Can Intuitive Development Hinder You on Your Spiritual Path?

Recently someone wrote to me asking if it’s true that intuitive development can hinder your spiritual path. This reader had been taught by an enlightenment ‘guru’ that intuitive development can hinder a spiritual path of enlightenment.

Here’s my answer:

Intuitive development, done sensibly, can help a person hugely on their spiritual path, which is why it is puzzling to me when I occasionally hear that it isn’t helpful for those on a spiritual path. This is the whole reason why I teach intuitive development – because it helps people to grow spiritually and it’s helped me in my life.

Here are the specific reasons why psychic development can help us to grow:

Intuitive development can help you to know what your gifts are, and what other peoples’ gifts are

One of the intuitive skills I teach is reading the Akashic Records through my Akashic Record Reading Program. I have given Akashic Record readings for almost a decade and it’s a very satisfying service to offer because it is incredibly helpful and affirming for people to hear about who they are on the soul level, and what is unique about them. Plus by reading the Akashic Records you can also know what a person is learning in this lifetime, and have plenty of other interesting information besides.  So that’s the first reason why I love intuitive development. Onto the second reason…

Intuitive development is a requirement for most practitioners of spiritual/energy healing

All the techniques I use for healing (such as cord-cutting) require that the practitioner uses their intuition as part of the process. Without these intuitive techniques (some of which are incredibly simple and easy to learn), a person would not be able to facilitate healing in this way.

Intuitive development helps you to make good decisions

We all have a lifelong connection to Spirit, our Higher selves and to our Spirit Guides. These are the beings that you learn to connect with more consciously when you are on a path of intuitive development.

Your Spirit Guides will always be singing from the same hymn sheet as your Higher self. They will never lead you away from the path that your soul wants. As such, they can help you to choose the paths that will bring you growth.  Using intuitive development in this way can also save you time and money, and energy. I use my intuition all the time to help me make good decisions in my work and finances.  Not to mention relationship decisions. By honing your intuition, you can more easily and quickly suss a person out.

Common pitfalls on the path of intuitive development

I use the word ‘pitfall’, however, be aware that any path can be abused. I have been exploring intuitive development for about ten years now so I’ve fallen down both of the following potholes, which means that I know how to avoid them:

1. Communicating with random spirits who have no guidance to offer

In my Intuitive Awakening Course, we learn how to connect with Spirit Guides and the Higher self, and use spiritual protection techniques to avoid those random spirits who should not be offering us guidance.

If you want to know more about these random spirits, read this article.

The next pitfall applies to pretty much any path you will ever take:

2. Over-doing intuitive development

I think that the adage ‘everything in moderation’ is relevant. Don’t do intuitive development for hours daily. There is a reason why I offer a 13-week course. Doing a little each week is preferable to jumping in at the deep end and getting it all done in two weeks. The latter can leave you ungrounded.

Remember not to neglect your life while you undertake any new path of learning. You do not want to use psychic development as an escape from your life.  People do. And like using anything as an escape, it’s a dead end road. But that does not mean that the whole path is rotten – on the contrary.

What about intuitive development as a path to enlightenment?

The person who wrote to me worried about intuitive development hindering their spiritual evolution used the word ‘enlightenment’ in their question.  Enlightenment is a word I rarely use and below I explain why.

What is enlightenment?

To my understanding, enlightenment is that state where you no longer need to incarnate any further. You have reached the end of the line as far as earthly incarnations go. You will have exhausted the life lessons that humans can learn here on earth.

I believe that enlightenment is an unhelpful goal for human beings to consciously hold. This is because you are already growing anyway. And you’ll get to enlightenment in your own time.

Plus there is the issue of comparison. Saying ‘he is enlightened but she is not’ is not meaningful to my mind. By saying this, we imply that there is one linear-like line of progression that our souls follow. Not every soul has the same path. Some paths take longer than others. All souls have specialties. Some soul groups like to incarnate on planet earth more than others for different purposes. Some are very invested in this place as a place of evolution. Others are not. So to measure their evolution by the same yardstick of enlightenment is misguided, and anyone who has knowledge of the soul groups will not apply this same measurement to all souls. Each soul is unique and every path has twists and turns.

I also believe that pursuing enlightenment takes us out of the present moment and into the realm of the future. This shifts you subtly out of a state of being enough, and into a state of lacking. Remember to enjoy the journey, and don’t enshrine the destination – one that the soul is not as attached to nearly as much as the ego is.

Aiming for growth is enough. And even if you don’t aim for growth, you’ll still be growing anyway.

What are your thoughts and experiences with this?

Meet Anna

Hi, I’m Anna Sayce! My purpose here on this website is to provide practical techniques and information to help empaths to understand, and fix the root of their energetic overwhelm & also to help sensitives to embrace and develop their intuitive gifts. I believe that developing our spiritual & intuitive side is very powerful and allows us to improve our own lives, and if we wish, even make the world a better place for others. Discover more >


  1. Dorothy

    There’s is so much wisdom in this article.

    People say a lot about enlightenment but the way the concept is used by some has never felt right to me in some respects, now I can put my finger on why that is. Thank you.

  2. Frances

    “Saying ‘he is enlightened but she is not’ is not meaningful to my mind. By saying this, we imply that there is one linear-like line of progression that our souls follow. Not every soul has the same path. Some paths take longer than others. All souls have specialties.”


    My mother-in-law sometimes does the comparison thing, especially when me and my SIL and her are together. MY MIl is very interested in spiritality and psychic /enlightement topics, whereas my sister in law isn’t. I’ve heard my MIL say to her daughter, “Oh well, you don’t get it b/c you aren’t an ‘old soul'” And I sometimes say to her, “Well, no, that’s not why. Everyone’s in their own path and have their own interests and there’s nothing wronmg with that”. And you can tell that my SIL HATES when she says that to her.

    She’s gotten better though b/c I’ve told her to just not say that to my SIL or anyone really. It sounds arrogant and un-loving for sure!

    Anyway, nice to see you posted again! Hope you’re doing fantastic!

  3. Anna

    I also wanted to post here an exchange I had with another reader around something similar to the topic of this blog post.

    The reader’s question:

    Anna, another spiritual teacher whose blog I read says that ALL ‘psychic guidance’ including Spirit Guides comes from earthbound spirits most of whom may not have the same level of consciousness as ours i.e. they may have LOWER levels of consciousness. The implication being that we can be led astray by what we interpret as psychic guidance.

    I shrink from this, personally, because I feel comforted by believing that we can draw on support from the non physical world, but I wondered what you would make of this other teacher’s view?

    My response:

    Hi Wendy,

    It doesn’t align with what I’ve experienced.

    We are given Spirit Guides and they offer us guidance, just like our own soul does. They are not the CEO’s of our life path though. Our soul is. The Spirit Guides know this and the guidance they offer is in accordance with what we planned for ourselves before we got here, and what we plan for ourselves, in terms of learning and experiences. Having Spirit Guides is like having a group of loving aunts and uncles, who offer comfort and advice from a higher perspective. They’re not setting the agenda. They’re not saying, here is what you should do. They’re saying, seeing as this is what you want to do, here’s one way I can see of getting there. They offer support for the paths YOU have chosen.

    You might like to read the books ‘Journey of Souls’ and ‘Destiny of Souls’ – those books are written by a hypnotherapist Michael Newton who regresses people to in between lifetimes. He kept finding that the way clients were describing the afterlife was very similar. So he wrote a book about what he discovered. And one of the features of the spiritual world is that souls are given guides who can help us. We’re not given guides of a lower consciousness, as that would be counterproductive – a bit like going back to an old class you have already mastered.

    And as for angels, they don’t tend to offer guidance so much. Their role is somewhat different. They have a protective and comforting influence.

    As for the beings to be avoided, well, we can’t always assume that other peoples’ guides have good advice for us. So anyone who channels a message from their guides, those guides might not have anything relevant or helpful to say. They’re not the beings who were assigned to you to help you along this path called life.

    Earthbound spirits to be avoided.

    Hope that makes sense.


    PS, Wendy.

    I think that in the end, these are just ideas. My ideas, the ideas of another spiritual teacher. And spiritual teachers are coming up with new ideas all the time, sometimes just to differentiate themselves from other teachers or to be original. And I have often found it to be the case that one idea from a spiritual teacher resonates with me, but another of theirs doesn’t.

    You will know what resonates with you on a gut level, and what is your truth according to what feels right to you, and what your own experiences are.

    I love this passage that a reader (Winnie) left as a comment a while back:

    “Do not put your faith in traditions,
    even though they have been accepted for long generations and in many countries. Do not believe a thing because many repeat it.Do not accept a thing on the authority of one or another of the sages of old,
    nor on the grounds of statements as found in the books.

    Never believe anything because probability is in its favor.

    Do not believe in that which you yourself have imagined,
    thinking that a god has inspired it.

    Believe nothing merely on the authority of teachers or priests.

    After examination,
    believe that which you have tested for yourself and found reasonable,
    which is in conformity with your well being and that of others.”

    Kalama Sutta – Buddha

  4. Joey

    Excellent and thorough article, I definitely agree that psychic development is a great benefit even if you’re not planning on making a living as a professional psychic.

    I’ve been using it lately in my search for my dream job and what’s really cool is that it’s saving me a lot of hassle and money. I almost was going to buy a professional portrait and after consulting with my higher self it was a waste of money. Fast forward to a month, I’m getting overwhelmed with recruiters and turns out my higher self was right.

    Not only that I’m even using it to screen out companies that I don’t want to work for. There was this company that looked promising and I consulted with my higher self and it said, “No”. So I did some research and turns out that company is like a sweatshop, no thank you!

    And I do agree about following your own path; it’s not a competition and you’re not doing anyone a favor by emulating someone’s ideal.

  5. Lisa

    Yes, all this resonates with my experience as well.

    ANYTHING can be used in a way that does not support spiritual growth; likewise, it can also be used to bring you great evolution on your path. It’s a matter of intention, at the core of it all.

    As Anna points out, it’s so important to find what resonates with you and not take the word of any teacher as gospel (pardon the pun). That’s all part of discernment.

    And I am also with Anna around the issue of enlightenment. We are all enlightened in our own way, in our own time. The study of how someone else became that way is not, *in my opinion*, helpful at all. It makes it seem like a competition and that’s not the point of any of it. (again, IMO). Walk your own path, your own way and trust the guidance you get.

    Wonderfully helpful post, Anna.

  6. Anna

    Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for your comment. It looks like we’ve come to the same conclusions!

    I love what you said: Walk your own path, your own way and trust the guidance you get.

  7. Anna

    Hi Dorothy, glad you found this helpful 🙂

  8. Jeyaprakash

    In my opinion, a person gets a strong desire for enlightenment only when he is ready for that. I think that, it could be even considered as a goal. But when one works for it, if the desire for that is strong, he may move away from it. It is tricky! It is tricky because, here, we have to allow something to happen. A conscious desire may spoil the game. But still, there has to be some passive desire, pushing one to settle in the pure awareness!

    As you said, even all the healing in the world may not take one to enlightenment… But, if one is ready, some effort may do wonders.

    If one who is pursuing for enlightenment, is in the present moment, he or she is already enlightened!

    To rest in the present moment, one has to put effort, is my opinion (until it becomes natural), by being a witness.

  9. Charles

    I agree completely about the usefulness of psychic development on a spiritual path. I’m also a big believer that balance is the key to most things, so thanks for writing such a balanced article. 🙂

    I can’t help but think some of the anti-psychic stuff coming from some spiritual teachers is actually about fear of competition, which makes me kinda sad. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how some of it strikes me.

    I’d like to highlight something you said, Anna: “And I have often found it to be the case that one idea from a spiritual teacher resonates with me, but another of theirs doesn’t.”

    That’s pretty much always the case for me, and I suspect it’s true for most people. I think the best teachers understand this and encourage their students to use what resonates with them, discard what doesn’t, and also use whatever they may have learned elsewhere that resonates. When a teacher actively discourages that, it’s a red flag for me.

    I’ve also been pondering how I can sometimes be too generous in my assessment of teachers who offer some ideas or insights that I really appreciate, but also have some values and practices that really don’t resonate with me at all — sometimes even to the point of seeming out of integrity from my perspective. I think sometimes I’m too willing to give the benefit of the doubt when my intuition is telling me “run away, run away!”

    It’s one thing when it’s just different ideas or different frames of reference, but when there’s behavior that feels seriously icky to me mixed in with some good (maybe even great) ideas, I’m finding that trying to overlook the icky stuff is just not worth it.

    As for enlightenment, I think designating people enlightened or not is probably best left to God.

  10. Wendy

    Gosh, I’m finding this whole discussion fascinating. As a relative newcomer to this kind of thing, I have to say that I’m also finding it rather confusing and sometimes I’m simply not sure who to believe.

    It does seem to me to be very difficult when some spiritual teachers talk with a tone of very definite authority, especially when those same teachers DO have amazing, rare skills.

    I’ve always disliked any kind of strong, authoritarian dogma so I’m also put off by the strident tones of teachers who appear to be very quick to criticize the approach of other spiritual teachers.

    On the other hand, I have absolutely no training at all in reading auras or even in psychic development, but I’d say I’m fairly open, which means that if someone reads my aura and tells me that it’s out of whack, to be honest I’m inclined to believe them!

    The point being that when other spiritual teachers express very definite, certain opinions about how psychic development is harmful, my first reaction is to recoil.

    But, because I’m aware that I can’t read what happens at the level of my aura, I find myself thinking: maybe they’re right.

    Then again, one of the bizarre elements of this whole debate is that I would have thought that part of spiritual growth means really learning to trust our intuition and our own inner responses. To have more self-authority, which is exactly what some teachers say they are trying to encourage.

    At the same time, if that same teacher suggests that other teachers out there are getting it all wrong, well, to use Charles’s word, what if that doesn’t ‘resonate?’ Should you trust your own feelings or the authority who can read auras better than you?

    I dunno, I just don’t know!

    Maybe not knowing is the way to go!

    Finally, responding to what you wrote, Charles, I have had the same doubts about how some teachers might be afraid of competition – but then again (and maybe I am too naive and trusting), I find it so hard to get how people can spend so many years clearly developing amazing, mind-blowing techniques and be so wise and sane in many ways – and still be afraid of the competition, when there is really no need to be.

    Sorry Anna for this very long comment!

  11. ACurtis

    With the time of consciousness awakening that is taking over planet Earth, there are some souls who are currently incarnating in a human body, here on earth, to help with the ascension process. They come from different universes and have gone through their own reincarnations on their own planets before coming to earth to “visit,” so to say. A
    As I understand it, they stood in line to be allowed the right to come to earth at this time to offer us help as we evolve.

    “Enlightenment,” in that regard, then, can mean many different things. As in, someone who comes to earth from another universe can definitely be an enlightened or an old soul. I would wager a guess that God wouldn’t let those souls come to earth to help us if they weren’t already very advanced/enlightened in their own right.

  12. Tim

    Hi Anna,
    Enjoyed your article. I understand where the question is coming from. In some spiritual practises psychic experiences are often seen as at best experiences, and at worst a distraction to personal spiritual growth. I do know that psychic experiences can be a great distraction for the ego! At the moment, Akashic Record reading is helping me incredibly. The more I do this, the more I want to do it for others as well, and I will probably will eventually. Your article for me is a good reminder that I can easily lose myself & my path through focussing on others. I’ve learnt that genuine service is an overflow of my own journey, not the purpose of it. I guess this can be the shadow side (or a pitfall) of psychic development.

  13. Anna

    Frances – yes, you don’t have to be ‘spiritual’ to be spiritually evolved!

    Charles – what you wrote makes total sense to me. I also agree that it’s healthy to take what resonates with you and leave the rest. It’s pretty rare to find a teacher whose teachings you agree with 100%.

    Wendy – I used to feel exactly like you do. Here is what I personally learned (although you might be different): not to equate the teachings with the person. I used to automatically think someone is fantastic as a person because they’ve brought forth amazing spiritual teachings into the world. Teachings can be impressive, and make the person seem impressive too, but the issue here is that all teachings come from somewhere and most do not come from the teacher. Most healing techniques and teachings have a long history of being used. IMO there is very little that is new or original. If you do some research, you’ll be able to track the lineage of most of them. The vast majority of teachers use things they themselves have been taught, and some alter or adapt the teachings somewhat. I used to be taught something and think ‘wow this teacher is incredible’. Now I myself am teaching, I realise the teachings are not the person, nor do they come directly from the person’s brain in most cases.

    Basically, over the last few years I have learned that the teacher and healer have their imperfections (like all human beings). It is not a good idea to put teachers on a pedestal, and it is a good idea to keep your wits and discernment about you and question, while you’re being taught.

    In my opinion, HOW a person teaches, and their approach and attitude towards the student is much more telling than WHAT they teach.

    The other thing that is worth pointing out is that everyone reads aura at a subconscious level. We pick up information about other people all the time, and it gets processed through our ‘gut’ or intuition. So even though you may not yet have fab skills for reading auras CONSCIOUSLY, you certainly have them subconsciously – we all do. That’s why it’s so important to listen to what’s going on in your gut. It’s the one thing that is constant and stable for you, amid all the different voices with their opinions and thoughts. And sometimes it’s just a collection of really subtle impressions, so it can be hard to pay attention to, for sure!

    Thanks to everyone for weighing in on the discussion.

  14. Anna

    Another thing that just came to me –

    For those rare teachings that someone does develop, that ARE original and new, a lot of them are channelled. They come from that place (some say it is an astral plane) where new inventions, great works of art and fiction come from.

    But don’t confuse what someone channels and develops with the person.

    I sometimes channel blog posts and articles. They don’t all come straight from my brain.

    Sometimes I can read my old blog posts that are channelled and get something out of them! As in, it’s almost as if it wasn’t written by me. Not all of them are channelled, but some are.

    The same with my courses. I get inspiration while I create them, in terms of how they’re structured and what I say.

    I often say, I created these teachings, in terms of using things I’ve been taught, discovering some new things in the process of working with clients, and adapting things to my own values. But they are not “mine” per se.

    Another example of this:

    I once met a writer/entrepreneur who is very well known in his niche. He writes interesting, wise, clever books and articles. When we got to know one another, I was disappointed, because he wasn’t who I thought. He had faults, and he wasn’t just an interesting, wise, clever person as I thought he was. He was a lot more complicated than that, and it was a disappointment for me. But of course he doesn’t write about his faults. He presents his best, we all do that.

    Basically, every kind of human meltdown, crisis, upset, weakness that you have ever had, you can guarantee every spiritual teacher also has their own equivalent, no matter how wise, clever or ‘sorted’ they seem. Some are just very good at presenting a front or an image. Sometimes you unconsciously create the image for them, in your own mind.

    And the ones who claim to be enlightened are often even more extreme than the rest of us in terms of what they struggle with, but won’t show you!

    This isn’t just a theory I have – it’s what I’ve experienced when I’ve been allowed ‘behind the scenes’ and when I have seen who a person really is, behind what they present and teach.

    Maybe I should write an article on this – I seem to have a lot to say about it!

  15. Charles

    Lots of thought-provoking stuff here!

    Just wanted to say, I agree with you Anna that very little is being taught by anyone that is really “new.” Sometimes there are a few sparkly new bits and pieces sprinkled here and there, but most of what’s taught in any intuitive or healing modality is old as the hills.

    I always find it kind of funny when someone claims to have created a new, innovative system, and 98% of the components of that system are ideas that were being taught for decades (sometimes even centuries) before that teacher came along. I know of at least a couple of teachers who I think would happily take credit for the entire concept of chakras if they thought they could get away with it. 🙂

    However, some teachers do pepper their work with a few very specific, original elements, in part so they can claim their mostly-not-new system is their own original intellectual property. It’s probably best to leave those distinctive elements out of one’s own practice and teaching so no one can claim their intellectual property has been stolen. In my opinion, these elements are usually pretty arbitrary and have nothing to do with the quality of the intuitive or healing work, though the teacher may claim otherwise.

    Most of the time, what’s truly distinctive about a teacher is their choice of what material to include or not include in their teaching and their personal style in presenting that material. Those are very significant things, but they don’t make the material itself “new.” And the thing is, the material doesn’t have to be new to have value. In most cases, people are drawn to a teacher because of who the teacher is, not because of how original their material is. That’s the sad thing — there’s really just no need for all the posturing.

    Wendy, you mentioned teachers with “amazing, rare skills.” I think there are definitely more than a few teachers who would like people to believe that about them. 🙂 I might even agree with the “amazing” part in a lot of cases, but rare? Not so much, in my opinion.

    There are so many effective intuitive and healing methods out there, and so many wonderful, gifted teachers and practitioners. I’m becoming increasingly wary of any teacher who tries to convince me that other methods “lack quality” or that other practitioners and teachers are “unskilled.” I think those kinds of assertions are meant to scare people away from other teachers. I guess that’s one way to promote one’s own work, but not the best way in my opinion.

  16. Wendy

    Charles, I too have read your comments elsewhere and I think you are very cool!

    I don’t suppose you’re single, are you…..?


  17. Wendy

    Anna, thanks for hosting this discussion. It feels very needed at this time.

  18. Charles

    AJ, I agree. At some point, the best thing is just to move on.

    Wendy, LOL! Single and gay. 😉

  19. Wendy

    Oh well! It was worth a try!!

    Good luck to you both 🙂

  20. Anna

    Charles I think you are so right about what you said. The idea that the teacher’s personal style of teaching etc is significant too, so there is no need for posturing.

    The fact is, students are drawn to the right spiritual teacher for them. It is right that there are many teachers, and there are lots of people out there doing good work. They all have access to the same source for healing and for channelling and inspiration. No one person has all the answers!

  21. Anna

    I’m glad this discussion was had too. It was long overdue for me to write the article and mull this over.

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