Learning to Live In the Supersensible Realm
Learning to Live In the Supersensible Realm
Learning to Live In the Supersensible Realm

  Participation in Higher Consciousness Super-Consciousness Unitive Consciousness
Dialectic As Transformative Interchange   Dimensions Of Being   Inner Dialectic
  Contact With Spiritual Substance Higher Reason Divulges Transcendent Being
Perennialist Teachers Engendering Enlightenment Location Your Consciousness in Your Higher Self

"The end for which man was created was to achieve communion with the Higher Powers above the terrestrial realm, through the light and spirit of the Divine, the wings of the soul. That ought to be man's aim in the acquisition of knowledge."
Plato, Theatetus

"There is another ultimate underlying potency (àρχñ) of the soul which is superior to the whole realm of nature and generated existence. Through it we are enabled to attain communion with the superior intelligences, of being transported beyond the scenes and arrangements of this world, and of partaking of the Life Eternal and the higher powers of the heavenly ones. Through this capability we are able to set ourselves free from the domination of Fate, and are made, so to speak, the arbiters of our own destinies. For, when the more excellent parts of us become filled with energy, and the soul is exalted to communion with superior beings, then it becomes separate altogether from those conditions which keep it under the dominion of the present every-day life of the world, exchanges the present for another life, gives itself to a different order, and abandons the conventional habits belonging to the external order of things, to enter and mingle itself with the order which pertains to the higher life."

Iamblicus (250-325 CE), The Egyptian Mysteries 1

      In this essay we're studying how to achieve actual participation in living a separate life in the supersensible realm, experienced as a world or domain distinct from our ordinary existence. To achieve authentic participation in a new life within the supersensible realm we'll examine specific concepts and actively engage in prescribed exercises.

      We begin the process of creating a life in the Supersensible Realm by gaining an understanding of the three Realms of Being.

The Realms of Being
Supersensible Realm:
The Realm of Forms and Higher Being
Accessed through: Dialectical Interchange
Dialectical Theurgy
Perennialist Alchemy
Perennialist Meditation

At the highest level is God, the Unitary Quintessence, manifesting through all levels of being. Our Higher Self or Soul lives and moves and has its being in the Unitary Quintessence, the One.
Metaphysical and Mental Realm:
The Realm of the Mind and Higher Psychic Powers
Soul manifests through the mind, which can reach into the Supersensible Realm through creative inspiration.
Terrestrial Realm:
The realm of physical phenomena

Terrestrial, physical body, events, and objects

Click for image explanation

      In a few years--after death--you will (again) be aware that you have your being in the Supersensible Domain beyond the terrestrial plane. It's reasonable to begin now to experience that realm again, to become re-acquainted with its features and to understand what qualities we bring to that previous state of being from this earthly life.

"Each of us occupies not only the physical body we see, but a second or spiritual body. This latter will continue to contain us after physical death. Though imperceptible to our ordinary senses, the spiritual body is no vague wraith of insubstantial shadow. It is perfectly real, made of definite substance, and will function in a world that corresponds to it. That world also is of definite substance."

Betty and Stewart Edward White, Across the Unknown
Physical body Spiritual body

    One of the most important skills we must learn is to take the words of Perennialist teachers seriously and literally. For example, both Plato and Iamblicus speak of a faculty in our soul and mind which we can develop through assiduous effort, which allows us to achieve communion and union with higher spiritual beings, raising ourselves above the ordinary life of the senses to a higher life in the supersensible realm where we can achieve supernormal powers.
    We must learn to use the elements of such statements in actual practice--working to develop this faculty, "dormant through generations of neglect." "Dormant" means present as potential but not active or manifest, though capable of becoming so. Plato and Iamblicus state that this dormant faculty can, through diligent and persevering practice, be activated and become fully functional. We know we've actuated this faculty when we're able to attain union with superior celestial intelligences.

    Many of us go astray at such a point, feeling we've attained actual union with superior intelligences because we manufacture emotions which seem to us to be "spiritual," bringing us (we delusively feel) into contact with celestial beings because we "just feel so wonderful."

    Or we assume that we've gained a "higher understanding" of the concepts or "feel so deeply" when we see an image such as Dore's (above left) or listen to an inspiring piece of music we feel to be "enlightening."

    It's at such a point that we most need a genuine Perennialist teacher such as the twentieth century savant Betty White. One of her primary teachings was: "Understanding can be acquired only by actual participation in the reality." Full, authentic understanding of a specific reality is only accomplished by our experiential participation in that reality. Otherwise we are dealing only with words and concepts, having no genuine comprehension of the reality to which the words point. Participation makes "the difference . . . between the taking of detached, intellectual, occasionally contemplated concepts, and having them a constant, integral part of your consciousness. . . We must not only read and understand: we must do until we absorb into the substance of ourselves. . . . This is not knowledge: it is development. . ."  2

    Some non-Perennialist thinkers affirm the mis-conception that understanding of the supersensible realm (or any reality) can be gained through mere conceptual grasp.

    In contrast to Betty White's authentic teaching--that understanding of a reality requires personal participation in that reality--Steiner (in the linkout) is saying that true understanding of the supersensible realm can be gained through merely mentally "accepting a correct description" of that realm. Instead of providing a genuine understanding of such a reality as the Higher Self, merely accepting a conceptual description of it provides nothing but a semantic backwash which promotes the delusion of comprehension.

"A net of words is a great forest where the fancy wanders; therefore the reality of the Higher Self is to be strenuously learned only by the knower of that reality."

Shankara (788-820 CE), The Crest Jews of Wisdom

"'That's the flaw with words,' he said in an assuring tone, 'They always force us to feel enlightened, but when we turn around to face the world they always fail us and we end up facing the world as we always have, without enlightenment. For this reason, a sorcerer seeks to act rather than to talk and to this effect he gets a new description of the world--a new description where talking is not that imporant, and where new acts have new reflections.'"

Carlos Castaneda, Tales of Power, 1974

      Perennialist material leading to participation in the Super-sensible Realm issues from the personal experience of Perennialist teacher-seers. It refers to specific procedures which these teachers use in their own lives in the Supersensible Realm and instructional work leading to participation in that realm. As such, the material contains its own experiential verification.

     The Perennial Tradition provides a number of ways in which the serious student can gain genuine participatory understanding of the Supersensible Realm--as distinguished from mere, delusory conceptual understanding of this reality:

"It is through communicating with higher spiritual beings by means of Theurgical Dialectic that humans come to true realization of what they are in essence: eternal spiritual entities."
Iamblicus, The Egyptian Mysteries

      We begin to create an awareness of the Supersensible Realm by forming an image of it in our imagination. We do this by focusing on an image of what we understand to be the essence of life in the Higher Realm.

"You must gain it in imagination first . . . and then work back through slow steps to connect it with observed facts. . . Reach the imagination into the reality we present. It can only be made tangible, established within you, by this type of personal experience. . . Imagination is the very gateway to reality! Imagination is the Power of Transportation--that overrides space and time! Imagination enables you to put yourself anywhere. It's the power of juxtaposition, that puts together things that were never put together before, at points of contact that nobody else ever thought of. It's the power to see the Pattern." 3

     In learning to speak, hear, and move with our supersensible body, it's useful to envision the unquestionable reality of those departed souls most precious to us in an eternal "dialectical conversation," with one another and with us. We might picture ourselves in the Supersensible Realm conversing with Plato. We could choose a topic of conversation, while leaving open, as well, Plato's own choice of theme.

    We must learn to contemplate in our souls, engaging in dialectical interchange with discarnate Perennialist sages. Here is a sample of a contemporary dialectical interchange between a Perennialist Savant and Plato:
  • Perennialist Savant: "Master Plato, how am I to apprehend and comprehend what you are communicating to me in this interchange in the supersensible domain?"

  • Plato: "You apprehend and comprehend what I am communicating to you by discerning (understanding and appreciating) my essence and thereby knowing what I am communicating in any given context. In this extramundane realm we communicate through our essence and we apprehend and comprehend such communication by discerning the essence of the being communicating."

    "The Supersensible Forms, which I explicated for the first time in human history, are in reality elements of God's essence."

    "Beings in the supersensible realm communicate in a timeless manner, through their essence."

  • Perennialist Savant: "Master Plato, how does being in the supersensible realm differ from that of existence in the mortal, terrestrial realm?"

  • Plato: "All positive elements (persons, events, objects, processes) present in the terrestrial realm are manifested in the supersensible realm in their Supernal form. For example, the intense joy a carnate being feels when experiencing love of another carnate being is experienced in the supersensible realm in a Supernal manner: higher, more intense, in Essence."

      We develop a definite life within the Supersensible Realm by recognizing that we're entering a new life like any infant having just experienced birth. We must struggle for conscious awareness and understanding, working to conquer the wilderness of lack of comprehension and guarding against self-delusion. Functioning as a half-conscious newborn thing, we begin to gain a sense of spiritual reality; we begin to develop the new senses of our spiritual body. Like an earthly baby, we work at activating our new potentialities. As we gain awareness of the spiritual domain, it's at first so subtle and so unaccustomed that it seems to be a groping for the intangible and the unattainable. The first understanding of the spiritual domain grows in us from a very subtle beginning, then it slowly begins to reach our waking consciousness. As we gain a stabilized wider consciousness we gradually activate the organs of our spiritual body which reveal a transcendent world.

"Entering into that Cosmic Consciousness . . . we become . . . conscious of this cosmic existence, but likewise conscious in it, receiving it in sensation, but also entering into it in awareness. In it we live as we lived before in the ego-sense, active, more and more in contact, even unified more and more with other minds, other lives, other bodies than the organism we call ourselves, producing effects not only on our own moral and mental being and on the subjective being of others, but even on the physical world and its events by means nearer to the divine than those possible to our egoistic capacity."

Sri Aruobindo, The Life Divine, 1949

    One feels connection with the Supersensible Life as Oneness, Harmony, and Unity.

   "I should say it was the perfect ordering of all elements, an exquisite joy of participating in harmony. My own little joy of life is welded to that of every other harmonized being. I've forgotten my individual part. I'm in a great chorus."

   "There are influences around me radiating the warmth of human affection, only with so much greater power. I dissolve to their love; I surround them as they surround me, steeping in each other's heart-expansion. It's so transforming, breath-taking, and I can't tell you in words." 4

"I have attained the capability of experiencing my own essence within myself, and for me this experience becomes enlarged into another, that in me and through me the universal essence expresses itself, or, in other words, knows itself. Now I can no longer feel myself to be a thing among things; I can only feel myself to be a form in which the universal essence has its life. At any moment I can have the higher experience that I am the form in which the universal essence looks upon itself. Then I myself am transformed from a thing among things into a form of the universal essence--and within me the knowledge of things is changed into an utterance of the nature of things. It is only in creating this higher cognition that man develops his nature, and only through the higher cognition of man does the nature of things come into actual existence."

Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464 CE), On Searching for God

      In regard to persons who have worked to realize unity with the Divine in the Supersensible Realm:
  • The Divine actually manifests through what those persons are able to understand and do.

  • These persons experience the Divine working through them. The Divine is looking out through their eyes; the Divine is manifesting through their actions. As a Hermetic psalm states: "Thy Reason sings through me Thy praises."

  • The Divine as the One manifests through all reality. Participation in the Divine means that realized persons live in All beings, that their minds are an aspect of the Divine Mind.

  • By attaining unity they are reabsorbed into the Divine One from which they lost primary awareness when born into a terrestrial body.
    As we harmonize the various powers of this new awareness center, we realize that there has occurred a transmutational descent of the Supramental Consciousness into our new being. We begin to understand Rilke's passage in his poem: "God wants to know Himself in you" and Mansur Al-Hallaj's statement: "I have seen my Lord with the eye of my heart, and I said: 'Who are You?' He said: 'You.'"

       "What we're seeking in the trance state is identification with our Higher Self.
"We must rid our minds of two great delusions--the delusion of the intrinsic reality of the material world and the delusion of the intrinsic reality of the individual self. These two delusions are, as it happens, the fundamental assumptions which underlie the philosophy of popular thought.

"The [Perennial] philosophy, like the philosophy of popular thought, takes the reality of the self for granted and places it at the centre of the Universe. But it is a different self. It is a self which transcends our experience of self; a self whose depths and heights, whose mysteries and secrets are unknown, a self with limitless possibilities; a self in whose all-embracing being there is room for Nature, for Man, and for God."

Edmond Holmes, Self-Realization


The Higher Self

    We learn to live in Supersensible Consciousness by identifying with our Higher Self or Soul. We must realize that the term "Higher Self," actually refers to a state of being that is "higher" or "superior" to the ordinary terrestrial state of being or consciousness. This state of being is "higher" in that it is, as Aldous Huxley indicated, "the totality of the awareness belonging to Mind at Large." It is higher in the sense of involving more understanding (intelligence) and more moral integrity. Our ordinary state of being is a very inferior, "impoverished" state of consciousness in which we are reduced to awareness of a larger Reality only through the bodily senses and feeling content with the ordinary life of complacency and self-satisfaction, "Most people, most of the time," Huxley stated, "know only what comes through the reducing valve" of ordinary consciousness.

"We pass into mystical states from out of ordinary consciousness as from a less to a more, as from a smallness into a vastness, and at the same time as from an unrest to a rest."
William James (1840-1910)

    We learn to live in our spiritual body (identify with our Higher Self or Soul) by developing personal triggers that move our center of consciousness to the Supersensible Realm. These are seemingly commonplace individualistic means of moving our awareness out of ordinary consciousness to the spiritual domain, whatever enables you to sense that you are in another dimension of self-awareness. Possible "trigger" or theurgic elements:
  • Meditation on a theme: "I give you my love and my gratitude, Lord God."
    • "Thank you, Lord God, for my eternal being."
    • "Thank you, Lord God, for my mortal existence."
    • "Thank you, Lord God, for my beloved."

  • Meditating on an image such as Dali's "Last Supper" (above)

  • Meditation phrase: "I surrender my life to you, Oh Lord God."

  • Meditation phrase: "I am my soul, not my body."

  • Meditation phrase: "I am accustoming myself to live in the abode of emotional security, spiritual order and demonstrable strength--a room of heaven within me-- that I am creating."

  • Meditation phrase: "Lord God, please help me to understand what I should know and what I should do."

  • Listening to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

  • Meditation phrase: "I detach myself from my bodily awareness and sense myself as a disembodied point of consciousness in space."

    We learn to live the life of higher intelligence and more vital intensity by comprehending that the "senses" of the spiritual body are in essence the operation of creative inspiration or illumination. What is called "receiving inspiration" is actually the ability of a seeker to register frequencies of thought, sound, and energy from Perennialist teachers--carnate and discarnate--which are indiscernible to untrained persons. In the sorcery tradition, this is called: "seeing."
  • "Responding to the perceptual solicitations of a world outside the description we have learned to call reality."

  • ". . . A special capacity that one could develop, and which would allow one to apprehend the 'ultimate' nature [essence] of things." 5

      A seeker participating in the Perennial Tradition works to create a dynamic channel of creative inspiration between spiritual realities and earthly concerns. She does not try to contact a spiritual current so she can fill up a "pond" for her personal enjoyment; such a dead pool soon stagnates. It must be a living, moving stream which originates in the higher dimension and flows continuously to become transmuted into an effective life force.

"The inner strength is the only means of recognizing one's lower self, and by definite intake of inspiration lifting out of it; like the simple definite process of getting out of a chair or climbing stairs."

"It's like a universal contribution from all hearts. . . Each meets me there. Each, through the functions of his being, sends out a quality capable, worthy of entering this substance, this universal ocean. He can withdraw it; he still is an individual. But when he sends it forth it is his highest potentiality. All consciousness is open to him. He passes into what we can only call godship."

"Only by collecting a group of your dearest, going forth with your heart among them, cementing, as it were, a collective entity, and continually enlarging it, putting forth the substance among you, can you start toward comprehension of the Universal Consciousness."

Betty White, Across The Unknown


1 Iamblicus, one of the foremost Neo-Platonists who worked with theurgy, considered the outcome of theurgical dialectic to be henôsis, a creative partnership with the Divine, sharing in the Transcendent Activity of maintaining and developing the cosmic order. This is my own translation from the original Greek. To listen to Iamblicus' statement, click here.

2 Betty and Stewart Edward White, Across the Unknown, 1937

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid      Focus your attention on the image above, noting the various persons seated around the circular table and the large cone of energy descending into the table and then dispersed to each individual at the table. Imagine yourself as one of those seated around the table, in psychic connection with the others, and receiving the energy flowing down through the cone and into the table and the other participants.

5 Carlos Castaneda (1925-1998), Tales of Power. Castaneda appears to have come in contact with a genuine portion of the sorcery tradition. The best way to discover the manipulative, destructive tendencies of Carlos Castaneda is by reading the book Sorcerer's Apprentice (2003) by Amy Wallace, a "true believer" and disciple of Castaneda. Wallace's book is the record of a person who allowed herself to be physically, verbally, and emotionally abused by Castaneda for decades--and never developed enough insight to see through Castaneda completely or free herself from his malignant influence. Castaneda manipulated and abused all his "disciples" in the same manner, creating a personality cult around himself and his writings.
  Castaneda was one of a group I call
conduit teachers who were able to transmit useful information about spiritual matters but seem not to have been positively affected by the knowledge they conveyed. The author continues to find useful ideas in the writings of conduit teachers despite the unfortunate flaws in their personalities and behavior as documented by persons acquainted with their work.