Dialogues with the Wiser Self

Excerpts from Ellen's book, Listening In: Dialogues with the Wiser Self.

The Dialogue Begins

The following excerpt is from the book Listening In: Dialogues with the Wiser Self by Ellen Meredith, D.A. (written in the voice of her inner teachers)

As a child, I was quite taken with a fairy tale about a stupid man and his peevish wife. They were destitute, and were walking along the road to market, searching the gutters for something they might sell. The man found an old lamp, crusted with dirt, and rubbed it to see what might lie beneath the grime.

It was a magical lamp, of course, and a genie appeared, granting the man three wishes. Without thinking he blurted out, "I wish I had a sausage to eat, I'm so hungry!" Immediately a succulent Kielbasa appeared in his hand. His wife was incensed. "How could you waste a wish on a sausage, you stupid oaf?" she cried.

And in the strangely translated dialect of fairy tales he hollered back, "I wish you had a sausage on your nose, you old cow!"

Immediately, his precious sausage flew from his hands and stuck to his wife's nose! They were both horrified, and chastened. In an act of great sacrifice, the man decided he must use his final wish to remove the sausage from his wife's nose. This led to a reconciliation of sorts, and they proceeded down the road, somewhat wiser, still hungry, and with a worthless, dirty old lamp to sell at market.

My young friends and I were greatly dissatisfied by the course of events in this story. We discussed it at length, and agreed that the first thing we would wish for would be unlimited wishes. We would never be so stupid as to wish for a sausage.

For several nights I lay in bed practicing how I would deal with the genie and his three wishes. After my first wish for unlimited wishes, my second would be that I could never accidentally wish for something bad. That would avoid the sausage-on-the-nose problem. Even at that young age my friends and I, while not able to understand the pressures of hunger and poverty, did realize one truth. You needed more than the good luck to find a magic lamp and get a genie: you had to use the gift wisely.

Years later, I did find a kind of magic lamp. It was not a genie offering me wishes, but rather a group of inner teachers offering me insights, perspective, emotional healing and guidance. Luckily, they did not limit their offer to three responses, or like the stupid man and his peevish wife, I might well have wasted the opportunity. It took me a while to realize that the value of this gift lay in how I used it.

I found my magic lamp in a corner of my own mind. On an early spring day, in the late seventies, I sat at my desk waiting for inspiration. I was a graduate student at a large Midwestern university, trying to be a Writer, with a capital "W". I believed great insight and inspiration lurked just at the edge of my awareness. My dubious and not very original aspiration was to write the great American novel, then go on the Johnny Carson Show to be interviewed about it.

This goal was clearly not sustaining me. The draft of a novel I had just completed (not the greatest book ever written) did not buoy my spirits. Furthermore, the fact that I had won a prize with my writing and received an excellent job offer did not make me happy either. I was depressed. Looking back, I realize that the cracks and fissures of a rocky childhood were opening in my foundation.

My family, like many in the fifties and sixties, had tried hard to look like Ozzie and Harriet, while sweeping differences and difficulties under the rug. When my parents' recent messy divorce brought the structure tumbling down, all my feelings and beliefs shook loose. I was, like many in my generation, desperately searching for the meaning of life while pretending I already knew.

So I sat at my desk, straining to write my way to redemption. I listened and waited for ideas for the next book, like that stupid man and his peevish wife scouring the gutters for something to sell at market. Then a peculiar thing happened. I sensed my grandmother, ten years dead, standing behind me with her hands laid comfortingly on my shoulders. She said,

"Don't wrap yourself up in expectations, Ellen, or they will stifle you." It seemed like good advice, so I wrote it down. Her message was actually far more complicated than the words I recorded. I felt her sorrow because she had been obese during her lifetime, and trapped by the limitations of her cumbersome body. I felt her thinking, "Don't hem yourself in like I did." The messenger wasn't quite my grandmother: it was a loving presence, clearer and more articulate than my grandmother had ever been.

This was not the kind of visitation you read about in books. For instance, I did not think there was someone actually standing there. I felt no cold fog, heard no distinct voice or strange bells tinkling. In fact I didn't know until later that I had had a visitation. I was always having imaginary dialogues in my mind, hearing people tell me what I wanted to hear. This appearance of my grandmother felt familiar and pleasant in a bittersweet kind of way. She had been the closest, most affectionate of all my family.

The event would have faded into the murky oblivion of my journal if it hadn't been for what happened two days later. An adventurous friend dropped by on her way to a "psychic tea" at a spiritualist church in a nearby small town. She invited me to come along and get a fifteen-minute psychic reading.

It sounded like a good diversion. I'd never seen a psychic before or even given much thought to the phenomenon. My stereotypes were fairly conventional: I expected this person to wear flowing robes, speak with a strange foreign accent, and have an unearthly light in her eyes. The reality gave me quite a chuckle. The church was a newly-built rectangular house with aluminum siding. The tea was held in the large basement recreation room, its cinder block walls decorated with children's drawings from Sunday School, and crepe paper Easter bunnies. Forty to fifty people, typical country Midwesterners, sat around long folding tables, gossiping about events in their families.

There was a certain hush in the atmosphere, in deference to the eighteen psychics up at one end of the room, who sat at small, numbered card tables talking earnestly to what were obviously clients sitting across from them. At first glance the psychics were disappointingly ordinary people. Three quarters of them were women you might see in the grocery store, in flower-print dresses or stretch nylon slacks. The rest were earnest looking middle-aged or older men, with dark-rimmed glasses and hair carefully oiled in place. They reminded me of folks I used to see when I was a child at the annual chicken barbecue offered by the Junior Chamber of Commerce.

My friend and I checked in, paid our ten dollars, and chose our psychics by number. We sat down at the long tables to wait our turn. On one side of us five women whispered, exchanging zucchini recipes. On the other side a weathered older man was describing in great detail the untimely breakdown of his backhoe. It was not what we had expected, to say the least!

Then the bell rang, and it was my turn to see "number 11," who introduced herself as Joelle. A woman in her late thirties, Joelle was a solid, kind-faced person, the sort I might have gone to school with but wouldn't have known very well, because she lived out in the country, and was more engaged with helping out on the family farm than with academic studies. Or so I imagined. But her presence at the card table made me realize that people I knew casually and thought of as ordinary might well have dimensions I had never before perceived.

I sat down for the reading, and Joelle said with very little preamble, "Your maternal grandmother is standing behind you with a message. She does not want you to hem yourself in like she did in her life. She says not to wrap your expectations around you like a blanket or they will stifle you."

This time I did hear music: the theme song from "The Twilight Zone." This was long before Shirley MacLaine's books and the term "New Age" had reached the Midwest. I remember thinking that either Joelle had just done an astonishing act of mind reading, or else my dead grandmother really was standing behind me. Either way, it was amazing. If it had been a question of wishes, I would have wasted my three right then. I remember sputtering a variety of meaningless comments, before coming to my senses and asking her, "How did you do that?"

She told me I had received other messages but just didn't know it. If I wanted to hear them, I should "slow down and listen."

As I told my friend about the "reading" on the way home, I puzzled over Joelle's instructions. It was probably good advice, but it made little sense to me. My life was already pretty slow-moving. As a student I wasn't exactly in the fast lane. And I had already spent years at the typewriter listening my heart out.

What I learned over the next few weeks, however, was that the quality of listening is intimately connected to the questions you ask. It had never occurred to me to ask consciously for dialogue with a source of wisdom. I had never thought about the possibility of communication with inner teachers (or dead relatives for that matter).

I had spent a lot of time tuning into my unconscious, filling my journal with images, impressions and snippets of writing that I later came to recognize as a vocabulary for what I call the wiser self. But my genie, in the form of my grandmother, had pointed me in a new direction, a more conscious kind of relationship where I could eventually learn the grammar and syntax of that wiser self.

About a week after the psychic tea, while cleaning my house, I noticed that a tickertape, like one of those stockbrokers' market updates, was ticking through my mind, unrolling a scroll of letters. I decided to write the letters down, to see if they formed words.

What appeared on the page before me was: "You have asked to know us, and so we are here. We have been with you for a very long time, and now you are ready to come stand with us. We will work with you. Let your wiser self which observes continue the writing at night, and we will come through with a few lines. Simply don't block the connection. Past awareness of us is imminent. Someone will give you a plant to water, be aware of the plant processes of growth. Surely you can grow plants?"

It's a short message here, but taken down letter by letter it exhausted me. And excited me. And scared me. Who was this "we"? It certainly didn't sound like my grandmother. And if the message emerged from some weird trick of my subconscious, then why did it arrive letter by letter? The strangest part was that I had had a dream about a plant the night before, which I had written in my journal that very morning.

In the dream, my sister, with whom I didn't get along in real life, showed up at my door holding a plant. She said, "I'm leaving town for a while, and I want you to take care of this chameleon plant for me." In the dream she was affectionate and so was I. "Sure," I said. I set it on the counter next to the remains of my breakfast, a plate of scrambled eggs, and bid her a fond farewell. When I turned back to water the plant, it was gone; on the counter where I had set it was a second plate of scrambled eggs.

I realized that wherever I set the chameleon plant, it would change into its surroundings. I grew very worried about how I was going to take care of this plant, especially since I didn't know when my sister was coming back. The dream progressed, with several incidents of accidental transformation. The plant became a newspaper. It became a glass with liquid in it. Eventually the plant disappeared altogether.

I had awakened feeling anxious about what my sister would say when she realized I'd lost her plant.

As I read over my tickertape message about "the plant processes of growth" I remembered the sensations of my dream, which felt charged with meaning. The problem was that I didn't know what the significance was. Only later did I discover that that charged feeling is a common starting point for dialogue with the inner teachers. Your curiosity is piqued by a strange coincidence or seemingly significant juxtaposition of ideas. You begin to explore, to ask why, to create an opening for guidance.

When I was writing the letters from the tickertape, I felt hot. Energy coursed through me in a rush similar to sensations I had felt before in the throes of inspiration. I sensed a group of... what? People? Presences? I didn't at that time have a concept of "entity" or "spirit." These beings who seemed to gather around me as I wrote were familiar to me, on an emotional level, and I had the nagging sense in the back of my mind, like a forgotten dream, that I had known them somewhere.

Reading the message over again touched off in my mind whole pockets of meaning that had been built up in the past. Curiously, while my mind was puzzling over the details of who, what, when, where and why, some part of me felt very comfortable and easy with the whole process.

In the ensuing days, I tuned into this "we" repeatedly with questions about who they were, what the images meant that were appearing in my mind, why I was feeling what I was feeling. They soon began calling themselves "the council," in messages that contained a funny mix of clarity and further confusion. They told me that they were teachers, and that my wiser self was a member of their council. They also told me that to think of them as a council of teachers was a useful metaphor, but that I shouldn't get hung up on the hierarchy or details of their existence. The importance of their message lay in its effects on me.

I treated this communication as a game at first, playing with the messages and symbols I was given, trying to make sense of them. And my whole life seemed to explode in interaction with this dialogue I was having with the council. For example, a day after my chameleon plant dream, I received a letter in the mail from an old friend who had been deeply influential in my life. The letter began (with no greeting) "I am a chameleon." One of my fellow students decided, out of the blue, to give me a potted plant as a gift. Since I do not have much of a green thumb, I felt that the universe was trying to tell me something.

What the universe was offering me, which I couldn't quite grasp yet, was an invitation to explore the processes by which seed ideas grow into full-flowering experiences. I was being invited to learn about cultivating consciousness, which, like a chameleon, transforms in adaptation to its context. The message, the dream, the letter and the gift from my friend had many layers of meaning to them, like a good poem, some universal and some extremely personal. And because these events intrigued me, I was pulled more deeply into exploring the strange dialogue.

My relationship with the council was not formal. I would say, "Hey you guys, are you there?" and would hear a rather portentous, "We are here." Then they would begin to discuss whatever question or concern was on my mind. I learned to hear (and write) their messages more efficiently, getting past my need to take letter-by-letter dictation, receiving whole impulses and thoughts, putting them into phrases that were partly my language and partly seemed to come from them. If I distorted the thought or intent they were trying to communicate, they would correct me, often with gentle recognition of my need to hear things in certain ways.

The messages from the first several years of dialogue are garbled, and leap between wisdom and banality, the universal and the personal, in the way our minds do when we are speaking to ourselves and don't need to explain the connections to other people.

The topics were often mundane, of no interest to anyone but me. Like the man who was hungry for sausage, I was primarily hungry to understand myself and my relationships to other people. I remember, for example, asking the council if I should call a friend of mine, since she was on my mind. I got a dual message: "Isn't that something you can decide for yourself? Do you wish to call her?" Yet then they added somewhat cryptically: "You will hear your voice echo in the emptiness of her room. Her heart is sore right now."

It affirmed my inner sense that I somehow ought to call my friend, and when I did, I discovered that her partner had moved out on her, taking all the furniture. She was indeed sitting in an empty room, not very capable of response because of her pain.

My relationship with the council remained secret for several years as I finished school and moved through various editing and teaching jobs. It seemed so private, a kind of therapy I was conducting with myself. But I also realized that this talking with spirits might be considered very strange and perhaps even raise doubts about my sanity. The secrecy allowed me to explore more freely: I didn't have to explain myself to others or stand behind the messages, when in fact I did occasionally distort or misunderstand the teachings. I was free to learn through trial and error how to hear and articulate more clearly the multi-leveled perceptions I was being given.

On the other hand, right from the start, this council discouraged any sense of special secrets and insider information. They did not want me to think I was an initiate of some secret order, as many systems of occult exploration encourage. They repeatedly led me to test my insights in everyday reality. Their philosophy was that ordinary existence is magical: each individual is special and is an initiate in this business of living.

My life filled with events that validated the inner work I was doing. For example, I grew concerned about a pregnant friend. Although we had not spoken in a while, I got the sense that something was not quite right. An image came to me of a baby bound in tight ties. The council explained: "Your friend is choking the child with her fears and desire to control. There is not enough room in her mind or her womb for this child to be herself."

They continued, making a link to a group project I was leading that seemed to be going all wrong: "You too are choking your baby project. You can not control it with your will. You must let the energy of each individual create the ultimate shape. Let go of your "deadline" and let the "live lines" come together. We suggest you take a few days off. Let a space open for this child to gestate. Like magic, the seed you all planted in the first week will begin to realize its form."

Emotionally, taking time off felt like the wrong strategy. I wanted to push harder and do the unfinished work myself. But when I followed the council's advice, the uncooperative members of the project group did get their work done, and the product did indeed take a shape I could not have achieved alone.

A few days later I found out that it was true that my friend's pregnancy had run into problems. Her baby had stopped growing, and appeared to be in some distress. Her doctor ordered bed rest, and soon thereafter the baby started to grow normally.

I came to see that the council was training me, using the events of my everyday life as the arena for my lessons. As they put it, they were teaching me to stand with them, to see as they saw. They were also teaching me to travel in consciousness: to go on imaginary journeys in my mind, meeting an amusing cast of characters and learning to develop greater compassion, flexibility and sometimes humility.

They taught me to be more flexible with language and metaphor, playing with shifts in perception. They guided me to remember my past lives and deeper connections with others. They introduced me to other councils and alternate realities. They guided me through a long illness, then taught me to do healing with others on the energetic, physical, and emotional levels. Together we explored various belief systems, both esoteric and exoteric, and they showed me how to apply these teachings to the problems and concerns of everyday life.

After my illness, the council popped into my mind one day to ask me if I would be willing to use their teachings to work with others. I agreed, somewhat tentatively. I was teaching at a state university in California at the time and couldn't imagine how I could introduce such topics into my classes.

Three days later the doctor who had helped me when I was ill called to ask me to consult on some cases with her. She had noticed that I could see what was going on in my own body, physically and energetically, and wondered if I could do that for other people as well. I agreed to try.

The first patient was a woman with a back injury that did not respond to treatment. I found, to my amazement, that I could see a hairline fracture that had not shown up on the x-ray. And to my further astonishment, I heard the council inside my head saying they had a message for her.

In some embarrassment, I explained that I had a message for her from my inner teachers. I proceeded then to speak for the council, making connections between the emotional issues that had created the imbalance in her energy and the physical habits which turned that imbalance into injury.

The patient took the situation in stride, thanking my teachers for the guidance. I, however, drove home quaking with fear, knowing I had crossed a line and gone public with something that had always been a deeply private experience. I halfway expected the gods of Normalcy to rise up and expose me as a fraud.

Instead I received a phone call from a woman I'd never met, saying she'd heard a rumor that I did psychic readings. Without thinking twice, I scheduled her for a session the next day. The council said, "Don't worry," and I felt a strange glow of certainty, even though I could hear my mind in the background gearing up to panic. I told myself that I could always share with her some of the council concepts I had learned over the years.

What happened instead was that the council arose in my mind, chatting with her as they had always chatted with me. I'd always believed that the insights I received about friends were predicated on my own knowledge of them. But sitting with that first client, I discovered to my utter surprise that the council knew details about her life that I had no way of knowing. Although I had studied with them intensively for six years, I never fully believed they existed until that moment. Within a year I left my university job, because I was doing so many psychic readings and healing consultations that I didn't have time to grade papers. Within another year, I found myself not only doing full-time psychic counseling, but I had also joined the faculty of another California university, this time doing thesis advising for Masters degrees in Consciousness Studies.

To this day, I am not certain whether inner teachers in general and my council of entities in particular are a separate consciousness or some part of my own mind and imagination. I have decided it doesn't matter. The training and teachings I receive from them are interesting, useful and admirable. And the insights and lessons they have offered to my clients and students over the years make me feel honored to be listening in.

In the late 1980’s, the council asked me, in their usual low-key way, if I would be willing to write a book, making their teaching available to a broader audience. I agreed, wondering how I would ever find the time. Shortly thereafter, my friend the chameleon called to invite me to join her in Switzerland. She offered to provide a financial and emotional safety net while I wrote this book.

Listening In is written in the voice of the council, because students have told me over the years that listening to the council helps them to hear their own wiser self more clearly. The material has been channeled, by which I mean I transcribed hundreds of pages of meandering council chats, then reorganized and rewrote the material several times in dialogue with the council, who wanted you to hear, see and feel their teachings on several levels.

The book works best when you read it slowly, perhaps just a section or two at a time, and then let the resonance of the ideas echo in your mind and the seeds of suggestions take root in your imagination.

It is divided into two parts. The first is an exploration of what I might call the "cosmology of the self." It offers many seed ideas about finding meaningful ways to live authentically and express your deeper values. Part Two explores wiser self perspectives on love and change: issues the council is most frequently asked to address. Throughout the book I have included sample groundings, which the council likes to use at the beginning of group sessions in order to help listeners bring their attention into clearer focus.

The ideas in this book are not intended to be seen as rules or precepts for living. They are suggestions of a way of thinking, a way of perceiving, that allow you to get in touch with your own wiser self and recognize your own understanding. The council does not want followers or disciples; they don't want to be seen as some Strange Phenomenon. Their identity, as they say, "is immaterial."

What is important in the council's teaching is the opportunity it provides for listening in. The true learning occurs when we, the listeners, actively tune into that wise resonant place within us, connect to the wiser self, and examine our lives and actions from that perspective. The Dialogue happens each time we are able to get to the heart of a matter, make connections between ideas and events, and hear the extraordinary resonance of the life force within our everyday experience.

Listening In: Dialogues with the Wiser Self



Excerpts on Love

The following excerpt is from the book Listening In: Dialogues with the Wiser Self by Ellen Meredith, D.A. (written in the voice of her inner teachers)

About Love


"Self-love deepens when you learn to acknowledge and work with your present experience, even when it is not what you would wish. You affirm yourself more deeply when you stop trying to change your reality by wishing things otherwise in your life. If you are sick, you are sick. There is no point in engaging in self- recrimination. If you are lonely, you are lonely. When you can address that sensation and experience it, rather than scrambling blindly to remedy it, you will find a way to authentically move beyond it.... When you stop wasting your energy fighting what is, then your self feels affirmed and can move through to a new state...." (p. 173)


"We want to enlarge the concept of love to encompass much more than what you do with partners or in relationships. Love is the activation of your spirit, reaching out to make connections. Love is the life force knowing itself. And in this broader view, love is your life work." (p. 161)

"You may find a person who brings you home again and again to inspiration and joy. You may choose to build a partnership or life with that person, if conditions are right. But the Great Love you are experiencing through that one person is possible with each person you allow into your heart and mind..."

"The reality is that you have many love partners. Can you validate all of them, on their own terms? Some of them you may live with, some you will work with, some you will have sex with, some you will help to die, some you will parent, some will parent you, some touch you briefly and then move on, others will teach you, mentor you, incite you to passions of the mind and feelings...." (p. 162)


"When you connect with a lover, a partner, a friend, an acquaintance, a pet, you strengthen your bonds by paying attention to them over and over again. You vitalize the bonds with your approval, recognition, warmth, joy, celebration, sharing....With each strengthening of a bond, it will feel more solid and permanent in your mind...." (p. 178)


"When you learn to accept all the aspects of your physical condition--including and especially your discomforts--then you have a way to open to others in their physical conditions and discomforts. You can see with loving compassion (not pity) those who are differently-abled, who are hurting, or twisted in their own knots. You can recognize the difficulty many individuals have inhabiting this physical reality, and you can open your heart to that recognition, and learn to reach out, rather than draw back from such people...." (p.201)


"One aspect of the love force that is not very well understood by some of you is that when you love someone you are taking them in, you are opening to them. You are recognizing them, receiving them, acknowledging them. How many of you think of love as an energy that you put out toward someone, like a golden ray of caring streaming out of your heart? ...In fact that image has some truth: when you open to someone, what comes out is warmth.

"But the goal is not to generate the warmth and put it out there. The goal is to open and take connection in. And that is the gift you give when you love someone. You receive them. When you love someone you are seeing them, you are hearing them, you are celebrating and cherishing them. And that is a tremendous gift...." (p. 183)

Listening In: Dialogues with the Wiser Self


Excerpts on Change

The following excerpt is from the book Listening In: Dialogues with the Wiser Self by Ellen Meredith, D.A. (written in the voice of her inner teachers)


"Change is not a question of discipline and does not come about in response to rigid rules or resolutions. Change happens organically, in the natural unfolding of events, behaviors, and desires. It happens when each small moment is lived differently, and these small moments accumulate. Change comes about when you are able to shift your balance of needs, desires, and mental understanding of what you need. When you do this you find yourself making very different moment-by-moment choices and decisions. If you wish to do things differently in your life, then you must treat yourself differently--with greater support, tolerance and empathy. As you do this, you will notice the forms which no longer serve you dropping away. You will notice that little by little your uncomfortable circumstances can change...." (p.213)


"A job change is sometimes what is called for. But we wish to point out to you all the dimensions of change you might actually be craving. And it is useful to explore which dimensions of your present situation don't work and need to be shifted, so that the new job or pattern is truly a fruitful change. Sometimes it is not just the job which needs to be changed. Other parts of your life may also need some reorganizing or reframing...." (p.219)


"When you find yourself doing self-destructive acts, it is because there is a pull in you to de-struct, even as there is a pull to construct. So your task is not to fight self-destruction, but rather to give it a healthy outlet. Allow yourself to vent bitter and angry feelings in your journal, then imagine them being dipped in a 'well of resolution' where everything melts down to neutral and becomes plain energy. Take a break from all the constructive plans you have and allow yourself to rest empty, in nothingness for a time, with no thought, no activity or decision required, no expectation. This too is a form of de-(con)struction. Give yourself time to finish and close up old business, throwing away old papers, saying goodbye (at least within yourself) to relationships which no longer serve you...." (p.235)


"Traditionally when people think of security, they think of having enough money in the bank, owning a comfortable home, gaining assurances that they may continue in their job, knowing that someone will take care of them if they become ill or frail. Yet as we say this, you can probably think of someone who has all these things and yet does not feel particularly secure. You may also know someone who does not have all these things, but who appears nonetheless to be secure."

"Someone who is attuned to her spirit, body and mind, and spends her efforts integrating them, is led from one secure situation to the next. But the security is not a promise of wealth or status or shielding from pain. It is a promise of inner resources to deal with whatever you encounter or create in this life. It is a promise of a sense of inner rightness, and serenity, that goes deeper than any symbol of security such as money or status...." (240;243)


"It is not a question of getting rid of stress. Stress is a messenger, and stress is a healthy part of any action. The muscle that tightens to throw a ball is taking on necessary, useful stress. The problem lies with muscles that don't release again. Muscles that are under-used. Muscles that are used incorrectly.

"In dealing with stress, the goal is to harness it and respond to it effectively. To use it as a motivator and messenger, and to find the balance of stress and calm, of build-up and release, which works best for you. It is a matter of responding to the stress with creative uses of your mind, body, resources and imagination...." (p. 251)

Listening In: Dialogues with the Wiser Self


The Council Introduces Itself

The Council is a group of inner teachers who have communicated the teachings in this Web Site and in the book Listening In to author and conscious channel, Ellen Meredith. They are non-denominational in their affinities, and generally work to promote a grounded, balanced approach to spirituality through everyday activity and creative expression. The following short excerpt is from the Introduction to the book, Listening In: Dialogues with the Wiser Self.

"Allow Us To Introduce Ourselves…

"We call ourselves the Council, and we are a group of entities who meet in a place that you might call the "inner planes" or "a source of wisdom". It is the home of the Wiser Self.

"Our goal in presenting our understandings to you is to help you come home to your own greatest truth, your own greatest good. We hope to give you some ideas about bringing your life into more meaningful constellation, becoming more awake to who you are and how you are. What we have to offer is a mix of ideas and suggestions which can perhaps help you to deepen your sense of inner authority, and to find a richer, more resonant way of living your life.

"It might be important to you to know whether we are male or female. We are both and neither. Each of us has known lives in many forms, male and female, and many gradations in between, in a variety of cultures where those terms meant different things at different times. So we feel that we have insight into the spectrum of what those designations might mean, and do not at this time identify our energy as particularly male or female. We chose the name Council because it is neutral and plural, and we feel it has a nice ring to it.

"There is something in the nature of our energy that can be very useful to you in recognizing or activating your own. It is like the striking of a bell or gong. You hear the sound and you feel the sound. And by the same token, our consciousness comes to you both through hearing and through feeling. Allow us to speak to you on these levels. Our purpose in asking Ellen to write this book is to invite you to come work with us. To come study with us, over time, when you feel comfortable tuning into our awareness.

"How can we be of help to you? Imagine that you are climbing a mountain and we happen to have reached the top of that particular mountain. We're up here with walkie-talkies, and you're just setting out to climb. You each have a walkie-talkie too: this book is about how to use your walkie-talkie.

"You will hear us saying, "The next half-mile has a lot of big boulders on it so you might want to be careful and conserve your energy. Take it more slowly." Or we might say, "You have three paths coming up ahead and from what we can see the left path has a lot of thorns to go through, the middle path is quite steep, and the right path is twice as long. Your choice." We're here (like other entity guides) with our walkie-talkies giving insight from our perspective. We also have our guides with their walkie-talkies, giving us guidance.

"Ellen hesitates when we use the image of climbing a mountain, because in your culture higher often means better. But we see the climb up the mountain as the climb home to yourself. You are climbing home to your truest self-expression and self-awareness. You do this through the events and experiences that you create in your lives.

"We are not a right-answer machine, we are not a source of all-powerful wisdom. Our guidance is not the Word of God coming down from on high and absolutely correct. But we are part of the divine as you are part of the divine. And we have a perspective on the experiences you are living that perhaps can be useful to you.

"On the other hand, you still need to take each step on your path yourself. No one can take steps for you. We can say, "Watch out, there's a hole," but it's your choice whether or not you step into it. It is your choice what you do with our information. We try to give guidance in ways that are not invasive to your free will, your free choice.

"The teachings we offer to you are part of a spiritual curriculum for developing greater insight and equilibrium in your life. We have tried to incorporate responses to many of the questions we have received over the years from our various students and in-body friends, so that you could see these lessons in concrete and everyday terms. As you read, let your mind wander and free-associate. Let your imagination play with the images and concepts. Let your everyday life provide the workshop for experimenting with these perspectives. As you do this, you will feel the dialogue which has produced this book reconstituting within you."