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planes of existence, spiritual planes, neighbour states, continuous scale

Planes of Existence

Author: Michael Lewis

Copyright © 2001 Michael Lewis

As shown in this diagram, planes of existence should not, as
they commonly are, be thought of as discreet states but rather as a continuous

As we distinguish between body, mind and soul, we must equally
distinguish between physical, mental, and spiritual. In this way we can see our
bodies, our minds, and our souls as the states in which we exist in each of the
respective planes of existence. The body is our physical form, the mind is our
mental form, and the soul is our spiritual form.  However, we should not
think of the physical, mental and spiritual planes as discreet states, rather we
should think of them as bands along a continuous scale of infinite divisions

The intermediary states, astral and ethereal, are most easily
explained in relation to their neighbour states.  The astral shares
properties of the physical and the mental, and the ethereal shares properties of
the mental and the spiritual.  However, as should already be clear, these
are not discreet states, and so any given thing may exist at any point, or
between any points, on the scale.  An 'ordinary' object exists only in the
physical plane (or more accurately, the physical band of planes), a thought-form
exists in the mental plane, and depending on the nature of the thought-form, its
existence may also reach partially into the astral or ethereal planes, a person
exists across the entire spectrum, and so on.  Everything has its place on
the scale, existing within a range of planes.

This suggests that it is possible that ghosts, demons, or other
controversial entities do exist, occupying planes that are not normally used by
people.  Imagine that you are driving on a colossal roadway (marked into an
infinite number of lanes) and that you can only see straight ahead of you. 
Imagine what you must pass without ever realising.  Let us imagine a
thought-form existing within a particular narrow band of planes in the mental
band of planes.  It is a malicious thought-form, a demon. It is entirely
impossible for a person to encounter it physically, since it does not exist on
the physical plane.  It may only be encountered within the narrow band of
mental planes within which it exists.  A person may only encounter this
demon, therefore, as a thought, and it will appear to the person just as any
other thought in their mind would appear.  Although it will be a malicious
thought, there may be nothing to clearly identify it as a foreign body within
the mind, something that the mind has picked up, rather like a radio scanner,
scanning specific frequencies (planes).  The person will never realise that
they have encountered a demon, and they will not be aware of its effect upon
them, which may be permanent, although it is unlikely to be significant. 
We may encounter such loose thoughts every day, and each one may influence our
thoughts. This would explain inspiration, both positive and negative, the
'voices' heard by schizophrenics and other 'mentally ill' people.  This
also has implications for the way we understand the mind and the nature and
process of thought, and the way we monitor and evaluate our own thoughts.

This theory of a continuous scale of planes of existence has
one very significant implication.  Physical dimensions (height, width, and
depth) apply in the physical plane but not in the spiritual plane - where
everything exists in one point with no spatial dimensions.  The mental
plane has spatial dimensions in its lower band (near the astral) but not in its
higher band (near the ethereal). This means that at different levels of thought,
different spatial rules apply.  At the lower levels, thoughts are
restricted within the mind of the thinker, but at the higher levels, thoughts
exist regardless of spatial dimensions, and may therefore be shared by any
number of minds that are on the same plane, and therefore on the same mental
frequency. This would explain telepathic abilities and contribute to an
explanation of the psychological phenomenon known as 'contagion', where a crowd
of people all reach the same mental state.  This also has profound
implications for the way we understand the mind and the nature and process of

Recently I have found it useful to think of the planes of
existence in a tri-form as depicted in the above image.  This image shows
how the planes can be thought of as equal and balanced forms emanating from a
central point, rather than as a linear scale.  In this model, the focal
point can be thought of as God/Chaos/Reality - the central focus point of
reality where existence is pure, whereas in the perceived world, which is
created from this focal point as matter, thought and spirit, existence is
impure.  The fractal boundaries created using Newton's Method show, in this
context, how each plane overlaps with the others.  Between any two planes
is the third.

Suggested Pdf Resources

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Suggested Web Resources

Plane (esotericism) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
7 Planes of Existence
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The suttas describe thirty-one distinct "planes" or "realms" of existence into which beings can be reborn during this long wandering through samsara.
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It is important to understand the Planes of Existence in order to clarify why and where our beliefs, programs, contracts, commitments and initiations originate.