The power of the mind is not bounded by the material world. So can creative visualization enable man to reach beyond the physical realm into parallel worlds? Can the knowledge held by ancient cultures hold the key to the secret of how to use the art of vision to access the astral and spiritual forces of the cosmos?
In National Geographic (2001), David Lewis–Williams writes about this art of the San Bushmen as “Paintings of the Spirit.” The Bushmen who were the first people in Africa now seem to be the last in line to get anything and are faced with a world full of problems. When Europeans first encountered Bushman art, in the African mountains, the paintings were seen as crude, unaesthetic depictions of daily hunter-gatherer life. But according to David the rock was not simply a canvas, but a veil between the material and spirit worlds and the paintings helped to pierce that veil. The paintings on the rocks are actually open portals to the spirits. When a shaman painted an animal, he harnessed its very essence, everything in nature having a spirit with its own power and existence. The Bushmen believed that the animals could create an atmosphere that could help them locate God, so that they could tap into His power to cure the sick, or even make it rain.
The paintings were evoked using trance rituals, all-night ceremonies, in which women clapped and sang as men danced around the fire until their spirit power boiled and then they entered the spirit world transforming into a spirit animal and capturing its power. After the ceremony they would draw an image saying: “This is what I looked like in the spirit world.” Then they painted a portrait to that place of being.
The Bushmen are a last remnant of times past. Thousands of years ago their early ancestors emerged from the forests and moved onto the savannas of Africa becoming the first hunter-gatherers, living in a world of great predators that still enthrall us with their power and strength. More recently they move with their livestock following the rains with their migratory herds. In their world of ritual, music and myth, the Rainman is believed to dwell in the distant, snowy mountaintops and has the power to bring the rain, peace, healing and wisdom. This is their belief, but to us it is probably only fantasy, or the realm of Hollywood movies.
Consider the common, healthy phenomenon of daydreaming that most people do from time to time. Daydreaming alters the state of consciousness to the alpha frequency range. While remaining conscious and aware, nearly all external distractions become blotted out as the person is captured in their fantasies. Sometimes a person’s daydreaming is so vivid and intense that without knowing it they are actually causing the goal they are dreaming about to come true. In this way hypnosis is very similar to daydreaming, except in hypnosis the mind is focused upon specific beneficial goals and not random fantasies. Still, the power of the mind is not limited to the material world. Through creative visualization some people believe you can reach beyond into the world of physical and astral forces. Could this somehow be linked to the ancient trance magic of the African Bushmen?
Meditation is based on focusing one’s thoughts on tranquillity. Nearly everybody needs a safe haven inside life’s storm, their land of magic and beauty, to combat the demons of this world. So, inside your haven build an image of yourself, not as other people might see you but as you’d really like to be: body well-proportioned and athletic, wide-awake, healthy, handsome, relaxed and free-spirited, and wearing clothes you like. Perhaps the elderly may think of themselves in their prime. This is the real you and nobody can take it away from you. This is the person you are now becoming. As you walk closer to the image you blend into it, a living part of you that grows stronger each day.
Now how does this relate to the spirit paintings of the African Bushmen? Remember everything in nature has a spirit and, if you have watched Phillip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, maybe everyone has his, or her, own spirit animal as well. Could a “painting of the spirit” be used to rebuild someone’s lost world?
The mentally ill, unfortunately, may often live inside a hellish world of distorted reality and fantasy. Good psychological treatment involves knowledge of the humanity of life, of suffering and the motivation and fantasies of human beings. It may often involve rebuilding a damaged mind through a process of reprogramming thoughts and step-by-step rebuilding with some form of self-protection against the world. The person in this true example was diagnosed as schizophrenic in his late teens, but also had suffered crowd-induced agoraphobia as a young child. Nevertheless he still had a healthy interest in wildlife and motor racing.
In the picture drawn by Hollis the barley fields were taken from a photo of the farm where he grew up. The Japanese car, he actually owned and drove. He had wanted to be a race car driver and had even raced touring cars at Silverstone before illness took from him his ability to continue. The light in the sky is common in the local hills, where he would drive his car on trips to photograph wildlife. The kite, “thunderbird or spirit animal,” was from a photo taken as it actually flew over his car one day—fitting that it had recently been restored to the countryside after near extinction.
When his demons came, he would imagine himself standing in the wide-open barley fields of the farm where he grew up, corn swaying, and hair and shirt swept by the wind, the light flexing from the distant hills, casting shadows across the dancing barley with electricity in the air like the beginning of a storm. A sensation of being there would then occur, a shiver running down his spine. Maybe this was even magic! The “thunderbird” would cry overhead as the shadow of its wings passed closely across the barley, as he’d breathe the pure air and listen to the car engine, tuned to perfection, idly ticking over. Then, he’d climb into the car and ride high into the hills of his magic realm. Beneath the distant glaciers and snowfields would lie an enchanted forest, where ferns and heathers (Calluna vulgaris) grew as big as trees. Mosses lichens and cascades of beautiful flowers hung from the boughs as sparkling dewdrops dripped into dark, mysterious pools that flickered like colored mirrors between ancient rocks. No fairy tale world was ever as dreamlike or magical as these mountains of the gods. There, in a valley wrapped in mist he would meet his Rainman who, as he had a strong faith in the Christ, to him was Jesus, his great spiritual guide.
He soon began to realize he could use this place not only to completely heal himself, but also to acquire new insights and abilities. It was a living, thinking place of creative potential within his subconscious mind. But what if (shiver at the thought) he could really have been entering a parallel universe?
A recent psychological idea from Mind Valley believes that “somewhere out there within the vastness of space and time” lies another version of you— inventor, writer, sportsman, whatever skill you want to learn. You just quantum leap into a multiverse of possibilities by meeting up with your twin self in a parallel universe. It entails initially hypnotizing yourself and then passing through a tunnel into a different universe and meeting up with your other worldly twin. This time twin lacks the particular complex that desperately needs to be cured.
When you remerge from the tunnel you have picked up their persona and your trauma is now cured. It’s kind of like repairing soul damage from your past. You can also pick up knew talents from your talented other self before returning through the portal to modern day reality. I guess you could just as easily meet up with a spiritual teacher as with a different version of yourself.
It is interesting that Burt Goldman, originator of quantum jumping, said the idea of traveling between different worlds first came to him through photography. People often create other worldly images on film through inner vision and a camera using a combination of shape, color and form to capture and inspire the imagination.
Using the mind we can travel to an infinite number of parallel universes, but what about in the physical world? Parallel universes are now an accepted scientific theory of the universe. Entangled particles are known to be so strongly linked that they can communicate with each other at huge distances faster than the speed of light. Perhaps we even have entangled, otherworldly twins. Whatever the mechanism, this was nicknamed by Einstein “Spooky action at a distance” and a recent theory even suggests that entangled particles can influence each other as they do because they are connected by wormholes. Bending the path of light also bends space-time, so perhaps short-lived fluctuation cavities could be created through tiny photonic tunnels connecting entangled pairs.
If parallel universes do exist then maybe we could physically travel between them via a wormhole. The thing about wormholes is that pesky requirement for “negative energy” to keep them open. I’m not aware that anyone has produced a specification for what this might look like, let alone how you’d generate it; yet, under the right conditions, the effects of the tiny vortices in space-time might be made to combine in a form of a supercavitation around the outside of a traveling device. This would create one large time tunnel that could be opened, bent around and then closed behind a traveling device. Thus, it could create a virtual wormhole-like path that exists and then ceases to exist as it burrows through the fabric of space-time.
Many people dream of a future of otherworldly technology such as starships, stargates and colonizing alien worlds. It is an interesting thought that the real path to parallel worlds could be from within the human mind itself. If we can dream it, surely we can build it and mankind can move forward to a new level where science and spirituality meet. Today’s fantasy may not be so far from tomorrow’s reality.