Imagine that the mystic journey is a highway from the egoic self to Divine Union. Imagine this highway having four lanes. One highway from your starting point (ego) to your end-point (Non-Dual Unity). Four lanes. One highway.
Sometimes it helps to switch lanes. A certain lane gets old. On the one hand, these different lanes could be metaphors for the different religious traditions; on the other, they could be different personality traits that point you towards the transcendent. In the maps I made of this highway, the lanes appear more like gateways of the heart into God. (In terms of Integral Meta-Theory, this is a 2nd Person To Divinity Map, or what Martin Buber called the I-Thou relationship.) As far as my own maps go, they apply at any stage of the journey in the waking up process. Or, in terms of Evelyn Underhill and Thomas Keating, as you move from your Awakening to the Unitive Way, these maps can apply at any point of the journey, though they may differ in their unique substance from individual to individual. These are perhaps your four lanes that you can take all the way Home on the Highway to Heaven. I have needed all four lanes (and even a few helicopters), so I would like to share some of the lanes that helped me keep on driving.
This, of course, may seem abstract to some, while others may be concerned I am re-writing the wheel. And, in a sense, I am., or, to be more precise, I am adding to the writings of the wheel. It’s the tradition plus, not the tradition minus. Because the “wheel” can take on Infinite forms, and this is one small slice of the Infinite Path that broke off into my own subjective path. These windows into the Divine, at the middle levels of the awakening process, function similar to what Jung described with Archetypes. Archetypes are some of of the deepest places in the Time-Space matrix where a window into eternal timelessness opens, and you can step through. The maps I made can work at any stage of the process as a tool for contemplation,; to be more precise, archetypes are generally though to anchor themselves in the higher states, often on the casual plane (in Integral Theory) or in some of the Dark Nights mentioned in St. John Of The Cross’s expositions.
In Christianity, we have Jesus Christ, The Virgin Mary, God the Father, multiplied by many variations, as every culture tends towards repainting Christ into their own unique flavor of inter-subjectivity. Yet, as saints and mystics have testified, these are the points of rapturous visions and peak experience, where the authentic self peeks through the veil of limitations. Many of these saints visions are recounted in Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism: A Study In The Nature And Development Of Spiritual Consciousness. Jung talks candidly and clearly about his own visions into the Divine and the images through which he gazed in his memoir, Memories, Dreams, And Reflections. Remember, these are windows through which to look, not the experience of looking or what you are looking at.
And if aspects of the contemplative life and language like this all sounds a bit “out there,” do not worry, it seems a bit strange to me too at times.