During the years that I was writing The Dancing
Wu Li Masters and after, I was drawn again and again to the writings
of William James, Carl Jung, Benjamin Lee Whorf, Niels Bohr and Albert
Einstein. I returned to them repeatedly. I found in them something special,
although it was not until later that I was able to understand that specialness:
these fellow humans reached for something greater than they were able
to express directly through their work. They saw more than they could
express in the language of psychology or linguistics or physics, and
they sought to share what they saw. It--is what they sought to share
through the medium of their work that drew me to them.
They were mystics. That is my word. They would not
use such language, but they knew it. They feared that their careers
might become contaminated by association with those who did not work
within the scientific model, but in the depths of their own thoughts
they each saw much too much to be limited by the five senses, and they
were not. Their works contribute not only to the evolution of psychology,
linguistics and physics, but also to the evolution of those who read
them. They have the capability to change those who touch them in ways
that also cannot be expressed directly in the terms of psychology, or
linguistics, or physics.
As I came to understand, in retrospect, the magnetic
quality that these works held for me, I came to understand that what
motivated these men was not Earthly prizes or the respect of colleagues,
but that they put their souls and minds on something and reached the
extraordinary place where the mind could no longer produce data of the
type that they wanted, and they were in the territory of inspiration
where their intuitions accelerated and they knew that there was something
more than the realm of time and space and matter, something more than
physical life. They knew it. They could not necessarily articulate this
clearly because they were not equipped to talk about such things, but
they felt it and their writings reflected it.
In other words, I came to understand that what motivated
these men, and many others, was in fact something of great vision that
comes from beyond the personality. Each of us is now being drawn, in
one way or another, to that same great vision. It is more than a vision.
It is an emerging force. It is the next step in our evolutionary journey.
Humanity, the human species, is longing now to touch that force, to
shed that which interferes with clear contact. Much of the difficulty
in doing this lies in the fact that the vocabulary with which to address
this new force, which is indeed the--eternal force, is not yet born.
In this moment and in this hour of human evolution
this proper vocabulary and means of addressing that which longs to transcend
religiosity and spirituality and assume the position of authentic power
is longing to be born. We need to give that which we as a species are
now touching consciously for the first-time a vocabulary that is not
clouded so that it can be identified clearly in the acts and judgments
of the human race, so that it can be seen -- clearly, and not through
veils of mystery or mysticism, but simply as the authentic power that
moves the force fields of this Earth of ours. I hope that this book
As a way of talking about what we are and what we are
becoming, I have used the terms five-sensory and multisensory. Multisensory
is not better than five-sensory. It is simply more appropriate now.
As one system of human experience winds down and another, more advanced
system emerges the older system may appear by comparison to be lacking,
but from the perspective of the Universe, the language of comparison
is not the language of lesser and better, but of limitation and opportunity.
The experiences of the multisensory human are less
limited than the experiences of the five-sensory human. They provide
more opportunities for growth and development and more opportunities
to avoid unnecessary difficulties. I have contrasted the experiences
of the five-sensory human with the experiences of the multisensory human
in each instance to make their differences as clear as possible, but
this does not mean that the five-sensory phase of our evolution, the
phase from which we are emerging, is negative in comparison to the phase
of our evolution that we are entering, the multisensory phase. It is
simply that it is now no longer appropriate just as there came a time
when the use of candles became inappropriate because of electricity,
but the advent of electricity did not make candle power negative.
Who among us is an expert on the human experience?
We have only the gift of sharing perceptions that hopefully can help
those on their journey. There is no such thing as an expert on the human
experience. The human experience is an experience in movement and thought
and form, and, in some cases, an experiment in movement and thought
and form. The most that we can do is comment on the movement, the thought
and the form, but those comments are of great value if they can help
people to learn to move gracefully, to think clearly, to form -- like
artists -- the matter of their lives.
We are in a time of deep change. We will move through
this change more easily if we are able to see the road upon which we
are traveling, our destination, and what it is that is in motion. I
offer what is in this book as a window through which I have come to
see life. I offer this window to you, but I do not say that it is necessary
that you accept it. There are so many ways to wisdom and to the heart.
This is our greatest richness, and the one that gives me the most joy.
We have much to do together.
Let us do it in wisdom and love and joy.
Let us make this the human experience.
Copyright © 1989 by Gary Zukav
The evolution that we learned about in school is the
evolution of physical form. We learned, for example, that the single-celled
creatures of the oceans are the predecessors of all more complex forms
of life. A fish is more complex, and, therefore, more evolved than a
sponge; a horse is more complex, and, therefore, more evolved than a
snake; a monkey is more complex, and, therefore, more evolved than a
horse, and so on, up to human beings which are the most complex, and,
therefore, the most evolved Life forms upon our planet. We were taught,
in other words, that evolution means the progressive development of
This definition is an expression of the idea that the
organism that is best able to control both its environment and all of
the other organisms in its environment is the most evolved. "Survival
of the fittest" means that the most evolved organism in a given environment
is the organism that is at the top of the food chain in that environment.
According to this definition, therefore, the organism that is most able
to ensure its own survival, most able to serve its self-preservation,
is the most evolved.
We have long known that this definition of evolution
is inadequate, but we have not known why. When two humans engage one
another, they are, in terms of organizational complexity, equally evolved.
If both have the same intelligence, yet one is small-minded, mean and
selfish while the other is magnanimous and altruistic, we say that the
one who is magnanimous and altruistic is the more evolved. If one human
intentionally sacrifices his or her life to save another, by, for example,
using his or her own body to shield another from an unseen bullet or
a speeding car, we say that the human who sacrificed his or her life,
indeed, was one of the most evolved among us. We know these things to
be true, but they are at variance with our understanding of evolution.
Jesus, we are told, foresaw the plot against His life,
even to the details of how His friends would act and react, yet He did
not run from what He saw. The entirety of humankind has been inexorably
shaped by the power and love of One who gave His life for others.
All who revere Him, and almost all who but know His story, agree that
He was one of the most evolved of our species.
Our deeper understanding tells us that a truly evolved
being is one that values others more than it values itself, and that
values love more than it values the physical world and what is in it.
We must now bring our understanding of evolution into alignment with
this deeper understanding. It is important that we do this because our
current understanding of evolution reflects the phase of evolution that
we are now leaving. By examining this understanding, we can perceive
how we have evolved to now, and what we are now in the process of leaving
behind. By reflecting upon a new and expanded understanding of evolution,
one that validates our deepest truths, we can see what we are evolving
into, and what that means in terms of what we experience, what we value,
and how we act.
Our current understanding of evolution results from
the fact that we have evolved until now by exploring physical reality
with our five senses. We have been, until now, five-sensory human beings.
This path of evolution has allowed us to see the basic principles of
the Universe in concrete ways. We see through our five senses that every
action is a cause that has an effect, and that every effect has a cause.
We see the results of our intentions. We see that rage kills: it takes
away breath--the Life force--and it spills blood--the carrier of vitality.
We see that kindness nurtures. We see and feel the effects of a snarl
and a smile.
We experience our ability to process knowledge. We
see, for example, that a stick is a tool, and we see the effects of
how we choose to use it. The club that kills can drive a stake into
the ground to hold a shelter. The spear that takes a life can be used
as a lever to ease life's burdens. The knife that cuts flesh can be
used to cut cloth. The hands that build bombs can be used to build schools.
The minds that coordinate the activities of violence can coordinate
the activities of cooperation.
We see that when the activities of life are infused
with reverence, they come alive with meaning and purpose. We see that
when reverence is lacking from life's activities, the result is cruelty,
violence and loneliness. The physical arena is a magnificent learning
environment. It is a school within which, through experimentation, we
come to understand what causes us to expand and what causes us to contract,
what causes us to grow and what causes us to shrivel, what nourishes
our souls and what depletes them, what works and what does not.
When the physical environment is seen only from the
five-sensory point of view, physical survival appears to be the fundamental
criterion of evolution because no other kind of evolution is detectable.
It is from this point of view that "survival of the fittest" appears
to be synonymous with evolution, and physical dominance appears to characterize
When perception of the physical world is limited to
the five-sensory modality, the basis of life in the physical arena becomes
fear. Power to control the environment, and those within the environment
appears to be essential.
The need for physical dominance produces a type of
competition that affects every aspect of our lives. It affects relationships
between lovers and between superpowers, between siblings and between
races, between classes and between sexes. It disrupts the natural tendency
toward harmony between nations and between friends. The same energy
that sent warships to the Persian Gulf sent soldiers to Vietnam and
Crusaders to Palestine. The energy that separated the family of Romeo
from the family of Juliet is the same energy that separates the racial
family of the black husband from the racial family of the white wife.
The energy that set Lee Harvey Oswald against John Kennedy is the same
energy that set Cain against Abel. Brothers and sisters quarrel for
the same reason that corporations quarrel--they seek power over one
The power to control the environment, and those within
it, is power over what can be felt, smelled, tasted, heard or seen.
This type of power is external power. External power can be acquired
or lost, as in the stock market or an election. It can be bought or
stolen, transferred or inherited. It is thought of as something that
can be gotten from someone else, or somewhere else. One person's gain
of external power is perceived as another person's loss. The result
of seeing power as external is violence and destruction. All of our
institutions--social, economic and political--reflect our understanding
of power as external.
Families, like cultures, are patriarchal or matriarchal.
One person "wears the pants." Children learn this early, and it shapes
Police departments, like the military, are produced
by the perception of power as external. Badge, boots, rank, radio, uniform,
weapons, and armor are symbols of fear. Those who wear them are fearful.
They fear to engage the world without defenses. Those who encounter
these symbols are fearful. They fear the power that these symbols represent,
or they fear those whom they expect this power to contain, or they fear
both. The police and the military, like patriarchal and matriarchal
families and cultures, are not origins of the perception of power as
external. They are reflections of the way that we, as a species and
as individuals, have come to view power.
The perception of power as external has shaped our
economics. The ability to control economies, within communities and
within nations, and the ability to control the transnational economy
of the world, is concentrated in the hands of a few people. To protect
workers from these people, we have created unions. To protect consumers,
we have created bureaucracies in government. To protect the poor, we
have created welfare systems. This is a perfect reflection of how we
have come to perceive power--as the possession of a few while the majority
serve it as victims.
Money is a symbol of external power. Those who have
the most money have the most ability to control their environment and
those within it, while those who have the least money have the least
ability to control their environment and those within it. Money is acquired,
lost, stolen, inherited and fought for. Education, social status, fame,
and things that are owned, if we derive a sense of increased security
from them, are symbols of external power. Anything we fear to lose--a
home, a car, an attractive body, an agile mind, a deep belief--is a
symbol of external power. What we fear is an increase in our vulnerability.
This results from seeing power as external.
When power is seen as external, the hierarchies of
our social, economic and political structures, as well as the hierarchies
of the Universe, appear as indicators of who has power and who does
not. Those at the top appear to have the most power and, therefore,
to be the most valuable and the least vulnerable. Those at the bottom
appear to be the least powerful, and, therefore, to be the least valuable
and the most vulnerable. From this perception, the general is more valuable
than the private, the executive is more valuable than the chauffeur,
the doctor is more valuable than the receptionist, the parent is more
valuable than the child, and the Divine is more valuable than the worshiper.
We fear to transgress our parents, our bosses, and our God. All perceptions
of lesser and greater personal value result from the perception of power
Competition for external power lies at the heart of
all violence. The secondary gain behind ideological conflicts, such
as capitalism versus communism, and religious conflicts, such as Irish
Catholic versus Irish Protestant, and geographical conflicts, such as
Jew versus Arab, and familial and marital conflicts, is external power.
The perception of power as external splinters the psyche,
whether it is the psyche of the individual, the community, the nation,
or the world. There is no difference between acute schizophrenia and
a world at war. There is no difference between the agony of a splintered
soul and the agony of a splintered nation. When a husband and a wife
compete for power, they engage the same dynamic that humans of one race
do when they fear humans of another race.
From these dynamics, we have formed our present understanding
of evolution as a process of ever-increasing ability to dominate the
environment and each other. This definition reflects the limitations
of perceiving the physical world with only five senses. It reflects
the competition for external power that is generated by fear.
After millennia of brutality to one another, individual
to individual and group to group, it is now clear that the insecurity
which underlies the perception of power as external cannot be healed
by the accumulation of external power. It is evident for all to see,
not only with each newscast and evening paper, but also through each
of our countless sufferings as individuals and as a species, that the
perception of power as external brings only pain, violence and destruction.
This is how we have evolved until now, and this is what we are leaving
Our deeper understanding leads us to another kind of
power, a power that loves life in every form that it appears, a power
that does not judge what it encounters, a power that perceives meaningfulness
and purpose in the smallest details upon the Earth. This is authentic
power. When we align our thoughts, emotions, and actions with the highest
part of ourselves, we are filled with enthusiasm, purpose, and meaning.
Life is rich and full. We have no thoughts of bitterness. We have no
memory of fear. We are joyously and intimately engaged with our world.
This is the experience of authentic power.
Authentic power has its roots in the deepest source
of our being. Authentic power cannot be bought, inherited or hoarded.
An authentically empowered person is incapable of making anyone or anything
a victim. An authentically empowered person is one who is so strong,
so empowered, that the idea of using force against another is not a
part of his or her consciousness.
No understanding of evolution is adequate that does
not have at its core that we are on a journey toward authentic power,
and that authentic empowerment is the goal of our evolutionary process
and the purpose of our being. We are evolving from a species that pursues
external power into a species that pursues authentic power. We are leaving
behind exploration of the physical world as our sole means of evolution.
This means of evolution, and the consciousness that results from an
awareness that is limited to the five-sensory modality, are no longer
adequate to what we must become.
We are evolving from five-sensory humans into multisensory
humans. Our five senses, together, form a single sensory system that
is designed to perceive physical reality. The perceptions of a multisensory
human extend beyond physical reality to the larger dynamical systems
of which our physical reality is a part. The multisensory human is able
to perceive, and to appreciate, the role that our physical reality plays
in a larger picture of evolution, and the dynamics by which our physical
reality is created and sustained. This realm is invisible to the five-sensory
It is in this invisible realm that the origins of our
deepest values are found. From the perspective of this invisible realm,
the motivations of those who consciously sacrifice their lives for higher
purposes make sense, the power of Gandhi is explicable, and the compassionate
acts of the Christ are comprehensible in a fullness that is not accessible
to the five-sensory human.
All of our great teachers have been, or are, multisensory
humans. They have spoken to us and acted in accordance with perceptions
and values that reflect the larger perspective of the multisensory being,
and, therefore, their words and actions awaken within us the recognition
From the perception of the five-sensory human, we are
alone in a universe that is physical. From the perception of the multisensory
human, we are never alone, and the Universe is alive, conscious, intelligent
and compassionate. From the perception of the five-sensory human, the
physical world is an unaccountable given in which we unaccountably find
ourselves, and we strive to dominate it so that we can survive. From
the perception of the multisensory human, the physical world is a learning
environment that is created jointly by the souls that share it, and
everything that occurs within it serves their learning. From the perception
of the five-sensory human, intentions have no effects, the effects of
actions are physical, and not all actions affect us or others. From
the perception of the multisensory human, the intention behind an action
determines its effects, every intention affects both us and others,
and the effects of intentions extend far beyond the physical world.
What does it mean to say that an "invisible" realm
exists in which the origins of our deeper understandings are located?
What are the implications of considering the existence of a realm that
is not detectable through the five senses, but that can be known, explored,
and understood by other human faculties?
When a question is asked that cannot be answered within
the common frame of reference, it can be classified as nonsensical,
or it can be dismissed as a question that is not appropriate, or the
person who is asking the question can expand his or her consciousness
to encompass a frame of reference from which the question can be answered.
The first two options are the easy ways out of a confrontation with
a question that appears to be nonsensical or inappropriate, but the
seeker, the true scientist, will allow himself or herself to expand
into a frame of reference from which the answers that he or she is seeking
can be understood.
We, as a species, have been asking the questions, "Is
there a God?", "Is there a Divine Intelligence?", and, "Is there a purpose
to life?", for as long as we have been able to articulate questions.
The time has now come for us to expand into a frame of reference that
allows these questions to be answered.
The larger frame of reference of the multisensory human
allows an understanding of the experientially meaningful distinction
between the personality and the soul. Your personality is that part
of you that was born into, lives within, and will die within time. To
be a human and to have a personality are the same thing. Your personality,
like your body, is the vehicle of your evolution.
The decisions that you make and the actions that you
take upon the Earth are the means by which you evolve. At each moment
you choose the intentions that will shape your experiences and those
things upon which you will focus your attention. These choices affect
your evolutionary process. This is so for each person. If you choose
unconsciously, you evolve unconsciously. If you choose consciously,
you evolve consciously.
The fearful and violent emotions that have come to
characterize human existence can be experienced only by the personality.
Only the personality can feel anger, fear, hatred, vengeance, sorrow,
shame, regret, indifference, frustration, cynicism and loneliness. Only
the personality can judge, manipulate and exploit. Only the personality
can pursue external power. The personality can also be loving, compassionate,
and wise in its relations with others, but love, compassion, and wisdom
do not come from the personality. They are experiences of the soul.
Your soul is that part of you that is immortal. Every
person has a soul, but a personality that is limited in its perception
to the five senses is not aware of its soul, and, therefore, cannot
recognize the influences of its soul. As a personality becomes multisensory,
its intuitions--its hunches and subtle feelings--become important to
it. It senses things about itself, other people, and the situations
in which it finds itself that it cannot justify on the basis of the
information that its five senses can provide. It comes to recognize
intentions, and to respond to them rather than to the actions and the
words that it encounters. It can recognize, for example, a warm heart
beneath a harsh and angry manner, and a cold heart beneath polished
and pleasing words.
When a multisensory personality looks inside itself,
it finds a multitude of different currents. Through experience, it learns
to distinguish between these currents and to identify the emotional,
psychological and physical effects of each. It learns, for example,
which currents produce anger, divisive thoughts, and destructive actions,
and which currents produce love, healing thoughts, and constructive
actions. In time, it learns to value and to identify with those currents
that generate creativity, healing and love, and to challenge and release
those currents that create negativity, disharmony and violence. In this
way, a personality comes to experience the energy of its soul.
Your soul is not a passive or a theoretical entity
that occupies a space in the vicinity of your chest cavity. It is a
positive, purposeful force at the core of your being. It is that part
of you that understands the impersonal nature of the energy dynamics
in which you are involved, that loves without restriction and accepts
If you desire to know your soul, the first step is
to recognize that you have a soul. The next step is to allow yourself
to consider, "If I have a soul, what is my soul? What does my
soul want? What is the relationship between my soul and me? How does
my soul affect my life?"
When the energy of the soul is recognized, acknowledged,
and valued, it begins to infuse the life of the personality. When the
personality comes fully to serve the energy of its soul, that is authentic
empowerment. This is the goal of the evolutionary process in which we
are involved and the reason for our being. Every experience that you
have and will have upon the Earth encourages the alignment of your personality
with your soul. Every circumstance and situation gives you the opportunity
to choose this path, to allow your soul to shine through you, to bring
into the physical world through you its unending and unfathomable reverence
for and love of Life.
This is a book about authentic empowerment--the alignment
of the personality with the soul--what that involves, how it happens,
and what it creates. To understand these things requires an understanding
of things that appear unusual to the five-sensory human, but they become
natural once you understand evolution--that five-sensory perception
is a journey leading to multisensory perception--and that you were not
always meant to be five-sensory.