Intuitive Awareness

Developing and Upgrading Your Psychic Abilities

Developing and Upgrading Your Psychic Abilities
Image by Dewald Van Rensburg

I once got an email from a woman who said she had a week's vacation coming up and wanted to know if I would teach her and her niece how to develop their psychic abilities. Needless to say, I was a little flabbergasted by her request. Psychic development takes years of practice, not weeks.

If you've ever seen John Edward or James Van Praagh on television, you've probably noticed that both of them humbly say that anyone can do what they do. What is rarely mentioned is how long it took each of them to develop their gifts and how and what they did to get to the level that they're at today. Indeed, as they will tell you in their books, it took them both many years of practice to understand and fine-tune their gifts.

Developing your abilities is a natural process. It is a journey along which you will gain much wisdom. Don't try to hurry it along or take shortcuts. Consider whatever you're going through right now as exactly what you should be going through, and when you're ready for the next stage of development, it will arrive. Trust me.

Meditation and Reading

I want you to spend a minimum of five minutes sitting in silence, meditating and focusing on the white light deep inside in the area of your solar plexus. This is a good discipline to learn for anyone. While you're focusing on the light, feel the calmness and safety of this light and the wisdom within it. If your mind wanders, keep coming back to the light.

When sitting in silence, you can ask your guides to make themselves known to you. Ask if they have any direction or guidance for you regarding your life. Ask God to reveal himself/herself to you. If your mind starts to wander, refocus on the white light.

As you get more comfortable meditating, extend the time. The longer you spend in silent communication with your inner voice (God) and your guides, the stronger the connection will become. As you continue to grow spiritually, you'll want to spend more time meditating on the light, and I encourage you to do so. This is one of the best ways for us to establish conscious contact with God.

Is Silence Too Quiet for You?

If you find you have a difficult time sitting and concentrating in silence, that doesn't mean meditation isn't for you. If you prefer having some background noise, go ahead and create whatever environment makes you most comfortable. Don't hassle yourself about it.

My brother Michael usually has some kind of background noise, like a stereo or TV playing low, when he meditates or does psychic readings because he says distractions help him hear spirits easier. I once had a student who always sat by the classroom's air conditioner, which hummed, because silence was too much of a distraction for her when she was doing the exercises. Experiment and see what way works best for you.

Besides meditating each day, you can also keep reading about psychics and psychic development. I just want to caution you about getting too much information too fast. This can keep you stuck in your intellect, and it can lead you to expect perfectionism; both are counterproductive. In fact, when you read something is as important as what you read. Select authors you have heard of and trust, then evaluate whether the timing is right for you to read them.

An important rule of thumb when picking out the right books for your needs is to run them by your intuition. Your intuition knows what your needs are and where you're at in your psychic development, and it will guide you to the books you're ready for next. It'll never steer you wrong.

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Upgrading Your Level

The three most important keys to your development are patience, practice, and honoring the process. On the other hand, I also want to encourage you not to be satisfied with the level you've grown to. Throughout my years as a psychic, I've never stayed at the same level for more than two years. As I continually open myself up to what's possible, my psychic gifts have continued to develop to a much deeper level. If you stick with it, your gifts will grow, too.

In the beginning, I did five-minute readings for friends. Over time, I was able to do fifteen-minute readings. Then they stretched out to thirty minutes, and now my readings run forty-five minutes to an hour.

When I got on my spiritual path and started developing my relationship with God, the readings changed again. Deeper information started coming through. When I worked on my own emotional issues through therapy and twelve-step programs, I was able to channel information that helped people in their own emotional healing. As I got my own health in order, I started reading other people's health more clearly. When I started working with my own soul through hypnosis, my mind opened up to the possibilities of working with people's souls, and the readings became more meaningful for their life's purpose.

One of my students once called this process getting an "upgrade" and I get such a kick out of this term because it's such a perfect way to describe these periods we go through in our development when we're about to progress to a new level. You'll find from time to time that you are completely shut down psychically. The image that just came to me as I was typing this was of a water tower with an enormous tarp thrown over it that I drove by the other day. It was undergoing repairs, and when you go through these periods, you will feel like someone has put a tarp on your abilities and you're under construction, so to speak. When this happens, there is an internal shift going on with your third eye and psychic ears, and no matter how much you want to use or practice your abilities, you won't be able to.

During these down times, when you're getting the latest revisions to your software, you're going to have to mentally hang a "closed for business" sign on yourself. When you're in one of these periods, stay busy with your life. Go to movies. Work in the yard. Hang out with friends. Go for walks. Do things that make your body feel grounded. Clean your closets. Do all those things you've been putting off while developing your psychic abilities.

I wish I could tell you scientifically what's going on with our "psychic parts" when we're shut down, but I can't. I can assure you that when your gifts open up again, they'll be stronger and you'll definitely feel "upgraded."

You'll also notice that your abilities might shut off when you're going through a tough time emotionally or there is some kind of challenge that you're facing. Our abilities shut down as a way to protect us from too much coming at us on a psychic level. Be patient and just know that your gifts will open back up when you're ready for them.

The Possibilities Are Endless

Opening up your third eye and psychic ears and being tuned in to your intuition throughout the day will create endless possibilities in your life. You'll communicate with God throughout the day. You will get helpful guidance from your spirit guides. You will see heaven while standing in your kitchen and be able to communicate with your deceased loved ones.

You will be able to see aliens if you want and be aware of other solar systems. You'll communicate with others through mental telepathy as much if not more than you do verbally. You'll be able to do remote viewing if you choose. You may see auras. You'll be able to see sickness in people before they're even aware of it. You'll be able to see your own future, once you learn how to be emotionally detached.

There are so many possible ways that your gifts may manifest themselves. Here are four areas that I'd like to cover in more depth: reading past lives, communicating with the dead, ghostbusting, and finding missing people.

Reading Past Lives

I'll never forget the first time I got a picture of a past life. I must have stared at those pictures for a good two to three minutes while my mind struggled to accept what I was seeing. At that point in my psychic development, I didn't believe in reincarnation, so my intellect was trying to come up with every possible interpretation of the pictures other than that they represented a past life.

A friend had asked me to tune into her relationship with her boyfriend and see if I could get any information that would help her understand why they had so many problems. She also wanted to know what she could do to resolve their conflicts.

The first picture that came was an old-time doctor's office, and I saw a woman in a nurse's uniform. Even though this nurse didn't look like my friend, I knew on a psychic level that this was her. The next picture was a drunken doctor, passed out at his desk, followed by a picture of her covering for him with patients all the time. I could see she had a love/hate relationship with him. My guides said she loved him but hated his drinking, and that she'd search his office and home every day for whiskey bottles and then pour them out.

The part that was so disturbing to me was that all these images looked like they were set in the 1800s. Since I didn't want to entertain thoughts of reincarnation, my mind became increasingly preoccupied with trying to find some more "rational" explanation.

At some point, my guides told me to just relax and open up to the information. They said I could deal with my own feelings of disbelief later, but that for now I needed to give my friend this information because it would help her know how to resolve their major conflicts. I decided to take their advice and set my "stuff" aside so that the guides could continue passing on more information.

They said that my friend had been very judgmental of her boyfriend's alcoholism in their previous lifetime, which is why she was an alcoholic in this lifetime. The other big issue was that she was always taking care of him, and he didn't want to be taken care of. He, too, was in recovery from alcoholism in this lifetime, and he wanted to be on his own, but she mothered him to the point of smothering him, never feeling that he could do anything on his own.

She got her self-worth by feeling needed, and she didn't want to give it up. She had a lot of resentments toward him that she didn't understand and was always feeling like he never appreciated "all I've done for you." Every time he gained more independence from her, she resented him even more.

After this, the guides gave my friend some great suggestions as to how she and her boyfriend could resolve their conflicts, and the experience really opened my eyes to the truth of reincarnation, which I soon came to believe in. Since then, I've seen many past lives, and it's likely that at some point you will get past-life information, whether you accept reincarnation or not, and you need to understand how to identify it.

The pictures will not look modern, and they may feel very old as well, as if your guides are drawing you back in time. You might also get an old musty smell, which will indicate that what you are seeing occurred a time long ago.

In time, you will come to recognize past-life pictures immediately. Sometimes your guides will give you the dates automatically, and sometimes you'll have to ask for them. You can ask the location of the past life, and you can ask your guides to identify the people in the pictures. The images usually only show the key people that you are dealing with in this lifetime.

Sometimes your guides may feel it's best for the person not to know who he or she was in a previous lifetime, and they won't share that information. Go ahead and ask all the questions you want, but remember your guides have the final say as far as what information the person can handle knowing.

Communicating with the Dead

As you develop your abilities, you may find your gift is manifesting through mediumship, or communicating with people's deceased loved ones. This happened to my sister, Nikki. She was channeling healings to people, and slowly, one by one, people's deceased relatives started showing up in her healing room.

At first she didn't know what to do because the person hadn't expressed any desire to hear from his or her deceased relatives, but she decided to relay their messages anyway. She soon realized the messages were very meaningful to people, and that bringing through these messages was part of their healing, so she now uses her gifts in this way as well.

If this happens to you, don't be naïve about it. Not every spirit who claims to be someone's deceased loved one is telling the truth. I've seen earthbound spirits try to mess with people in this way, so you need to be discerning and firm. Simply tell the spirit you want some kind of proof that will validate the spirit's identity. Then, when the spirit gives you a message, don't censor or edit it, but pass it along as accurately as possible so the client can evaluate its authenticity.

If someone came through a medium claiming to be my father and gave me a message in a very eloquent manner -- like "Hello, I am Echo's father. Please tell my loving daughter that I am very proud of all her work." -- I would be suspicious because my dad doesn't talk like that. My father's message would sound more like, "Hey babe, this is your ol' man. Keep up the good work."

If you are channeling a deceased loved one, be very precise in relaying the language of the message, and then confirm with your friend or client that the person sounds correct. If your client still isn't sure, ask the spirit to give you some concrete evidence of who they are. Don't accept generalities; tell them you want specifics. And if you come to believe the message isn't authentic, get rid of the earthbound spirit by telling them to move on into the light.

Also remember that our appearance changes when we go over to the other side. As soon as we die, our souls usually start to look younger. For instance, if someone's father had gray hair when he passed over, but had black hair when he was younger, his soul may now appear to you psychically to have black hair. If he was quite overweight when he died, he probably won't be looking like that now because he's no longer living in that overweight body. He is now simply energy.

If you'd like to know more about the soul after it leaves the physical body, check out my book Echoes of the Soul. This will give you a lot of helpful information regarding the soul's perspective on life, death, life after death, and heaven.


One of the "perks" of developing your third eye is that at some point you'll begin to see spirits and other dimensions. Usually at first you will just see little white lights, similar to fireflies, out of the corners of your eyes. Over time, and this could take years, you will start to see "blobs of energy." Gradually these will become more pronounced forms of energy similar to a human form. You might see half of them at first, or you might see fully materialized spirits.

Eventually you'll learn to distinguish between spirits, angels, guides, and earthbound spirits or ghosts. It's been my experience that if your gift is to clear homes and businesses of these earthbound spirits or ghosts, you'll be able to tune into them quite easily.

Teaching you how to clear homes of unwanted spirits takes a lot more than a couple pages of information, so if this is something you're feeling called to do, I would definitely suggest getting a copy of my books Relax, Its Only a Ghost and Dear Echo. The whole topic of ghosts is covered extensively in both books.

Finding Missing People

My students often tell me that they are interested in developing their abilities mainly so that they can help the police find missing children. If this is something you're hoping to do with your gifts, there are some things you need to know.

The irony of wanting to find missing people (especially children) is that we're doing it because we care, and yet in order to be an effective instrument for information, we have to completely detach our emotions to the point where we don't care what we see. In other words, we have to go in with our psychic eyes and ears open and our hearts on hold. If you go in with your heart wide open, wanting to find someone really badly, you've lost your objectivity, and your caring is going to block any "negative" information from coming in.

What you have to do is detach your emotions and stay that way. Get the person's name and work with that as long as possible before bringing in other things to read like photographs or material possessions. Something as simple as a toy or an adorable picture of the child will open up your emotions, and your objectivity will go out the window.

If the missing person's relatives or friends have called on your assistance, tell them to keep the details to a minimum. Ask them not to "lavish" you with the whole story until after you've given them all the information you can get. People want to share all that they can, but you need to walk a fine line: the more you know about the missing person's circumstances, or of the fears of the missing person's family, the harder it will be for you to maintain the emotional distance you need to receive the information.

Working with the Police

So often when there's a child missing in the news, my students will try to locate the girl or boy. They will get bits and pieces of information, like a shallow grave or a tree next to a hill. Maybe they will see the name of a town, but not the state. They might get an image of a child still alive and frightened, or they may get an image of a murder. My students become so anxious to tell the police what they've seen, and I understand their enthusiasm because I've felt it myself many times, but -- and this is a big but: Unless you have concrete information, like the name of the town and the state, the name of the hill, the name of the street the house is on, the exact location where the body is buried, and so on, the police are not going to be interested in your information.

I once kept having the same visions over and over of a missing child near where I live in Minnesota, and the policeman I called said that he really wanted to help me out -- and I believe he was sincere -- but that he didn't have the manpower to chase down every hunch or vision that psychics get. He told me that if I really thought I knew where this kid was, I should go look for him myself and then call if I found something concrete. Given the intense interest missing person cases can draw, it's a sad truth that the police are not always equipped to handle all the information they receive.

The other problem you will run into is that a lot of police officers think that psychics are frauds. Not all think this, but a lot do. The police, in general, are not going to welcome your psychic impressions with open arms. They will be very skeptical if you show up unasked at the precinct -- and they should be. Until you prove otherwise, they have no reason not to think that you aren't some "whacko" taking advantage of the situation just to get attention. If you want them to take you seriously, you need to present them with verifiable, hard evidence, some kind of proof that you know what you're talking about.

I'm not trying to burst the bubble of anyone who is feeling called to do this kind of work, but you need to know the reality of how it can go. I've also worked with members of the police force who were very nice and tried working with the sketchy pieces of information I've given them. But even when the police encourage your participation, it's very hard to get the sort of information needed to locate the child.

The work itself is very difficult, and I only do it if a family member asks me to. It's not easy to detach your emotions and push away all the information we're fed from the media. So often psychics immediately get the idea that the person is dead because that's what we see so often in the news.

I remember a few years ago a dear friend called in a panic because her granddaughter had been missing for a day. My psychic sense was that the girl was with her boyfriend, who was someone her parents didn't know anything about, but my intellect struggled with that information because another local teen had gone missing about a week before and been found murdered. I was praying for the truth of the situation to be revealed to me, but I wasn't trusting the pictures or thoughts coming in. As it turned out, the young girl was with her new boyfriend and she was fine.

If you are asked to find a missing person, my best advice is to get just the name and age of the missing person. Then go off in a room by yourself, ask the Universe to clear you of all preconceived ideas and fears -- itself a tall order -- and then ask the Universe to give you clear, precise information that will help you find that person.

If you get a picture of a hill, ask if there's anything around it that will help locate it. If you get the name of a town, ask for the state. Ask questions of your pictures. Now you must become every inch the detective and get as much information as you can, but -- and this is another big but: Only go after the information if someone asks you to or if you know someone in law enforcement who will take you seriously. Otherwise, you'll be sitting with a lot of possibly valuable information and nowhere to go with it.

Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
New World Library. ©2003.

Article Source

The Gift: Understand and Develop Your Psychic Abilities
by Echo Bodine.

book cover: The Gift: Understand and Develop Your Psychic Abilities by Echo Bodine.For over 35 years, best-selling author and popular workshop leader Echo Bodine has been using her psychic powers to help people gain clarity and find healing. Now she presents an accessible guide to understanding and exploring one’s own psychic abilities. The book begins by dispelling common myths about psychics and defining the four psychic gifts. Readers also learn four basic exercises for accessing the “third eye.”

Info/Order this book. Also available as a Kindle edition.

More books by this author.

About the Author

photo of Echo BodineEcho Bodine discovered at age 17 that she has psychic abilities and the gift of healing. Her abilities include clairvoyance, the gift of seeing; clairaudience, the gift of hearing; and clairsentience, the gift of sensing. Echo studied psychic development for several years and learned about the gift of healing from her spirit guides and through prayer and meditation. In 1979, she quit her mainstream job and became a full-time psychic consultant, a healer, and a teacher of psychic development and healing classes, as well as a ghostbuster. 

She is the author of several books, including Hands That HealThe Gift, A Still, Small Voice, and Echoes of the Soul. She lectures throughout the country on intuition, spiritual healing, life, death, and life after death. She also offers workshops through The Center, her teaching and healing center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Her website is

More Articles By This Author

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