Experience of the subtle realms: Contents
4. Openings between the worlds
My experiences of openings between this world and the other are mixed: some
are very ambiguous, very much as if;
others much less so. By an
opening I mean a situation in this world which seems to provide special access
to the other.
look at the physical horizon - the actual zone in my visual field between the
earth and the sky - it is as if my
awareness goes through that area of physical space and extends into
far-reaching akasha, the other
universe within and beyond this one. What
I apprehend in this way is inchoate, unfocused, vague, but unmistakable in its
subtle expansive effect on consciousness.
notice the effect anywhere, but especially on tropical or sub-tropical beaches
- Sri Lanka, Bali, Yucatan - when I am standing at the water's edge looking
out to the horion between sea and sky.
And sometimes in such a setting, the effect is particularly potent in
one quite precise direction.
standing once on the north coast of Yucatan, I could pivot round slowly on the
same spot on the beach, with my right forearm and hand projecting out
horizontally from my body, and locate precisely the compass bearing of the
most potent other world opening on the horizon.
opens up at such a point is the awareness of a vastly expansive inner space, a
subtle universe porous to consciousness, that provides the backdrop, the
ground, the potent support of the material universe.
It is not simply a matter of looking out into physical space, but of
finding a 'gap' at the horizon in which awareness encounters its own kind of
luminous interior extension. 'Interior'
not in the sense of being subjective and private, but in the sense of being
within, behind and beyond the whole panorama of the visible world.
not know why tropical beaches favour this experience more than other places.
It may be some romantic association that aids the effect.
I may be more relaxed and open, and physically warm.
It may be something to do with the actual structure of inner and outer
space in these areas of the
hypothesis I have about this effect, whether
it occurs in the tropics or anywhere else, is that when you look at the
horizon, you are looking along a line and a plane tangential to the earth.
Let us suppose that tangent planes in physical space correspond to
zones of influence of formative fields in akashic space; and that such fields
support physical forms. Thus when
you look along a tangent plane to the earth, you can more readily access the
earth's formative field and its remote origins in subtle space. This, of
course, is pure speculation. It
is the experience itself that is most interesting.
is a well known gap between the worlds. It
is a psychological and physiological aperture.
The mind and body are relaxed, the autonomic nervous system in the
parasympathetic mode. Between the normally unconscious state of sleep and the
ordinary conscious waking state there can be access to altered states
and subtle domains, either
by clairvoyance and clairaudience, or through out of the body experiences.
commented on out of the body experiences in the previous chapter.
Here I will consider
briefly the unbidden clairvoyance that can occur between sleeping and waking.
It is as if a subtle kind of
seeing temporarily breaks through into my ordinary consciousness and I glimpse
a landscape or, more rarely, a face. Sudden
vistas of the other world appear, scintillating with clarity. It is as though
the brain can for a moment or two respond to a much higher frequency of
perception than sense perception. Janus
facing out, while dozing off, suddenly and suprisingly yields to Janus facing
in. But the subtle seeing is usually rapidly lost, blotted out by the normal
more gross processes of the nervous system.
blotting out occurs by a quick defensive shock reaction from the neurones,
as though a part of the brain itself is very rapidly flicking the psi
switch to the off position. It is frustrating that I find this immediate shut-down quite
uncontrollable. I stand helplessly
by while some cortical tyrant goes about his repressive censorship, at the nub
of which I feel there is a habitually congealed fear of being overwhelmed by
odd to be so sundered; to be so clearly wanting the spontaneous subtle seeing
to continue, and at the same time to be dominated by a sector
of the psychophysical system that finds it intolerable. I know of no
internal conflict quite like it. The Janus-brain is caught out, divided
against itself. Its
constitutional imbalance is exposed. The part that faces out towards ordinary
life has an oppressive intolerance of the part that faces inwards to the other
world. But this reflex intolerance can, in other circumstances, be overcome.
the neural censorship does not occur when, in a fully conscious waking state,
I gently and gradually open up clairvoyant perception by specific exercise
(section 5, chapter 5). Then I
can often sustain the inner seeing for some time. Yet I must own that such
carefully cultivated clairvoyance does not have the sharp clarity of the
spontaneous episodes between sleeping and waking. It is the sheer brilliance
of these episodes, their unbidden nature, and the fact that I am
totally passive and unprepared when they occur, that puts me face to
face with subtle repressive fear.
source of the fear is not clear to me. I
do not know whether it is some innate biologically programmed defense, built
in to ensure that my brain attends to the issues of coping with this world and
is not distracted by a bewildering mass of extrasensory perception from the
beyond. In this case, Janus
facing out is hedged around with automatic switches that immediately interrupt
any relays from Janus facing in.
may be a psychological defense mechanism I have acquired as a child - who
learnt very early to repress psi because of its social unacceptability.
Or it may simply be that learning a language causes a denial of psi,
because the concepts and belief-systems that come with
mastery of language have no room for it.
Maybe the reflex fear comes from a mixture of all three of these.
It would be good to be clearer about its origins, in order to get some
control over it.
see at these breakthrough moments is usually very pleasing and exhilarating:
often trees and treescapes, brilliant in clarity and colour, as if I am
looking up at them in the near or middle distance, in some other space;
sometimes trees in blossom; sometimes landscapes clearly etched against a bold
horizon; sometimes flights of birds wining in inner space way above me;
occasionally a kindly face; and rarely an ugly face.
is no ambiguity about having a spontaneous, clear and coloured visual image of
an identifiable sort. The
ambiguity attaches to the status of this image.
Is it a very vivid bit of projected imagination, entirely subjective in
origin? Is it an hallucination -
conjured up by some mental and physical processes not yet understood, but
again purely subjective? Is it
clairvoyance having reference to a subtle domain that has objective
an imparted visual symbol - popped into the mind by mentors in the other world
in order to convey some message or meaning - but not an actual percept
of anything? Or is it clairvoyance of
an actual subtle scene, that is
also doubling up as a symbolic message?
Or is at an archetypal image, suddenly washed up on the shores of the
conscious mind from the collective unconscious?
am true to the experience, I would simply say that I am seeing
something out there in a real kind of space, akashic space.
It is the shocking impact of this space and its contents on the Janus-out
brain that clearly differentiates it from the subjective space of dreams and
imagination - with which Janus facing out has no such difficulty.
shock is not because of some powerful personal message being imparted to me
symbolically. It is simply the shock of the suddenly realized fact,
intrinsically conveyed by the experience, that there is a whole brilliant
other world in, up or out, there. When
I unexpectedly encounter this other world in all its fulness, my dominant
neurones just cannot take it.
sceptic may ask how I know it is a world.
My simple answer is that worlds, like persons, are what we meet. We know of
their existence through the relation of encounter.
The reality is in this relation. The
knowledge is experiential, by acquaintance.
other possibility I have not mentioned is that the extrasensory perception is
not of some scene in another dimension, but of a physical tree or landscape -
I am seeing something in this world, but at a distance, without the use of the
senses. This does not apply in my
case because what I see meets all the distinctive criteria for extrasensory
perception of the other world: the clarity and brilliance; the inherent
illumination; the unusual and
distinctive form of things (surprisingly not quite like their physical counterparts);
the sense of intimacy to consciousness of the space combined with the
essential otherness of its contents; the exhilarating expansion of awareness
intrinsic to the space.
final point. I can go out of the
body and see a subtle realm by visiting it.
Or I can see it simply while lying in bed on the conscious side of
sleep. Since these are so very different, one must assume that the latter is
clairvoyance at a subtle distance, analogous to clairvoyance of the physical
world at a distance. In neither
case does the experience as such
give any obvious indication of the mechanism by which it occurs.
painful for the physical eyes to look directly at the sun.
Once I sat on the edge of a wood in Emmsland in West Germany, looking
out over a field that rose gently toward a near horizon, above which shone the
afternoon sun. I was sitting in
the sunlight, facing the sun, and
wearing a peaked cap pulled down to keep my eyes in the shade.
I turned my eyes down to look
at the field in front of me and
focused my attention upwards on the
sun in the sky.
directly to the sun in this way, I notice how powerfully and immediately it
provides my consciousness with an opening onto inner space.
It is as if there is a subtle
sun within the physical sun. The
sun within is luminous in akashic space and this luminosity commands a vast
area of the subtle universe. The
inner sun is sounding all the time, giving off a note,
a comprehensive tone. And
it is itself emerging out of deeper layers of inner space, as if through it
the consciousness of these domains is being converted into energy.
prevailing world view of course has it that the sun is just a ball of fire
moving around in the physical space of our galaxy. One way for anyone to challenge the 'just a ball of fire'
view, is to do my Emmsland exercise on a day when the sun is out and it is
warm but not excessively hot. As
you focus your attention on the sun, go right into its fiery heart in your
imagination. Then expand and magnify the contents of that imagery until you
start to notice the space within, beyond
and behind the fire.
subtle sun teaches me that consciousness is one and omnipresent, informing manifold
dimensions of space and energy. It is an illusory appearance only, that my consciousness
is somehow restricted to my subjective experience, and to my physical
perspective here and now where my body is.
I can learn progressively to expand my awareness and to attune it more
and more to the one consciousness everywhere and its diverse, subtle domains.
And I can do this by a simple combination of will, attention and
correctly applied, is an organ of subtle perception. Never discount what at
first appear to be only the rarified and slight effects of its disciplined
American cultures were preoccupied with the sun. The Maya in particular were sun-mad, spreading
extraordinary pyramid complexes all over the sun-baked limestone plain
of Yucatan. Here there is no
tropical forest, only low-lying
scrub that veils the poverty of the soil.
And the sun beats relentlessly down.
view, the Maya were hooked on the subtle sun, its exhilarating power and
energy, its potent impact on mind and body.
It became a dangerous and catastrophic obsession, with endless hearts
of sacrificial victims torn out, aristocratic tongues and penises pierced for
yet more sacrificial blood. Maya
pyramids today are all still murky with the psychic fall-out of this occult
wandered all over the many Maya sites of Yucatan, up and down and in and out
of innumerable pyramids, and I only found one whose subtle space was clear and
clean, luminous with subtle light. This is a pyramid at Dzibilchaltun, dating
from the earliest Maya settlement of the area.
Archaeologists uncovered it by stripping off the ruins of later
pyramids that had been built over it. It
remains a witness to what the early Maya knew and the later Maya perverted.
even in the later period, despite the protracted spiritual corruption, and the
autocratic oppression of the masses by an elite, there is something deeply
impressive about a whole culture drawing its energy at the interface of the
physical sun and the subtle sun. At
Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, Labna, Dzibilchaltun, Chichen Itza, Coba, Tulum, there
was a remarkable aesthetic commitment to living in two worlds at once - and
this in the most unpromising terrain. Baking
on the physical limestone, the Maya lived at the same time in a world of
akashic power - and put that power to work in remarkable ways.
remember sitting on a deserted tropical beach at midnight. It was at Trincomalee in Sri Lanka. There was no moon, but an
absolutely clear revelation of stars. I
lay back on the warm sand, and chose a promising star to concentrate on.
my attention on the star for a long time, and visited it in my imagination.
It was like being hypnotised by distant emissaries from another world.
I entered different concepts of space, time, reality and being, in terms of a
language whose vocabulary and syntax was totally alien to me, deeply
disturbing, and inescapably exhilarating.
I knew and yet I did not know the world-view that tumbled over my
slightly insane, and stopped the exercise.
I stood up, fell over, and burst into tears. I lay sobbing on the sand for an hour.
places in the physical world seem to be more open to the subtle world than
other places. It is as if just by being in a certain physical location you can readily
expand your awareness into liberating inner spaces. The outer world is somehow
porous, open to the other world, at that spot. There are several classes of such locations.
there are natural openings. For
me, they include (as well as those already mentioned in this chapter): groves
of trees on hilltops; mountain tops with panoramas of distant peaks, as, for
example, in Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies; certain wells,
pools, streams surrounded by a grove of trees; some caverns and caves deep in
the earth, for example, Carlsbad Caverns in Texas; the edge between a forest
or wood and open land; the edge between land and water; any natural
configuration that produces an effect like a network, trellis or fretwork -
such as the marais in the Ile d'Olonne in the Vendee region of France.
don't think this is just aesthetic preference at work, inclining my mind to
attune to subtle spaces. It is
more to do with the way in which the energies of the two worlds interact at
these points. And at the same
time it is something to do with the symbolism of the natural phenomena;
although I do not think symbolism alone is enough to create a special
there are cultural and social openings. These
include: places made sacred by continuous human ritual and worship; places on
the occasion, say, of some musical or dramatic performance; houses and rooms
made porous by the modes of being of those who occupy them.
Here it is as if human activity has altered the quality of physical
space and energy at a certain place - as though it is less of a veil over,
more of a window onto, subtle and liberating inner space.
there are geometric openings, to do with shape, size, angle and proportion.
Thus it is as if certain architectural designs directly facilitate openness to
the other world. Similarly with
certain types of human gesture and posture, and of spatial relationships
between people. What we are here
concerned with, of course, are the abstract properties of space itself, a kind
of occult geometry in which certain configurations can expand awareness from
this world to the other world -
simply by virtue of their geometric properties.
I shall have more to say about this in Chapter 7, where I write about
the doctrine of powers.
run many kinds of groups, in the fields of personal and professional
development, in the last two decades. In
these groups I use experiential methods, involving the whole thinking, feeling
and choosing person in the learning process.
This experiential approach does seem to create a special class of
social opening between the worlds.
typical opening usually occurs after the group has worked together for some
hours: members have taken some risks, become receptive to each other through
action-methods, self-disclosure and feedback.
A real climate of togetherness has started to develop.
all seated together in a circle, and a moment of silence supervenes.
It is then as if the social, psychological and indeed physical space of the
group becomes open to presences in the other world; as if the group as a whole
is in silent communion with those in the unseen. The mood is calm, the air is still. Subtle energy hovers around.
The group is like a pool, reflecting faces and spaces in another
dimension. It is as though the
ancestors, with their vistas of expanded awareness, are amongst us.
when I grow Heron's beard on this ambiguous eperience, it is not entirely
clear what this two world togetherness is all about. I often think that the
physical members of the twin groups both know and don't know of the presence
of the non-physical members: it is a tacit and subliminal knowing while their
minds overtly drift over mundane themes.
They quietly feed on the communion without having the concepts fully to
acknowledge that it is occurring.
yet when I casually make one of my so-called 'transcendental process comments'
and murmur that it feels as if the ancestors are gathering,
no-one seems particularly surprised.
The comment dissolves harmlessly into the general reverie.
are the non-physical members doing? Enjoying the togetherness; affirming, supporting,
offering energy and inspiration to, the physical members; observing, learning
and noticing? All this seems
likely. Perhaps they are also
patiently waiting to be ac knowledged, to be consciously included in
some appropriate way in the activities of the physical members. This takes us
back to the dimly felt presences mentioned in Chapter 2.
may say: what are unsolicited non-physical participants doing hovering around
an autonomous human group? But
this begs an interesting question. Is any human group absolutely independent ?
For maybe every human group is at best only relatively so. That is,
such a group is always set in the context of what in Chapter 2 I called 'a
passive hierarchy of the second kind'.
in the unseen society may make critical decisions that influence the
development of human society. We
humans seem to choose independently to hold a group, unaware that unseen plans
already set in motion have encouraged us to gather. And unaware too that when
we meet we do so inescapably under the subtle auspices of those who have
evoked our social creativity. This does not mean that we are mere puppets, our
autonomy a total illusion. It
means, rather, that it is relative to an unseen social context that has
evocative and sustaining power over it.
thesis that persons are only persons in relation to other persons has now a
vertical as well as a horizontal axis of meaning: autonomous human encounters
have as their necessary ground passive hierarchies of the second kind.
openings or windows onto presences in the other world seem to occur when the
following conditions obtain at the human level. (1) The persons concerned are both autonomous and
co-operative. (2) They can
supportively confront each other as and when appropriate; so they do not
collude in unreal relationships. (3)
They can distinguish in action and awareness between authentic, intentional
behaviour and compulsive, distress-driven behaviour. (4) They function as
whole persons, as thinking, feeling and choosing beings.
human beings start to express themselves according to these sorts of criteria,
then it is as if inescapably their togetherness will have spaces in it that
reveals its hidden social ground in
the other world.
is a very odd process. It is
ambiguous: am I doing it or is it doing me?
It is neither wholly voluntary, nor
wholly involuntary. It is
at the interface between my intentionality and some unknown power. It is also, of course, a spatial process, the thorax
expanding and contracting in three dimensions.
cannot stop the process of breathing, and I cannot start it, or rather, I did
not in any obvious sense start it at my birth.
All I can do is hold the breath in, or hold the breath out, for a short
period of time until I just have to let it go on.
If I hold the breath for a shorter period, within my limit of
tolerance, then I can choose when to let it go on. But when I thus choose, I
don't originate, cause or generate the process.
I am only in the business of regulating, managing or controlling it.
well as holding the breath, I can breathe fast or slow, deep or shallow; and
when I breathe deep, I can expand different parts of the lung cavity either
serially or simultaneously. I can
breathe through my mouth or through my nose, silently or with a variety of
different sounds. But what is the
source of the process of breathing?
Whence comes the in-breath, and whence comes the out-breath?
no good holding the breath, either in or out, to try to get an answer.
That just temporarily halts the process.
But there is a space between the worlds that gives a glimpse, a hint of
origins. In normal breathing, it is found at the turn of the breath.
attend to the time between the out-breath and the in-breath, it is as
if the energy of the in-breath wells up out of subtle or subtle space in
the lower abdomen. And if I
attend to the time between the in-breath and the out-breath, it is as
if the energy of the out-breath comes from a subtle space in the mid or
upper thorax. These subtle events are readily obscured by the more gross
physical processes of breathing. But
I can shift my consciousness so that it is as if I am breathing in two worlds
physical breathing I am aware of the inhalation and exhalation of air, the
expansion and contraction of the thorax and diaphragm.
In the subtle breathing I am aware of a subtle double, pulsing in a
subtle universe; as though this pulsing generates the physical breathing
process, is the source of it, and sets the limits within which voluntary
pulsing of my subtle double seems to have a wider planetary source, very much as
if the subtle double of the
earth expands and contracts.
So my physical breathing is set in the generative context of the
pulsing of my subtle body, which in turn is set within
a wider rhythm. And it
seems as though there is differential gearing between the three rhythms so
that they can fluctuate in limited independence of each other.
to the breathing thus takes me directly into the world of the subtle matrix of
physical phenomena. The turning
of the breath is an immediate opening onto this
matrix of the body and of the planet.
By a 'subtle matrix' I
mean a field in inner space that is formative and generative in relation to
am immersed in the experience of subtle breathing, this whole account seems
plausible enough. If I examine it intellectually, I am much more sceptical.
The subtle experience is highly ambiguous.
What physical correlates can be proposed for the so-called subtle
breath of the planet? To explain the source of the physical breath in terms of
subtle pulsing only shifts the problem - for whence arises the pulsing?
is a simpler and more accessible ambiguous experience to do with the breath,
simpler, that is, than the one just described above. When I breathe in,
expanding the abdomen and the whole thorax in one complete and simultaneous
enlargement in all directions, it is as
if I fill the whole subtle space of the body with subtle energy.
effect is only noticeable when abdomen and thorax expand fully and together,
as if a balloon is filling up. And
there are two balloons, one gross, one subtle.
Air fills the lungs, and free prana, akashic energy, fills the subtle
body - all over, not just in the subtle space of the trunk but of the limbs
also. Now is this effect just an elaboration of proprioceptive sensation, or
is it registered by what I may call subtle-sense?
all physical sensation is really a limiting case of a subtle, psi account of
the nervous system. It is
experienced in what I call the subtle matrix where the subtle body is most
fully identified with the physical body.
Suppose the subtle body is not totally identified with the physical
body but partially transcends it.
Then the psi-sense that reports the nervous system will have an ambiguous
hinterland that leads over into the psi-sense which goes beyond the nervous
system into pure akasha, but which can still be registered in the brain.
So with the in-breath, sensation (psi-sense) of lung events is
continuous with the psi-sense of purely subtle energy events.
be possible to awaken and train relatively unused parts of the cortex to
register psi-sense that transcends the normal reach of physical sensation and
perception. Maybe you can start to use the brain to reflect into ordinary
consciousness a psi-sense of all sorts of
transcendent processes -
some of which generate physical phenomena, and some of which relate entirely
to non-physical domains. Chapter
5 develops this idea and considers some examples of such transfiguration of
suppose that this visible universe we know of in everyday life is embedded in
another, invisible one which is its ground and origin.
Then we might expect that the unseen universe would only be relatively
unseen, that there might be all sorts of apertures between the worlds,
affording glimpses and views from one into the other.
is one possible opening which, precisely because it is so obvious, yields for
me the most ambiguous of all two world experiences. I doubt whether some
people ever attend to it at all. It
is the edge of the visual field. And
it is a place where interesting phenomena can occur.
edge of the visual field, I mean quite literally the place where, all around
the border of physical vision, the perceptual images end. If you focus your eyes on whatever is in the
middle of the visual field, then you can at the same time notice,
attend to, the edge of it: you can practise a kind of global awareness of its
somewhat ellipsoid limit. Or you can, as it were, 'look' at the edge.
Sit on a chair and hold you head upright.
Without moving the head cast your eyes down as far as they will go: the
image of your thighs will merge and disappear into a very blurred image of
your lower eyelids. Now attend to
the limit where this blurred image
disappears. Can you find it, or
notice it, or identify it?
What is there? What is beyond the edge?
final edge is not anywhere in the physical world, for it is just beyond
blurred physical images in a zone where there is no physical space for it to
be in. It is an experiential limit that has no physical locus. But it is a
limit, and a limit is a spatial entity which has more space of its own kind
beyond it. And the question is, not what is beyond the limit of the visual
field in the physical world, but what is beyond the limit of the field as
such, beyond the experiential edge, in
this other experiential space that has no physical parameters to define it.
For the edge of the visual field as such is not the same as the image of outer
rim of the eye socket which in very blurred form appears just within the edge.
The image of the rim of the eye socket is one phenomenon, and the
experientially vacant edge of the visual field is quite another. It just so
happens the former appears at the latter, but does not constitute it.
experience, it is as if, at this seemingly void edge of the visual field, outer space
wraps round into inner space: there is an opening that can access all kinds of
subtle domains. The only reason I don't notice this in an ordinary state of
consciousness, is that I am so busy generating a sense of the lay-out of the
everyday world immediately beyond the limits of my visual field.
My mind is always active supplementing my very partial physical
perspectives. While I am thus
mentally engaged in constructing a more complete account of physical space
than my visually perceived view of it, I simply don't notice, and haven't
acquired skills in attending to, the wrap-round into inner space.
can study this mental preoccupation with the lay-out of the physical world if
you repeat the exercise mentioned just above and hold the head well up while
turning the eyes to look down as far as possible. Now if you try attending to the edge of the visual field as
such, your mind will continually throw you back into ordinary space and you
will start to think of what is physically beyond the edge of the eye socket,
so you become aware of the parts of the face, chest and so on that are beyond
perceptual range. (In section 13, chapter 7, I shall suggest that this process
itself is a very limited, tacit kind of clairvoyance of the immediate spatial
matrix of the physical world.)
you can notice how the mind is habitually at work in everyday perception
causing you to attend to the immediately adjacent bits of physical space that
you can't actually see. Thus you
become oblivious to the wrap-round opening onto the other world. Of course,
this powerful habituation is very important for physical survival. It's no good wrapping round into another universe at the edge
of the visual field, then falling over a cliff because you have lost your
mental grip on the structure of physical space just outside the range of your
it is possible to interrupt this habituation somewhat and attend to what is
beyond the edge of the visual field, not out there in the physical world, but
experientially beyond the blurred imagery as such. I find the best way to do
this is not to use the looking-down-at-the-edge exercise, but to look
into the centre of the visual field, and then attend
to the edge. Once I start to attend actively to experiential space beyond the
edge of the visual field, I am busy with incipient clairvoyant structuring of
subtle space. Figure 4.1 portrays some of these ideas.
4.1 The experiential edge of the visual field
then, as it were, between the worlds. I
am aware of the physical world out there as revealed in my visual field,
although I am not giving it my
full attention. For I am also aware of an ellipsoid rim or border, all around
and just beyond the edge of the visual field, that is both in subtle space and
is a clairvoyant opening into subtle space.
attend to this ellipsoid subtle rim as a whole, and get only the most vague
and inchoate sense of I-don't-know-what other-worldly
goings-on in I-don't-know-what subtle domains.
Or I can attend to one part of the rim (my eyes are still focused in
the centre of their visual field) and have a clairvoyant look at that point:
if I let my psi vision enter this more focused experience and go with it, then
it may start to acquire some degree of form. But it clearly needs a great deal
of practice to make something of it.
whether you go for the whole rim or only part of it, there are two possible
directions for practice. Your
clairvoyance can go 'outward' from the subtle
rim into more 'remote' other-world domains; or it can wrap around
'inwards' so that it peers within
and through the visual field at subtle realms interpenetrating the immediate
course, the whole experience is ambiguous: it may be nothing more than vague
physical sensations dressing themselves up as pseudo-psi. Have a 'look' and see what you think. The final warrant is experiential. Conceptually it is clear that the outer edge of the visual
field is not a physical edge out there in the world, susceptible of physical
demarcation, but it is also clear that it is an edge, that is, that it does
have spatial properties. I say
the edge wraps round into subtle space. Does
is something else that happens when I am quite preoccupied with physical
events, and not at all trying to practise clairvoyance. And it occurs at this
mysteriously ambiguous edge of the visual field. It is as if I see some kind of entity flitting along it, or in and out of
it, for a split second.
never physically looking in that part of the field where I seem to see the
entity. The flitting occurs on
the periphery well away from the central focus of my eyes.
But did I physically see it, or did I 'see' it clairvoyantly? Did
another world entity materialize from subtle space at the edge of my visual
field, or did I suddenly and briefly 'see' into a bit of the other world
interpenetrating physical space out there on the visual periphery?
it simply a misperception of some simple physical phenomenon, like a moving
shadow cast just within my field of vision by some physical thing moving quite
outside my field of vision? Or a mirage, a hallucination, purely subjective
imagery projected out as if I were perceiving it? I can often quite readily
rule out the misperception explanation, much more rarely the hallucination
account of the experience.
For what it is worth, two kinds of entity appear to
flit in this way. One is like a
person, in vaguely human shape. The
other is like an animal, anywhere between the size of a small cat and a large
deer. I return to this topic in
section 6 of the next chapter.
Experience of the subtle realms: