Some traditions understand that the physical world is side-by-side with many other dimensions or levels of reality. Even modern science realizes the certainty of levels of existence that we cannot perceive directly, thus to see some of them we need special tools, like microscopes, telescopes, x-ray devices, and many other extensions of our physical senses.
Even merely at the physical level, light has many degrees of vibration. With our physical senses we only perceive an extremely narrow band of that vibration, and cannot directly perceive the vast majority of the light that is radiating around us right now. To some degree, we can perceive the results of action in the narrow band of physical action. However, we do not perceive the results of action in the expanse of the ultraviolet and infrared regions. All the vibrations of light interpenetrate without confusion.
At this moment, you are surrounded by light corresponding to every range of vibration. When you move your hand, you see the physical action and its results. But you do not see your hand moving in the ultraviolet, and you do not see your hand moving in the infrared. Yet beyond the physical level of matter and energy, there are huge expanses of reality that we cannot perceive with physical tools. To see them we need special tools. Here we do not refer to physical technologies, which are merely an extension of the physical senses: we refer to psychological technologies, which traditionally are called meditation, clairvoyance, and dream yoga or astral projection. Few are they that learn the proper use of these techniques, and indeed you know you have been properly trained when you have the ability to retrieve information from non-physical levels of life.
This is important, because our actions have results throughout the range of worlds. The movement of your hand produces results that you cannot perceive with the physical senses. Your words and thoughts produce movements of energy that are not physical. There are other—much greater—consequences that are unseen by our physical senses.
Cause and effect is at work in the physical world according to the laws of physical matter. It is different in the internal worlds. What happens internally—psychologically, spiritually—is more powerful.
The internal worlds are those aspects of nature that we cannot perceive with our physical senses. In other words, we are multidimensional, not just physical.
The Tibetan Buddhist master Tsong Khapa wrote,
“An effect of immense happiness may arise from even a small virtuous karma [act]. An effect of immense suffering may arise from even a tiny nonvirtuous karma [act]. Hence, internal causation seems to involve a magnification that is not found in external causation.” —Tsong Khapa, Lamrim Chenmo
In other words, a deed may be small, but its effects can be great, and this is especially true of those actions produced internally—that is, psychologically and consciously.
In modern physics, it is now known that two objects at remote physical distance from one another can have a profound and intimate energetic interaction. This is due to multidimensionality. Of course, spiritual and mystical traditions have always known this, even though the majority of humanity ignores it.
We are not merely physical; we are multidimensional.
Our physical body corresponds to the third dimension, and this includes everything we can perceive with the senses of our physical body. Yet, our physical body can only exist and perceive because of the energy that empowers it. That energy belongs to the fourth dimension. Some people can sense this energy, but not with physical senses. Some people call this energy chi or prana. It is vital energy, the basis of physical life.
Further, our body is animated by more than mere vital energy: we have psychic, mental, and emotional energy, which are related to the fifth dimension. This is what we commonly experience as the world of dreams. While we can sense our thoughts and feelings from the physical world, they actually exist in another level of nature.
All of that experience—physical, vital, emotional, mental—is made possible because of our consciousness, soul, and spirit, which vibrate in the sixth dimension.
All of these levels emerge from and return to the seventh or zero dimension, what Buddhist call Emptiness, and Kabbalists call Ain (“nothingness”).
In simple terms, even though we are here physically (third dimension), we experience the effects of having vital energy (fourth dimension). Our physical senses may not be able to “see” it, but when our vital energy is low we feel tired or depleted. We also experience the effects of psychic energy, our thoughts and feelings (fifth dimension). Though we cannot physically “see” these thoughts and feelings, we can perceive them, just not with our physical senses.
In every moment, we are utilizing all of these forms of energy, and all of them are producing consequences.
Right now, your actions are creating multidimensional effects. But, you cannot see them because your consciousness is asleep. If you awaken your consciousness, then you can see other dimensions.
As Tsong Khapa pointed out, actions produced psychologically (internally) have much greater effects than those produced physically (externally). This is partly because the physical realm is quite low on the scale of matter and energy. Moving up the scale, actions have greater consequences, because they “trickle down” to the lower levels.
For example, if we “mouth” a word, simulating the saying of the word but without actually speaking it; this will have only a negligible effect. Yet if we say it, pronouncing the word aloud, this means we used vital energy to propel the body and the breath. The result then is that the word makes a sound, and the effect is thereby greater. But if we say the word with emotion, and direct it by thought, and especially direct it by conscious will, the effect of that word can be devastating or life-changing. The higher the type of energy invested, the greater the effect. When we say something that we really mean, it is because all of these energies are empowering that word. That is why such words are so powerful. The same is true of all forms of action. The more we mean it, the more powerful the action becomes.
Additionally, as we have stated, each action creates an effect that is greater than the original action. Even though Newton explained that cause and effect are equal (“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”), this only applies to isolated systems in the third dimension (physical matter and energy). The reality is that nothing is merely physical. Modern physics has already realized this, but most people have not.
Every physical action has ripple effects, not only physically, but in other dimensions. Thus, the results are far greater than the action.
Dimensions are not somewhere else, far away from us; the other dimensions are right here, right now. Although we possess senses that can perceive those dimensions, in us, those senses are atrophied. That is, we are asleep. We need to awaken. When we awaken, we can experience those dimensions as easily as we experience the physical one. Through such experience, we can directly observe for ourselves that a thought has a powerful ripple effect that flows into other dimensions or levels of energy and matter.
Thoughts are not isolated in our brains. Thoughts are a form of matter and energy that are not physical. Very sensitive people (and children and animals) can perceive the thoughts of others.
Most people can “sense” when someone is looking at them, even without physical clues. Have you felt the gaze of someone fall upon you, and you “instinctively” turned to see who is looking at you? In that moment, you sensed something by means of non-physical energy. You sensed the other persons attention, which is not physical.
Similarly, we can sense how others feel. A person may be smiling, but we can sense their anger or sadness. This is derived from non-physical energies and non-physical senses. In spite of this, we foolishly believe that no one else can sense what we are feeling or thinking. How naive!
Recognizing this, it is imperative that we realize something: what we think and feel have effects that extend far beyond the thought or feeling. What we will has far-reaching consequences. Everything inside of us produces consequences, both internally and externally.
This is why the Buddhist scripture The Dhammapada begins with:
“The mind creates our life. As we think, so do we become.”
Our life is but the result of the energy that has moved through our psyche. Thus, if what we want is a better life, we have to develop the capacity to change how we manage our energy. To do that, we need to become aware of ourselves here and now. The key to conquering suffering and establishing happiness is in this: being conscious of what we do both physically and internally, from moment to moment. Through conscious (superior) actions, we overcome unconscious (inferior) actions and their consequences.