Looking Under the Hood of Spiritual Guidance
by Henry Reed

A group game developed by the author provides not only 
insights into the guidance process, but also the benefits of multiple 
guidance sources and points of view, with help for evaluating outcomes.

"Seeking spiritual guidance" implies looking for answers from sources 
outside ourselves maybe even from a "mystical" kind of source. We may 
realize that guidance can come from "within," yet we find something 
attractive about information that comes from "a higher source." We may even 
understand that information from an outside source is always "channeled" 
through ourselves. Yet such metaphors from the three-dimensional world 
higher and lower, inner and outer can easily confuse us about our 
relationship to the source of all information. As a result, it becomes more 
difficult to teach people the nuances of Edgar Cayce's advice about seeking 
spiritual guidance.
In simplest terms, we are advised to get more than one reading on the 
same question and correlate the results. Following this suggestion from Edgar 
Cayce automatically puts people in the seat of responsibility to evaluate the 
guidance received, looking for patterns. They are likely to recognize how 
their own intuition comes into play when they correlate information from 
various "readings" and try to create their own conclusions and hypotheses for 
testing. They don't see as readily that this same intuitive involvement is 
present when they get only one reading. Instead, they tend to attribute all 
the guiding information to the "outside" source. 
My book, Channeling Your Higher Self, explains in some detail that, 
even when guidance information seems to be totally independent of your own 
self from an outside source such as a psychic or Tarot reading, for example 
you are still implicated in the information. Intuition involves correlating 
patterns in the data, making a connection between the less understood and the 
more understood. As we try to interpret statements by the psychic, we call 
upon our own experience.
This limitation in experience is easier to recognize in someone else. 
If you're discussing with a friend her first-ever reading, you probably see 
that she understands portions of the information in too naive a manner, or 
that she fails to recognize the accuracy of something the psychic said 
because she can't recognize that truth about herself. We cannot avoid our own 
participation in receiving spiritual guidance, even from "outside.".
To clarify the role of the elements involved in spiritual guidance, I 
developed a game I call "Sharing Wisdom." I use it in my classes on 
divination to help students realize that answers don't simply appear to us 
without our own involvement. The steps of the game are described and 
illustrated below. Readers may try this game with a group of friends. It 
would make an excellent learning experience for a Search for God group, for 
example.
Provide an "old wisdom" source. The only special material needed for 
this game, besides three containers and some blank paper, is a source of 
available "wisdom statements." One such source is the collection of theme 
statements associated with the 64 I Ching hexagrams, a version of which is 
provided in Mark Thurston's book, Synchronicity as Spiritual Guidance. The I 
Ching (The Book of Change) is a distillation of ageless wisdom much used in 
divination activities. You may also create a set of wisdom statements with 
Cayce excerpts using pages from the Cayce booklets Think on These Things or 
Quiet Thoughts. In many bookstores, you can find sets of divination cards 
with short statements (such as "Re-MIND-er" cards based on Neal Donald 
Walsch's Conversations with God) or with single words (such as "Angel Oracle" 
by Sulamith Wlfing). Provide a set of available wisdom statements in which 
you have great confidence. Put those into one container labeled "Perennial 
Wisdom."
In the steps that follow, one person in the group facilitates the 
process. In the illustrations below from my classes, I am the facilitator. I 
address the steps to "you" as one of the participating players.
Phase One (all players simultaneously but privately) 
Create "new wisdom" source. The facilitator begins the game by asking 
you and the other players to create your own wisdom statements. You are to 
pretend you are going to prepare a legacy of wisdom for future generations. 
Let your memories and imagination mingle and flow, and then review what 
you've learned from dealing with adversities, confusing situations, and 
difficult times. You are guided into deeper meditation where you are to ask 
the higher self to give you a statement that could be used by future 
generations for guidance during difficult times. After coming out of the 
meditation, you write your statement down. Statements from all players are 
then put in a second container marked "Answers to Life's Questions."
Prepare personal question. Next, you and the other players are each 
to formulate a specific personal question on which you would like to receive 
spiritual guidance. The questions will be used anonymously, so you may ask 
significant personal questions. In fact, questions that have a real "need to 
know" quality will be the ones that get the best information, in contrast to 
hypothetical questions ("How many angels can dance on a dime?), impersonal 
questions ("How will Y2K problems affect the stock market?"), or questions 
focused on a third party ("When will my son get a job?"). Questions should 
focus on personal concerns and how one should best proceed. The questions 
above might be better as, "How can I learn to see angels?" or "How can I 
protect myself from adverse affects of the Y2K problem?" or "How can I help 
my son get a job?" The best questions concern you yourself and ask about 
specific attitude or behavior changes that can be tried out in the immediate 
future and related to a specific goal. 
In the steps that follow, I will use as an example a question from a 
player in one of my classes: "What attitudes or behaviors can I change in 
myself to get more pleasure and meaning from my job?" The example will be 
presented in smaller italics to separate it from the process steps. 
Seek answer from inner wise person. In another brief meditation, you 
are guided to pose your personal question to your higher self. Imagine being 
in the presence of a teacher or spiritual wisdom figure such as Jesus, Edgar 
Cayce, or Buddha. To this wise presence, you silently ask the question you 
have written down and imagine what that figure might say in response.
Sharpen your question. After you have received an answer, think about 
whether or not you are satisfied with the answer, or if you realize you 
didn't quite ask the question you really want answered. Maybe you have a 
follow-up question. 
For example, in response to the question about getting more pleasure 
from the job, let's say Buddha answered, "Keep your focus on the immediate 
moment, the here and now that is where you will find pleasure and 
enlightenment." That answer has merits for most situations and caused the 
questioner to realize that he was rarely "in the moment" at work, but was 
instead distancing himself from work and thus cutting himself off from any 
pleasure that might come his way from the job. The answer also made him 
realize that the real problem was that he wanted to leave that job for 
another one, but seemed blocked to take any action. So he wanted to revise 
his question to, "What change in attitude or behavior on my part will enable 
me to move myself into a job more to my liking?" He writes this as his 
question, pocketing the previous question.
Reflecting upon your question and imagining an answer is an important 
step in preparing for guidance. The step reflects one of Cayce's principles 
about guidance: to apply what you know before expecting to receive more. 
Also, if you attempt to answer your own question, you will be able to revise 
your question to the very edge of your understanding. That effort seems to 
pave the way for better guidance.
Pool questions. When your question has been written in final form, 
fold the paper and write a mark or code word on the outside of the folded 
paper to identify it only to you. This will insure that you do not draw your 
own question later. All questions are put into a third container marked 
"Life's Questions." 
Pray for attunement. Next you are guided to pray that you will be so 
attuned to your source of highest wisdom that you will be able to provide 
helpful guidance to the person whose question you will draw. You ask to be 
guided to draw the question for which you can offer the most helpful guidance.
Phase Two (one player at a time completes the following steps)
Draw question. Assume you are the first player. You draw a question 
from the "Life's Questions" container, making sure from the outside mark that 
you have not drawn your own. You will provide three sources of guidance for 
the "target question" you hold, followed by an evaluation. You do not look at 
the question until after the next step.
Give reading on question. First, you are guided by the facilitator to 
offer an Intuitive Heart reading for your unopened target question. This 
method is based upon Edgar Cayce's premise that the best guidance we can 
provide another person is to speak from one's own experience. In the 
Intuitive Heart process, you first meditate briefly, then make a heart 
connection with the unopened target question. People can easily imagine 
reaching out with the heart to embrace the question, drawing it into their 
heart. At that point, you are asked to trust your intuitive heart to bring 
into your awareness a memory from a past experience. Trust in the flow of 
your experience so you can set the ego aside. Rather than search for a 
"suitable" memory, you allow a memory to spontaneously appear in your 
awareness. It is like a divination procedure in which you would draw a card 
at random, but in this case, the random event is the memory that appears in 
awareness. 
Describe memory to group. You then describe your memory aloud, as if 
telling a story about a past experience. You "search your heart for wisdom" 
and explore possible wisdom in the story. Speaking extemporaneously "from the 
heart," you think out loud about the lesson you find for yourself from that 
experience. 
Read target question and evaluate connection. Now you open the target 
question and read it aloud to the group. Everyone writes the target question 
and follows it with an evaluation of the connection between the question and 
the memory-plus-lesson you have just expressed. How well did it fit the 
question? Did the advice seem sound, valid, useful? Everyone writes at least 
one sentence of evaluation, and scores the reading from 0 to a perfect 10. 
The person who asked the question, still anonymous, also makes a written 
evaluation.
Continuing with the illustration about a job change, the player who 
drew the question told of a memory involving leaving the parental home, the 
memory image of hugging mom and dad goodbye on their front porch, then 
walking suitcase in hand toward his car to drive off to a nearby city where 
he had a new job and an apartment. He said that, for him, the lesson in this 
memory is that starting something new brings the sadness of saying goodbye to 
the familiar, that the comfortable support system must be released in order 
to embrace the new, and that although sad or even scary it's necessary to 
the growth process.
Pray, select new wisdom statement, and continue evaluation. 
Continuing the process, the group joins in a brief prayer that you will 
choose the most appropriate piece of wisdom for the target question. Then you 
reach into the container with "Answers to Life's Questions" and draw out one 
slip of paper. Read aloud the wisdom written on the paper. Then once again, 
all players including you write an evaluation statement and rate the 
connection 0-10 as before.
In our example about the job change, the wisdom that was drawn out 
read, "When facing a difficult decision, recall times when you felt full of 
love, bring that love into your awareness, and then follow the path that is 
most consistent with that love feeling."
Pray, select old wisdom statement, and continue evaluation. Just as 
in the preceding step, the group prays you will choose the most appropriate 
statement for the target question. Then you draw a card or slip from the 
"Perennial Wisdom" container and read it aloud. Everyone writes an evaluation 
of its connection to the question. 
In our example, we used the I Ching statements photocopied from 
Thurston's book, cut into individual slips of paper, and put into the 
container labeled "Perennial Wisdom." The player targeting the job question 
drew this I Ching theme statement from the container: "Timely Change: The 
time draws near for radical change in the way you present yourself to the 
world. Like an animal that sheds its skin in due season, your new self is 
ready to come forth. If you try to remain stable on what has been solid in 
the past, you will lose your equilibrium. Accept the disruptions before you 
now as purposeful, creative revolution."
When this was read to the group, there was an audible gasp in the 
room. It seemed so connected to the question and to the player's Intuitive 
Heart reading about leaving home. Here was a clear case of synchronicity!
Prepare summary of guidance for target question. Now that all three 
sources of guidance have been shared and evaluated for your target question, 
all players prepare a written statement summarizing their interpretation of 
the guidance, pointing out which source had the most accurate, important, or 
usable guidance. The player who originally wrote the target question claims 
it in his or her written evaluation, together with a statement about how the 
guidance from the overall process might be applied.
Share summaries anonymously. The facilitator reads all the final 
evaluations for the target question aloud, but anonymously so no one knows 
who asked the target question or who wrote which summary. 
When I read the summaries aloud for the illustrative job change 
question, they favored the Intuitive Heart reading and the I Ching. Comments 
favoring the Intuitive Heart reading focused on the imagery that pointed to 
fear in the person wanting a job change, an element that was clear in the 
telling of the story of leaving home. Those favoring the I Ching focused on 
the archetypal imagery of the shedding of skin, as well as the element of 
fear. The "Answers to Life's Questions" slip concerning the path of love 
seemed valid, but too general to be useful. 
It was noteworthy that everyone but the originator of the question 
pointed out the fear element in the two preferred readings. The originator 
saw the guidances as saying "Go for it!" In the discussion, the originator 
came to realize he did indeed have some fear about making a change. He 
voluntarily identified himself as the originator and engaged in some 
discussion with the player who provided the reading about leaving home and 
how he had found his current job to be like a home, admitting he hadn't 
realized how much that feeling was holding him back. He hadn't recognized the 
fear nor responded to that aspect of the player's story until the rest of the 
group focused on it. The group recognized information in the reading that the 
original questioner didn't see for himself.
Repeat all the guidance steps for each target question and player. 
After sharing aloud the summaries, the game moves to a second player, who 
draws a new target question from the "Life's Questions" container. The player 
proceeds through the steps of an Intuitive Heart reading and guidance from 
"Answers to Life's Questions" and "Perennial Wisdom," leading to brief 
evaluations and a final summary. This process repeats itself until guidance 
has been given for all questions.

Looking Under the Hood
The guidance game enables us to "look under the hood" of the vehicle 
to see how the various parts of the guidance "engine" work. Clearly an 
element of synchronicity affects which items are drawn "at random." Comparing 
the I Ching slip with the "wisdom" slip created by one of the players, we can 
see the dimension of the "quality of wisdom" or the "level of the mind" from 
which the advice comes. The wisdom from the I Ching is of a greater caliber 
than that of the wisdom provided by the player, which, although valid, is a 
bit trite, making it easy to be over-general. 
As guidance, the Intuitive Heart reading differs significantly from 
the I Ching. The former involved the element of attunement or telepathy 
between the reader and the question, or between the reader and the person 
asking the question, whereas the I Ching or other "Perennial Wisdom" cards 
involved only the element of synchronicity. 
In the example, the I Ching provided a more-articulated piece of 
wisdom than the player, yet the player's piece of wisdom was certainly 
consistent with the I Ching. What the player lacked was perhaps the 
experience or the eloquence to turn the personal memory into a universal 
statement. What the player contributed, however, through his connection with 
the question/questioner was a personal element that helped accentuate the 
fear component in the situation. The two sources complemented one another, 
but the personal reading brought out another dimension to seeking guidance. 
Everyone but the questioner himself recognized the important role fear was 
playing in holding the questioner in his old job. The questioner himself 
didn't see that in the information until afterwards in the discussion. Here 
we can see how the questioner plays a role in perceiving the guidance. The 
group didn't see the guidance as simply saying, "Go for it!" as the 
questioner had assumed, but as saying more specifically, "Fear may be 
natural, but face it and let it go, so you can move on!"
The "Sharing Wisdom" game allows players to begin recognizing the 
role of telepathy or attunement, level of wisdom, and questioner readiness to 
perceive truth, all contributing elements in getting spiritual guidance. In 
my experience, playing this game enables participants to gain a better 
perspective on the guidance process and to eliminate some of the mystique 
associated with various oracle or divination systems and those who use them 
to give psychic readings or to obtain spiritual guidance.