The Subtle Worlds and Personal Development
Esoteric traditions from around the world, including the Alice Bailey writings that Assagioli incorporated into psychosynthesis, characterise the fundamental nature of reality as consciousness. They describe non-physical realms of consciousness full of beings and energies that exist alongside the physical realms - nature spirits, angelic intelligences, the souls of dead humans and others.
Although esoteric teachings indicate that these ‘subtle worlds’ influence us pervasively, many spiritual traditions and transpersonal psychologies have tended to consider them an unimportant distraction on the personal journey of development.
However, in an age of climate change, pollution and the cultural and spiritual shifts we are experiencing, I believe that learning to work with the subtle worlds is an increasingly important part of personal development.
Why bother with the subtle worlds?
One reason I believe it’s important for people to be able to work consciously with the subtle worlds is that people feel a need for it.
After working in the Findhorn Foundation for several years I have met many people drawn here because of the Foundation’s work with the subtle worlds. They frequently have stories of subtle experiences (often in childhood) that left them with a sense that something was missing from their lives. Many others I’ve met here are especially sensitive to subtle energies and beings. They often pick up others’ thoughts and feelings, sense the presence of non-physical beings, commune deeply with Nature and intuit events before they happen.
In many cases, they don’t know how to integrate these sensitivities and some painfully try to suppress them. A reaction I sometimes hear from them is something like ‘thank God I’ve found an environment where I can actually talk about this - it’s like coming back to a home I felt alienated from.’
In some cases I suspect (although I’m not a trained psychologist) that developing connections with the subtle worlds could lead to healing from depression or helping people find a sense of purpose and meaning otherwise unobtainable. I certainly had a real need to learn to work with the subtle worlds.
Co-creative spirituality’s potential for development
Developing co-creative spirituality can also, I think, help heal on a global scale. The current crises of pollution and global warming are in part physical problems, but stem from a lack of conscious connection with the world. The belief that matter is dead stuff devoid of consciousness leads directly to short-sighted exploitation of Nature.
Freeing people from the limitations of this ‘scientific’ materialism will change their behaviour. Equally important if not more so it will change how they influence the world with their thoughts and emotions. Esoteric traditions and contemporary practitioners such as David Spangler assert that people’s thoughts and feelings don’t just stay ‘in our heads’, they influence a much larger part of the subtle and spiritual environment.
If this is true, then working with subtle energies and partners could positively (or negatively, it must be admitted) influence large groups of people. In fact, some studies on meditation and other practices offer fascinating avenues for further exploration.
Thomas Miller is the Findhorn Foundation writer/editor and a former Army Special Operations sergeant. He is helping organise the 2018 Findhorn Foundation conference Co-Creative Spirituality: Shaping our Future with the Unseen Worlds.