The Earthly Realm -the Four Square Realm of space, time, thought and matter. The plane of our physical, biological, worldly senses and ego-centered self and personality. Of the ten thousand things and beings. This is the Realm of the 'here and now', or intrinsic duality and passing time. The worldly self, the familiar life-view and attitudes, emotional patterns and body sense one knows as 'me'.
The "I-sayer" here is focused through the ego, the personality's subjective hub and reference point. This predisposes us to take everything personally, linear and fragmented. This level of our humanity is shaped by interactions between our most conditioned natures and the circumstances of our lives. Identifying solely with this level of our being breaks our connections with our deeper, transpersonal contexts and resources.
Our experience of this First Realm is as the world that we know through the outer senses. The energies involved in this are polarized and dualistic --'this/that", like/dislike", "desire/fear", etc. The self-talk is usually around "I want...", "I need...", "I should..." Relationships, pursuits of any kind -love, work, family, spirituality- on this level are limited to externals and the mind-sets that personality can grasp. Thoughts and feelings are mainly shaped by one's beliefs, judgments and mental pictures.
The energies behind these concerns are sourced from the 1st, Root Chakra, the primal energies of the Earth, concerned with issues of survival and vitality; the 2nd, Belly Chakra, the Biological energies and aspects that focus on nurturing and procreation; and the 3rd, Solar Plexus Chakra, the Animal nature. These are the source of personal identity and power.
The true nature of the heart and its levels can only be indicated with words. Personal experience there alone can tell you what you seek. The following is offered by way of poetry and metaphor to help evoke your own personal truth.
This first, outermost layer of our heart is where it meets and makes contact with the physical and social worlds -the Four Square Realm of space, time, thought and matter. This is where the feeling and emotional dimensions of personality and ego manifest. This layer of the heart is shaped and landmarked with our personal history in this first Realm. Our day-to-day world view and concerns, and needs and imaginings relating to these occupy this Realm, the outermost levels of the Heart and Mind. This is the Realm where we meet and engage with others' outermost selves.
The usual focus of the mind in the Earth Realm is under the control of one's appetites and drives, fears, fleeting desires and the welter of circumstance. A higher and more individuated use of this level of mind is in the areas of inquiry and creativity. Music, math, philosophy -each can create an unique cosmology in this Realm. Though limited to a linear view of reality, this quest of the lower mind even grasps at the Divine Infinite through theology.
The Astral Realm - the level of our soul, beneath personality and ego. Here is the source of our deep character, our personhood. Here are the psychic senses, our deep mind and emotions, symbols and inner reality. This is a more authentic and pure aspect of our being. Here is our own unique individuality, apart from outer circumstance and conditioning
Those complex grid work configurations created by the Lords of Karma in the more subtle Etheric Realm now merge with the identities of individual souls, spirit bearing beings. Here is the creation of individuality, the complexity of personal consciousness as the Astral subtle matter congeals around the personal cocoons of karma and soul. The individual soul has the power to give reality to its interweaving webs of karma, happenstance and Divine Intention. It transforms them into a personal reality and meaning, manifests them through subjective thought and action.
The flow of time is less focused in this Realm, form is less restricted, less detailed. A new, finer level of sensing opens in order to grasp the greater depths of things. Here individual souls are aligned with our personal Ray from the higher Etheric Realm as part of our vehicle of manifestation.
The Astral Realm is peopled with many varieties of souls and soul-like beings, at many levels of evolution and expression. This can vary from Earth bound, appetite enslaved souls to highly evolved 'walk-ins'. Because they are not embodied, astral perceptions and capacities transcend the Earth Realm mind's comprehension, but they are not necessarily wiser or more spiritual.
In the Soul of the Heart -usually completely surrounded by the outer, personal layer- we experience emotions, feelings and heart-knowings that relate to our inner personhood. Our emotional interests, needs and gifts here are more essential to our true natures. They concern us over longer periods of time and can persevere beyond the reach of circumstances.
The Astral Realm is multidimensional, rather than just the limited four dimensions of space, time, thought and matter of the First Realm. It is of a finer, subtler substance, with a profusion of polarities rather than just basic duality. Consciousness here has a higher range -- subtler, more expansive. With many other resources than just the physical senses, this is the Realm of psychic phenomena.
On this level, we interact with our personal angels, our soul group and helpers and others' souls. All our deeper personal aspects, known and unknown, interact here, from childhood memories to the culture's longings. Here are the meanings of our core issues, gifts and life-callings. In the soul of the Heart we come to a fuller knowing of one's self that the outer heart is too shallow to hold. As a result, relationships and pursuits that stem from this level are truer to ourselves, are more natural and flowing from fuller resources.
The subtle-body energies in this realm are mainly from the 4th, the Heart Chakra, concerned with the aspects of our beings involving Heart-knowing and higher emotions --like compassion, altruism and creativity, and the 5th, the Throat Chakra, with higher, psychic sensing and self-expression.
Here the mind has access beyond linearity and duality that is inherent in manifestation in the First Realm. Here awareness is drawn to the metaphysical, reality beyond the physical. Consciousness opens to the non- duelist, 'soulful' principles that underlie universal appearances. With this scope of awareness, one can recognize spiritual truths in personal, subjective terms and experiences.
The Etheric Realm - the plane of our of higher, transpersonal consciousness, emotions and senses and through vital body (chakras, the life-force/prana). This is the domain of the Lords of Karma and the Ascended Masters. Here the Message of the Divine Intention enters fuller manifestation. It interacts with the webbing of karmas, from personal to globular.
An energy matrix runs throughout the Etheric Realm, a dynamic grid work of crystallizing force that radiates potentiality. Time begins. Not narrow, linear, sequential time, but more an awareness of sequence, intention and purpose in the nature of things.
The cosmic awareness holds the incredible complexities and interactions of this etheric matrixing. This consciousness serves as a formatting for the Celestial Realm's Messages to resonate with the individual cocoons of karma, the archetypes the give thought its meaning. This creates the possibly for it to become manifest through personal thought and action.
The Lords of Karma also work with Storehouse Consciousness, the Akashic Record. This holds the memory traces of every soul's unfolding -every detail, pattern and purpose. The Lords of Karma use their incarnation-ripened wisdom to formulate the karmic patterns -the action scenarios- to help align each individual's process with the expression of the Divine Intention. The Ideal is that each person's personal fulfillment and their spiritual expression can be in vitalizing resonance.
As well as guiding individual lives, the Lords of Karma also focus on larger group karmas and callings. I saw these various facets of the overall Impulse as different colored Rays emanating from this Etheric Realm down through to the Astral.
This next deeper layer of the heart is also of the spirit. This is more mysterious and calls for and creates its own quality of consciousness. Here we have access to our essential emotions, such as presence, being, compassion, self-fulfilling, unconditional love and goodness.
When there is alignment and resonance between all these levels, the radiance of the spiritual Realm of the Heart can support and nurture the first two realms with its gifts. In this way spirit engages with the soul, and, through it, to the first layer of self and the outer world. This liaison gives one's spirit a means to transmit its infinite splendor down into the narrower but transformative material realms. This is the core of Cosmosis that makes it possible to materialize spirit and to spiritualize matter.
We share this third level of the Heart with the Divine Qualities, the Attributes of the Creator. Guidance, visions and empowerments are manifested in this domain.
Our spirit, this individuated particle of Divine Light, transcends the specifics of our personal lives. There is more to us in this third Realm of the our being than can ever be known to the outer, more apparent levels. This is where the "knowing heart", the prophetic nature dwells and communicates with our High Self, and with others' spirits, in or out of the body. This Realm is where we engage with the Lords of Karma, our guides and others involved with the fullness of our spiritual life. When motivated and guided from this Realm, relationships and worldly pursuits express the highest calling and purpose for all those involved. Again, there is the calling and demonstration that the evolved, fulfilled individual is a glorification of the Divine Impulse.
The "I-sayer" identity here is the High Self, with transpersonal capacities and resources. "I Know...", "I Vision...", are usual frames of reference. The energies and corresponding levels of higher consciousness utilized on this plane are from the 6th Chakra, the Third Eye and its expansive, illuminative consciousness.
In the Etheric plane, the mind transcends the limitations of all Realms in mystical journeys. It receives personally transformative teachings, through visionary consciousness. It sees beyond changing appearances into the essence of things that can't be expressed in objective, rational terms.
The Celestial Realm -the heavenly plane of our High Self, our spiritual body. Here are the Ascended Masters, angels, and the Essential Light. Here the Divine Intention is received from Source and given the capacity to take cosmic meaning and form as an angelic Message. This Celestial Realm of the angels is the first level in Cosmosis, the process of giving Divine Intention manifestation and expression in all four Realms. The hierarchy of angels perform a 'translation' to facilitate this quantum leap from the ineffable Divine Intention into communicable form -Messages- that can be transmitted down into manifestation from the Celestial Realm. Here Inexpressible Being is formulated into cosmic intelligence.
In this Realm is the Heart of the heart, beyond containing in form or name. It might be experienced as a transcendent stillness or emptiness, yet with potency beyond imagining. The mystic view of this inner radiance, the luminous essential core of our heart and being, is unpredictable. Always new, it is continually renewed in its eternal Source of Being. Movement into this innermost realm is done with a gesture of surrender, of honoring the awaiting grace. In this Heart of our heart we know and are seen by the Divine with the Heart's Eye. This is the source of self-knowing and self-acceptance, compassion and peace.
Here we connect with the eternal essence of our being. This is the individuated speck of the Divine Being, the true "I", the Atman that goes from life to life. This is the Self that wears individual soul after soul in its coming into fullness of being while manifesting the Divine Impulse.
Far beyond the mind's imagining, this is each individual's inner palace of the Godhead, the Source, the Being in All. This is the realm of the Secret, the place of the merging, of at-onement. It is most wondrous and mysterious, the bliss of being in the Throne's pure Light. The transforming truth of this culminating experience is beyond all description, yet can be repeated daily. "I am an Aspect of the Eternal", "This is my fullness of Being," "I compassionately encompass all."
At this boundary where self and God meet is where our spirit might be most aware of its separation and longing for the Beloved. These are the Heavenlies, but because these energies fields are so subtle and interior and not accessible to the outer-conscious mind, they can easily be covered over and disguised by the grosser, transitory events on more superficial levels.
Each one of us is our own Way to discovering the Unknowable. When the "I-sayer" is absorbed into this greatest depth of Heart -- the "I AM" Love -- it comprehends that it is the only Truth, the only real source of meaning. This is the true Heart, the Portal into the Unity. Here we become a radiant drop ever merging with the Infinite Ocean of Source.
Ecstasy and bliss come with the Illumination of this at-onement with Source. All feelings and concerns from the first three realms can be offered and released into Cosmic Consciousness and Love. All is healed and fulfilled in this Boundlessness.
Consciousness ascends up to the Crown, the 7th Chakra. This is the Realm of Self Realization, of Enlightenment. In the process of residing in the presence of God, the "I-sayer" shifts from self to Self. Through a spiritual death and rebirth, one is transformed to realize the total Oneness in the Bliss of Pure Consciousness. This is God within oneself knowing God beyond. The Realization that Becoming is not different from Being .
At the Celestial Realm's most rarefied, outermost edge and boundary is an illuminative WEB of etheric crystal. This is the matrix that marks the limit of the Created Universe and the threshold to the Eternal Boundless Other. This lattice of luminous black light is the primal womb, the place of transubstantiation of the Absolute Nothingness into some thing. It is also Portal that allows those with prophetic calling a way to escape the restricted experience of selfhood and have visionary access to the Unknowable.
From the perspective of the awakened Self, of being merged with Highest Conscious and Love, one can witness the vast beauties and wonders of the Four Realms interplay to shape every moment. In that place of loving wisdom is the Peace of discerning that all this vast interplay of Realms rests in the Divine Ocean of Being.
Copyright Nathaniel Schwartz 2003 www.WisdomVisions.com