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Automatic Writing — Part 1

History of Automatic Writing

One of the most common forms of channeling information from the Soul Side is a personal “automatic writing” session. This concept will be new to many readers, while it is actually a common practice with a long history. Automatic writing derived over time from the concept of “free association writing” used in psychoanalysis as first developed by Sigmund Freud. Yet its roots date back to the early “stream of consciousness” concept found in early Buddhist scriptures (specifically, in the Digha Nikaya; reference Steven Collins,
Selfless Persons: Imagery and Thought in Theravada Buddhism
,
Cambridge University Press, 1982).

In 1890, the psychologist and philosopher William James published his Principles of Truth. James’ description of the mind-world connection described in terms of the “stream of consciousness” had a direct and significant impact on the development and expansion of “stream of consciousness writing.” This is commonly associated with the modernist movement in literature in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Stream of consciousness writing guides the reader to visualize or perceive a character’s point of view through the written equivalent of the character’s thought processes. Examples of stream of consciousness writing include Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina (1873), William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury (1929), and Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer’s July’s People (1981). 

I first learned about automatic writing while reading a book by Ruth Montgomery entitled Search for the Truth (Ballantine Books, 1982). Automatic writing is typically accomplished through meditation while placing a pen or pencil against a sheet of paper in the same manner as free association writing. In time, the pen will begin to move on the paper creating images or capturing words, thoughts and, for very experienced automatic writers, inspired perspectives and even comprehensive discussions.

Levels of Consciousness

Automatic writing stems from the concept that humans have multiple levels of consciousness (e.g., conscious awareness, unconscious perception). In psychoanalysis, the conscious mind is the part of the mind comprising psychic material of which the individual is aware. In contrast, the unconscious mind is the part of the mind containing psychic material of which the individual is rarely aware, yet it has a pronounced influence on behavior.

Both of the above levels of consciousness are active during the “waking state” (whenever the individual is awake). The unconscious mind is active even in sleep states. In the waking state, the conscious mind is normally in control of our actions, whereas during sleep the unconscious mind assumes an increased level of control. This shift in the degree of conscious control from the waking state toward sleep — the shift in control of information and actions from the conscious mind toward the unconscious mind — is referred to as an “altered state of consciousness,” with the most common examples being the dream state (daydreams or night dreams), meditation and hypnosis. An altered state of consciousness is typically accompanied by a heightened degree of suggestibility, a higher or broader level of perspective, and personal inspiration.

From a spiritual perspective, the physical body is generally correlated with the conscious mind, whereas the unconscious mind is considered as the gateway to the soul:  and the soul never sleeps. During the waking state the physical being has primary control over our thoughts; during the sleep state, the ever-awake and ever-alert soul has primary control over our thought processes and provides information typically in the form of dreams.

Yet if the individual is trained in meditation, the balance of consciousness can be shifted so as to receive information on a specific requested subject matter and even engage in nonverbal conversation. This is common for monks, religious clerics and devoted spiritualists the world over. If the practitioner is also trained in automatic writing, then the information received through the gateway of the unconscious mind can be recorded.

Most people are capable of influencing to at least some degree the level of control exerted between the conscious and unconscious minds, such as is routinely accomplished by the average individual during meditation or even prayer. A relatively small percentage of people have trained themselves to balance the level of control between the conscious and unconscious minds so that both are actively working on different activities at the same time. For example, some administrative assistants and secretaries are able of participating in a conversation on one topic while continuing to type a letter on a different subject: two levels of consciousness working on different physical world activities at the same time.

Inspirational Channeling

As discussed in Ruth Montgomery’s books, automatic writing is used during meditation as a means of documenting whatever information is received during the meditation session. For this approach, the person doing the meditation is referred to as a ‘channeler’, because they are serving as a channel or conduit for information flow through the minimally alert conscious mind and onto paper. The channeler requests guidance or information through the unconscious mind gateway and also releases conscious control of the hands and fingers. The expectation is that whoever or whatever provides this guidance will also pass along sufficient energy to move the hand holding a pencil or a pen so that the channeled guidance or information is recorded on the paper.

There is absolutely nothing to fear in this process. ALL DIVINELY INSPIRED INFORMATION IS CHANNELED INFORMATION; otherwise, where would information about life beyond the physical world come from? Throughout history and in the present day, popes, priests, shamans, rabbis, and other holy men have prayed for guidance or information, and the information they received is considered as “divinely inspired.” If they were capturing this information as part of a great religious book, such as the Qur’an, Vedas, Bhagavad Gita, Bible or the I Ching, then they were serving as a channeler of the divine information transferred through their unconscious mind to the great book. A fairly modern day religious book of some 2000 pages is The Urantia Book (Urantia Foundation, 1955), which clearly states that every bit of the information contained therein was channeled by a number of gifted and highly respected channelers.

Most religious documents recognize the ability of every person to communicate with “the other side,” although they also warn about the potential of receiving information from evil, malicious or misguided souls, which certainly can happen. Thus, spiritual leaders of most religions admonish their congregations to rely either solely or primarily on the guidance and inspiration passed down from religious leaders so as to be certain that the information is “right-thinking” — which means it is channeled from a safe, loving, good and high source. Of course, many trained spiritualists, authors, artists, etc. are perfectly capable of channeling the same source(s) of information and receiving divine inspiration. Perhaps the most obvious visual evidence of this can be discovered with a tour of paintings at most art museums, many of which are truly divinely inspired.

One of the best modern day examples of this concept is the three-part series of books by Neale Donald Walsch entitled The Complete Conversations with God (Hampton Roads Publishing, 1996, 1997, 1998). Walsch does not use the term automatic writing in his books, yet he maintains that the information for his books was provided to him as a result of his “Conversations with God.” As he explains in Chapter 1 of Conversations With God: An Uncommon Dialogue (Book 2):

“On a blank sheet of paper, I would merely write a question – any question; usually the first question that came to my head — and no sooner was the question written than the answer would form in my head, as if Someone were whispering in my ear. I was taking dictation!”

Note that “Someone” is capitalized, which traditionally indicates the highest divinity. Around the world, millions of readers of Neale Donald Walsch’s books, which have been translated into many languages, would agree that his writings fully satisfy the term “divinely inspired.”

For additional information on this topic, read the post “Automatic Writing – Part 2.”
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“Thank you for participating in The Soul Channel!” — John