033 – The Four Realms – A fresh idea from the bath

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Introduction to the Four Realms: Physical, Digital, Dream and Spiritual. This podcast was recorded fresh from after my bath where the idea became conscious – so it’s a ramble! I hope you find it interesting and useful.

Notes from the talk

  • There are four different realms. Keeping them in mind will help you to stay mindful more of the time.
  • Understanding the realms will also help you navigate and understand what’s going on with your experience.
  • This is a framework to help you navigate through your experience. A useful model. Not necessarily 100% accurate.
  • The Physical Realm:
    • Experiences that we focus on with our mindfulness practice.
    • Form-based.
    • What’s coming in through the senses. What you can see, hear, smell, taste or touch.
    • Feelings within the body.
    • Thoughts that you may observe.
    • Tangible stuff.
    • People, animals, insects, all of nature – all part of the Physical Realm.
    • Your normal/natural experience.
    • If we take a walk somewhere where there are no digitally connected devices we would be completely removed from the Digital Realm. All of our experience would be within the Physical Realm if we were being mindful.
  • The Digital Realm
    • The realm that you access through your connected devices.
    • Web sites, TV, radio, social media, emails, apps, virtual reality etc.
    • All connected together via the Internet.
    • You go “into the Digital Realm” via your devices.
    • The Physical Realm provides gateways into the Digital Realm e.g. through a phone.
    • Your mind moves between the Physical and Digital Realms.
    • We may create stories about the Digital Realm in our minds – through the Physical Realm e.g. guessing what may be happening on social media or fantasising about playing a computer game. It’s like we create a virtual version of the Digital Realm in our minds without even accessing it!
    • We flow in and out of these different realms.
    • You could use a virtual reality headset and completely absorb your mind into the Digital Realm. Or absorb yourself through another device.
  • The Dream Realm
    • We go into the Dream Realm when we are physically sleeping and dreaming.
    • We also go into this realm when we are lost in thoughts and not mindful when we’re physically awake – this creates a dream-like state.
    • For most, if not all humans, our minds will go into this Dream Realm at night (dreaming) and in the day (lost in thought without awareness/day-dreaming).
    • For most of us the most prominent absorption into the dream realm is when we’re physically asleep and dreaming without being aware of it. It’s as though the dream realm pulls us into its experience.
    • You can get pulled out of the dream realm from the physical realm. Like being waken up by an alarm or person. It can be quite unpleasant. The Dream Realm hasn’t finished with you, but the Physical Realm pulls you out.
    • So there can be competition between realms!
    • Another example is where you’re absorbed in a TV show and you need to urinate. The two realms are competing. The digital realm wants you to continue to be absorbed in it whilst your body is wanting you to come away from the Digital Realm and urinate.
  • The Spiritual Realm
    • This is the hardest realm to explain – in fact it’s impossible to explain.
    • If you can access this realm e.g. higher consciousness, higher power, God, peace, love, joy etc. you will know what it is.
    • You cannot explain the Spiritual Realm with the other realms. E.g. by trying to explain it through the Physical/Digital Realms.
    • It’s unexplainable and indescribable.
    • “Trying” to explain it in my own words:
      • It’s there in the background .
      • A peacefulness that permeates everything.
      • A stillness.
      • Love.
    • The Spiritual Realm is infinite and everywhere.
    • It covers the whole world and universe.
    • There is no start or end to this realm.
    • It’s in a completely different dimension.
    • It didn’t start at a particular time. It was there even before the earth was created – there would have been other planets and objects around. The Spiritual Realm was still there with its stillness and peace.
    • The Spiritual Realm is always there like the canvas of a painting. The other realms paint things onto the canvas. The canvas is required to host the creations.
    • Spiritual practice is about maintaining a connection to that Spiritual Realm.
    • The Spiritual Realm is always there in the background.
    • This is the master realm, which controls the other three realms. It is at the top of the hierarchy.
    • When you establish a connection with this realm, it’s intelligence informs interactions with the Physical, Digital and Dream Realms.
    • This is an unchangeable realm.
    • This is the plus within Mindfulness+.
  • The Physical, Digital and Dream Realms connect together. E.g. your digital experience can inform your physical experience. And dreams can influence your physical and digital experiences.
  • You need the Physical Realm to access the Digital Realm.
  • You might read something on a web site (Digital Realm), which influences action that take when you’re not using digital devices. E.g. using information from an internet cake recipe to bake a cake. This is an example of the Digital Realm influencing the Physical Realm.
  • The Dream Realm is also conditioned by what you do in the Physical and Digital Realms. And vice versa. E.g. you dream about an old friend, then go online and connect with them on social media the following day.
  • The first three realms connect together and influence each other.
  • There may be more realms created in the future. Or realms may be taken away. E.g. the Digital Realm is a relatively new creation. Created from the Spiritual, Physical and Dream Realms. If a war destroyed the devices, data cables, data etc. then the Digital Realm would be no more.
  • The four realm model is as I see things now and is all subject to change – other than the unchangeable Spiritual Realm.
  • Mindfulness includes awareness and acceptance of Physical and Digital Realms. It can also include awareness and acceptance of the Dream Realm in advanced practice – lucid dreaming.
  • The plus in the Mindfulness+ Practice is the Spiritual Realm. Mindfulness+ is working to maintaining the connection with this.

Copyright © 2018 Darren Cockburn. All Rights Reserved


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