The inner world does not exist until we catalyze it into reality.
The inner world is not a place. The inner world is not a space. The inner world is a cluster of different kinds of experience.
We can put these experiences into different categories. We are call these “domains”.
Each domain offers its own unique experience of inner life.
Each domain has a particular way that it works with us and helps us.
There is no one way to traverse our inner world. Each of us has to learn how to go about that journey and to discover what works for us.
Over time, we become more familiar with the inner aspects we have experienced.
The Domains of the Inner World
Sometimes we experience an intuition, an idea that comes to us out of nowhere but that we soon recognize it is accurate in what it portends.
There are times we have a “gut” reaction to something without ever thinking about the matter directly.
We learn to recognize the level of our energy and also qualitative differences in the nature of our energy. Energy in one part of our inner world might be very different than energy in other parts of our inner world.
The heart can become the most dominant part of our inner world. The heart can help direct our life and give our life more meaning and purpose. We have devoted an entire section—3 separate articles—to exploring the mysteries of the heart. (See The Way of the Heart.)
The Transcendent is a reality that—as its name implies—transcends our own individual experience of life. Technically this is not part of our inner world. But the inner world can be a portal that opens up and allows the transcendent to move into our inner space. We include it here to recognize the importance of the inner world as an access point for the Transcendent. The Transcendent is discussed in See What is the Transcendent?.
We have identified 5 domains. There may be more. Two of these are discussed in other sections of the website. Let’s look briefly at the 3 domains which are not discussed elsewhere.
The Intuitive World
We all have had experiences where, after mulling over a problem for a while, we step away from it and a clear solution suddenly pops into our mind. Many people who do creative work have come up with their own schemes for stimulating their intuitive processes. All of these schemes involve stepping away from the project and allowing our mind to relax and be still. Our intuition works when we are paying no attention to it.
The concept of intuition was first described by Carl Jung. Jung had noticed that people differ in how they take in information and how they process it. He said that people take in information by sensation and intuition. Sensation is taking in information from the outer world through our 5 senses. Intuition, by contrast, is taking in information from the inner world.
Intuition is sometimes referred to as direct knowing. We do not rely on our brain or our mind to come up with the solution to our problem. Intuitive knowledge comes to us fully formed. We can usually recognize right away how the intuited idea relates to our problem. Jung was rather vague as to how this happens. Even today there is not a lot written that describes where and how our intuition works.
Jung said that after taking in information, we have two ways that we process it. He called these thinking and feeling. Thinking is when we use our mind and brain to analyze what we have taken in. Feeling has to do with assessing how the problem relates to us personally. Feeling is connected to our values and our emotions, not our thinking process. We discuss feeling in See The Consciousness of Feeling.
The Instinctive World
Sometimes emotional pain is experienced directly, like a kick in the stomach or a heartbreak. Other times our experience is more of an instinct, a gut-leveling knowing that we accept as true, even though we do not know how we know this. Instinct is partly predicated on our individual early life experiences. The more we experienced the more instinctive life becomes.
The viscera are the internal organs of the body. We sometimes have a visceral reaction to things that occur in the outer world. Visceral feelings are those that we experience as being in — or near — our internal organs, especially the gut. Visceral feelings are basic and elemental. These have a primordial quality to them. They are instinctive, not rational.
The visceral world is a combination of personal forces which are unique to us and other forces which are universal in nature. Just as we need to develop skills and behaviors to be effective in the outer world, we also need to develop our instincts and intuition to work more effectively with the inner world. This is part of the well-roundedness of living in both worlds simultaneously.
Movement in the visceral world can be dramatic and jarring. Movement can be very subtle and gentle. We have to be open in order to experience this. The visceral world helps us understand movement in the inner world.
The visceral reaction often occurs before the mind has a chance to mentally assess what we are experiencing. The visceral response is a combination of emotions, instincts, memories and beliefs. The visceral world helps us to interpret the events in the outer world and it gives us non-rational direction for dealing with these outer events.
The visceral world can augment our rational mind. We can make decisions without having to go through the rational analysis required by the mind. If we only rely on our rational mind to navigate the outer world, we are like an engine without all its cylinders working.
In our culture we were never taught how to work with the visceral world. We were never taught to recognize the more subtle ways that this world connects to us. We are often limited when we only rely on the mind.
The Energy World
Along with our physical body we have an energy body. If you could see this body—some people can— you would see a figure slightly larger than, and completely encasing, the physical body. Both bodies contribute to our overall health and well-being. Chinese medicine works directly with the energy body and complements Western medicine.
The energy body influences the mental and emotional well-being of the individual. The energy body should be aligned with the physical body, but sometimes it is not. The energy body can have gaps and holes where energy is missing. If we have gaps and holes, or if our energy body is not aligned with our physical body, we experience imbalances in our well-being.
In the 1980’s I learned that my energy body was somewhat elevated and slightly in front of my physical body. I was living slightly in front of myself. This gave me a very creative bent to my thinking and a tendency to fantasize about the future. It also left me ungrounded and scattered. The backside of my physical body was not covered by my energy body and left me exposed to being invaded by other people’s energy.
One evening my wife and I were having dinner with another couple. I happened to mention that my energy was sluggish and I could not figure out what was wrong with me. One of our guests said he did energy work and would be happy to check me out. He asked me to stand so he could examine me. When he got to my back he announced: well, here is your problem, you have a dagger in your back. Someone has it out for you. I immediately knew who it was. He offered to remove it and when he did, I immediately felt much better. I could literally feel something sliding out from the middle of my back. Apparently, my nemesis had been thinking negative thoughts about me and because my back was exposed, those thoughts could literally penetrate my physical back. The energy body and the physical body intertwine and effect one another in ways that most of us do not understand.
During the ‘80’s I took 6 years of training in a process called Life Energy Fundamentals. I learned about the problems that develop when our energy body is not fully aligned with our physical body. I learned how to move energy with my mind. We can use our own mental concentration to shift the energy patterns in the body.
The principle behind this is simple: energy follows thoughts. If we think negative thoughts about a specific person, we also send them negative energy. It works the same way for positive energy. Our thoughts have more consequences than we realize.
Our western culture needs a lot more information and training in how to understand and work with our human energy.