Discovering the Spiritual Domain
Discovering the spiritual domain requires that we actually participate in that reality, not merely read about it or think about it. You must be an explorer, not merely a scholar.
Level of Being
In our ordinary state of consciousness, we exist on the material or physical plane and are in touch with only our sensations and thoughts. We cannot apprehend or experience the spiritual, supersensual domain through sensing or thinking.
In other words, to dwell in the spiritual realm we must STOP 4 using our customary means of apprehension: sensations and thoughts. They can't get us across to where we want to go.
Now, saying we must stop using these ordinary means of cognition and learn to use other modes of consciousness is easier said than done. How do we do this?
First things first. We must WANT to experience the spiritual domain. And we can't assume that just because we have a vague curiosity about things spiritual that we possess a genuine desire to discover this realm.
A genuine desire to experience the spiritual realm comes only with a deep dissatisfaction with living exclusively in the material/empirical domain. Why would we be dissatisfied with our ordinary experience?
At unique moments--hearing a particularly transformative piece of music, viewing a phenomenal art object or scene in nature, or experiencing an overwhelming act of human kindness--you may get a clear intimation that there are higher domains--and that you'd like to experience those domains more frequently than by happenstance.
You may also reflect that in a few years--after death--you will have your being in the spiritual domain beyond the terrestrial plane. It might seem reasonable to begin now to experience that domain, to become acquainted with its features and to understand what qualities we bring to that new state of being.
You might also find that the teachings of adepts in mysticism provide new incentives for wanting to experience the higher, spiritual realm.
"As you gain control of your spiritual body, you discover that it has a wondrous creative force. Your spiritual body possesses an engine of power, dynamically creative, capable of impressing and molding your material world in direct ratio to the creative force you produce in your inner being. This force is not a mental capacity, it's a higher spiritual power. It derives, not from that mere agent of the soul, the intellect, but from the spiritual center within us."
Teachers in the mystic way are able to use spoken and written words, symbols, stories, visual images, and exercises in ways which provide the opportunity for seekers to develop the capabilities required for spiritual experience. There is literal magic in the words and actions of advanced sages.
I use the words "provide the opportunity" above, because the only thing a master in the mystical way can do is to set up the opportunity for us to act on our own to realize the possibilities provided.
Mystical savants use objects and events which can--with the appropriate response from the seeker--eventuate in a transformation in our state of consciousness. This fact requires our full cognizance before its significance and import can be realized.
In our quest for the spiritual domain, we can study several different elements with the "triggering mechanism" just referred to. I'd suggest you reflect carefully on these teachings and poems to allow their full impact to activate the elements in you they're designed to energize.
"Believe me," Jesus said, "a man cannot even see the kingdom of God without being born again."
"Rebirths are going on all about us, and we pay no attention. They are such commonplaces. . . I don't know why it should surprise me so to stick my head up into a new world, and realize that I can gradually draw myself up until I get entirely into it. It is quite natural." 5
To be born into a new state of being, we must first "die" to this present mode of consciousness.
What are you when you experience rebirth into the spiritual dimension? A new-born, a hatchling, a being with a new, spiritual body. Like any infant having just experienced birth, you must struggle for conscious awareness and understanding. You must struggle to conquer the wilderness of lack of comprehension.
Functioning as a half-conscious newborn thing, you begin to gain a sense of reality, you begin to develop the new senses of your spiritual body. Like an earthly baby, you work at activating your new potentialities.
Awareness of the spiritual domain is at first so subtle and so unaccustomed that it seems to be a groping for the intangible and the unattainable. The first understanding of the spiritual domain grows in us from so subtle a beginning that it does not even reach our waking consciousness for some time. As we gain a stabilized wider consciousness we gradually activate the organs of our spiritual body which reveal a transcendent world.
You're then in a new reality, which has definite substance, much different from the terrestrial substances of air and earth and sealing wax and kings.
You can best get a "sense" of this new reality's substance by thinking of the "substance" of an earthly shadow or a rainbow or a sun stream in the clouds. You can't grab onto those earthly "substances" but they're real nonetheless. Just so, this new plane of being you've been born into has a different--but real--kind of substance to it. And it's this new kind of reality that you begin to explore.
Get ready for some surprises, because the spiritual domain is very different from the terrestrial world. The first marvellous surprise is the discovery of an exquisite joy through participating in a vast harmony. Your own little joy of being is joined to that of every other harmonized being in a great chorus of unity. It's all One, Here, Now; everyone and everything superimposed in one eternal moment.
You also "sense" this universal quality of life in the woods and waters, the endless variety of plants and animals, pulsing and vibrating in a universal medium. You get intimations of this harmonious unity of the spiritual domain when you contemplate higher realities such as beauty, goodness, justice, and peace, meditating on their essence, not their varied expressions.
As you become acquainted with your spiritual body and the reality in which it subsists, you discover a definite force assisting your best efforts and the efforts of all. You find you can count on its unfailing help. You become aware that this force is positive and constructive, directive in a forward movement of spiritual evolution.
The underlying feeling of your life in the spiritual realm is one of eternity; continuous being extending far beyond your present earth span of years, continual development and progress through progressively higher modes of being to an ultimate goal.
"I entered into the secret closet of my soul . . . and beheld with the mysterious eye of my soul the Light that never changes, above the eye of my soul, above my intelligence. It was not the common light which all flesh can see, nor was it greater yet of the same kind, as if the light of day were to grow brighter and brighter and flood all space. It was not like this, but different: altogether different from all such things."
1 You may want to read "Portals to the Spiritual Domain" in a book soon to be published: Portals to Higher Consciousness.
2 See the essay on Plato's Contemporary Relevance in the book soon to be published: Portals to Higher Consciousness.
3 See the author's recently published book The Perennial Tradition
4 "As we try to gain cognizance of the highest faculty we possess, our eternal spirit, the more developed intellect constantly interferes, insisting on translating every experience into its own language and limiting us to its own comprehension. The muscle-bound intellect insists that we go no farther than the facile ready-made symbols its social conditioning sanctions. In activating our spiritual faculties, we have to keep the mind quiet by systematically baffling its efforts at restriction. Meanwhile, we work directly to stimulate the enduring part, developing spiritual awareness." (Betty and Steward Edward White, Across the Unknown)
5 Betty and Steward Edward White, Across the Unknown