Saturday, June 2, 2018

Visions and Their Origins: Exploring Aspects of Consciousness


There are a number of schools of thought on the topic of the origins of visions and altered states of consciousness.  There are spiritual perspectives, religious perspectives and psychological perspectives.  Looking back, we understand that meditation can open up channels of conscious communication but in some quarters there are concerns about these practices. The same can be said for Shamanic healing practices and channeling work. Each of these practices assumes a point of origin that is perceived to be positive or negative, helpful or detrimental, and even good or evil.  Should we hold fear and trepidation for some or all of these practices?  Should we embrace our visions and engage in them fully to try to better understand? What are we truly seeking and where are the visions actually coming from?  Can we trust what we might experience? Are we helping ourselves or hurting ourselves and the potential direction of our respective life paths? This article takes a look at some of these practices and perspectives, considers their points and contributes an alternative thought that begs further exploration.

Key Words: Visions, Spirituality, Psychology, Channeling, Religion and Consciousness


As I began to look into this topic, I encountered a vast array of opinions, thoughts and beliefs.  Some I could align with and some I could not.  I realized the theories and beliefs behind my inquiry fell into a few areas that will likely be familiar:

·      Meditation:  There are schools of thought that believe meditation should be embraced fully without a single thought and that meditation should be embraced to improve health, illness and calm anxiety.  There are also those that warn meditation is dangerous and imperils the soul,

·      Shamanic Journey/Visions:  There are cultures through the ages that have engaged in shamanic journeying or vision quest for purposes of healing and seeking life guidance or purpose.  There are others that distrust this process and are considered information gained through the process cannot and should not be relied upon.

·      Altered Consciousness Visions:  There are circles that believe the process of exploring the inner world and the visions that may result are and important part of spiritual development.  Alternatively, there is thought that these visions are tantamount to embracing demonic possession and that we should be very fearful.  (This article intentionally excludes substance induced altered consciousness and related visions). 

·      Channeling:  There are circles that believe we should seek enlightenment and guidance through the invitation of discarnate entities through medium channeling or seeking guidance or contact from the beyond.  And some on this topic provide a huge warning that we are in no position to clearly judge the true origins of this guidance and should never participate in this in any way.

·      Imagining:  There are psychological practices of using inner vision for specific outcomes, prophecy and healing from attempting to conquer disease, improving performance, to various aspects of neuro linguistic programming or reprogramming to eradicate fears. Again, alternatively, some theories believe this to be a waste of time and energy.

This author admits to holding a certain bias as one who regularly meditates, uses visions and dreams for guidance and is not opposed to considering that channeling may really be a process that is not harmful for those who are appropriately trained and who engage with appropriate preparations.  In my inquiry into the beliefs and activities concerning the origins of visions, I found varying degrees of judgment of these practices in terms of trying to determine what is right or wrong, helpful or dangerous, and I find it is very difficult to determine what you should believe about these practices.

Consciousness Perspectives

Our consciousness is vast, holds different mechanisms to function from our everyday storage of short-term and long-term memories and lesson-learning to creating with our imaginations.  We can access a part of our consciousness in an altered state that may feel like visions from the beyond or channeling our higher-selves or potentially other aspects of consciousness.  This article does not intend to judge any perspective but instead to consider the vast capabilities of our consciousness to hold many perspectives and to learn to understand the function of certain aspects of our consciousness for our own self-improvement.  Such topics must also come with the consideration that some of the warnings about meditation or visions stemming from altered consciousness may in fact be valid but not necessarily for the reasons stated on an uninformed fear-bias basis. The author holds the perspective that regardless of what we engage in, whether it be mindful meditation, visions or channeling/downloading information that seems like it is from “out-there”, it’s actually all “us” and a part of our vast consciousness.  Having experienced meditation, intentional imagining or reaching for visions, my own experience leads me to believe that we should not fear our own minds but rather seek to understand that which comes to us in altered states of consciousness.  Our minds work in very interesting ways and we must contend with spirituality, psychology and with our religious beliefs in order to gain the greatest wisdom.  This wisdom actually originates from the depths of our own consciousness.

Based on years of education and research into various aspects of psychology, metaphysics and new age practices, I have come to believe that we already have what we seek for greater understanding.  Sometimes I think our visions rise from within the deepest parts of ourselves in ways that will best get our attention. The bits and pieces of glimpses we might achieve through dreams, visions or meditations are really just parts of our own minds and consciousness seeking conscious cognition. All we really need is greater patience, discernment and understanding of our experiences.  Sometimes the information that arises during visions may be related to the uniting of the shadow (which we shouldn’t deny), healing old wounds (you may need additional help with) or uniting disparate thoughts and energy strung out across the span of our current lives that needs greater understanding to create within us a greater sense of wholeness and completeness.  Engaging in meditation or even contemplating visions that may come unintentionally or intentionally can ultimately benefit the inquirer with a few caveats for psychological and physical safety.

Other Perspectives

Shamanic Visions

From the Cuyamongue Institute, in the article “What is Shamanic Vision?” the author discusses the Shamanic Vision and explains how the shaman explores nonphysical reality via a journey with his or her consciousness. In this article, the author cites research conducted on the practice of Shamanic Vision and provides an outline of what Shamanic work entails.  

There are a number of relatively common practices and experiences in traditional shamanism which are being investigated by modern researchers. While the older traditional practices are ignored by some researchers, others have begun to explore these older techniques…

In order to journey to the other dimensions of existence a Shaman induces an altered state of consciousness in himself similar to a state of self-hypnosis called a state of flow. While in this state of flow, or Shamanic Trance, he is in complete control. He is able to take his consciousness and subtle bodies into nonphysical reality where he journeys to the world of spirits, gains information, retrieves souls, and makes subtle changes in reality which may affect his/her physical world.

The particular form of altered consciousness associated with shamanism is called a soul journey, soul flight, or some other similar term referring to the departure of some aspect of the self, particularly one’s soul or spirit, from the body in order to journey to the spirit world…

General Altered States

More on altered states from article from David Nez titled “Altered States:”

Altered states of consciousness are brought about by the withdrawal of consciousness from every day awareness as we shift to the inner world of imagination, reverie, dreams and visions. These experiences range along a continuum from mild waking trance to deep comatose states of trance where awareness of the environment is drastically reduced.

It becomes apparent that altered states of consciousness are part of the shared human experience—we are all neurologically “wired” for them. In fact, a great deal of religion, mythology and the arts may have originated from the visions of shamans experienced in altered states of consciousness. Although ancient shamans, mystics and magicians cultivated these states to an extraordinary degree, the research suggests we can learn to access them as well.

Meditative Visions

From an article on meditative visions we have the following perspective from the Mindworks Team:

Some people report having visions during meditation. Having a “vision” is defined as experiencing something out of the ordinary that wouldn’t be real in the normal state of things, but that seems very real to us when it occurs. One of the characteristics of a “vision” is that others can’t see it. By definition, a vision involves mental images, but in this context we include perceptions of sounds or scents that aren’t really there as well. This perplexing phenomenon is not very common, but it does happen enough to warrant investigating.

Visions tend to occur when our meditation takes us to a zone between sleep and wakefulness. A popular woo-woo belief maintains that when someone starts having visions during meditation, it means that he or she has unlocked the “third eye.” This unfounded rumor is outside the Mindworks purview: as meditators, our goal is awareness, serenity, and presence, not the unlocking of supernatural powers. So if the beauty of mindfulness is an enhanced ability to experience and appreciate the present moment, where do visions fit in?

From the, we have an article that attempts to explain also that the visions one may encounter in meditation aren’t necessarily other worldly and readers are cautioned to use their wisdom in interpreting their visions or meditative experiences:

There are all sorts of various phenomena people can encounter on the spiritual trail.
Some people -- due to lots of meditation work -- can start to know future events.
Some people will see lights or visions or special forms in the light. Some will even hear voices in their head. 

These aren't supernatural occurrences. Rather, in most cases there's a scientific reason behind hearing or seeing things rather than a mystical or holy cause. In most instances, these occurrences are caused by your chi entering the tiny nadi (chi channels) in the vicinity of the ear, or they're caused by your chi trying to penetrate through the occipital region of the brain. 

That's what usually causes you to hear sounds or see visions due to spiritual practice. These are common experiences that occur when the chi tries to pass though the difficult hind region of the skull, which is called the "jade pillow" in Tao school literature. If you experience this sort of thing, you must be very careful not to misinterpret it and take it as something holy…

Psychological Perspective/Prophecy

There are those who intentionally sat with their visions and meditations in order to better understand the nature of the symbology of what arises in the consciousness when naturally altering consciousness (not substance induced) and some who used visions in altered states to provide guidance.  Controversial or not, Edgar Cayce provided readings, guidance and prophecies to folks from an altered state of consciousness.  Carl Jung spent the last few years of his life documenting his life story, including his visions for the purpose of understanding them.

(In the spring of 1957, when he was eighty-one years old, Carl Gustav Jung undertook the telling of his life story. Memories, Dreams, Reflections is that book, composed of conversations with his colleague and friend Aniela Jaffé, as well as chapters written in his own hand, and other materials. Jung continued to work on the final stages of the manuscript until shortly before his death on June 6, 1961, making this a uniquely comprehensive reflection on a remarkable life. Fully corrected, this edition also includes Jung's VII Sermones ad Mortuos.) 

Biblical Dreams and Visions
From the biblical perspective we have an excerpt from genesis as noted by Pilch in relation to Altered States of Consciousness or ASC as it is now more commonly known:

From Genesis, when God put the first earthling into a trance in order to create a partner for him (Gen 2:21), to the book of Revelation in which the author explicitly says he is in an ASC four times (Rev. 1:10; 4:1-2; 17:3; 21:10), the Bible is replete with accounts of ASC experiences. Perhaps the greatest concentration (more than twenty reports) occurs in the book of Acts” [Pilch 2011:107].

In the online article about the origins of biblical dreams and visions, another author notes a number of bible passages that contain documentation of visions and dreams thought to be inspired by God.

Question: "How did God use dreams and visions in the Bible?"

God used dreams and visions (visions are “waking dreams”; see Numbers 24:4) several times in the Bible to communicate with people. Visions seem to have been common enough that their lack was sorely noted. An absence of visions was due at times to a dearth of prophets (1 Samuel 3:1) and other times due to the disobedience of God’s people (1 Samuel 28:6).

Channeling and Mediumship

From the online source, the Crimson Circle in an article explaining what channeling is, we have the following:

Channeling is a natural form of communication between humans and angelic beings, nature spirits, non-physical entities, or even animals and pets. A channeler is very similar to a language translator or interpreter. They allow themselves to sense the non-verbal communication from another being and then translate it into human words.

From another channeling expert key in the New Age Movement, we have the teachings of  Seth who was channeled by Jane Roberts:

Who is Seth ?

Seth is the internationally acclaimed spiritual teacher who spoke through the author Jane Roberts while she was in trance, and coined the phrase “You Create Your Own Reality.” Seth’s empowering message literally launched the New Age movement


A number of pieces of important guidance has been brought through those who meditate, conduct shamanic journeys, engage in trance for the purpose of vision or channeling, or allow the consciousness to move through visions and dreams and interpret then endeavor to interpret symbols.  Some of the information may be considered to be extraordinarily helpful, some quite detrimental, some meaningless, some healing and some incredibly mind-boggling.  The experiences and outcomes are subjective to the inquirer or experiencer. What we do with the information we receive through visions requires a solid sense of good psychological help, wisdom, discernment and plain old common sense.  I don’t think that I ran across anything specifically to fear.  But I would suggest, based on some of my research not specifically cited here, that inviting just anything to come to you during meditation or engaging in visions without discernment, being in a poor psychological, spiritual or even physical state probably isn’t a good idea.  I think it isn’t a good idea because we don’t well understand the full extent of our consciousness and how it may be used as a conduit for other types of consciousness not yet fully explored.  Plainly said, I don’t discount the paranormal.  What I am mainly speaking to is our intent here and impressing the real need in using our common sense for purposes of exploring earnestly (and safely).  I think I tend to agree with some of the warnings out there but I really lean more towards supporting exploration, learning to interpret the symbols presented and seeking guidance in the interpretation as we would physical or psychological symptoms.


This author’s perspective is that with channeling the medium can direct who they wish to channel.  I believe we are actually dealing with the same source or potentially the same source consciousness whether we are dreaming, visioning, channeling or downloading information that seems it comes from elsewhere.  I think that our consciousness is so vast and indescribable that there is simply much we don’t understand.  It is quite normal for humans to fear what they do not understand and perhaps your intent in any endeavor is what drives what comes to you.  What we focus on, we tend to create.  I mention channeling here as it has also taken on the labeling and warnings and been lumped negatively into the world of psychic mumbo jumbo.  I don’t think that is accurate (or fair).  The entire exploration of the mind and altered states of consciousness must include those connected moments we are “hearing” guidance or “seeing” themes and symbols through visions.  A generalized warning of danger might be applicable if we were truly channeling these visions from an unknown otherworldly perspective without appropriate precautions, training and preparation.  This author is not necessarily convinced that channeled messages of discarnate entities, visions or dreams that seem otherworldly actually are that.  I believe our consciousness is so vast we cannot clearly determine where it begins or ends with 100 percent definitive accuracy.

This author has also had a number of experiences in channeling, downloads of otherworldly seeming information, visions with very specific guidance, near death experience and also premonitions in the form of dreams.  I tend to think the other-worldly aspect is actually just the various dimensions and levels of our own consciousness speaking to us based on our intent and providing us with mostly useful information that is likely more psychologically driven than anything else.  But, that is just me.  I posit that our psyche, the visions and information we encounter are not something to fear but rather something to be better understood.  There are volumes of books and articles on dreams, visions, shamanic journeys, biblical visions and channeling efforts.  The perspectives are as varied and unique as each of us are here living in this world.  To me, that is no surprise.  What I cannot support, however, is a perspective that teaches individuals to fear themselves, their minds or any state of consciousness their own beings are capable of.

Having said that, I would say that I don’t engage in meditation when I am not feeling 100 percent well or if I’m upset or otherwise disturbed by something.  If we are psychologically unfit to manage the consequence of experience, we probably should be fore-armed and forewarned about engaging in personal conscious exploration that could result in fearful or puzzling experiences we may not be able to handle or process.  I also think that those engaging with intent to explore altered states of consciousness should do so with the help of those trained in this area.  Respect what you contemplate, understand what you perceive but don’t fear your own mind and if you do, get you some help to manage the process. 

Continued consciousness exploration can only benefit us individually and as a species.  After this short round of research and exploration, I’m left where most of us are in that we can pinpoint certain aspects of consciousness but not all of it.  There is much we are learning but still do not fully comprehend.  With continued exploration, I think we can only learn more.  I do think that if we take on the perspective of exploration of our own personal visions from naturally induced altered state of consciousness coupled with a practical and common sense approach, we will benefit regardless of understanding the origins.  Take what is good and useful to you and leave behind that which is not and above all else, never fear your own mind.


Altered States, David Nez  Accessed online April 20, 2018

Edgar Cayce Prophecies: Past, Present and Future,  Accessed on line June 2, 2018

How did God use dreams and visions in the Bible? Accessed online June 2, 2018  Accessed online June 2, 2018

What Does it Mean to Have Visions During Meditation? Accessed online June 2, 2018

What Every Meditator Should Know About Seeing Visions and Hearing Voices, Accessed online June 2, 2018

What is Channeling?  Accessed online June 2, 2018

What is Shamanic Vision? Cuyamongue Institute  Accessed online April 29, 2018

Rev. J.L. Harter, Ph.D. (University of Sedona) (Founding Editor/Contributor)

What is Energy?

“What is energy?” We appreciate it well when it manifests within the limits of our perception and hence we say it is “Everything”. Understanding energy as such can be frustrating because it is like looking for something that lies beyond the limits of our perception.

Key Words
Energy, Manifestation, Experience
A question that is utterly frustrating and for sure has no answer is “What is Energy?” If it’s everything, what does that mean? We apply energy in every equation that demonstrates the workings of everything in this world, despite of not knowing what it is, which builds the infuriation.

This is the reason physicists have laws that make energy the most fundamental unit of everything; it can neither be created nor destroyed, but can transform from one form to another. According to physics, energy is a quantitative property that must be transferred to an object in order to perform work on, or to heat the object. The loss and gain of energy can be equated to birth and death in the living, and creation and destruction in the non-living.

Energy can be utilized in superfluity to bring about obliteration or can be restrained to support life; energy can be potential or kinetic; energy has many names based on the form it takes within our limited perception.

The beauty of energy actually resides in its manifestations which forms the basis of all manifestations whether living or non-living.   

Energy manifestations are observed as patterns in the universe. Based on the geometrical patterns known and studied in the macroscopic and microscopic world, we can assume that energy moves and shapes itself in forms that may act as a solid support for its movement to form a system within itself which is visible in the atom and even in the galaxies and the universe.

Let us dissever an atom that which makes up everything in the universe. An atom is a composite of sub atomic particles like the quarks, leptons, baryons and the list goes on and on. According to the string theory, each of these sub atomic particles is further made up of strings which hold tremendous amounts of energy and which maintain the compactness of a particle.

Based on this theory, eventually we end up with empty spaces within an atom for which there is no explanation but for sure we can assume there is energy in there which supports the atom and its sub atomic particle with its stability and compactness.  

Energy is a fundamental unit and without it we cannot proceed further with understanding what is created and what we can create. Seeking an understanding of energy is like looking into empty space that which lies within the limits of our perception and understanding.

Scientists and philosophers though acknowledge the existence of energy, think differently about energy where a scientist explains energy through change and motion, while some philosophers conceive it to be a spiritual force.

  Religion on the other hand equates it to God, a super power that controls all of mankind and so the devil creating the divide of good and evil. 

From an Advaitic perspective, the universe is a manifestation of energy, not because of the existence of a fluid that is continually manipulating or changing as per the scientists nor because of a higher entity that can transform it to things and activities as per the philosophers but because change is the form of the universe and the true meaning of this change we see as energy that never changes; what changes we observe lies in our perception.  

“Everything is one”. Advaitic philosophy somehow can provide us a better understanding about energy, but the inconsistency lies in perception wherein the emergence of such a concept also comes out from our very own perception making it flawed.  

To seek and answer to this question we need to perceive it from where it begins and for that we need to be the energy to know what it is. All theories and concepts therefore breakdown here; we need to be in that space to understand it but with our limited perception that is restricted to only our senses it seems impossible.
We therefore end up with only one choice which is to experience and perceive its manifestations.

“What is energy?” This question will always remain a mystery until we be the energy.  

Dr. Contzen Pereira (Editorial Board Member/Contributor)
Independent Scholar, Mumbai, India
Corresponding Author. Address: Nandadeep, Chakala, Andheri (East), Mumbai 400 099, India. Email Address:,