from past misuse of our energies towards others.

2. Silver chains: Which allow us to experience the balancing karma from past misuse of our energies towards ourselves.

3. And finally, golden chains, which allow us to experience reaping the fruits of good deeds we have done, but with attachment─no matter how subtle. This also keeps us on the wheel, because we still have to come back into incarnations to receive the benefits of our good karma.

The ultimate contemplation in action is in practicing being a channel for good─towards ourselves and all others─with no attachment, as if we’re walking on sand and leaving no footprints. No small feat.

But once we can get to the point of honoring All Beings including ourselves as aspects of the Absolute, Source, the Divine or the Flow─then all the good that we do is always and only just for Ourselves. And that makes it all very cozy.

If you are a lover of duality like me, let me assure you that, as entertaining as the highs and lows of our personal roller coasters are, viscerally experiencing other dimensions makes the intensity of the Earth Plane pale by comparison.

When we do finally release ourselves from our personal karma, we can still choose to incarnate in the Earth again anyway. We just get to fly higher in other dimensions when not incarnate because our karmic baggage is no longer weighing us down. The equation is: To the degree that the soul’s purposes have transcended the individual karmic dance===to this degree do we have more options as to the circumstances of our next incarnation.

When it comes to the Universal Laws of Cause and Effect, i.e. karma, what goes around truly does come around, and it does ALL even out in the end, but this knowing requires an exceptionally long-range perspective. Therefore, smiling helps.

We may want the Absolute Truth─but can we handle it? It’s what we’ve been journeying towards from the beginning─Source or Home in the Game. But even if we’ve been waiting for countless incarnations to get off the wheel─it can also be terrifying.

The root of all fear is annihilation of the “little self” in the Void─even if the Void, i.e. emptiness, is the ground which simultaneously contains Everything in unmanifest form. In other words, form is arising out of formlessness in every moment ad infinitum.

Experiencing everything all at once outside of linear space and time definitely involves a learning curve. And that’s why we’re here! Earth School is the learning curve for merging with Source.

And the Ultimate Truth is . . . We’ve never left.

For more on Cosmic Play, please click here: LEELA

Spiritual Practices Reading List


(scroll down for the 112 practices in the Appendix)

Paul Reps: in Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, in the chapter called Centering, the Sacred Text at the Origins of Tantra are translated and listed: 112 techniques from the Vigyana Bhairava Tantra.

Daniel Oudier: in Yoga Spandakarika, these 112 techniques are listed with a more detailed translation and description. Also recommended: Desire: The Tantric Path to Awakening and Tantric Quest.

Osho: The Book of the Secrets─Volume I-V offer discourses on these 112 techniques. Tantra, Spirituality & Sex contains excerpts from these five volumes.


Lao Tzu: The Way of Life, translation by Stephen Mitchell

Brian Walker: Hua Hu Ching, The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu

Bruce Kumar Frantzis: The Great Stillness, 2 volumes


 Thich Nhat Hanh: The Miracle of Mindfulness, A Guide to Walking Meditation, Transformation and Healing, Our Appointment with Life and many more


Pema Chodron, all her books are excellent.


Ngak’chang Rinpoche: Spectrum of Ecstasy, Wearing the Body of Visions, Roaring Silence, Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon


Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan: The Call of the Dervish, Introducing Spirituality into Counseling and Therapy, That Which Transpires behind that which Appears, Awakening


Vigyana Bhairava Tantra

The meditations and practices of Tantra were born, legend has it, out of a conversation between two lovers, Shiva and his consort, Devi, some 5,000 years ago. Shiva and Devi, entwined in a lover’s embrace, were discussing the mysteries of the universe. Shiva, inspired by his lover’s intense desire to know the meaning of existence, composed 112 sutras that were designed to give her the direct experience of how the universe came into being . . . a direct experience in her body. 

Devi Asks:

O Shiva, what is your reality?
What is this wonder-filled universe?
What constitutes seed?
Who centers the universal wheel?
What is this life beyond form pervading forms?
How may we enter it fully, above space and time, names and descriptions?
Let my doubts be cleared!

Shiva replies:

1. Radiant One, this experience may dawn between two breaths. After breath comes in (down) and just before turning up (out)─ the beneficence.

2. As breath turns from down to up, and again as breath curves up to down─ through both these turns, realize.

3. Or, whenever in-breath and out-breath fuse, at this instant touch the energy-less, energy-filled center.

4. Or, when breath is all out (up) and stopped of itself, or all in (down) and stopped ─ in such universal pause, one’s small self vanishes. This is difficult only for the impure.

5. Attention between eyebrows, let mind be before thought. Let form fill with breath essence to the top of the head and there shower as light.

6. When in worldly activities, keep attention between two breaths, and so practicing, in a few days be born anew.

7. With intangible breath in center of forehead, as this reaches the heart at the moment of sleep, have direction over dreams and over death itself.

8. With utmost devotion, center on the two junctions of breath and know the knower.

9. Lie down as dead. Enraged in wrath, stay so. Or stare without moving an eyelash. Or suck something and become the sucking.

10. While being caressed, Sweet Princess, enter the caress as everlasting life.

11. Stop the doors of the senses when feeling the creeping of an ant. Then.

12. When on a bed or a seat, let yourself become weightless, beyond mind.

13. Or, imagine the five coloured circles of the peacock tail to be your five senses in illimitable space. Now let their beauty melt within. Similarly, at any point in space or on the wall ─ until the point dissolves. Then your wish for another comes true.

14. Place your whole attention in the nerve, delicate as the lotus thread, in the center of your spinal column. In such be transformed.

15. Closing the seven openings of the head with your hands, a space between your eyes becomes all-inclusive.

16. Blessed One, as senses are absorbed in the heart, reach the center of the lotus.

17. Unminding mind, keep in the middle . . . until.

18. Look lovingly at some object. Do not go to another object. Here in the middle of the object ─ the blessing.

19. Without support for feet or hands, sit only on the buttocks. Suddenly the centering.

20. In a moving vehicle, by rhythmically swaying, experience. Or in a still vehicle, by letting yourself swing in slowing invisible circles.

21. Pierce some part of your nectar filled form with a pin, and gently enter the piercing and attain to the inner purity.

22. Let attention be at a place where you are seeing some past happening, and even your form, having lost its present characteristics, is transformed.

23. Feel an object before you. Feel the absence of all other objects but this one. Then leaving aside the object-feeling and the absence-feeling, Realize

24. When a mood against someone or for someone arises, do not place it on the person in question, but remain centered.

25. Just as you have the impulse to do something, Stop.

26. When some desire comes, consider it. Then, suddenly, quit it.

27. Roam about until exhausted and then, dropping to the ground, in this dropping be whole.

28. Suppose you are gradually being deprived of strength or of knowledge. At the instant of deprivation, transcend.

29. Devotion frees.

30. Eyes closed, see your inner being in detail. Thus, see your true nature.

31. Look upon a bowl without seeing the sides or the material. In a few moments become aware.

32. See as if for the first time a beauteous person or an ordinary object.

33. Simply by looking into the blue sky beyond the clouds, The serenity.

34. Listen while the ultimate mystical teaching is imparted. Eyes still, without blinking, at once, become absolutely free.

35. At the edge of a deep well look steadily into its depths until ─the wondrousness.

36. Look upon some object, then slowly withdraw your sight from it, then slowly withdraw your thought from it. Then.

37. Devi, imagine Sanskrit letters in these honey filled foci of awareness, first as letters, then more subtly as sounds, then as most subtle feeling. Then, leaving them aside, be free.

38. Bathe in the center of sound, as in the continuous sound of a waterfall. Or, by putting the fingers in the ears, Hear the sound of sounds.

39. Intone a sound, as AUM Slowly, as sound enters soundfulness, so do you.

40. In the beginning and gradual refinement of the sound of any letter, Awake.

41. While listening to stringed instruments, hear their composite central sound; thus omnipresence.

42. Intone a sound audibly, then less and less audibly as feeling deepens into this silent harmony.

43. With mouth slightly open, keep mind in the middle of the tongue. Or, as breath comes silently in, feel the sound.

44. Center on the sound “AUM” Without any “A” or “M.”

45. Silently intone a word ending in “AH” Then in the “˜H”, effortlessly, the spontaneity.

46. Stopping ears by pressing and the rectum by contracting, Enter the sound.

47. Enter the sound of your name and, through this sound, All sounds.

48. At the start of sexual union keep attentive on the fire in the beginning, and so continuing, avoid the embers in the end.

49. When in such embrace your senses are shaken as leaves, enter this shaking.

50. Even remembering union, Without the embrace, Transformation.

51. On joyously seeing a long-absent friend, permeate this joy.

52. When eating or drinking, become the taste of food or drink, and be filled.

53. O lotus eyed one, sweet of touch, when singing, seeing, tasting, be aware you are and discover the Everliving.

54. Wherever satisfaction is found, in whatever act, Actualize this.

55. At the point of sleep, when the sleep has not yet come and the external wakefulness vanishes, at this point Being is revealed.

56. Illusions deceive, colors circumscribe, even divisibles are indivisible.

57. In moods of extreme desire, be undisturbed.

58. This so-called universe appears as a juggling, A picture show. To be happy, look upon it so.

59. O Beloved, put attention neither on pleasure nor on pain, but between these.

60. Objects and desires exist in me as in others. So, accepting, let them be transformed.

61. As waves come with water and flames with fire, so the Universal waves with us.

62. Wherever your mind is wandering, internally or externally, at this very place, this.

63. When vividly aware through some particular sense, keep in the awareness.

64. At the start of sneezing, during fright, in anxiety, above a chasm, flying in battle, in extreme curiosity, at the beginning of hunger, at the end of hunger, be uninterruptedly aware.

65. The purity of other teachings is an impurity to us. In reality, know nothing as pure or impure.

66. Be the unsame same to friend as to stranger, in honor and dishonor.

67. Here is the sphere of change, change, change. Through change consume change.

68. As a hen mothers her chicks, mother particular knowings, particular doings, in reality.

69. Since, in truth, bondage and freedom are relative, these words are only for those terrified with the universe. This universe is a reflection of minds. As you see many suns in water from one sun, so see bondage and liberation.

70. Consider your essence as light rays from center to center up the vertebrae, and so rises livingness in you.

71. Or in the spaces between, feel this as lightning.

72. Feel the cosmos as a translucent ever-living presence.

73. In summer when you see the entire sky endlessly clear, Enter such clarity.

74. Shakti, see all space as if already absorbed in your own head in the brilliance.

75. Waking, sleeping, dreaming, know you as light.

76. In rain during a black night, enter that blackness as the form of forms.

77. When a moonless rainy night is not present, close your eyes, see blackness. So, faults disappear forever.

78. Whenever your attention alights, at this very point, Experience.

79. Focus on fire rising through your form from the toes up until the body burns to ashes but not you.

80. Meditate on the make-believe world as burning to ashes, and become being above human.

81. As, subjectively, letters flow into words and words into sentences, and as, objectively, circles flow into worlds and worlds into principles, find at last these converging in our being.

82. Feel: my thought, I-ness, internal organs are me.

83. Before desire and before knowing, how can I say I am? Consider. Dissolve in the beauty.

84. Toss attachment for body aside, realizing I am everywhere. One who is everywhere is joyous.

85. Thinking no thing will limited-self unlimit.

86. Suppose you contemplate something beyond perception, beyond grasping, beyond not being─You.

87. I am existing. This is mine. This is this. O, beloved, even in such know illimitably.

88. Each thing is perceived through knowing. The self shines in space through knowing. Perceive one being as knower and known.

89. Beloved, at this moment, let mind, knowing, breath, form, be included.

90. Touching eyeballs as a feather, lightness between them opens into the heart and there permeates the cosmos.

91. Kind Devi, enter etheric presence pervading far above and below your form.

92. Put mindstuff in such inexpressible fineness above, below and in your heart.

93. Consider any area of your present form as limitlessly spacious.

94. Feel your substance, bones, flesh, blood, saturated with cosmic essence.

95. Feel the fine qualities of creativity permeating your breasts and assuming delicate configurations.

96. Abide in some place endlessly spacious, clear of trees, hills, habitations. Thence comes the end of mind pressures.

97. Consider the plenum to be your own body of bliss.

98. In any easy position, gradually pervade an area between the armpits into great peace.

99. Feel yourself as pervading all directions, far, near.

100. The appreciation of objects and subjects is the same for an enlightened as for an unenlightened person. The former has one greatness: He remains in the subjective mood, not lost in things.

101. Believe omniscient, omnipotent, pervading.

102. Imagine spirit simultaneously within and around you until the entire universe spiritualizes.

103. With your entire consciousness in the very start of desire, of knowing, know.

104. O Shakti, each particular perception is limited, disappearing in omnipotence.

105. In truth forms are inseparate. Inseparate are omnipresent being and your own form. Realize each as made of this consciousness.

106. Feel the consciousness of each person as your own consciousness. So, leaving aside concern for your self, become each being.

107. This consciousness exists as each being, and nothing else exists.

108. This consciousness is the spirit of guidance of each one. Be this one.

109. Suppose your passive form to be an empty room with walls of skin─ empty.

110. Gracious One, play. The universe is an empty shell wherein your mind frolics infinitely.

111. Sweet heartened One, meditate on knowing and not-knowing, existing and non-existing. Then leave both aside that you may be.

112. Enter space, supportless, eternal, still.

For private instruction, Joan will psychically prescribe those practices most attuned to your predisposition, individual needs and level of development. For more info, please click here:  Taoist and Tantric Energy Arts

On Spiritual Teachers: Buyer Be AWARE!

Spiritual teachers come in all shapes, sizes, colors and sexes and many of the truly Great Ones will always choose to remain in disguise and anonymous while in a human incarnation.

Here is the definitive teaching of the Buddha on this subject, called The Four Reliances:

Rely on the message of the teacher, not on his personality;
Rely on the meaning, not just on the words;
Rely on the real meaning, not just the provisional one;
Rely on your wisdom mind, not on your ordinary, judgmental mind.

What’s my definition of a spiritual teacher? Anyone who empowers us in healing karma and teaches spirit/mind/heart/body practices that help us along the path of awakening to our True Nature. Then, it’s up to each of us to integrate these teachings and levels of consciousness into our daily life and way of being in the world.

My personal experiences with a wide range of spiritual teachers has been, on the whole, exceptionally fruitful in helping me heal karma within myself along different legs of my journey, as well as in accessing and integrating higher levels of consciousness into my normal operating mode of Being.

Some of my teachers have come into my life in more informal roles: as mates, lovers, friends, 12-step sponsors, psychotherapists, and mind/body healers of various modalities. Others whom I have studied with over many years on a more formal basis include those whose paths include: Taoism, Zen, Tantra, Sufism, Naada Yoga and Dzogchen.

My criterion for choosing a teacher to study with─whether formally or informally─is that they must have something that I want and need and am lacking, in terms of it not being activated or developed yet in this life. Some of the things I’ve learned from teachers are: Cosmic humor, going with the Flow, how to root and ground myself to the earth and feel fully embodied, and how to use my emotions, thoughts and sensations mindfully as part of my spiritual path─to name a few.

Once I’m clear that a prospective spiritual guide has what I’m seeking, I’m willing to go to great lengths, in terms of investment of available time, energy and resources, to access that next “missing piece” to round out my development.

The most important lesson that I’ve diligently maintained in my awareness with all the teachers I’ve studied with is that they’re all imperfect human beings. This means that, just as we’re ALL at our absolute best when we’re doing our “thing,” so too are they at their absolute highest when they’re performing their spiritual function─myself included. Therefore, it’s essential that we take what we can use . . . and leave the rest.

The trap that many spiritual seekers fall into is in allowing themselves to becoming blinded by devotion, gratitude and, at times, feelings of unworthiness. Then the teacher is placed on an unrealistically high pedestal─which inevitably means that, sooner or later, these projected images ofidealized divinity will come crashing down─usually on top of the deluded student’s head.

This pattern is so common that there are a multitude of on-line blogs in which ex-students vent and lament about how disappointed, disillusioned and devastated they feel with spiritual teachers who’ve let them down because they were, alas, only human. The resolution of this scenario tends to be very messy─as much of the anger and rage, at least in the early stages of deprogramming and detaching, is projected onto the fallen idol /teacher in question. Buyer be Aware, indeed.

And, speaking of another sort of very messy, here’s a quote from the afterword of my memoir, Cosmic Sugar:

“Have you noticed how many perennially horny spiritual teachers are incapable of living by the standards they teach because of inner karmic demons they haven’t as yet exorcised? Still, it is possible to accept their imperfect humanness without rejecting their teachings which come from a higher aspect of their being. When we’re free from mental rigidity, the paradoxical nature of personality is full of entertainment value. At this stage in the evolution of consciousness, the majority of people on the planet, gurus included, are still bottoming out on their karmic ruts.”

So, if a spiritual teacher tries to sell you a sexual bill of goods by promising that your karma will be healed faster by engaging in sex with him or her or that you will get a “hit” of awakening from absorbing their energies or fluids which are chock full of “high-level chi” or taste like “ambrosial nectar”─Buyer Be Aware!

Yes, I’ve heard it all or at least a lot of it, personally as well as from helping deprogram many naive and psychologically immature survivors of this type of manipulation. So, please know this: Choosing to take responsibility and consciously engage sexually with a spiritual teacher may help heal some of your “daddy” or “mommy” stuff and you may even get a good “hit” of some high-level psychic energy, but there’s usually quite a messy emotional price to pay in the aftermath. So, again, Buyer Be Aware.

And what about the issue of attaining enlightenment (or existing in nirvana or being so that one is guaranteed a ticket on the heaven express) when it comes to spiritual or religious leaders, teachers, advisors, gurus, lamas, and Rinpoches, etc.?

In the Buddhist tradition, Nirvana is not some external divine place, but the purified state of consciousness in which we’re free of all negative emotions.

Nirvana has four characteristic features:

  1. A state of cessation of disturbing emotions from one’s mind.
  2. Absolute peace, a state of total tranquility of disturbing emotions.
  3. Exuberant satisfaction, which is free from all forms of dissatisfaction.
  4. Definite emergence, when one will no longer relapse to an unenlightened state.

By this definition, most of the highest spiritual teachers that I’ve had direct experience with have attained the first three out of the above four characteristics. That means that, when they’re teaching or giving direct transmissions, they ARE at a level of consciousness that emanates a realized state of Being. And when one is in their presence one can definitely get a “hit” of this energy and it feels GOOD. The problem is that it can feel so blissful that one needs to watch out for an addictive hook of dependency that arises from the limiting belief that this bliss can only be gotten from this teacher and is not attainable on one’s own.

For the majority of spiritual teachers, when they’re not in their highest transmitting function, they relapse into the unenlightened state. And this is where most students get confused, because they are unwilling to see the whole picture, (I call it “holding the split screen“), between the high states they experience when their teacher is in their spiritual role, and the rest of the time, when they’re just imperfect human beings playing out their karma like the rest of us.

Adding to this confusion, the spiritual marketplace is becoming overloaded with many so-called spiritual teachers who are selling their self-proclaimed enlightened state as a product or commodity. This means that prospective students need to use their discriminating awareness and give much time and thought before fully committing and surrendering to a particular teacher. Buyer be aware, for sure!

This is not to say that there are not at least a few fully enlightened Beings on the planet at any given time. I won’t name names, but I have had direct experience with one such Being in India. He emanated a consistent presence of the Void that was absolutely exhilarating, completely heart opening and a bit terrifying all at the same time. Not to mention that the wisdom of his teachings and energy has stayed with me and raised the bar of what I perceive as possible within a human incarnation.

But these realized Beings tend to be relatively anonymous, hard to get to and usually not taking on new students. Although if you’re fortunate, you might be granted a darshan, or audience, to sit and receive a transmission of whatever emanates from their presence and words.

So what’s a seeker to do? By accepting the reality of what a spiritual guide can and cannot offer, we need to take responsibility for seeing them not just at their highest, but in their imperfect humanness as well. Being a spiritual pragmatist, I always believe that if I take what I can use and leave the rest, (the old baby and the bathwater cliché)─I will be benefiting the most from any relationship I choose to enter into─in this area, as in all others.

Ultimately, we need to learn how to access, activate and embrace our “inner guru” or inner spiritual master and use ALL of life as the mirroring of this state of ownership of our innate divinity.

And some final thoughts:

Whether it’s from a Western or an Eastern belief system, the idea that there’s only one spiritual or religious path, lineage or teacher that can enlighten you or help you attain heaven or nirvana is a form of fundamentalism, regardless of whatever guise the seller is in. So, Buyer be Aware!

If a teacher says that you can’t “make it” spiritually without him, his teachings, path, or group─Buyer be Aware!

And, if you try to leave a teacher or group and are threatened with dire spiritual, karmic or other consequences─RUN! Then, be grateful that you have just escaped from a cult with your life and your sanity relatively intact. After this type of trauma, it’s a very good idea to get some objective help and support during a necessary period of deprogramming and recovery, especially if you’ve been deeply involved for a year or more.

For the definition of a cult, please click here:
cult characteristics

For more Cosmic Sugar, please click here:

 COSMIC SUGAR: The Amorous Adventures of a Modern Mystic

For more on my personal teachers: TEACHERS

For more on spiritual practices and my personal journey:

Favorite Meditations and Mantras

Spiritual Practices Reading List

Recommended Books

Some Quotes on this subject:

“The world is full of half-enlightened masters. Overly clever, too “sensitive” to live in the real world, they surround themselves with selfish pleasures and bestow their grandiose teachings upon the unwary. Prematurely publicizing themselves, intent upon reaching some spiritual climax, they constantly sacrifice the truth and deviate from the Tao. What they really offer the world is their own confusion.

The true master understands that enlightenment is not the end, but the means. Realizing that virtue is her goal, she accepts the long and often arduous cultivation that is necessary to attain it. She doesn’t scheme to become a leader, but quietly shoulders whatever responsibilities fall to her. Unattached to her accomplishments, taking credit for nothing at all, she guides the whole world by guiding the individuals who come to her. She shares her divine energy with her students, encouraging them, creating trials to strengthen them, scolding them to awaken them, directing the streams of their lives toward the infinite ocean of the Tao.”

“There are two paths leading to oneness with the Tao. The first in the path of acceptance. Affirm everyone and everything. Freely extend you goodwill and virtue in every direction, regardless of circumstances. Embrace all things as part of the Harmonious Oneness, and then you will begin to perceive it. The second path is that of denial. Recognize that everything you see and think is a falsehood, an illusion, a veil over the truth. Peel all the veils away, and you will arrive at the Oneness. Though these paths are entirely different, they will deliver you to the same place: spontaneous awareness of the Great Oneness.”
Lao Tzu

“The biggest barrier to awakening is the belief that it is something rare. Now don’t think that awakening is the end. Awakening is the end of seeking, the end of the seeker, but it is the beginning of a life lived from your true nature.”

“Their function is to anchor the frequency of the new consciousness on this planet. I call them the frequency-holders. They are here to generate consciousness through the activities of daily life, through their interactions with others as well as through ‘just being.’”

“The word enlightenment conjures up the idea of some superhuman accomplishment, and the ego likes to keep it that way, but it is simply your natural state of felt oneness with Being.”
Eckhart Tolle

For more, please read: The Nature of Addiction–It’s Only Human which covers the full range of addictions from drugs and alcohol, to sex and shopping, all the way through to the highest addiction to spiritual teachers and practices.


BEFORE THE FALL by Joan Pancoe
BEFORE THE FALL by Joan Pancoe


For me personally, it wasn’t until I was about age forty in 1993 that I experienced a shift in my energies and started feeling more alien─i.e. more comfortable in other dimensions─than the earth plane. Up until then, my development felt almost perfectly balanced 50-50 between development in this plane and sojourns in other dimensions. And while I would say that I had a preference for sojourns in the earth plane before this time, after this─while I still have a great fondness for the earth─I no longer seem to feel any preferences between dimensions.

This feeling of non-preference was certainly reinforced ever since my soul mate, Jim Rush, passed over in 1997 at the age of sixty. Since then, his ongoing communion with me and the occasional “trips” or “waking dreams”─he takes me on to other dimensions continues to loosen any vestiges of attachment to being in any particular plane of consciousness.

But for whatever the reason: being a trance channel since 1972, feeling more grounded and stable from Taoist practices, or the Galactic Forces bombarding the plane to shift us all more towards the Light─or probably all of the above─I began to feel definitively as if I was more comfortable and more aware of being in other dimensions, while simultaneously being present in this body and this incarnation. In other words, my expanded concept of identity shifted its perspective to the point that it became viscerally integrated into my being.

Over time, my desire to paint began to fall away and my creative focus shifted to writing books, articles, newsletters and teaching workshops from this expanded concept of self-perspective. And, I still keep half of the portraits in my office focused in this dimension and half focused from other dimensions─to make ALL my clients feel at home. This shift in me marked a midpoint in my journey from coming in for a landing in this incarnation (right in the middle of my Uranian opposition cycle, BTW) to an awareness that I am now on the return-ticket portion of this ride.

What Does It All Mean?

If you feel relief when you read my definition of aliens and can identify with not feeling at home or comfortable with your emotions, bodies or in the earth plane itself─welcome to the 10% (and growing all the time) of souls incarnate in the earth plane whose primary development is in other dimensions.

The movie comedy, Men in Black, addressed this theme, with the premise that all aliens were delegated to stay on the island of Manhattan and maintain a human disguise. When, I saw this movie I wanted to yell at the screen, “They’ve all been confined to the East Village of Manhattan.” And, yes, it’s true! The neighborhood I live in has a disproportionate number of alien residents, literally, and I don’t just mean from across the pond or other countries.

On any Saturday summer night when I am people-watching from a sidewalk cafe, there are so many aliens, even with their alien pets, promenading up and down the main drag, St. Marks Place, and NOT all in disguise, that it literally looks like a real-life version of the intergalactic cocktail bar in the original Star Wars movie.

On a slightly more serious note, what do I have to say about the clients who come to me because they believe they’ve had alien sightings, alien implants or been abducted by aliens, etc.? Well, this is what I have to say: “I work with anyone who comes to me in a way that is empowering to them to make the most of their experiences. I don’t argue, debate or disputebut rather create a bridge reality so that we can work in a positive way going forward with whatever history, beliefs or fears they bring to me.

Just as in medicine the placebo effect has been proven to be effective as a treatment─equally as much as drugs─over 30% of the time, I believe in the power of the mind to create our personal realities, perspective and experiences. Therefore, while I have not personally had some of the experiences my clients bring to me to resolve, I do not discount them, but rather chose to work with them in the most helpful way so that they can use their experiences as soul lessons for karmic healing.

I call myself a “full-service psychic.” This means that I’ve had people come to who believe they’ve been possessed by demons, discarnate entities, ghosts, aliens or whatever. My method of working with these types of clients is to empower them to recognize that─at a higher level of their being─they’ve chosen this experience and personal reality for very specific karmic lessons which I can help them to own and integrate.

The vast majority of clients who believe they have been “taken over” or “possessed” in some way are usually holding some very limiting karmic fear-based beliefs in which they think they’re powerless over more powerful─and usually dark─”outside forces” and thus feel as if they can’t protect themselves energetically.

As Edgar Cayce, the great sleeping prophet of the 20th century said, “Mind is the Builder.” And if we don’t believe something is possible for us─we can’t manifest it.

For a more detailed explanation of this type of projection: Owning Our Inner Pluto before . . . It Eats Us for Lunch

While I do not allow anyone to breach my psychic boundaries and feel strong and confidant in maintaining them, it has taken me much work over many decades to get here. Therefore, I empathize with anyone who does not believe it’s possible to have this power within their own being. This is the very reason that I’ve chosen to pass on my own personal psychic empowerment practices. For more on this: EMPOWERMENT PRACTICES

Ultimately, my philosophy is: One Being===billions of faces. And this metaphysical perspective encompasses not only the horizontal axis of the earth plane─but also the vertical channel to higher dimensions as well. This means that, at the level approaching absolute reality, there are no horizontal boundaries that separate all souls incarnate on the planet in terms of the cocreative Divine energies we’re all made up of. And vertically, there’s nothing that separates us from beings in other dimensions─we’re also all made up of the same Divine stuff.

Once we dissolve the illusionary boundaries between ourselves and others─horizontally and vertically─at the level of relative truth in this plane of duality and, once we get a taste of how it is to be in all spaces and times simultaneously through spiritual practices, THEN this multidimensional game we’re all playing in becomes much more cozy and much more fun. Aliens are us─indeed!

Back Story

For almost forty years, I’ve been painting portraits of Beings in what I call “Alternate Realities.” In 1982, at the first solo show of my work in Soho (NYC) entitled “Visions and Dreamworks,” I had a small back room filled with figurative portraits from this reality and a large main gallery room filled with over a dozen portraits of what the mass consciousness would call “Aliens” or “ETs.”

One of the more humorous aspects of this show, for me anyway was that, while I had been stoned on grass when I painted all the figurative portraits, most of the alternate reality portraits had been done once I’d cleaned up my act and was clean and sober in recovery. Most everyone at the opening thought for sure it was the other way around.

But the real joke was yet to come. At the opening, as I was standing in the center of the main room, someone asked me, “Where did you get the idea for all these aliens?” Before I answered, I did a 360° scan of all the portraits. That’s when, as if I’d been struck by lightning, I realized undeniably: THEY’RE ALL ME!

To view my portraits (no mood-altering substances required): GALLERY OF MULTIDIMENSIONAL DELIGHTS

Since 1972, I’d been channeling readings from a variety of sources as I expanded the range of what my channels called my “open channel system.” Most of the soul readings I did for others evolved from an original contact in the (Akashic) Hall of Records who initially called himself the Sympathetic Bridge Recorder. Then, over time, this Akashic contact merged with a group or gestalt of souls whose function was to maintain and monitor the Soul Records at the level of the 6th dimension of consciousness, also known as the causal plane.

There were numerous other channels that came through in the early years. Some seemed much further out in frequency and tone than the ones I used with clients and originally labeled themselves: “From the other side of the Universe.” Then, over time, these channels stabilized and began calling themselves the Highest Available Galactic Forces (acronym: HAGF). This channel, whom I call “my bosses” is the one I still use for my own readings as they direct me in my personal marching orders. HAGF is also the channel I use for readings of a planetary, global or galactic perspective as well as setting the theme and tone for most of my newsletters these days.

Just about the time I had the revelation about the true identity of my “altered state” or “alien” portraits, my channels informed me─in no uncertain terms─that: “They” (meaning all my channels) were: “All meall along.”The various channels had just been labeling themselves for my convenience for over a decade, and so as not to put me into shock by giving me more information than I was ready to handle. So, it seems it took over a decade of being a trance channel for my “little self” or ego/personality to be stable and right-sized (haha) enough to handle this concept of expanded identity. And I’m still working on it.ge

For a more detailed description of this process:

(put in new link to BOOKs page) Openings, a Guide to Psychic Living in the Real World, Part V, The Personal Development of this Channel System and Part VI, Channels of Influence.


About 10% or so of the people who come to me for soul readings are informed that their primary development is predominantly─meaning at least 51%─in other dimensions and are thus defined as “aliens” in terms of what dimension they would be most comfortable “phoning home” to. The hallmarks of alien development are feeling: Quite uncomfortable with the human emotional range, resistance to being fully embodied, and/or being at home in the density of the earth plane at all. The vast majority of clients who receive the news that their primary development is alien are incredibly relieved and many are not even very surprised at all, as their reading just confirmed what they, at least subliminally, already knew. And, learning that their spouses and children were many times of alien development as well, made it feel very right and cozy for them─even if they were advised to not necessarily share this info with their loved ones.

I also began working with quite a few of these alien souls in my psychic therapy process with a special focus on helping them “come in for a landing” in terms of releasing any limiting karmic (or alien) beliefs, fears or aversion that kept them from fully embracing their assignment for this incarnation.

This usually entailed rounding out their soul development through a cycle of lives of full immersion in the earth plane and full development of the range of humanness through different roles and scenarios, with a special focus on experiencing the human emotional repertoire and how to operate in a physical body in 3D.

These 10% are also the therapy clients who give themselves the green light to go further out into higher frequency dimensions than the causal plane as part of their work with me. Most clients choose to stabilize at the 6th dimension or causal plane, (which I also call “the Universal Flow State” or “the Cosmic Ocean of Consciousness”) as the optimal frequency to maintain if they want to be able to simultaneously function in the earth plane. The causal plane is also where one can learn how to access the Akashic Records and channel readings for themselves and others. And for most clients, I concur that going further out than the 6th dimension is not optimal for stabilization while in a 3D incarnation.

But, for those souls with alien development, going even further out and stabilizing in their 7th dimension functions and frequencies (which I call the galactic plane), while opening up the space/time continuum so they can experience being here and there simultaneous is, not just the culmination of their therapy with me, but the ultimate joy for them─and for me.

For a more detailed account of this:

Psychic Therapy: The Backstory

For more on Divine Play: Leela

For more on my psychic adventures in this dimension and others: Cosmic Sugar

On Pleasure, Joy and Bliss

Venus and Jupiter by Joan Pancoe

What do we need to do to have these good feelings more of the time? I’m glad you asked! It’s one of my favorite themes, and I hope it will become one of yours too.

Let’s talk about pleasure first. I know this may sound self-evident but: There is no other plane of existence except the physical plane in which we can enjoy the physical senses. So, all together now, “AAAAH!” That being the case, if we don’t choose to develop our capacities for pleasure on the sense level to a point of contentment, we may end up having regret for missed opportunities when not incarnate, thus keeping us firmly entrenched on the wheel of karma (regret does that, you know), until we give ourselves permission to enjoy our senses more while we’re here.

For those who are afraid of being free from the wheel of karma because of a natural fear of annihilation of the Little Self in the Void or of dissolving into the Cosmic Ocean of Consciousness, let me reassure you. We can be free from karma and choose to move on to other dimensions or to continue to incarnate. The difference is: We’re not pulled back in by our unresolved stuff. But rather, to the degree we’ve cleared our karma, we get to choose to play the Earth Game on a new level and pass on our joy and bliss in a natural overflow to others.

Furthermore, if we are indeed “the Divine’s little hand-puppets,” then the only way that Source can experience the physical senses is through us─and who are we to withhold that delight from our Cocreator?

For those of you who’ve read my memoir, Cosmic Sugar, you may recall that my particular karmic rut of over-development was on the 2nd chakra level of enjoyment of the sense pleasures. So, one of my many lessons in this life has been to bottom out on pleasure as the “Be-All and End-All” and learn to differentiate between good sensations on the sensual or 2nd chakra level and good feelings on the heart or 4th chakra level.

For, while good sensations can certainly be a contributing factor to feeling good emotionally, they are not exactly the same. Pleasure comes from the 2nd chakra, while all positive emotions─joy, happiness, love, compassion, and faith, to name a few─come from the 4th. All negative emotions─fear, anger, pride, envy─you know, the seven “deadlys”come from the three lower chakras being out of balance and, while they may rise up to affect the heart, they are not born there.

When I looked up joy in the dictionary, it’s defined as extreme happiness─in other words, a happiness that’s so full it’s overflowing from the heart. Other people or situations can make us happy, but when we allow our natural joy in being to bubble up, we spontaneously want to share it.

I’ve worked with many clients who’ve had a limiting karmic belief that joy is somehow not in spiritual good taste while there’s still suffering anywhere on the planet. These good souls are literally suffering under the misapprehension that their empathetic misery serves some spiritual purpose. I think not!

In fact, they have what I call “survivor’s guilt,” which means that even though they are finally in an incarnation working on other heart qualities, such as self-love, self-worth or joy─they’re stuck in a karmic rut of suffering. They’ve forgotten they’re supposed to be working on a new level of their evolution, not repeating what has already been developed. In past lives, these souls have already experienced cracking open the heart through suffering as a means to develop compassion for it─in fact, they have some of the most open hearts on the planet─just not much joy in being on the planet.

One solution to this attachment to suffering as one’s karmic identity, (or hair-shirt, as it may be), is to look at how one’s joy can positively affect others through the ripple effect. For sharing joy outward multiplies it exponentially in all directions and always makes the Goddess smile. Whereas once one already has a compassionate open heart for those who are suffering, suffering oneself only breeds more suffering. Whatever we feed─grows. And we always have a choice in whether we want to affect the emotional tone of the world positively, or allow it to affect us negatively.

The challenge for those with a karmic rut of suffering is to accept that all human beings have a Divine birthright to fully experience pleasure, joy and bliss─including themselves. Because they have very little capacity for enjoyment before unconscious sabotage mechanisms kick in through negative thoughts or actions, awareness and permission are needed to expand their tolerance level to handle good feelings. It’s actually like developing new muscles in the emotional body─let’s call it “bliss training.” Have you exercised today?

The first step in expanding our emotional range is in embracing the idea that growing pains are part of life, and it’s only our resistance with getting on with why we’re here─which is to evolve─that causes our suffering. The suffering portion of the program is completely optional.

We live in a plane of duality or polarities. Therefore, we need to embrace the package deal concept, which is: Where there is physical pain there will also be physical pleasure, where there is emotional pain there will also be joy, and where there is spiritual pain there is also the potential for bliss. It’s our aversion to one end of the human range of being and over-attachment to the other that keeps us between a rock and a soft place.

And what is Bliss? If we consider that the 4th chakra is the domain of all good feelings horizontally, including love on the personality level, then, as we move up the vertical channel, from the mid-point of the heart chakra, to the 6th chakra, our heart energies rise in frequency to commune with the Divine. This communion is experienced through the transpersonal emotional range which is epitomized by bliss─but also includes equanimity, rapture, ecstasy, At-One-ment with All That Is, universal love, and cosmic consciousness. It’s where our hearts and minds merge with the Divine Heart/Mind.

With awareness, we can learn how to transmute our life force energies thru the 2nd and 4th chakras until we are communing with the Divine blissfully through the 6th chakra and beyond in our vertical channel. This is where Tantric and Taoist sexual practices come in. These techniques allow us to merge with the Divine or the Tao directly or through the vehicle of making love with our partner so that we get to activate the pleasure/joy/bliss continuum simultaneously. In other words, Bliss is making love with Source in a continuous cosmic orgasm.

When I was twenty-seven, I went through a period where I felt completely cut off and separate from any Higher Power. This experience with spiritual pain catapulted me onto the path I am still on. Because my low-level search for the Divine─which included sexual escapades, smoking pot, and drinking─stopped working utterly, I surrendered to developing a direct conscious contact with Source, which I now maintain through daily spiritual practices. But one does seem to need to go through the dark night of the soul of spiritual pain first. Perhaps it is our capacity to experience deep pain that creates the space which allows bliss to arise.

Then, when I was thirty-three, I experienced the most excruciating emotional pain of my life while going through a divorce. Up until then, I had sealed my heart from this kind of pain from the age of twelve when my parents divorced. But my divorce blew my heart wide open with the kind of pain I’d been avoiding my whole life by focusing only on good sensations. The most remarkable thing is that, simultaneously with this pain, I experienced feeling more alive than ever before. Facing this raw emotional pain viscerally─without aversion or resistance─allowed my heart to come truly alive for the first time in this life.

Since then, joy has become one of my primary emotional tones─along with enthusiasm for the adventure of being human. And now, one of my main delights is activating these tones in others.

But, as with spiritual pain, unless one is open to expanding one’s emotional range─without resistance or aversion to the painful or attachment or clinging to the good (as this causes suffering too)─the fullest, highest emotional potentials are unable to flower.

Physical pain has been, and still is, the most challenging for me to embrace─especially since I have a karmic predisposition to pleasure and a very low tolerance for its opposite. Just last month, I had the most excruciating toothache with more acute pain than I can ever remember. As I was walking through Central Park on a beautiful sunny day on the way to the dentist, I asked myself, “Why is this happening now?” I got my answer experientially: In that moment, because I stopped resisting the pain─I was simultaneously filled with joy and bliss. Ta-da! After that, I knew it was the right time to share my thoughts on this particular theme.

This episode was particularly humorous to me in hindsight, when I realized that one of the meditations I’ve been practicing for decades─taken from one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s books on Zen mindfulness─is to experience the joys of having a “non-toothache,” and from this, learn that feeling neutral with nothing in particular going on internally─is quite a pleasant state to be in.

My channels have always said that Pain is essentially a signal tone from the Higher Self that a course correction is indicated. It comes first as spiritual pain, then as mental and emotional, and finally─if we haven’t gotten the whispered message─our Higher Self yells in our inner ear: “COURSE CORRECTION INDICATED!” usually at the same time that we’re getting blasted with some level of physical discomfort. If that still doesn’t do it, then the unlearned lessons of choosing to go for the growth are carried into the next incarnation ad infinitum.

In summation, if we choose to embrace the fullest range of the human emotional repertoire as a vehicle for being most fully alive─then pleasure, joy and bliss are ours. It’s always a package deal in this plane of duality. I can assure you that it doesn’t hurt that much─pain that is─as long as we don’t resist, fear or have an aversion to it. And, as challenging as not fearing pain is, having no preference except being fully alive─regardless of the feeling arising─is the greatest challenge of all.

What actually hurts the most is resistance to change. This creates a pattern of ongoing chronic suffering─which, over decades, actually adds up to more pain than if we just went for the clean sharp growing pain of change to begin with. While it may seem that it is human nature to always choose the lesser pain, once we are consciously aware enough to go for the growth, suffering becomes literally non-existent.

Furthermore, since we live in an ephemeral plane where everything is always insecure, uncertain and ultimately beyond our control─resisting change means we are rejecting what IS. And, as the Buddha said, the root cause of human suffering is dissatisfaction with things as they are.

Alas, we cannot make pleasure, joy or bliss arise. We cannot force them to appear─nor can we grasp on to them and make them stay─and believe me, I’ve tried. But we can create the optimal conditions for them by cultivating receptivity, contentment, peace and equanimity through spiritual practices.

Pleasure, joy and bliss are ultimately gifts from the Gods. They are our divine birthright. Anything we resist in the moment─such as an unrequited desire for things to be different─generates suffering. So, accepting what is─just as it is─creates contentment─and that is the perfect emotional foundation for pleasure, joy and bliss to arise spontaneously . . . again and again and again.

For more: my memoir, COSMIC SUGAR, under the pen name, Leela Jones

The Nature of Addiction It’s Only Human

According to Jung, the craving for alcohol is a low-level spiritual thirst for wholeness. I’ll concur with that and add that ALL addictions mask a spiritual hunger to fill the hole in us that can ultimately only be satisfied by a sustainable experience of Cosmic Consciousness or Oneness with Source. That’s because the hole in each of us is infinite and nothing less than Infinite Being can fill it. 

What’s my definition of an addiction? It’s anything that we’re attached to for our comfort and which─if we don’t have it─causes us dissatisfaction. Wow! You may be thinking that’s a definition which potentially covers just about everything . . . and you would be right. That’s why addictions are an integral part of the human experience.

From the Buddhist perspective, attachment to what we desire is considered the root cause of all dissatisfaction and suffering. If we combine this view with Jung’s, then the vast majority of us are experiencing, at least some of the time and to some degree, a soul sickness which comes from buying into the illusion of being separate from God, the Divine, Source or the Tao.

I say “illusion” because the absolute truth is that we’re always One with Source and in Heaven all the time to the degree that we’re in a state of absolute consciousness. BUT, as spiritual beings in a human incarnation, we’re also simultaneously on the relative plane of Earth where duality, linear space and time and the karmic laws of cause and effect apply as the hallmarks of relative truth.

This dichotomy is called Leela, or Divine Play, in the Vedic tradition of ancient India. In this game of Cosmic Hide and Seek, after we incarnate, we forget our absolute identity of Pure Being. Then, in our attempts to seek our true nature, which is home in the game, we succumb to different levels of addiction and get stuck at different levels of Leela.

Once we’re actively engaged in an addiction, especially in the early stages, it gives us a false sense of at least momentary filling the void in us and at times even glimpses of Unity Consciousness or the feeling of merging with Source. But then we get hooked in as we attempt to repeat this illusionary “high” with increasingly diminishing returns and more and more negative consequences over time.

The range of addiction runs from life-threatening substances and behaviors all the way through to spiritual teachers and practices the whole gamut from medication to meditation.

Our job, if we want to play the game of life at its highest, is to consciously choose to continuously refine our addictions as we evolve. This will lead us ultimately to an ongoing experience of Oneness with Source and to the degree that we can maintain this spiritual condition, to this degree are we healed from our addictions as they become superfluous. The expression, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!” speaks to this level of attainment.

One example of this is Ram Dass’ story of witnessing his guru in India gobble up an inordinate amount of LSD with absolutely no discernable change in his state of consciousness. This anecdote illuminates the idea that when one is already in a high state of consciousness naturally, no mood-altering substances are needed to achieve this state it’s just gilding the lily.

For some of us, consciousness-expanding drugs may be useful initially in cracking open our psychic perceptions and having a preliminary experience of higher states. But, for most of us, these substances usually only offer a fleeting glimpse unless we are karmically predisposed to follow-up our cracking open with ongoing maintenance through spiritual practices.

One of the biggest challenges occurs after we get stuck at levels of addiction that have become life-threatening or life-stagnating the very same ones that gave us that illusionary taste in the beginning that “all is well.” We keep going back sometimes for decades for that initial experience, but the “cheese” is no longer there just the memory of it. This is one definition of insanity repeating the same behavior and expecting different results. Bait and switch, indeed.

Here is a partial list of lower-level addictions: 

  1. Alcohol and drugs including pharmaceuticals, nicotine and consciousness-expanding substances
  2. Food, sex and sick excitement
  3. Gambling, high-risk sports and adventures
  4. Work, money, power, shopping and hoarding
  5. TV, computer and other mental stimulants that only feed the monkey-mind
  6. love and romance . . . and the list could go on and on.

Bottoming out on these addictions is tricky because all bottoms have infinite trapdoors that can go on from lifetime to lifetime. Because withdrawal can be so laborious on all levels─physical, emotional, mental, karmic─it’s important to remember that all bottoms feel the same from the inside: excruciatingly painful.

Therefore, it’s up to each of us to consciously choose to draw a line and say “My bottom stops here.” When we surrender to the reality that our addiction has turned on us and is bringing us nothing but more pain and more damage.

We all have a life force and a death urge, and in choosing to stop a life-threatening addiction we’re turning around the downward spiral of our soul evolution. We always have free will and our choices determine our future karma and destiny.

For addictions involving life-threatening behaviors or addictive substances, such as alcohol, nicotine and other drugs, total abstinence is the optimal course once a certain line of chemical dependency has been crossed. It’s nearly impossible to reverse and go back to occasional usage, especially when we’re dealing with our primary drug of choice.

Beyond this lowest level of addiction, we can refine our other addictions to ones that are no longer life-stagnating, by enjoying them in moderation rather than investing in them excessively. The key is in upgrading these habitual patterns from attachments which bring suffering if we don’t feed them to preferences, which we can enjoy when available, but can take or leave when not accessible or in balance with all levels of our being.

For example, we may still enjoy our TV or our computers, but as we evolve more, we can enjoy equally, if not more, being out in nature, meditating, mind/body practices, heart-centered human companionship, or just being present in the world and having a conscious relationship with Life itself.

We may prefer to be in a relationship with a significant other, but we can also equally enjoy our alone stages of the journey, without feeling depressed or lonely at all, but rather using this freedom to accelerate our inner evolution.

In letting go of people, places, things, habits, and substances that have turned on us, we can cultivate a preference for healthier foods and nutritional supplements, heart-centered friendships, and life-affirming activities. This is the middle stage in evolving through our addictions. 

The third stage in refining our addictions, after we are maintaining abstinence from life-threatening ones and upgraded life-stagnating ones to preferences, is best expressed in the Buddha’s teaching: “The Great Way is easy for one who has no preferences.”

In other words, if we want to be in heaven ALL the time, we need to accept life and others just as they are with no personal agenda to wish to change anything.

Ouch! This is the level of refining our addictions where the vast majority of us balk. Our egos draw the line at giving up our preferences for our personal “comforts,” and our little selves kick and scream and go into denial big time with exclamations like, “What’s the big deal with taking my comfort, it’s not life-threatening!”

As an example of this, I was on a 10-day spiritual retreat a few years ago where the theme was on working on letting go of attachment to our regular comfort levels. I’ve never seen so many egos in overdrive to defend the few comforts they had left myself included. 

At this level, the best way to work with being in heaven all the time is to look at it as a continuum of consciously choosing to release preferences for comforts that have become a form of anesthesia or buffer to experiencing reality just the way it is. We may not need to take it to the extremes of meditation at charnel grounds, but we can at least choose to be at peace with rainy days equally as much as sunny ones.

The highest levels of addiction occur when our preferences for what gives the most satisfaction is primarily on the higher chakra levels. Our attachments to spiritual teachers, practices or consciousness-expanding substances for spiritual experiences are the most subtle and perhaps insidious levels of addiction as they can all give us true but ephemeral glimpses of higher planes of consciousness.

Ultimately this level of attachment needs to be released as well. Here are some criteria to consider: 

1. With consciousness-expanding drugs─when the glimpses these substances once gave us are primarily in the past and we have not done the work to integrate these tastes into our normal operating mode of consciousness through spiritual practices─in which case, the need for these substances would fall away naturally. Instead, we’ve become stuck in a rut of stagnating growth on all levels─especially on the personal emotional range.

2. With spiritual teachers─when the transmissions we’ve received from them at their highest is complete and we’ve become One with them at that level─especially if we’ve become attached to a limiting belief that we can’t sustain these high states of consciousness on our own.

3. With our daily structure of spiritual and mind/body practices when the levels of consciousness reached through these has become an automatic natural part of our being, so that we no longer need to repeat these particular practices to sustain our normal state.

At these higher levels of attachment, especially the last two, letting go of specific teachers or practices because we’ve gotten what can be gotten from them does not mean we will not move on to new teachers and practices. However, ultimately, the boat that takes us to the other shore is no longer a necessary vehicle but just more baggage. 

My personal journey in this life and in many past lives has been one of enjoying and bottoming out on the full range of addictions from the lowest to the highest levels. All of them felt fantastically good in the beginning as they worked their magic in giving me those fleeting glimpses that “all is well.”

But, alas, over time those glimpses became more and more ephemeral and harder to sustain and, when the addictions turned, as they always do sooner or later, I had to choose, usually kicking and screaming, to go for the upgrade. 

The criterion for creating an ongoing experience of contentment with things just as they are is through consciously choosing actions that: 

  1. Support the life force rather than the death urge.
  2. Are consciousness-expanding rather than anesthetizing.
  3. Empower us to depend less on external factors─people, places, things, conditions and substances─for our bliss.

In closing, I wish all of us more than just a taste of what we’ve been seeking through our addictions all along: Being in Heaven All the Time.

For more on Leela: COSMIC PLAY

On addiction from a karmic perspective: “Why is This Happening to Me?”

For more on the highest level of addiction: On Spiritual Teachers: Buyer Be Aware

My story: Cosmic Sugar: “The Amorous Adventures of a Modern Mystic

Some Quotes on Addiction: 

On love addiction: “Addiction is composed of three elements: obsession or preoccupation, a feeling of being out of control, and continuation despite negative physical and psychological consequences. As with other addictions, the signs of addictive relating often become increasingly evident─but often not to the people involved.”
Brenda Schaeffer

“Those who eat too much or eat too little, who sleep too much or sleep too little, will not succeed in meditation. But those who are temperate in eating and sleeping, work and recreation, will come to the end of sorrow through meditation”
Bhagavad Gita

 “It is not heroin or cocaine that makes one an addict, it is the need to escape from a harsh reality. There are more television addicts, more baseball and football addicts, more movie addicts, and certainly more alcohol addicts in this country than there are narcotics addicts.”
Shirley Chisholm

“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.”
Carl Jung

“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

 “I drank because I wanted to drown my sorrows, but now the damned things have learned to swim.”
Freda Kahlo

“I made a commitment to completely cut out drinking and anything that might hamper me from getting my mind and body together. And the floodgates of goodness have opened upon me spiritually and financially.”
Denzel Washington

“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Those who seek for and follow (the Tao) are strong of body, clear of mind, and sharp of sight and hearing. They do not load their mind with anxieties and are flexible in their adjustment to external conditions.”
Lao Tzu

“Contrary to popular misconception, karma has nothing to do with punishment and reward. It exists as part of our holographic universe’s binary or dualistic operating system only to teach us responsibility for our creations and all things we experience are our creations. When these creations are out of tune with Source, they often manifest in the disharmony known as disease. This can occur not only in individuals but in entire civilizations. In both cases, disease, which is typically considered a crisis, simultaneously serves as a powerful stimulus for transformation and transcendence.”
Sol Luckman

“Man cannot live without joy; therefore, when he is deprived of true spiritual joys it is necessary that he become addicted to carnal pleasures.” Thomas Aquinas

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