That’s all very intense. I need to take a step back here, because meditating to find information is one thing, but entering a spiritual realm and encountering identities is something else again—especially when you’ve compared the spiritual realm to a jungle and said the jungle contains creatures that like to nibble on us. If a spiritual encounter could prove so dangerous, why do it? What do I gain? Why bother?
We begin responding to this question by observing that fear is a natural response when faced by new experiences. However, fear also naturally exaggerates dangers, which leads to paralysis. We repeat what we have already stated: there is no danger. What is on offer when you cross the threshold is adventure. As in all adventures, you may fall over and skin your knee, twist an ankle, even break your leg. But the body heals and you carry on. A common saying states, nothing ventured, nothing gained. This is what the situation we are discussing here comes down to. If you allow fear to rule your life choices you will achieve very little in any field of endeavour. Fear is the enemy. Rise above it.
As regards the adventures that become available to you when you cross the threshold and enter what we have likened to the jungle, they are certainly worth commenting on further. As the question points out, obtaining information by learning to listen to subtle streams of thought is a passive activity—passive in the sense that reading a book is passive. Of course, when you listen to subtle streams of thought you need an alert mind and to be engaged and ask questions. However, your awareness remains where it is; it doesn’t go wandering.
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In contrast, we are now advocating that you actively send your awareness into unknown territories. Compared to listening, this is a much more active approach to gathering information. Yet it also offers experiences that simply cannot be undergone by listening to subtle thoughts. The contrast is similar to the difference between reading a book about a foreign city and travelling to the city and experiencing it for yourself. This is not an entirely accurate comparison, because subtle streams of thought contain experiential riches far deeper than those available when you read a book. So the comparison is crude, but it broadly indicates the difference between the two forms of experience.
What will you encounter when you step over the threshold and enter the non-embodied realm?
First, appreciate that what you encounter depends on you. As a general rule, whoever journeys into the spiritual realm doesn’t merely desire to see something new. They are not simply sightseeing. What initiates such a journey is a deep inner call. It is the spiritual self that actually makes the call, although the spiritual self’s voice may echo within the essence self, at the emotional or intellectual level, where it is felt as a desire to connect more deeply than is usual for human beings. This echo often gives rise to confusion, and individuals can spend some time coming to terms with the call. Why they answer the call is that embedded in it is a need to know something, feel something, or find something that they passionately consider is important to them. To repeat, the drive behind the call always emanates from the spiritual self. In turn, an individual’s spiritual self is drawing their human self s attention to something in their life that is out of sync, or is inharmonious, wrong, needs bolstering, or is simply missing.
We have previously observed that you are only given information about yourself on a need-to-know basis. Only as information becomes significant to you—because you need it to solve a problem, illuminate a difficulty, or require a broader context to understand what is happening— is that information released. It isn’t that secrets are arbitrarily withheld, but simply that key information only becomes important to you when you need it to advance. If you received the information too early it would be confusing. Receiving it when you need it ensures it strikes home vividly and tellingly.
The same principle applies to what we are discussing here. Embedded in the call to journey into the spiritual realm is a question, a lack, or a problem to be solved that is germane to your current life situation. So when you respond to the call, gather your inner resources, step over the threshold, and project your awareness into the spiritual domain, you are doing so because you are driven by the need to discover something necessary for your continued growth. It is a next step you feel is urgently required for your evolution as a spiritual being engaged in a series of human incarnations.
One of the most commonly felt reasons for entering the spiritual domain is that explorers wish to encounter the Divine. Whether the Divine is envisaged as a personal being, a particular god-form, a formless field of energy, or a limitless intangible spiritual presence, numerous seekers throughout history have sought a spiritual encounter with what is greater. The motive is usually a passionate desire to transcend the limitations, conflicts and dissatisfactions basic to human existence. In fact, what they are seeking is an encounter with their own spiritual self. As we have already observed, this is the first level of spiritual interaction. And it is a very rich encounter. We’ll explain.
Imagine that you had access to an individual who remembers all they went through during hundreds of lifetimes, has collated all their experiences into an archive of knowledge, and has extracted innumerable life lessons from everything they had undergone. Moreover, this individual is not caught up in the hurley burley of daily life but is able to maintain a level of detachment while also being compassionate, understanding and tolerant. Such an individual would certainly be considered wise in human terms. Among the spiritually inclined, such a person is called a guru, an inspired and inspiring teacher.
Now imagine that you can sit at the feet of such a wise one. Moreover, you can close your eyes, quieten your mind, and merge with the deep being of this person, experiencing for yourself everything they have felt and know. The desire to meet and learn from such a wise person motivates people when they go on spiritual quests and pilgrimages, crossing oceans and mountains in the hope that meeting such a person will inspire them in their own journey through life.
You can certainly go on a physical journey to meet such a person. However, what you must know is that a wise person is available to you without physically travelling anywhere. That wise person is your own spiritual self. The inspired and inspiring guru is you. You have lived hundreds of lives. You have gone through multiple experiences. You have a huge stock of life lessons to drawn from. And you don’t have to cross oceans or mountains or wait among thousands of other seekers in order to have a personal audience. You are already there. Your spiritual you is already available! All you need do is sit quietly, close your eyes, cross your inner threshold, and encounter your own expansive, transcendent self.
So this is the first level of spiritual identity that is available to you. Given your spiritual self is expansive and accepting and appreciative of what you are doing in this life, and given that human level awareness is so narrow in comparison, when you first encounter your own spiritual self it is a revelatory experience. For many people it feels like an encounter with the Divine. And it is. Because ultimately, to use religious language, you are part of the Divine. All is Divine. To use more neutral language, consciousness is present everywhere and permeates everything and everyone. There is nowhere where consciousness is not. So when you encounter your own consciousness, no matter how revelatory that experience is, it is just your first experience with what exists beyond the human everyday. Much else exists in the spiritual domain, available for you to experience.
Obviously, you are not the only spiritual identity existing in the spiritual domain. Every single human being has their own expansive spiritual self waiting to be contacted, whether by themselves or by others. Similarly, every other living creature around you has a spiritual identity with which it is associated.
Shamans have experienced and teach about the existence of many kinds of spirits that inhibit the middle world, that being the spiritual level directly associated with the physical world. Again, you don’t need to travel far to meet these kinds of spirits. The world, the planet Earth, is filled with spirits. Many spirits are associated with physical species, with particular plants and animals. Other spiritual identities are associated with places or natural processes. This is because just as you are a spiritual being who has chosen to enter a human body in order to experience, learn and grow, so other kinds of spiritual beings have chosen to associate themselves with non-human species for exactly the same purpose. If you wish to approach these spirits, you are best doing so in the same way that you would approach a wise guru: with an attitude of humility and a desire to learn. Just like your spiritual self, these spiritual identities have been around a long time and have observed and experienced much. They also know and can do things that are not easily accessed or carried out at the everyday human level. Such interactions can be very valuable for those who wish to understand pets, animals they work with, or creatures that occupy local environments.
The other significant category of spiritual identities are those who are spirit guides. Some people call them angels, although this is an exaggerated term for spiritual identities who are, basically, of the same order of consciousness as you. There are various levels of spirit guides. As we have already explained, some of your guides are members of your close and extended spiritual family. They look out for you when you are embodied, just as you look out for when they are embodied. This is the level of friends and peers. The next level of spirit guides are those who are more experienced, often significantly so. Some among them are approaching the completion of their cycle of incarnation in human form. They function as advisors and teachers. Beyond them are spirit guides who have completed their cycle of incarnation. Each level of spirit guide has access to different forms of knowledge and experience, depending on what they themselves have gone through and learned. Any and all of these are accessible to you, depending on what you ask for and what you need.
Finally, there are many spirits in the spiritual domain that are quite different from those normally associated with earthly activity. You will come to learn of those as and when you wish and need to. There is no point in us saying any more about them for now: they are there for you to discover as you wish. The primary difference between these spiritual identities and your guides is that your guides are invested in your progress, whereas these non-earthly spirits are neutrally engaged. When you come into mutual contact, they are as likely to be curious about you as you are about them.
This is a short answer to your question. We reiterate: the notion that dangers exist in humanity’s interactions with spirits is overstated. It is fuelled by fear. There is a chance you may pick up something annoying or do the awareness equivalent of twisting an ankle. Nothing is permanent. It is all part of exploring. And, let’s face, just living close to other people in the human domain is no easy ride. Everything you do has its difficulties. And rewards. It’s the way life is.