Multi-Dimensional Meditation



by Ed Hirsch [email protected]


The human being is multileveled, or multidimensional. As multidimensional beings, we are multidimensional expressions of Being. We are a multifaceted presence, and we have what we might call an instinctive drive to be alive and functional on all levels. As all of them are expressions of One Presence, the unity of our life comes from all of them being permeable and open to Presence, and to each other. That is, each level can become open and surrendered to Presence, as well as an open expression of Presence.

Thus within One Presence, we can speak of two paths, the Ascending or transcending path, and the Descending or manifesting path. The former is a return to Source, to Ground, whatever it might be called; this corresponds to a sense of release or devotion to What IS. The latter is an expansive movement, an urge toward progression, manifestation, expression, evolution, creativity. These are not to be confounded as opposing death and life instincts, or passivity vs. activity—although of course they can occur in various imbalanced modes. Source calls to us. The way of surrender is predicated, not on some “should,” but on the fundamental Truth of Being. Whatever is, its Ground of truth is its “isness” or “suchness,” that is, its Being. When we are not distracted or preoccupied, we can become aware of that, we rest in That. Its very obviousness calls out to us, or reveals itself to us, and there is a natural desire or movement to return to Source.

So too, there is a natural movement to expression. While this movement into the world can distract us from Source, can entangle us in preoccupations that take us away from who we really are, I think that to inherently regard this movement as self-centered or as an evil movement away from Source is a mistake. For essentially, the impulse to create, express, and expand arises from Source, and is an inherent part of our nature. The way Upward polarizes or synergizes with the way Downward as a Yin/Yang relationship, within the unity of “Tao” or Being. Without both of these, life is incomplete. We are not here to merely negate life and disappear into Source, and we are also not here to merely affirm life without knowing and being alive to its Source, our essential Nature.

We might call the Ascending a more “Eastern” approach, and the Descending a more “Western” approach. However we name them, the point here is that we need to develop a greater sense of the whole, as polarities of a greater unity. Each level of life involves three modes 1) abiding in, and experiencing, that mode, in itself; 2) going inward into its essence, which opens up into the next and subtler level; and 3) moving outward into an expressive, manifesting mode. For example, physically, we can rest and relax in the body without doing anything; we can sense inward into the body and open into the subtler realm of aliveness energy; and we can use the body, move the body, express through the body, in the world. Most of us are focused on the physical level of life, the outer form and appearance of life. We might be more or less emotionally and mentally attuned, but the physical serves as a “bottom line” of consensus reality. Even these three levels are often conflicted amongst each other, and lack any harmony arising from their common unity in a deeper reality of Being. Some people are anti-intellectual, or anti-emotional, even anti-physical or anti-spiritual, often in reaction to imbalances they have experienced. However, I feel that these only bring more imbalance, or are limiting solutions to the larger possibilities of life.

By going inside of ourselves, we also contact the different planes or levels of the world or reality. That is, whatever level of our own nature we experience, we can experience the world from this level. Each experience brings a realization about the nature of the world or reality. Going within, we contact the universal truths of all humanity, and rather than separating or isolating us, we feel more one with the whole. I experience this holistic or multidimensional meditation as a way of Being in the heart. The heart is a good holistic symbol, for it variously means the physical organ so central to our living, the emotional center that we feel in the chest, the sense of the innermost meaning or “heart” of the matter, and the intuitive or spiritual essence.

None of this is stated dogmatically, even though we references can be made to many wisdom traditions that speak of such levels of reality and of the human being. Nor is the practice that follows given in the spirit of tradition that must be followed to the letter. Experience for yourself, and creatively shape according to what proves true for you. This theoretical section is my way of articulating what seems natural to me, rather than a way of trying to convince others through clever arguments. The practice also is not given as a way of trying to manufacture something that is not already present. It is offered as a way towards consciously participating in a process that is already built into the universe and ourselves.


In the following meditation, we move “upward” from the grounded to the transcendent, and then “downward” into life. The point is to surrender into the Essential, and then, centered there, flow out dynamically and creatively from Source. Move from level to level at your own pace. You are not really going anywhere, but simply deepening into the Presence that is always right here. Find a suitable posture and environment where you can be relaxed and alert. You might wish to play suitable music, for example, but the main focus will be on the internal environment, which is with you wherever you are.

  1. Body (Physical) Close your eyes and relax your body, as you deeply sense and breathe. Just enjoy the body in itself, not needing to do anything with it. Experience the physical reality of your body. Take time to sense and breathe into the organic world of muscle, bone, blood vessels, nerves, and so on, even down to the cells and their innumerable chemical processes. Experience the physical reality and presence of the world, the universe.
  2. Energy (Energetic) As you relax into the body, you might become aware of sensations or energies. Experience the body as energy; directly experience the reality and presence of energy—life as energy. Release the body fully into the felt sense of aliveness energy, what we might call the “etheric” level or “etheric presence.” With each inhale, sense into the energy; with each exhale, release or surrender into that presence. Feel that every cell of the body is surrendering and opening to the aliveness as open energy field. You might even have the sense that the physical is simply a material condensation of the etheric. Feel all physical obstructions loosening and relaxing to a sense of all-pervading and radiant ease, health, and vitality, beyond the borders of the physical body. Relax and feel into the plane of Energy, the “etheric.” Enjoy its presence for as long as you like.
  3. Feeling (Emotional) As you relax into this sense of relaxed, radiant wellness or wellbeing, you might become aware of a basic feeling pervading this field of energy. It emerges from the sense of reverence, of harmony and unity of the field, a deeply felt energetic connection with life. Allow the felt sense of aliveness to totally surrender to the pervading emotional presence of deep feeling, of felt connection, of love. Feel the aliveness energy permeated by the warmth of such feeling. You might find that centering in the chest or heart center deepens or grounds your experience, which becomes all-pervasive. On each inhale, feel more deeply into this realm (sometimes called the “aura”); on each exhale, release more deeply into it. Feel the presence of wellbeing, of love, as the inner reality of the energy field.
  4. Awareness (Mental) As you go deeper into this feeling presence, you might become aware that it is an expression of an all-pervading field of consciousness. Every form, sensation, or feeling is an experience, and every experience is a content within a field of awareness or consciousness. As awareness relaxes into its experience, it becomes aware of the presence of awareness itself. Become aware of your field of experience as permeated by consciousness, as its inner and subtler nature. On each inhale, become more deeply aware of this presence; on each exhale, surrender and release more deeply into it. You might it helpful to center or ground the experience of awareness, or witnessing, by abiding in the center of the head, even though the field of awareness is pervasive.
  5. Individuality (Essential) As you relax into this field of consciousness, you might become aware of the presence of the Knower of this field of awareness, the “I” that is aware or witnessing. On each inhale, experience this inmost sense of yourself, your “I am”; on each exhale, surrender your awareness into this Self presence. You might find it helpful to contact the Self in the point of your heart center.
  6. Being (Spiritual) Become aware of the Ground of Being as the Being of which you are an individuation. You are a focalization of That. You might experience this as the vast Space of which “you” are a point of focus. That point is not some “thing” separate from Space. The point is empty; experience the Emptiness as the innermost reality of the point, and you will open to Space. You are you, and yet you are not other than Being. Feel the sense of “I am” surrendering into its ground of I Amness, of Being. Rest in That, feel that everything is totally surrendered into That.
  7. Void (Transcendent) This is the realm of NonBeing, the Reality beyond all realities and levels. It IS, but we cannot say what it is, for it is beyond all qualities and categories. We can say that Space, Time, Mind, and Self all arise out of That, which is the Ground of all of that. None of these are things, none is a thing in itself, but is simply a mode or dimension of this Emptiness. If Being is the One Thing, then this is No-Thingness. Release into This (which is also “Not This”), utterly and unconditionally, as a way of acknowledging “its” utter and unconditional Reality.

This is the way “upward.” We do not end there, for the Source that everything surrenders into, is itself the Creative Fount from which all flows. So now we complete this meditation by bringing Source “down” into each level of our being. Feel it flowing out through the individuality, the awareness, the feeling, the life energy, the body. Experience it as a process of progressive incarnation, “descending” through the levels of Being, as an expression of a primal Will. On an inhale, feel the descent; on an exhale, experience a fuller incarnation or presence in that level. Finally, experience yourself fully embodied Spirit, fully “in” but not “of” the world. Experience yourself fully (or as fully as you can be) present spiritually, mentally, emotionally, energetically, and physically. All the levels, from the “highest” to the “lowest,” or the “subtlest” to the “densest,” are all present, Here and Now. Sense, breathe, feel, imagine, be aware in the heart center, as a holistic human being, in tune with all the levels of Being. Live from that, as that.