By Brian Luke Seaward
Have you seen this 15th century wood carving of a young man looking out beyond the usual, known boundaries of Earth to see what more he might find? He seems awestruck by the reality he discovered when he pushed past the veil of ordinary perception. Some versions of the wood carving reveal a series of wheels and levers beyond the veil, a series that represents a huge machine running the cosmos. Other versions reveal an absolute nothingness, empty space, or at least empty to the unknowing, unquestioning eye.
For millennia, mystics, sages, wisdom keepers, and spiritual luminaries have spoken of what we might learn beyond what our five senses can reveal as we try to answer the perennial question – “What is the nature of reality?” The mysterious realm that they teach about goes by many names: the void, the heavens, the mind of God, Valhalla, Nirvana, the promised land, and what the Irish call “the unseen world”. Renowned inventor and philosopher, Buckminster Fuller, once said, “Eighty percent of reality cannot be observed or detected through the five senses.” Carl Jung was convinced that the unconscious mind was a portal to the unseen world. The way to see and describe the non-rational, non-measurable dimensions of reality requires a different process for perceiving what can be discovered, a process that includes dreams, visions, and myths and uses the language of metaphor not science. Moreover, this level of awareness is one where time and space play be different rules. In fact, it was Einstein’s Theory of Relativity that solidified Jung’s concept of “the collective unconscious” that later included his concepts of synchronicity, archetypes and much more.
There are many stories about people who have had a chance, like the young man in the woodcarving, to lift the veil and take a peek at a bigger picture of reality. Prophetic dreams, unexplained synchronicities, mystical experiences, and, one of my favorites, near-death experiences, can lead us to explore a reality far more grand than our culturally limited, consensus-based view allows. Especially striking evidence has come from near-death experiences that are impossible to explain with our ordinary understanding of brain physiology.
There are carefully documented cases in which people who have been declared brain dead return to ordinary consciousness with information previously not only not known to them, but of secrets that had been tightly held. My favorite stories include ones about people who return having learned that they are not single children, but had a brother or sister who died before they were born, a sibling their parents had never mentioned. They come back from their experience of the other side knowing a bigger truth.
I too have had more than one opportunity to lift the curtain that hides knowledge of the full nature of reality to understand that includes something much bigger and fantastic, yet very real. These have included psychic experiences, psychic dreams, extremely accurate premonitions, and countless unexplained phenomena that at times left me questioning my sanity, yet at other times left me in complete awe and amazement. Though not as exciting or data-laden as near-death experiences, I too have had the curtain of “normal” reality pulled back for a quick glimpse, not once but several times. The first occurred when I was a young boy in a vivid dream that I saw unfold the next day like an instant replay. Then, while living in Washington DC, serving on the faculty of The American University, I had another vivid dream. The White House was struck in succession by three lightening bolts. A spokesperson emerged revealing that everyone was all right. The next day, a person charged the White House gate with a weapon attempting to harm the president. I knew there would be two more attempts. The next two attacks occurred within the same year, culminating with a piper cub airplane crashing into the upstairs balcony, ironically the same day I was to appear at the White House to give a presentation.
As a young boy I was occasionally bullied in school and I knew better than to share these experiences, but I took great comfort in knowing that through thick and thin, I wasn’t alone. At other times, several glimpses beyond the veil occurred during meditations. These quick peeks led me on a spiritual search for meaning, understanding, and validation of what I knew to be true in my heart – but I yearned to know more. This journey has led me to find remarkable people with similar quests. Some bold pioneers have taken steps to explore the mysteries and mechanics of the unseen world. Bucking being ridiculed and ostracized, they have made significant discoveries that they have written or spoken about. Charles Tart, Elmer Green, Beverly Rubik, Dean Radin, Valerie Hunt, Michael Talbot, and Larry Dossey – these are just some of the thinkers, researchers, and scholars who have embarked on this search so that the rest of humanity could have a clearer understanding of who we are and what surrounds us. Through their work, we can now know something, for example, about remote viewing, healing at a distance, energy healing, telepathy, and precognition.
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to take a peek beyond what is currently accepted as real is through the practice of meditation. Nearly every culture advocates a method of stilling thought that can best be described as meditation. While there are many portals to the threshold of an expanded consciousness, meditation is perhaps the most accessible. It has been for me, and I know I am not alone. When the conscious mind becomes quiet and focused, then the realms of an expanded perception may open for exploration and revelation. In fact, wisdom keepers have reminded us that our limited view of reality is analogous to looking through a pinhole where we can only see a tiny fraction of all the known universe. With meditative practices we can widen that pinhole. Mystics, sages, and spiritual luminaries are also reminding us that there will come a day when the veil will be lifted so everyone can have a grand view of reality. Then we will have the comfort of knowing our glorious connection to all life in the cosmos.
All the glimpses through the veil do not happen firsthand. Also, although they usually contain serious insights and enlightened revelations, the universe does have a sense of humor and sometimes we learn with experiences that make us smile. Sometimes these insights come through encounters with others who act as messengers to remind us of hidden realities, as happened with this story –
If you visited my home, you would notice that all sides of the property are lined with gardens. Each garden overflows with flowers and plants, selected with the aim of attracting a variety of wildlife. In the northern and southern corners blue spruce pine trees provide summer shade and winter shelter for the many creatures who come to visit – hummingbirds, bees and butterflies, squirrels, foxes, and raccoons, as well as many birds of prey. The backyard patio is a mosaic of flower boxes, patio furniture, potted plants, bird baths, and a small waterfall that provides a musical accompaniment to the concert of birdsong all summer long.
A few years ago, I had a raised patio built off the bedroom. After several weeks, the designer, a man named Julio who came from Juarez, Mexico, pulled me to the side and said, “You have a beautiful backyard. It’s very magical. I don’t usually say this because people will think I am crazy, but I see things many other people don’t see. There is a lot of magical energy in your backyard.”
I smiled and said, “Thanks, tell me more.”
He continued, “You have fairies in your back yard. They love the gardens, but they particularly like the waterfall.” Then he added with a sigh, “You’re lucky, you have fairies. I have gnomes.”
And with that he walked away.
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Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D., is the author of best-selling books including STAND LIKE MOUNTAIN, FLOW LIKE WATER, and QUIET MIND, FEARLESS HEART.
He is the Executive Director of the Paramount Wellness Institute in Boulder, Colorado.
You can reach him at http://www.brianlukeseaward.net .
The image that leads this post is a facsimile of a woodcut created in Europe more than 400 years ago. And – the editor apologizes for not knowing how to correct the cropping that occurred when the post was published.