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Tapping the "Vertical" Dimension

Perhaps the best moments of all of our lives -- both ordinary and extraordinary -- are ones where we tap into something that is wondrous, enlivening, and indescribable. You want to shout about how amazing it is-- but also have no words for it.

We slip in and out of these moments...something as simple as witnessing a stunning sunset or as complex as experiencing childbirth. When we are in them-- we just KNOW IT. And when we are not in these moments -- we WANT BACK IN.

I say that these moments are when we “tap the vertical dimension”.

So, what is the vertical dimension?

In order to understand the vertical dimension, (as you would guess!) it’s necessary to compare it to the one we actually know best: the horizontal dimension.

The horizontal dimension is so common to us, it can be the equivalent of asking a fish, “how’s the water?”… because it is so “normal” and comfortable, many of us ONLY live there.

But first: the horizontal dimension

(Ok, you had to know there would be a metaphor coming soon…)

Please imagine a compass: the horizontal dimension is represented by the East-West direction and represents your past and present.

The horizontal is our “normal” because it is the one that unfolds in linear, chronological time and it has a clear past, present, and future. We know it as our day-to-day life and it is where our persona lives, explores, creates, achieves, and builds.

Think about describing yourself to a stranger: chances are you will only say what you’ve done in the horizontal dimension: listing where you live, your achievements (like a CV/resume!), what you do for a career, what you like to do, etc. These are easy to describe because most of these are things you have done in a visible, tangible, measurable way.

The reason most people love living only on the horizontal dimension is because it is easy look back and measure/prove what you have achieved.

Yet it is fair to say that the majority of people who live solely on the horizontal dimension get to a point in their life that they feel, “empty”, “arid”, “like something is missing”, or “unsettled”.

This is why the vertical dimension is so important

Tuning into the vertical dimension will deepen your life with meaning and purpose-- but these aspects will be intangible, immeasurable, and often indescribable. You will not be putting these experiences on a CV, (!!) BUT they will change your life.

But because they are hard to speak about-- you will not always know what to do with them.

Using our compass metaphor again, ​I like to separate the vertical dimension into two parts The North and South.


When you touch the North, you are accessing an invisible, but infinite, Spirit that connects everything, and indescribably permeates all there is.

We have many names for this: God, the universe, the Divine, the Mystery, the “Big Picture”, and many many more.

Regardless of your spiritual inclination, you have likely “accidentally” tapped into the North when you have had a Peak experience: it’s the feeling that you are part of something greater than yourself.

The “Spirit” of the North simultaneously makes us feel small AND part of something powerful at the same time. It gives you a belief that you are part of something greater-- even if only for a fleeting moment.

It is the recognition that you are merely a drop in an ocean of conscious reality.

It is important to note that the way you make sense of this mysterious Spirit energy of the North is how you find YOUR meaning of life.

However you make sense of this Spirit, energy, God, consciousness -- whatever you call it-- is how you make sense of why we as a collective are even here in the first place.

Everyone’s meaning will be different: some will think the meaning is nothing-- and others will think it is everything, but only YOUR meaning is correct.

And your meaning will change… a lot.


Moving lower to the South brings you into a more personal domain, as you tap into the immense power within your unique “Soul”: the gifts you were born with, your profound personal truths, your essence as a being, and all you are.

You may have also “accidentally” tapped into the South during a Peak experience if you have: trusted your intuition, used your gifts, or felt extremely powerful in perhaps an important life moment like childbirth, or an altered state of consciousness.

The “Soul” reminds you that regardless if you are a drop in an ocean-- you are still a very important and powerful drop.

It is important to note that the way you make sense of your Soul energy of the South is how you find purpose in life.

It is no coincidence that your Soul has specific tendencies, gifts, preferences and desires. These are all leading you toward the purposes that are best suited for you.

Why/How are we “accidentally” tapping into the vertical?

​Obviously it is possible to purposely tap into the vertical dimension -- in fact that is what most of the world’s spiritual practices are devoted to honoring or capturing: this amazing, life-giving, ephemeral energy.

You might have purposely tapped into the vertical during meditation, yoga, prayer, trances, or more. You also know when you are in a place of worship that you are supposed to be tapping into it… but that doesn’t always work, does it? (This takes me back to years of Catholic mass where I would sit bored in the pew, stare up at the ceiling and blink my eyes fast enough to make the fans “stop” moving instead of praying!)

So the reason I say we “accidentally” tap into this dimension (especially during Peak experiences!) is because even though the vertical dimension is always flowing around us, you cannot easily trap it -- it’s too ephemeral -- it will NOT allow you to trap it. Instead you must tap it and the only way you can tell if you have tapped it is by feeling, sensing, knowing, and trusting you are in it.

There is no obvious door to the vertical dimension-- hence why you must “tap into” it

The vertical dimension is timeless and infinite, like an invisible endless river that flows through our horizontal life. We can temporarily tap into it and even stretch pockets of time in it to be longer and longer, but we cannot live there permanently.

Not as humans.

It would be too overwhelming for us.

So we must only visit… and visit often.

And learn to integrate the indescribable wonderment that exists in the vertical into our horizontal.

And it is possible -- and the shape it naturally creates as it permeates our lives is a spiral. We tend to have predictable themes/topics/patterns that bring us into the vertical dimension, and if we recognize when it has happened in the past-- we can recognize when it might happen again in the future (knowing full well, we cannot force it to happen!)

But at least we can know that it is there to “tap”!

Want to learn more about the vertical dimension and how to access it in your everyday life?

Reach out for a Depth-Quest where we dive in deep to the Southern Soul and Commune Higher with the Northern Spirit.

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