[Editor’s Note: This article, The Universe is Mental – Part I: Tuning In, is part I of a 3 part series by author and artist Trevor Harden. Stay tuned for more…]
Despite my life-long, rabid interest in comparative religion, mythology and philosophy, I spent the majority of my life as a bit of a skeptic – intellectually wrestling with mainstream spiritual ideas but unavailable to experience an actual spiritual reality beyond what I could directly observe. My Bullshit Meter was (and still is) on high alert. But the further around the fringes I allowed myself to explore, the more confused I became. Here were people I respected, teachers I looked up to and authors I found interesting speaking passionately about such “far out” things as angelic beings, divination, chakras and astral travel. “Are you freaking kidding me,” I scoffed. And yet it was as though I couldn’t escape… these topics just kept bubbling up in one form or another. Cursed with an insatiable curiosity, I felt compelled to take a closer look.
Things started to turn around when I began thinking about the function of an ordinary car stereo. If you’re listening to Station A and then switch to Station B, does “A” stop broadcasting just because you’ve tuned in to a different frequency? Of course not. Both are simultaneously projecting wavelengths into the air but your car’s antenna is only able to pick up one at a time. In other words, there are many unseen realities surrounding us at all times that we simply don’t have the faculties to receive.
The human vehicle comes equipped with its own set of antennas – the five senses. Yet as wonderful as they are in enabling us to taste sweet ice cream and smell a musky perfume, they are not dialed in to register many other very real phenomena. X-rays, microwaves and radio frequencies go unnoticed by the ordinary human consciousness. If that is true, isn’t it at least possible that there are many additional realities – spiritual realities – that neither most of humanity, nor even our technology, are currently able to pick up?
A Mental Creation
Nearly all mystical and spiritual traditions speak of otherworldly beings, heavens and alternate dimensions. The simplest form of the Kabbalah, as one example, outlines TEN divine emanations and FOUR realms, of which our everyday physical reality (called Malkuth / Assiah) is only one crude fraction of the bigger picture. Are these divine worlds, celestial beings and alternate dimensions “real” or are they just projection? Is all of this simply self-delusion and imagination? It’s entirely possible. But let’s look at the nature of mind for a moment.
In an ancient system known as Hermeticism, the very first principle (the Principle of Mentalism) states that all of reality is in the mind of God, a mental creation. Similarly, many eastern philosophies suggest that the physical world is Maya (or illusion), a sort of fantastic virtual reality simulation. Furthermore, scientific advances have proven that all of physical reality is no more real than the mental projection we have of it; your eye sees a couch, but on a subatomic level there is nothing solid at all – only infinite space and quantum soup. In fact, one (controversial) research scientist even suggests that it’s possible that nothing physical exists until a consciousness observes it.
Taking that as a starting place, if the universe or multiverse is indeed mental…
…that means that thought is a creative principle, that visualization is extraordinarily powerful and that will and intention have the potential to manipulate the framework.
Your Attention, Please
What I’m suggesting is this: If you’ve never experienced the mystical or supernatural, it’s possibly because you haven’t tuned yourself to it mentally. In other words, we only see what we will to see. Have you ever noticed how many red cars you pass once you buy one yourself… or how many strollers you see when you have a new baby? As journalist Jason Louv puts it, “Attention is the currency we spend to make things real.” If you invest your will and attention on extra-sensory, non-physical phenomena, you very well may manifest their influence in your life. The problem is that most of us have already made up our minds before we even look. If you are closed to spirit, to magick, to energy centers in the body, to astrological forces, to synchronicity, to meaning… then you will certainly never experience these things. The Tao Te Ching shines some light here:
“Green plants are tender and filled with sap. At their death they are withered and dry. Therefore the stiff and unbending is the disciple of death. The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life.”
Until we are willing to throw out everything we think we know, we will not be soft enough for new possibilities and ideas to grow. In the process of consciously and intentionally opening ourselves to spiritual realities we begin to till the psychic soil, making it fertile for these non-physical, “mental” influences to take root.
In the next couple of weeks I will be continuing with installments in this series. In Part II I will address those of you with strong Bullshit Meters, in particular how you can discern if the experiences you’re having are authentic or if you have indeed gone of the deep end. In Part III I will share an introduction on how to listen to, interact with and even manipulate this “mental universe.”
Until then, may your daily prayer be simple: “Open up my eyes to the things unseen.” Just this simple, seemingly insignificant effort may be enough to begin to consciously change your frequency. You may find you’re able to TUNE IN to a whole new world that had been there – quietly and secretly – all along.
About the Author
Trevor Harden is a writer, professional musician, visual artist (sacred geometry + graphic design) and student of all esoteric and exoteric traditions. He studied music theory and composition at Ball State University in Indiana and now resides near the Lowcountry beaches of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Find Trevor’s writings, artwork and music at both trevorharden.com and theedgeofspirit.tumblr.com.