The Spiritual Dimensions Are Accessed from Within You
By James Bean
Most of the world religions have a cosmology of several heavens or planes, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhs, Islam - the Sufis, Kabbalah. The Gnostic religion, in Pagan or Hermetic, Jewish, and Christian forms, had a system of several heavens also. I recall that Shamanism has them being inside the earth. The old medieval view of the Catholic and Protestant West was/is? that the heavens were physically "up" in the sky or beyond the so-called "dome" of the sky. That series of volumes known as, A Course In Miracles, has a wonderful term for projecting outside one's self realms that are within and non-physical, or expecting a material Kingdom of Heaven to descend down from the sky and land on the earth. The Course calls
this: "level confusion."
The "New World" is Within
There is a delightful saying in an ancient text discovered in Egypt called the Gospel of Thomas, which puts it this way:
If your leaders say to you, "Look, the (Father's) kingdom is in the sky," then the birds of the sky will get there before you do. If they say to you, "It is in the sea," then the fish will precede you.
An Eastern parallel from Kabir:
The small ruby everyone wants has fallen out on the road. Some think it is east of us, others west of us. Some say, "among primitive earth rocks," others, "in the deep waters." Kabir's instinct told him it was inside and what it was worth, and he wrapped it up carefully in his heart cloth.
Within this earthen vessel are bowers and groves, and within it is the Creator. Within this vessel are the seven oceans and the unnumbered stars. The touchstone and the jewel-appraiser are within. And within this vessel the Eternal soundeth, and the spring wells up. Kabir says: "Listen tome, my Friend! My beloved Lord is within."
The realms described in the PDF file are within one's self. That is to say, it is a journey of several stages that one passes through on the way to the Non-dual Ultimate Reality or Ocean of Oneness at the Top, beyond all illusion. The journey begins at the Third Eye Center, goes up through the Crown Chakra and through many levels beyond. During meditation (surat shabd yoga, out-of-body or soul travel), one passes through the regions crudely illustrated by the PDF file. Certain lights, visions or sounds one encounters up this NDE-like "tunnel" inside are used as markers along the way. Certain key visions, lights and sounds, are associated with the astral, causal, mental, ethereal, and spiritual planes above those.
For a Chart of Inner Space: