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Other World

Awe-filled living

On the way to the play we stopped to look at the stars. And as usual, I felt in awe. And then I felt even deeper in awe at this capacity we have to be in awe about something…. I decided I would set time aside each day to do awe-robics.

Jane Wagner

“the Other World may be the most crucial key there is for actually turning on the processes that will snowball the arrival of  a new web of relationships that define society.” Joseph W. Mathews


Button:   Bending History  talks of Joseph Wesley Mathews:  The Recovery of the Other World (1972)  p164-168

What is the Other World

The Other World in the midst of this world is a metaphor for experiences of transparency which happen in our daily lives: awe experiences of fascination and dread. It may come as a tingle, a shudder, a strange silence, horror or wonder.   When awe impacts us, there is an accompanying state of being. And states of being are often expressed best through poetry, song,and metaphor.


Visual:  The Courage to Lead Ed 2 p234  State of being


When I hear the word transparency, I think of the windows in my apartment that let me look out on a park and receive light from the sun. My space changes dramatically when the curtains are closed. Transparency in our lives happens when we open the curtains and see through an everyday experience to the insight or universal truth that lies behind it. Transparency points to allowing the light to shine through, or being able to see through the surface to the depth below.


The Other World imagery breathes awe into our lives in the midst of a one-realm  

mythology.  For myth to be effective it needs to anchor time, space and relations in an integrated way that intensifies people’s understanding of their lives as significant. Today for many people there is a disconnect between two-realm mythologies and their life experiences.  The photo of the earthrise is a symbol of this new mythology coming into being.

The Other World Charts


In the words of the original research team the Other World Charts are considered “an entry point to this new mythology”. Reflection on the Other World focuses on universal states of consciousness, or states of being.  This work with states of being allows us to have a way to relate our personal experience to a deeper universal wisdom. As John Epps, a research colleague, put it:


An interior map such as the Other World charts can tell us where we are and whether or not we are lost. It gives us some guidelines for staying on track, even if the track is rough going. Most helpfully, it establishes for us that, even when we’re in unfamiliar territory and wondering about the place, people have been here before and have found this experience good.


 Many times we experience things in our lives that we don’t have a handle or “handhold” for.    There is a need to create models of care for one another during these experiences. These charts help us to affirm these experiences instead of passing them off with a shrug.


The metaphors used in the charts give us poetic language and enable us to create our own poetry about our experiences.


The Other World’s poetic topography was delineated as four areas: The Land of Mystery, The River of Consciousness, The Mountain of Care and The Sea of Tranquility. Each area was further categorized into 4 treks with descriptions of 4 states of being in each trek, 64 states of being in total.


  • Other World Charts

The Recovery of the Other World    Bending History  talks of Joseph Wesley Mathews:  The Recovery of the Other World (1972) P. 168-171

Methods of Exploring the Other World in the Midst of This World

Experiencing the Other World Charts

Link to Courage to lead Ed 2 p243-249.

Link Courage to lead 2nd edit PowerPoint of ch 11.

Other World Visits  Context and Method

Button : to sample Visit       Include a visual


Other World enables one to explore the depth meaning of a situation in a cross-religious, cross-cultural situation.

Link: Aruba Jan Sanders    a cross-religious, cross-cultural  dialogue


Bending History ,  Recovery of the Other World, Talk of Joseph Wesley Mathews

The Call of the Awe by Gene W. Marshall

The Courage to Lead Edition 2 Chapter 11 Meaning in Everyday Life

Mathews, Joseph, Other World Context and Methodology, Global Research Assembly 1972


Mathews, Joseph, Other World Lecture Context, Global Research Assembly Prep, June 19, 1972


Mathews, Joseph, Other World Lectures, Global Research Assembly, June 20, 1972


Mathews, Joseph, Theological Reflections on the Other World, Global Council, August 3, 1972