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  • Sacred journey to peru, mystic travel agency peru, mystic travel
  • Sacred journey to peru, mystic travel agency peru, mystic travel
  • Sacred journey to peru, mystic travel agency peru, mystic travel
  • Sacred journey to peru, mystic travel agency peru, mystic travel

LAST WEEK I MET TWO PEOPLE who could start a spiritual feud if they weren’t so gentle. The firstwas a woman with a conscience. Having realized a fortune in the clothing business, she knew that much of the finery we put on our backs is made under sickening conditions in the Third World, where children work sixteen-hour days for pennies. Having seen these conditions firsthand, the woman became a dedicated activist.
“We have to wipe out slave labor,” she told me with passion in her voice. “I can’t understand why everyone isn’t outraged by what’s going on.” I could tell that she really wanted to know whyI wasn’t outraged. Her eyes, with the intense, feverish gaze, were fixed on me. “You of all people,” they said. Not that I needed reminding. When you live a life publicly associated with spirituality, people want to know why their brand of spirituality isn’t the one you embrace. In this case, the woman with a conscience thought that the highest form of spirituality was humanitarianism; to her way of thinking you aren’t really spiritual unless you help the poor and fight injustice and inequality.
A few days later, I met her opposite in a man who earns his living performing healing at a distance. He was born in South America and found out, through mysterious experiences as a child, that he could see into the subtle world of auras and energy fields. For a long time nothing came of this gift; he was in the import-export business until he was over forty. Then one day he fell ill and found himself going to a healer who cured him without laying on hands—simply by moving his energy psychically. From that moment on, the man became passionate about doing the same kind of work. And he, too, wanted to know why I wasn’t following his version of spirituality. “Changes are about to happen on the astral plane,” he said in a low, reserved tone. “Science has been in power on the material plane, but there’s going to be a turnaround in 2012—I’ve been told this by my spirit guides. From that year on, science will decline, destroyed by its own excesses. Then spirit will return to the planet.”
Instead of a passionate humanitarianism, this man advocated detachment and withdrawing from the material world. Like the first woman, he couldn’t understand why I didn’t catch on—it was obvious to him that trying to change the world by confronting it was hopeless.
Strangely enough, I agreed with both of them. What they represented was a secret: Each of us lives in multidimensions. We can choose where to focus our attention, and wherever that focus goes, a new reality opens up. Even though they disagreed with each other, both of these people were trying to solve the same problem, which is how to be spiritual despite the demands of materialism. And the answers they found are both viable, without either one beingthe answer.
When I speak of other dimensions, I’m referring to domains of consciousness. Consciousness is the maker of reality—we’ve been talking about that for some time here—butmaker really means “chooser.”
The one reality already possesses every possible dimension; no one needs to make new ones, or could if they wanted to. But through our attention we bring these dimensions to life: We populate them, add new meaning, and paint unique pictures. Let me name these domains first.


How Awareness Unfolds from the Source

  • Pure being:The domain of the Absolute, pure awareness before it acquires any qualities at all. The state before creation. This is not actually a separate domain since it permeates everything.
  • Conditioned bliss:The domain of awareness as it begins to become conscious of its own potential.
  • Love:The motivating force in creation.
  • Knowingness:The domain of inner intelligence.
  • Myth and archetypes:The collective patterns of society. This is the domain of gods and goddesses, heroes and heroines, male and female energy.
  • Intuition:The domain where the mind understands the subtle mechanics of life.
  • Imagination:The domain of creative invention.
  • Reason:The domain of logic, science, and mathematics.
  • Emotion:The domain of feelings.
  • Physical body:The domain of sensation and the five senses.

Which of these realms is truly spiritual? They all interconnect, yet you can observe quite often that people camp out in one realm or another, and having found their special place, they also find spirit there.
The woman with a conscience found her place in emotions and the physical body—it was the physical struggle of day-to-day poverty that moved her heart. But, of course, one can’t exclude love from her set of motives; perhaps she also intuitively knew that this kind of humanitarian work was the path of greatest growth for herself.
The man who healed from a distance found his place in the realm of intuition. This is where the subtle energies play. His brand of spirituality called for manipulating the invisible forces that hold the physical world together. One can’t exclude love from his set of motives, and there’s also the realm of myth and archetype to be considered since he called on angels and spirit guides to do his work.
A skeptic might argue that these realms simply don’t exist. That’s a hard argument to settle because if something doesn’t existfor you, it might as well not exist. This might be the moment to look at a simple example.
A car is found run into a snowbank after a winter storm. The driver is unconscious at the wheel. People
stop to see what’s wrong, and they ask each other, “How did this happen?” One points to the tire tracks in the snow: “The car veered off course—that’s how this happened.” Another observer points to the steering wheel, which is wrenched to one side: “The car’s steering mechanism was faulty—that’s how this happened.” A third observer smells the driver’s breath: “He was drunk—that’s how this happened.”
Finally, a neurologist happens to stop by with a portable MRI machine, and he points to the driver’s brain scan: “His motor cortex exhibits abnormalities—that’s how this happened.”
Every answer depends entirely upon the kind of evidence used. The same question was asked at different levels of reality, and at each level only one kind of answer made sense. The neurologist isn’t the enemy of the car mechanic; he just thinks that his own answer is deeper and therefore more true.
When people argue that there is no scientific proof that the universe is conscious, my immediate response is, “I am conscious, and am I not an activity of the universe?” The brain, which operates on electromagnetic impulses, is as much an activity of the universe as are the electromagnetic storms in the atmosphere or on a distant star. Therefore, science is one form of electromagnetism that spends its time studying another form. I like the remark that a physicist once made to me: “Science should never be considered the enemy of spirituality because science is its greatest ally. Science is God explaining God through a human nervous system. Isn’t spirituality the same thing?”
A philosopher might argue that reality isn’t truly known until you include all layers of interpretation. In that sense, the theory of one reality doesn’t fight against materialism—it expands it. The driver who ran into the snowbank could have had many levels of motivation: Maybe he was depressed and drove off the road on purpose (emotions). Maybe he was thinking about a poem he wanted to write and his attention wandered (imagination). Maybe he saw in his mind’s eye that an oncoming car was about to swerve into his lane (intuition).
To get to a new level of explanation, you have to transcend the level you are on, to go beyond it. If you can acknowledge that going beyond is something you do every day, there is no great reason to use materialism as a club to beat spirituality over the head. The material world can be your base level of experience or not. The other levels are available by transcending, or going beyond your base level, as you are doing this second when your brain turns chemistry into thoughts.
So the real question is what domain you wish to live in. To me, the ideal life is lived on all levels of consciousness. Your attention is not bounded or narrow; you open yourself to the whole of awareness.
You have an opportunity to lead such a life, but by focusing on one or two levels only, you’ve caused the others to atrophy. They have been squeezed out of your awareness, and thus your ability to transcend is much diminished. (On the most mundane level it’s often a matter of finding the time. I rarely meet scientists who have given consciousness a second thought—they are too wrapped up in lab work. Like the rest of us, their plates are full, and if the world could have a profoundly different basis from what they learned as a pre-med or in quantum physics, the typical scientist will look into it tomorrow.)
Each dimension of your existence has its own purpose, offering a level of fulfillment that is not available anywhere else (these are the “flavors of creation”). In completely expanded awareness, every dimension is accessible.


Living in All Dimensions of Awareness

Pure being:
When this door is open, you know yourself as the “I am,” the simple state of eternal existence.

Conditioned bliss: When this door is open, you feel liveliness and vibrancy in the midst of all activity.
Bliss is beyond pleasure and pain.

Love: The domain of bliss as a personal experience. When this door is open, you experience love in every aspect of life. Love is your primary motivation in every relationship, beginning with yourself. At a deeper level, love bonds you to the rhythm of the universe.

Knowingness: This is the source of the mind. When this door is open, you can access wisdom and knowledge about anything in creation.

Myth and archetypes:
When this door is open, you shape your life as a quest. You reach for the same attainments as your revered heroes and heroines. You also play out the eternal dynamic between masculine and feminine.

Intuition: When this door is open, you can shape these subtle forces for healing, clairvoyance, and insight into human nature. Intuition also guides you on your own path, showing you how to decide which path to travel as your life changes course.

Imagination: When this door is open, the images in your mind have creative power. They breathe existence into possibilities that never existed before. At this level, you also develop a passion for exploring the unknown.

Reason: When this door is open, you can make up systems and models for reality. Rational thought copes with infinite possibilities by using logic, which cuts off slices of reality to analyze in isolation from the whole.

Emotion: When this door is open, you are sensitive to bodily sensations and interpret them as pleasure and pain, feelings you desire and those you want to avoid. The emotional domain is so powerful that it overrides logic and reason.

Physical body:
When this door is open, you find yourself as a separate being in the physical world.

How did all these levels come about? As a fact of existence: Pure being conceived them, projected them from itself, and then entered them. This is the cosmic circuit board, and your own nervous system is wired into it. By paying attention to any dimension of life, you send a current of consciousness into it. If you pay no attention, the circuit is closed for that dimension. Although we are using words likedoors, circuitry, andlevels, they fall short of reality, which vibrates with every impulse. You are having an effect in every dimension, even when you haven’t sent your attention to explore and understand what’s there.
Someone who has fully explored a dimension is said in Sanskrit to have attainedVidya, a word that literally means “knowledge” but implies much more—mastery over a set of natural laws. Think of yourself as entering a workshop where the tools and skills are unknown to you. The minute you step inside you take in everything at a glance, but it requires training to master every detail. In the end you emerge as a changed person, with completely altered perceptions. Thus, a musician coming out of the Juilliard School of Music hears every note on the radio through a different nervous system from someone who has just graduated from M.I.T. as an electrical engineer. Both have acquired Vidya, the kind of knowledge that you become rather than the kind you passively learn.
People with vastly different visions of spirituality still have in common a quest for Vidya. They want to be transformed by knowledge that flows directly from the source—the fact that one person’s source is God while another’s is Brahman, Allah, Nirvana, or Being is a minor difference. What really divides people is keeping the doors of perception shut. This state is calledAvidya, or lack of awareness.


Cutting Yourself Off from Awareness

Pure being: When this door is closed, we exist in separation. There is underlying dread of death, a loss of connection, and the absence of any divine presence.

Conditioned bliss: When this door is closed, life is joyless. Happiness is only a passing state. There is no opening for peak experiences.

Love: When this door is closed, life is heartless. We feel isolated in a gray world where other people are distant, detached figures. There is no sense of a loving hand in creation.

Knowingness: When this door is closed, the laws of nature are baffling. Knowledge is gained only through facts and limited personal experience, with no access to deeper meaning.

Myth and archetypes: When this door is closed, there are no higher models, no heroes or gods, no passionate quests to pursue. We see no mythical significance to our own lives. There is no deeper dimension to the relations between men and women beyond what lies on the surface.

Intuition: When this door is closed, life loses its subtlety. The person lacks insight, has no flashes of brilliance, no exhilarated “Aha!” moments. The subtle web of connectedness that holds the universe together is completely hidden from view.

Imagination: When this door is closed, the mind is devoid of fantasy. We see everything in literal terms—art and metaphor count very little. Important decisions are approached with technical analysis, and there is no hope of a sudden creative leap.

Reason: When this door is closed, life makes no sense. We are ruled by random impulses. No course of action can be followed to its conclusion, and decisions are made irrationally.

Emotion: When this door is closed, feelings are frozen. There is little or no room for compassion and empathy. Events seem disconnected, without flow, and other people present no chance for bonding.

Physical body: When this door is closed, life is all mental. The person feels that his or her body is inert, a dead weight to drag around. The body exists as a necessary life support system, nothing more. There is no “juice” to moving and acting in the world.

As you can see, there is no single state of Avidya but many. Traditionally in India, the distinction wasn’t so subtle and people were typed as either being in ignorance or being enlightened. Unless you were in unity, so the thinking went, you were in utter ignorance. (The rough equivalent in the West would be that you were either lost or redeemed.) Thus, the number of those in Vidya was minuscule, while the numbers in Avidya were enormous.
But tradition overlooked the mechanics of awareness. We are multidimensional creatures, and therefore a person can attain Vidya in one area but not another. Picasso was a superb artist (imagination) but a terrible husband (love); Mozart a divine creator of music (imagination and love) but weak physically; Lincoln a master of myth and archetype but devastated emotionally. In your own life these same imbalances occur. As long as we are working to move from Avidya to Vidya, we are leading a spiritual life.


The reason Christ, Buddha, Socrates, or any other spiritual teacher speaks to us personally is that limited consciousness does give way to sudden, clear glimpses of a reality beyond. Your mindwants to transcend. Narrow attention is like a single light that shines on only one object. It excludes everything outside its beam; the equivalent in the mind is rejection. But what if you renounced the entire process of rejection? If you did so, you would find yourself paying attention to everything equally. Rejection is a habit. Without it, you can participate in life as it comes to you.
Take each domain of awareness and write down how you keep yourself from entering it. In this way you become aware of what you are doing to limit your consciousness, and by catching yourself in time, each of these ingrained reflexes can begin to change. For example:

Pure being: I don’t slow down enough to be truly quiet inside. I don’t set time aside to meditate. I haven’t experienced the tranquillity in nature recently. Now I will catch myself rejecting inner peace and find time for it.

Conditioned bliss:
I haven’t felt joy in simply being alive. I am not seeking opportunities for wonder. I don’t seem to be around young children enough. I haven’t gazed at the night sky. Now I will catch myself rejecting joyful appreciation and make time for it.

Love: I’ve been taking my loved ones for granted, so I haven’t been expressing my love very much. I feel uncomfortable receiving love from others. I’ve put love on the back burner as something I value.
Now I will catch myself rejecting these opportunities to make love important in my life and make time for it.

I give in to doubt too much. I automatically take a skeptical stance and only settle for hard facts. I don’t seem to know any wise people, and I spend little time exposing myself to philosophy and spiritual writings. Now I will catch myself rejecting traditional wisdom and make time for it.

Myth and archetypes: I don’t really have any heroes anymore. I can’t remember finding a worthy example in anything or anyone for a long time. I go my own way, which is as good as anyone else’s.
Now I will catch myself rejecting the notion that a higher inspiration is necessary and find time for it.

Intuition: I use my head. I don’t go for anything as mushy as intuition. I look for proof before I believe in something. I think all extrasensory powers are wishful thinking. I analyze a given situation and make my decision accordingly. Now I will catch myself rejecting my first hunches and start trusting them.

Imagination: Art’s not my thing. I don’t go to museums or concerts. My hobby is television and the sports page. To me, most creative types don’t have their feet on the ground. Now I will catch myself rejecting my imagination and find ways to express it.

Reason: I know what I know and stick with it. I don’t listen to the other side of an argument very often—I just want to prove I’m right. I tend to have the same reactions to similar situations. I don’t always follow through with the plans I make, even when they’re good. Now I will catch myself being unreasonable and will stop to consider every point of view.

Emotion: I don’t make a scene and I hate it when anyone else does. I’m not impressed by people who give in to their emotions. Holding it inside is my motto—nobody ever sees me cry. I can’t remember anyone growing up who taught me that emotions are positive. Now I will catch myself rejecting my real feelings and find a safe way to express them.

Physical body: I should take care of myself. I’m in considerably worse shape physically than I was five or ten years ago. I’m not happy with my body, and I’m not much for physical activity. I’ve heard about body therapies, but I think they’re indulgent and a little flaky. Now I will catch myself giving up on the physical side of my life and make time for it.

Of necessity, I’ve provided very general notes, but you should be as specific as possible. Under “Love,”
write down the name of someone you haven’t shown your love to or an incident you recall where you felt uncomfortable receiving love. Under “Imagination,” note the museum in town you don’t visit or the artistic person whose company you’ve avoided. By the same token, be specific if you can about how you are going to change these habits of rejection.

Exercise #2: My Awareness Profile

Now that you’ve taken notice of where your limitations lie, draw up a profile of your awareness as it is today. Keep the profile in a safe place and consult it sixty days from now to see how much you’ve changed. The profile is rated in each category from 1 to 10. When you return after the sixty days are up, rate yourself without first looking at your original scores.

0 pts. I don’t pay any attention to this part of my life.

1–3 pts.  I have had a little experience in this area but not recently and not very often.

4–6 pts. I am familiar with this area of my life and experience it fairly often.

7–9 pts. This is an important area of my life, one that I focus on a lot.

10 pts. This area is my home. I know it

well and spend almost all my extra attention on it.

(0–10 pts.)

Pure Being
Conditioned Bliss
Myth and Archetypes
Physical Body



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