QUESTION: What are spirit guides?

ANSWER: A lot of people want to know about their spirit guides, and I see a number of books sold on the topic, but I've never understood why people want to make it more complex than it is. These are simply spirits that are around you to help you. Unlike ghosts, they have already been to the light and returned for a specific purpose--to aid you--and are not "stuck." And one of the advantages of them having gone to the light and done their life-review is that they may have gained considerable wisdom and insight before coming back to work as a guide. So, let's look at some common questions:

How is a spirit guide different from a ghost? Spirit guides are like ghosts in that they are consciously aware beings that do not have physical bodies. However, unlike ghosts, they have already fully made their transitions to the afterlife, gone to guide school, and come back by their own choice to help the living. Be aware that just because a spirit is hanging out with you doesn't mean it has to be a guide. It could just be a ghost that 1) likes your energy; 2) doesn't have anything better to do; 3) is afraid of moving on to the light but senses you may be aware of it; 4) is looking for help and senses you could be aware of it; 5) has an unethical interest in you - whether to torment you, vicariously enjoy drugs, sex, or addictions through being tuned into you, or otherwise. It's not a bad idea to try moving whatever spirits are around you onto the light. Of course, if they're a guide they won't go. It can help to ask yourself one question - is this spirit helping me in my life or not? If it's not helping, even if it is neutral, it should be moved onto the light. It doesn't help ghosts to hang out around the earth plane because that only holds them back from progressing.

Who are they? Guides really can run the gamut. I've seen some that were never-human, other-dimensional beings, and others that were relatives to the person they were guiding in this or other lives. Most people feel that the spirits who guide us volunteer for their task. They may do so for a variety of reasons, including (but not limited to) because they: 1) knew us in this life or an earlier one; 2) simply like us; 3) are performing spiritual work (and helping us is part of that); 4) have similar interests (like painting or writing); or 5) are working through us on a chosen task.

Can they be animals? Let me put it this way. They can look like animals, especially if dealing with children who might be afraid of humans. Remember that, like a ghost, a spirit guide can look however they want to look. If they want to appear to you as an angel, they can do so. If they want you to know they were Uncle Fred, they can show themselves to you in that way, too. There are no limits to what appearance they can take on. I will often see relatives around a person, especially deceased mothers or grandmothers. Sometimes their role is a simple one, of providing emotional support or insight into other still-living members of your family. Deceased pets will sometimes appear around a person, but I tend to see them come and go, rather than be constant. However, it may comfort you to know that they frequently appear when the time comes for their former beloved owner to make his or her transition into the afterlife.

How many guides do you have? The number of guides a person has with them can vary over time. We usually have at least one regular guide--although who that person is may change as your needs do. Often one guide takes the role of a protector (what you might call a guardian angel), and others as teachers. Frequently I'll notice a guide show up just to pass a particular message along, then leave. Quite often people will have three or four guides with them.

Why do spirit guides take on certain forms, or use certain names?   My personal opinion, is that guides, like other spirits, can take on any form, or use any name they want to. There's no patent on names or forms. Entities tend to take the form which either reflects their self-image (i.e. who they are), or best serves their purpose. If you only want to speak to Freud, then fine, they'll play Freud, if that's what it takes to do the job, and help you along. Some entities play tricks on people this way, but I suspect that most of them, like us, just want to be listened to. That's part of why most mediums who channel spirits will tell you not to focus on who claims to be speaking through them, and only on the message. Is it useful? Does it make sense? Is it informative? If not, DON'T LISTEN TO IT.

How long are they with you? Some people may have the same guide for their entire lifetime, while others (like myself) may have a series of guides that come and go, depending on their needs.  So the answer to how long they are with you is "It varies."

What kinds of spirit guides are there? Most people feel that you have a variety of guides that may come in and out of your life. The most consistent one is a protective guide. However, you may also have guides to bring greater joy into your life, teaching guides, healing guides, guides for passing messages through their chosen medium or channel, and a variety of others that come and go as needed.

How do you get your guides? No one knows for sure exactly how you get your guides. From what we have been told in channeled material, however, spirit guides generally appear to be volunteers, often because they have known their charges in a previous lifetime and are fond of them. Rarely, they may speak of having been assigned their task by some unknown agency because of something the guide wishes to work on.

What is the best way to contact your spirit guide? This is probably best accomplished by meditation, stilling your mind to allow other thoughts to come into your consciousness. Guides will say it is in the quiet moments, little interludes, that they are best able to reach us with their truths. Try to set aside a few minutes every day at a regular time, and let your busy thoughts become still. This can be done while jogging, staring at a candle, or listening to soothing music. It doesn't matter how you meditate as long as you find what works well for you. For those who need help with ideas for how to try doing this, Lawrence LeShan wrote a book called, How to Meditate: A Guide to Self-Discovery, which many different styles and techniques. It is also a good idea to work on your own issues, as these will come up when you meditate and may get in the way of good communication.

How can you talk to them better? If you want to work well with your guides, you need to build the relationship that you have with them, just the same as you would build a good friendship. Regular meditation, where you clear the mind and allow your guides to communicate information to you or shift your energy, is a must whether you are psychic (and aware of what they are doing) or not. They also tell us to simply listen to the quiet moments, the quiet thoughts. That's when they may insert a word. The main thing is to take time to LISTEN. You may also be able to talk to your guides (or others who have passed into the afterlife) in dreams. For this, I recommend imagining as you are going to sleep that you are going to invite you guide (or other spirit) into your home for coffee or tea and a chat. Mentally open the door and ask them inside. Then as soon as you wake up again, write down your dreams and see whether you received a visit or any messages.

Will they tell us what to do? One thing that you sometimes see, both with people who regularly visit psychics and those who constantly ask their guides to tell them what to do, is an abdication of responsibility. You can't do that. Each of us are in our lives in order to make choices. Those choices lead to lessons. Some lessons are harder than others, but if we make a choice that leads to a given lesson then, clearly, we needed that lesson. Guides tell us there is no "right" or "wrong" answer, because whatever choice we make is the best one for us at a given moment in time, and leads us to the next step in life. That means that although they are here to support and guide us, they cannot and will not tell us what to do. Doing so would subvert the whole reason of why we are here--to learn from our successes and mistakes.

Do they run errands? This may sound silly, but I sometimes see guides sent out on particular errands. The only thing I'd suggest is to not abuse this privilege or their trust by sending them off for silly things. If it's important, then yes, you can ask them to do things for you. They may refuse and, if abused, eventually leave.

Are all the spirits around you guides? Not all the spirits around you may be guides. Sometimes you have friends or relatives who haven't moved on to the light. For that matter, sometimes I've had absolute strangers as ghosts hang out with me just because they liked my energy or because I (as a doctor) was one of the last people they saw before they died. So, don't assume that all the beings with you are necessarily guides. Some might be ghosts that just aren't ready to move on to the light (although I certainly would encourage them to do so). You always want to consider any advice you get from those around you, whether living or dead, carefully to see whether it "feels right" to you before you proceed. In a few cases, And just like medicine, there's nothing wrong with getting a second opinion from another spirit as long as you don't go indefinitely "doctor shopping." Eventually you will need to make a choice. That's what life is all about.

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