The Other Dimensions
What if I told you that there were other planes of being woven into our physical world? What if I told you that what we think of as the physical world isn’t a physical world at all, that it is actually a triune world made of the material, the mental, and the spiritual realms, connected in ways we don’t quite understand, that what you can see with your physical eyes and measure with your physical tools is not nearly all there is, that it is only one dimension of something bigger?
Would you say I was nuts?
Or would you say that you know, that somehow, you’ve always known?
Nowadays, most people like to sort the world into boxes. They have their box of science, which is where most of the real world goes. They have their box of mental ideas and beliefs and etc. that they take out and sort through every once in a while. And they have a spiritual box nicely inlaid with mother-of-pearl, full of values and existential questions and cultural rituals, that’s sitting off in a corner somewhere, covered with dust.
This is how most people picture their lives. It’s neat. It’s under control. It’s comfortable. But it’s an illusion.
So take the red pill, and see that there are no boxes. There’s only this great, wild, wonderful world that we live in.
What do I mean by these interwoven planes? Let me give you an example. At the moment, I am listening to orchestra music. Specifically, I am listening to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. This is ordinary (for me, at least). Let us look through it and see the mystery of the world.
First, consider all the physical parts of this picture, seen and unseen. Imagine that we can catalogue every sound wave and every quark, every electromagnetic wave, every force, every interaction, every neuron firing in my brain, every stroke I make on the keyboard, every pixel in my computer, every strand of DNA in every cell. Put that all in one category.
We still have not captured all that is happening here.
I am typing – we have recorded the key strokes and seen the pixels change color on the screen. But what am I writing? The thoughts are not in the pixels; they are not in the neurons; nowhere in our long catalog will we find the meaning of a melody or the harmoniousness of a harmony. For this we must form another category: the mental realm.
Above and beyond all the different vibration frequencies, the volume of the sound hitting my ear, and all the other physical facts we’ve recorded, is the fact of the tune itself. The fact that you are hearing different frequencies cannot tell you whether the song is catchy. For this you need to understand harmonies and melodies, things like patterns and counter-patterns, tension and resolution, cycle and progression.
Only with all of these non-physical concepts added can we understand what it means that something is a coherent piece of music and not simply a collection of sounds. The patterns and categories that tie the physical facts together, the symmetry or arrangement of the sounds, reveal connections and patterns that are undetected in the physical dimension. These are the mental qualities of the orchestra piece, and you have to have a mind to understand them.
But even if we record all these mental objects, we still have not captured all that is happening here.
The physical can tell me that there is a collection of sounds. The mental can tell me that these sounds have symmetry and progression. But if we stop here, we will never understand the meaning of a symphony. We have catalogued the scene’s content and its order, but we have not yet grasped its significance. We know its “that” and its “how,” but not its “why.” We see the symmetry of the sound; we must now see the beauty of the symmetry.
This belongs to another plane. You can imagine a person who understands all of the mathematics of music arrangement, all the music theory and tones and rhythms, but has no clue that music is beautiful, that has never had his soul moved by the regretful tone of a lament or his heart swelled with the grand notes of a heroic theme. The values and experiences captured in music, the ones that speak directly to our hearts, cannot be understood by a creature that only has a mind. They are spiritual qualities, and they can only be perceived by a being that has a spirit.*
I have only begun to explain all of this, and I know I’m not very good at it. But my basic point is this: the world is not a big physical place that also has some mental and spiritual things scattered around in it. You cannot have physical properties without having mental and spiritual properties, any more than you can have size without shape or mass without density. And we, as the heads of this world, are not only physical agents, but rational and moral agents as well, beings who can interact in all three dimensions.
Why is this important? Because we are missing a good deal of what the universe is about. Little “spiritual boxes” aren’t big enough to hold much, and as a result, we think we live in an indifferent, silent, soulless universe. But we don’t. Every part of it is offering a glimpse into the great mystery, is speaking a hidden truth from before the foundation of the world. But we’ve forgotten how to understand.
It’s time to remember.
*You may think these are merely emotional qualities, subjective experiences, and thus belong in the physical plane. But they aren’t subjective; if you hear the strains of the Jaws theme and think them happy-go-lucky, you are not merely unique; you are wrong. The music is beautiful even if no one hears it, and that makes it independent of our emotions. Our emotions are one of the ways we often perceive spiritual truth; they are not the truth itself, in the same way the clicking of a Geiger counter is a way we detect radiation; that is not to say that radiation is just the clicking of Geiger counters.