Introduction: Throughout time the inner world has peeked through everyday reality. Spirit guides, demons, fantastic landscapes and cities of the soul are experienced through near-death experiences, shamanic visions, dreams, psychedelic journeys and deep meditative states. Contact with the interior realms brings transformation forward into the present. The 20th century scholar and mystic, Henry Corbin, named this inner realm the “mundus imaginalis” or world of images. He describes this as “a truly real though subtle landscape located in a third domain that is neither precisely spirit or matter, but lies somewhere in between the purely intellectual world of angelic intelligences and the sensible world of material things and participates in both”. He found this world was spatially within a person’s body and also a distinct region of the cosmos.
Today within the scientific and secular world many think of these other worlds as merely symbolic descriptions of psychological states. Depth psychology might equate these worlds with the collective unconscious, containing the archetypal forms of the psyche that are beyond the emotionally charged impressions of the personal unconscious. The philosopher and quantum physicist, Ervin Laszlo, hypothesizes parallel worlds exist within each person that he names the metaverse, a place beyond ordinary time and space. If reality is a vast field of consciousness that exists throughout the cosmos, there may be organizing patterns within this field that can be accessed and experienced as the mundus imaginalis.
SoulWork, with its guided meditations and practices, teaches the way to slowly open to the lost inner realm, bringing back a sense of depth and meaning to the emptiness of a life consumed by this externally stimulating modern world. (Image by Carl Jung from the Red Book, his journey into the mundus imaginalis.)
The Mundus Imaginalis & The Senses (image Robby Donaghey)
In his book Science and the Akashic field Laszlo helps us understand new developments in multiple areas of scientific inquiry. In the fields of cosmology, quantum physics, biology, and consciousness research there seems to be a field of information, interconnection and coherence pervading all levels of reality and existence.The Sufi mystic Ibn Arabi describes his meditative contact with this field as the alam al mithal, or the world of real and substantive images – Corbin’s mundus imaginalis. Here we have the meeting of modern science and ancient wisdom.
An image can be defined as an inner representation of an external form. Through SoulWork and other deep meditations we turn our awareness towards this field of information/intelligence, interconnection/love, and coherence/presence. The field can be experienced on an image level through any of our five senses, not just visual! For some, visual images arise, or words, a deep understanding can be heard, for others, taste, the smell of subtle fragrance, or a kinesthetic, felt experience is sensed, for others movement, being directed or guided.
Perhaps because seeing is such an important sense in our culture we often limit our awareness of our inner world to sight and those who do not have this as their strongest sense can quickly become discouraged. In our SoulWork meditations we have learned to honor all the senses as ways to meet the mystery of the Source.
This material is a part of Sufi SoulWork ®