Dimensions of Reality

Sometimes when we are having conversations with others it is easy to disagree without fully understanding why we have different approaches. Often there are many historical, cultural, and personal issues in the background that influence and structure our interactions individually and in groups.

In the Fork to Farm Community of Practice we found Arnold Mindell’s (2002) Three Dimensions of Reality theory, as one of the useful ways to think about the interactions we are having.

This theory says that one way of understanding our experiences, ourselves, and our interactions in small and large groups, is to appreciate that reality operates in different dimensions simultaneously. 

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CONSENSUS REALITY

This is the area that we most talk about, it is the experiences that we can share, measure, describe and reach consensus about. We usually describe this as what is ‘real’ and ‘objective’.

 

DREAMLAND

An area usually not given much attention although it affects all our interactions all of the time. This includes subjective experiences, our body feelings, intuitions, dreams, history (personal and collective), cultural myths and stories, ghosts from the past and transgenerational experiences. These experiences are just under the surface of everything we do and will ‘pop up’ into our interactions in CONSENSUS REALITY, often without our awareness. These experiences can structure our responses to people and events.

 ESSENCE

 This dimension holds the experiences we have that cannot be described in words but are experienced by us all - perhaps as a deep spiritual connection, a religious experience or some feeling or atmosphere where we are connected to something bigger than ourselves. We may be almost unable to talk about or describe them. These very deep experiences can create an atmosphere that permeates the other realities. Most importantly Mindell shows us that all the dimensions of reality are present all the time and are all equally important to our experience of the world.

We find this description and diagram useful because it helps us remember that what we usually ‘talk about’ is often only one part of our reality and if we can find ways to become aware of and connect to the deeper levels in ourselves and others then unexpected connections, understandings and outcomes may emerge that can alter CONSENSUS REALITY.

We suggest Welcoming Ghosts,  he following activities to begin playing around with the different dimensions of reality.