Archive Index                                                                                                                                                     home

Part I “For Heavens Sake”                                                                                                      

Copyright: Paul C. Adams (Prem Das) Nov. 2005

                                                                                    Skylight of the Mind  

                                                                                   Trails and Pathways

What insights can shamanism and yoga bring to us ? These are ancient perspectives of reality that offer fascinating interpretations to be considered, and may help to understand some mystical or occult dimensions, hidden long ago, perhaps intentionally, by some authors. In this article, I wish to present some of my own perspectives, for I have studied and practiced yoga and shamanism for many years. These are vast subjects which could fill many volumes. They are fields of intellectual and experiential research, with data and results leading in many directions. Both encourage inner space exploration, and this is essential for the apprentice who desires to know what these subjects actually mean.

Seek first the kingdom of heaven’ and ‘the kingdom of heaven is within’ are well known statements refered to, in reference to the bible (new testament). The active pursuit of heaven (and/or kingdom of God) is a suggestion of significant importance (Matthew) and seems to be a goal set before us as we read biblical text. This is parallel to the interests of the shaman and yogi, who also want to find heaven. It is true, the interpretation and descriptions of such experiences vary enormously, from culture to culture and from one individual to the next Perhaps this is just as it should be: The dimensions of heaven are many (“My Fathers mansion has many rooms”), and these might be infinite. None the less, the bible does suggest we seek heaven, and presumably - experience it as well.

Where is heaven? Is the paradise of original time a heaven, as was enjoyed by Adam and Eve ? It is here and now, all around us, yet we do not perceive it, like a hidden dimension? Are there keys to the doors, leading to heaven? If we are serious about our desire to “seek first the kingdom of heaven” then these kinds of questions are the beginning of a legitimate quest into a vast domain.

Many “keys” to inner doors have been listed by yogins and shamans. All lead to the beyond, and take you, as if in flight, to other worlds of perception. How useful is this, to modern people? Going on a quest into the beyond seeking heavens is dangerous, regardless of the key used, or the path taken. Personal identity - ID, or “ego” is the first hurdle or doorway. Death, as the dissolution of personal identity, at least temporarily, is a common factor to all the keys, and is a essential prerequisite. Yet paradoxically, who we are, here on earth, in our particular social group, can be extremely relevant to our actual physical survival. Caution!

The cross, originally representing the four cardinal directions is, I believe, the most sacred symbol in Christianity. With this symbol we find, in the center, the unity of opposites. At the center all is one. Also, when  we look at the cross we see four directions, which lead away from the central unity, and so the cross also signifies diversity. Two opposite qualities, unity and diversity, co-existing at the same time. Yet these qualities, like day and night exist in relationship to each other:  they both exist, however not at the same time.

The experience reported by those who “journey” to the dimensions of heaven within can be compared to the relationship between self (identity - diversity) and unity (union - oneness). Total dissolution of personal identity, as is found on the high side of experiential yoga and shamanism leads to an experience of oneness, union and complete freedom from all the limitations or confinement associated with personal self - ego awareness. Such freedom is likened (in metaphors, myth and legends) to flying in the clouds, near rainbows, and through pearly gates. This is the doorway, and what lies beyond, or Who, is a good question.

“Our Father Who art in heaven” leads us to believe that God is in heaven, and this seems most likely. “The kingdom of heaven is within” clearly points to a hidden inner dimension, yet most people do not consciously perceive heaven or God. “The kingdom of heaven is all about the face of the earth, yet men do not see it”.

A latent human potential to experience heaven exists, but why is it hidden? Most people go through life without the keys, and so are left with words, and a few hints. Yoga and shamanism present various maps and they offer keys that might help some people open inner “skylights” to view heaven(s). In this way the techniques of yoga and shamanism are like vehicles, and when optimally utilized assist in the journey to the kingdom of heaven within.

"In the name Jesus" has been used for a very long time. This might suggest there is something more, a trend of hidden meanings, related to personal and transcendent reality, and so it invites thought. Jesus is an English version of Jesuah, a common name at the time of Christ. It is also known to have evolved from Joshuah, the leader who succeeded Moses, and is a chapter title in the Old Testament. In early times (Greek) there was no letter “J”, instead “I” was used. Thus Jesus was spelled Iosus, or Iosuah, and Joshuah was Ioshuah. Nor was there a letter “H”, and so we have Iosua . Also Joe, Jose, and Joseph are Ioe, Iose, and Ioseph. Furthermore, John is Iohn, or Ion. The common component is: I O and this is part of the word Dio, as found in Dios (God in Spanish). It is also seen in Zion, a Jewish word for heaven (see esoteric meaning). Union, yoga (ioga), and the word consciousness have this primordial element (sound, or phoneme). Is this just a coincidence, or does “in the name of Jesus” contain mystical meaning, hidden perhaps intentionally, yet maybe only by historical changes and modifications of word pronunciation and use during the last several millennium?

Myon (myron)is the Orthodox word for chrism, a holy sacrament. Myon (myron)can be seen as Mion (miron). The Jordan (river, “r i o” in Spanish) is Io rdan. Eye in Spanish is Hojo, and this can be seen as: o io. “I” in Spanish is “Yo” or Io; “you” can be seen to be: io u. The suffix to many words in Greek, English and Spanish contains “io”: English has words ending in “tion”- as in meditation and “sion“ - vision, mission; Spanish in “cion” and Greek in "ios".

Ten, the number 10, is an obvious version of this fundamental element, and so is binary math based on l’s and 0’s: the root language used by all of our computers. Male: “I” and female “O” is also obvious, with a yang - yin correlation.

I am not an expert at philology or epistemology, however I do enjoy exploring words and possible meanings. This trend of associations is speculation, it does suggest a deep meaning in IO, and may lead us to a port, passage, or interface between “worlds”, from the personal to the transcendent, and thus is a key to heaven. I can be viewed as the our personal “I” and O as the inverse background of everything else, a zero which is the “field” of all, including the infinite of God.

Io - su -a (Joshua) can also be seen as: Jupiter (Io = Jove), which is the ruling planet of sagittarius: a constellation found towards the center of our galaxy, and “Su” or “Shu”was the twin of Tefnut (ancient Egypt) and later called Gemini: the Dioscuri: Castor & Pollux, these twins, in a myth, were believed to be the founders of Rome), and they point in the opposite direction from saggitarius, out toward the rim of our galaxy. The time of Moses and Joshua is the link to this interpretation. Star charts from the time of Christ, and then back at least several thousand years prior (ancient Egypt), may have further clues revealing the significance of this vector, from Gemini to Galactic center.  Cygnus, the Swan, as seen in early star charts, is aimed at by the archer sagittarius. Cygnus contains a black hole and is one of the strongest sources of xrays detected from space. The brightest point ( Karl Jansky) - outside our solar system, in the "radio sky" is also in saggitarius, it is called saggitarius A* and is beleived to be the location of a super massive black hole.

The name Christ is related to chrysos, a word for gold in Greek. The early Greeks called their priests by this, and I have heard that the title first appeared in connection with Jesus around 200 AD. It has fascinating associations worth considering. Gold in this context has been a metaphor to describe the transformation of base, gross and mundane into spiritual, pristine and pure human qualities. The Aura (Au = gold) of such evolved human beings is frequently perceived as a golden glow. Art from the early Christian era reveals this golden glow surrounding Jesus, the Apostles, monks and saints.

Chrysos is spelled differently in its early form there was no letter “C”, “K” was used, and so we have khrysos. There was no “H”, thus it becomes krysos; and they used “ i “ not “ y “, and so it becomes: krisos. The root of this word can be seen as kri. In Sanskrit this is very meaningful, as is seen in the word “kriya”. Kriya is method(s) of self purification which transforms the mundane into the spiritual. In contemporary times this word is in use, and has the same meaning as it did thousands of years ago. Furthermore, one of the principal Hindu names for god, Krishna, contains this elemental root. It should be no surprise that there are common words, prefixes and suffixes in our Indo-European languages: Greece (Io nia) sits in the middle between East and West.

“Places of Power” is another area of convergence between shamanism, yoga and Christianity. Moses received the Ten Commandments and the Arch of the Covenant on the top of Mt. Sinai. Jesus, on the top of (?) Mt. Herman (from Hermes = Hermion) shines and radiates light during the Transfiguration. Zion is home of the Jewish Temple, located on a sacred hill. Jesus was frequently seen heading (alone) to the hills, and solitary sites in the desert.

We also find that shamans and some yogins take pilgrimages to various places of power ( for example: Mt Shasta in California, and Mt Kailas in Tibet). Many of these places are on mountain tops, and have been associated with extraordinary spiritual experiences, including visions and revelations. Inspiration, recharging personal energy levels and contemplation occur in a spontaneous way for the pilgrims as they visit such places of power. However, the spiritual experiences do vary, often dramatically, and yet we see common elements within different traditions, as indicated above.

Individuals who have taken the lead, and go into the unknown - to explore - we have called, “pioneers”. Throughout history, and in all cultures pioneers have risked their lives to go beyond, and find out what it there. They are trail blazers, and if these trails are proven safe, they become roads, or even highways. This is the case for our physical, earth domain and in the spiritual dimensions as well. Those pioneers who go out first cannot be expected to make the right path for everyone, and the maps they leave may not be intelligible to those with little knowledge of “terra incognita“. Fortunately, written language has made it possible to leave maps to posterity. However, over time our words change meanings, different languages blend or interface, and furthermore, intentional encryption to protect content is of concern to us, especially when attempting to decipher important texts.

Most shamans have not had written language to leave us their full story. Yogins (usually) are not inclined to say too much about their experiences . Christianity and Judaism have written extensively, yet due to the likely need for encryption, and the passing of many years since the authors launched the texts, our interpretation becomes an issue, and so we see many attempts, and thus many churches, each with its own point of view.

.A common denominator does exist, and it is art. In art, spiritual experiences are portrayed frequently and this is one of the most common themes found in art over the ages, and around the world. Art is a medium and window, to the experiences of others, and it transcends language, and so becomes an invaluable additional map for us to study. Many pioneers did not have written language as a tool, and instead left paintings, or art works as testimony of their spiritual experiences. In most traditions, even where language was utilized to share these subtle - precious experiences, art was added as an additional insurance for posterity.

What are the rewards of visiting the inner dimensions, or kingdoms of heaven? If this journey is dangerous, or even life threatening, then what is so valuable about these other worldly domains?

Is there some kind of treasure to be found, way back in recesses of the mind and soul, like the pot of gold rumored to exist at the base of rainbows?

Only 5 or 10 percent of our brain potential is used throughout the course of a full human lifetime. The number of calculations per second occurring within and between each of our 100 billion brains cells is a number greater than all of the stars in the universe! Obviously there is a profound mystery operating here, within each and everyone of us, and yet most of us go through life hardly suspecting anything unusual or extraordinary is happening. As if in a hypnotic trance, conditioned to a social norm, we stay in this state of mundane awareness all our lives, and most people have no idea anything else exists.

To go into the unknown: this is the province of explorers and pioneers. These individuals probe our cultural boundaries, go into foreign territory, and presumably return with some goods, gems, or treasure. Thus, the heavens can have very practical and beneficial results; there are rewards and there is treasure. Yoga, shamanism and Christianity refer to heaven: to jeweled cathedrals, golden archways and angels in the clouds. The optimal degree of exploration, in order to reach these heavenly places might be obtained via methods offered by various traditions, rather than being limited to those prescribed by just one. Today, fortunately, we have access to vast amounts of information about cultures and their traditions, including techniques to find and explore heavens within.

                                                            Skylight of the Mind

Where is heaven and what is its nature? Descriptions in the bible exist, and art (throughout the ages) also reveals something of what it might look like. “Visionary” is how we describe one basic characteristic of these experiences. The visual perspective, similar to dream visioning while asleep is predominant, often reported to have a panorama, or 360 view: inner vision in all directions. With eyes closed, or in complete darkness this visionary mode is switched on "the third eye". It is a breath taking and stunning revelation for most people, to be wide awake and yet to suddenly behold visions, to see in the dark, whole worlds before their inner eye. Here we have a latent human potential; it has been reported by different cultures worldwide, and throughout history.

This kind of visionary experience qualifies as entertainment, at the very least, and would justify the effort to “get there”, even if there was nothing more to be gained. However, it turns out that this is just the beginning, and what we actually have here is a sixth channel of perceptual experience, and much more will follow. Learning to see, as we do with our eyes, in order to perceive and understand the external and real world took each of us many years to accomplish. Learning to see without eyes, using inner (dream like) screens will require years of experience, and learning of a unique kind - that is not easily acquired.

The process can be likened to turning on a television set (within us). Turning it on is not too difficult. Changing channels is, and directing the camera to consciously view a given scene or “movie”, especially if it is in the real world, in present time, is an advanced skill, which grows or evolves long after the (inner TV) is turned on. “Remote viewing” is the name for this skill, as defined by modern scientific research. It has be documented and confirmed as a genuine (latent) potential of human experience; shamans and yogis have left us alluring accounts about this visionary mode of perception. Once the dream screen is fully understood, and when science deciphers the neurophysiology and electrochemistry, then the possibility of interfacing with electronic entertainment systems will open a whole new era of education (see movies: Total RecallMatrixThirteenith FloorMinority Report, and Paycheck;  see books: Star Fire; and Star Maker). Movies will be transmitted to our inner dream screen, and computer monitor data can be seen from within, three dimensional. This is the next big jump in education and entertainment technologies that could be in our future.

This amazing channel further evolves to reveal what is called eidetic imagery  (see H. Kluver).  Precise and very detailed visual “takes” on any object come into view. The object can be zoomed in on, like with a microscope, to see the finest and most minute details. Or, it can be rotated to view it from any angle, from above or below. Some people are born with this fascinating (inner) visual ability, and it is an area of intense research Clearly, for an engineer working with designs, or for an architect’s plans, this could be a “tool” of immense value. Utilizing this channel, artists and cinematographers could take a peek at their work and then modify it or develop it accordingly.

The above capabilities are human potentials, probably utilized by some people while they dream at night. What we need is to find these abilities and use them when awake. Yoga and shamanism have techniques to do this, (without the necessity of substances or drugs) and they are reasonably safe. Yoga frequently refers to " the third eye" and yogis have described this kind of “traveling” via visions (Gopi Krishna ,Yogananda). Also, we find that Shamans "journey" through portals and tunnels to dimensions beyond ( M. Eliade, & M. Harner) where they obtain information about lost objects and souls, good hunting grounds, or the cause of illness. Somewhere within us exists this "dream screen", and like the yogis or shamans we can learn to look through it, enjoying a kingdom of heaven within.

How ecstatic or blissful can we feel ? what are the limits to really feeling good ? In addition to visionary experiences, profound degrees of inner happiness and bliss have been reported. It makes sense that the kingdom of heaven (within) would be a very happy place. This is such a predominate characteristic in yoga that bliss - “ananda”, is believed to be a fundamental element of the universe, along with existence and consciousness. Many accomplished yogis have this word "ananda" as a suffix to their name (Yog-ananada). Apparently there is a whole spectrum of feeling good, from happy and joyful to full blown ecstatic. Once again, yoga and shamanism offer techniques to experience such intense states of rapture. Christian mystics have reported these states of delight too.

Not always, but usually feeling good is a sign of health. Ecstasy and bliss are not normally experienced if one is ill. Happiness, especially in big doses, and frequently is considered a sign of robust health. At the very high end of the spectrum are such intense degrees of bliss that almost nothing else remains in the field of perception. This bliss is so great that one falls (like falling in love) into a vast ocean of “nectar”. Here personal identity is consumed by the waves of ecstasy. Yoga refers to this kind of state as a “samadhi”. It has also been reported as an experience found with psychedelic substances. In shamanism it has been sought via “archaic techniques of ecstasy” (Eliade).

Is is ok to feel good? It seems funny that we should even need to ask, yet there are cultural expectations imposed upon us. Because of these psychological barriers within, limiting when, where, and to what degree we can feel blissful, our envelope or spectrum is conditioned to stay very small. Thus it becomes a kind of program, that must be recognized as a limitation. We need to hear more about bliss, extreme happiness and the high side of the spectrum. The potential does exist, declare myth and legend, it is waiting to be found, it is a gem of delight that we can fashion beyond our wildest dreams.

How can we live longer? One way is to dilate time. If a minute can be experienced as an hour, or a day as a year, then subjectively life is extended. Immense and profound experiences could thus be “telescoped” or “compressed” into a short time frame. This is an experience associated with inner heavens, it has been reported in the mystical literature. Immortality and eternity, as such, might exist as “space - time coordinates” of a very unique sort, possibly interfacing a parallel and primordial dimension. As time slows immortality starts to appear, and when time stops, immortality starts. Immortality and eternity are associated with heaven, and renditions of these have been attempted, with both letters and art.

The possibility of living longer, in a subjective way, is connected with heavenly experience. Even if we do not live more years of actual life, we can extend our experience within its natural boundaries. This opens an additional door, within life, in an extraordinary way. Time dilation - including extensive experience contained within a short time frame is commonly reported by people during sudden emergencies. Time seems to slow, and events occur as if in slow motion, with plenty of time to perceive and evaluate that which is taking place. It is this special “time mode” we want to access: the goal is to learn how to slow time, and experience more, much more, yet in a brief period of actual time.

Heavenly domains and different kinds of time go together. Shamans and yogis tell us of amazing experiences taking place in the “blink of an eye”. This kind of experience is found with the dreaming mind too. Almost everyone has experienced time dilation in their dreams, awakening in the morning with recall of having lived a lifetime somewhere else, and then are startled to awaken and find themselves home. It is apparent there are channels of perception, for both waking and dreaming which correspond with time in fascinating ways.

“In the blink of an eye” is just a second or so, yet in that short period things can take place, events transpire, and we may not notice, or we may not remember.The techniques of yoga and shamanism redirect attention, our focus of conscious awareness. As this process becomes perfected through practice(s) subtle perceptions appear and surface into consciousness. The old mundane and ordinary world slips away, briefly, and a brighter peek via the “dream screen” spontaneously occurs. If during this episode, time is dilated, then a large quantity of experience can take place in a moment of time. It is a common experience with psychedelic substances, and with lucid dreaming; this is a latent mode of consciousness that has immense practical potential.

Most voyagers to the inner heavens return with their ordinary senses heightened, yielding clarity and pristine views of the natural world This is true regardless of the technique or vehicle used to get there and return. The senses are “washed” and the world is seen in a new light A cleansing of mind and perceptual channels occurs; this is uplifting, and provides a joyful optimism to daily life.

The pot of gold at the base of rainbows is a hint of the treasure to be found within. At first glance it seems illusory and unsubstantial; only after a journey through the “dream screen” can some assessment be made about the real potential. We do not have many metaphors for the kingdom of heaven, and “pearly gates” does not share with us a complete vision of the beyond. How can we be motivated to find and explore without better maps, metaphors, or descriptions? Yoga and shamanism have left written accounts, as have most religions. The journey to heaven has been considered so valuable to human life, that it has been carefully rendered in artworks throughout history: art has been a primary method of teaching and preserving records of these amazing journeys to worlds within.

To the uninitiated these art works are not maps, nor are they interpretable to average person. They are seen as pretty, or even beautiful, and perhaps “touching” in a magical way. Very famous art has cleverly encoded hints about heaven, and distinct mystical themes concerning heaven are seen to repeat throughout history. Specific motifs occur continents apart, and from different historical periods, yet they appear identical, and evoke a common meaning. We can look at these universal emblems, designs or motifs and feel them within us, they resonate us in a sacred way. To the experienced yogi or shaman much more is recognized, a familiar experience of the beyond, that includes intriguing hints and notes about inner pathways and places rendered by the artist.

Heaven, as we have seen, is a reality that offers extraordinary experiences to those who are willing to risk a journey into the unknown. We do have maps and guides, the voyage is possible, and the rewards can be utterly fantastic, including new channels of perception. "The kingdom of heaven (God) is within".

   (c) Paul C Adams (Prem Das) 2012             updated: 1/25/14                               archive index                                                                                             home