How to Switch Dimensions
By Steve Pavlina
When I want to make a significant change in my life, I often think of it in terms of switching dimensions. My attention is focused on my current reality right now, and my desired situation can be said to exist as some alternate reality outside of my primary focus.
In that other reality, there's another me who's already where I want to be. My goal then is to become that other me and to shift into his reality.
In practice this is fairly straightforward. It may sound odd to you at first, but try not to get caught up on the words I use to describe the process. You may choose to frame it differently than I do, and that's fine.
First I'll explain how the process works in general, and then I'll walk you through a specific example to illustrate it.
Here are the steps:
1. Ponder Other Possibilities
First, imagine that all possible alternate realities can and do exist. The multiverse is an infinite honeycomb of possible universes. You may be aware of only one universe right now, but suppose that the others exist in some alternate dimensions, and you just aren't aware of them.
In some alternate reality, the Cuban Missile Crisis kicked off World War III. Or the USA is debt-free. Or there's an alternate YOU living in a different city.
On a personal level, for every choice or event you experienced, some YOU in another reality made a different choice and/or experienced a different outcome, so there's a whole network of new realities that splintered off from that one, a network that includes all possible branches of possibilities.
So in some other dimension, there are other versions of you who are living completely different lives.
Now ponder that in some of those dimensions, there are versions of you who are much happier, more successful, more socially supported, wealthier, etc.
Feel a sense of oneness with those other YOUs. Know that in fact they are all YOU. You exist in multitudes, but you normally focus your attention upon just one of all possible realities.
Sometimes you may get confused, however, and not be quite sure which reality you're in. Is this the reality where you experience abundance or scarcity or something in between? At times you may wonder which it is. Other times you may be quite certain about which reality you're focused upon right now, like This is a reality where I'm in love.
2. Explore the Relationship Between Your Reality and Your Vibe
Second, begin to notice that there's a relationship between your reality and your vibe.
Your vibe is your personal energy signature. It includes your feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes.
You may recognize the vibe of another person based on the overall feeling you have about that person. If you find someone creepy, you could say that the person emits a creepy vibe. You may find that others emit vibes that are peaceful, loving, joyful, depressed, angry, frustrated, stressed, guilty, worried, etc.
Our vibes fluctuate a lot. On any given day, your vibe may shift all over the place. Or it may remain relatively constant. But in the background, you will tend to have a fairly stable default vibe that you keep returning to. It's how you generally operate about 80% of the time.
If someone has a depressed vibe, you may still be able to make them laugh and feel happy from time to time, but their normal default behavior will be to return to that depressed vibe again and again.
The dimension you experience is largely determined by your default vibe, not by your momentary fluctuations.
Imagine you're listening to a song. The flow of the music will of course change over time. There will be different instruments and notes coming and going. The song's vibrations aren't the same from one measure to the next. But a song also has structure; otherwise it would just be noise. And so the song itself can be said to have an overall vibe, such as peaceful, uplifting, enthusiastic, depressing, powerful, etc.
The overall vibe of a song is like the overall vibe of your life. You may have lots of variation in the vibes within your life, but you're still subjected to the structure of the overall background vibe.
So, for instance, if your default vibe is depressing, you can still access some happy vibes and therefore enjoy happy experiences now and then, but those can only exist as exceptions.
3. Identify Your Default Vibe
Next, see if you can identify your current default vibe. Since you normally spend a lot of time there, you may not even notice it most of the time. It's easier to notice it by contrast. When your default vibe is fearful, and you feel really confident for a few hours, then you may realize just how fearful your default vibe actually is.
Remember that your vibe is more than your emotions, so feel free to use both emotional and non-emotional words to describe it. You may understand this part better when I share the walkthrough later on.
Again, it's easier to understand your current default vibe during those times when you're having peak experiences that shift your vibe in exceptional ways. When you're in a high or a low period relative to your default, you can view your default vibe from the outside looking in.
Another way to understand your default vibe is to spend some time with people who have very different default vibes. They will draw your vibe towards them, effectively stretching you away from your default experience, and during those times you can gain some perspective as well.
If you try to understand your default vibe from the inside, you'll probably just label it with words like "normal" or "average." But your version of normal may be another person's version of timidity. You have to stretch yourself away from the center to understand what that center really looks like. Contrast is essential here.
4. Identify Your Desired Vibe
Once you have some clarity about your default vibe, notice which of the exceptional vibes you feel most drawn to. What if you could turn a combination of those exceptional vibes into your default vibe, such that what was once exceptional and unusual becomes your normal day to day experience?
Suppose you notice that your default vibe has a lot of scarcity in it. When you do the contrast exercises in the previous step, you can see that you've been pessimistic, envious, and needy. But every once in a while, you have peak experiences of abundance, appreciation, and gratitude. If you could experience these peak vibes as your normal, default vibe, your life would change radically for the better. You would effectively switch dimensions into one where another YOU is experiencing delightful levels of abundance right now.
Vibes have many different frequencies, but for the sake of this change, you have a couple basic options. You could focus on just one aspect of your desired vibrational shift, such as switching from scarcity to abundance, or you can try to combine lots of different shifts into one. I find the former approach more effective since it's simpler. Once I've locked in one change, then I focus on the next one.
However, I do sometimes have to work on multiple shifts simultaneously because of their potential interactions. A vibe of low self-esteem can sabotage efforts to create a vibe of abundance, for instance.
5. Create a Trigger for Your Desired Vibe
It's not necessary to perfectly label a vibe with words. Vibes are much more expressive than words anyway. But it is important to come up with a way to reload your signature vibe whenever you want.
One way to trigger your desired vibe is to create a scene in your mind that evokes the vibe. After some practice this only takes seconds to load the vibe.
You may need to play around with the scene in your mind to reach the point where it feels just right. Keep tweaking your imagery till you feel it's helping you experience the desired vibe.
In your imagery be specific. Imagine you're playing the scene in a movie theater. So it's not blurry or fuzzy or riddled with options. You just click a mental "play" button and watch it go.
Note that you are not necessarily trying to manifest exactly what's in the scene. You're simply creating a trigger to reload your vibe.
Other ways to trigger your vibe would be to find a song that evokes the vibe. Or create a shrine in your home that evokes the vibe when you look at the shrine; a shrine is simply a collection of objects.
6. Load the New Vibe Daily
Now here's the biggest and most important step. Commit to spending time each day triggering and experiencing your new vibe. Do this for at least 20 minutes a day, and keep it up for 3-4 weeks minimum. You don't have to do the 20 minutes continuously though. Just aim to spend at least 20 minutes out of each day consciously practicing your new vibe.
If you do less than this, you're probably wasting your time. The new vibe will not stick.
The idea here is that you have to condition the new vibe as a permanent, long-term habit. It typically takes about 3-4 weeks to do that.
If you hold the vibe of abundance every day for a week, for instance, and then you slip and get sidetracked, nothing much will change. Your default vibe of scarcity will not be dislodged. You'll continue to experience essentially the same reality.
Once you've consciously done this for 3-4 weeks, the practice of loading up the new vibe will become a habit. This means that you'll continue this practice automatically without having to think about it. At this point it's only a matter of time before your new vibe begins to infect your default vibe, gradually shifting its frequencies over time. With each passing week, your default vibe will become increasingly abundant.
I usually do this by setting aside some time each day to meditate. During these meditations I load up my trigger, experience the desired vibe, and revel in it for 20 minutes or so. This practice not only turns the daily experience of the new vibe into a habit, but it also helps me get comfortable with it. After a few weeks, the new vibe no longer feels so exceptional to me; it begins to feel normal. Pretty soon I'll be experiencing this vibe throughout each day, not just during my meditations.
Additionally, I also nudge myself to reload the new vibe whenever I can remember to do so. I do it when I wake up first thing in the morning and when I'm lying in bed before falling asleep. I do it when I'm showering, exercising, or making meals. Sometimes I remind myself to do it when I'm in the middle of a conversation with someone. Basically I conspire to trigger my new vibe many times per day.
7. Act on Your New Vibe
Your vibe controls which thoughts you have access to. As you begin to shift your default vibe, your thinking will change as well. You'll begin to get new ideas that are inspired by the new vibe. Notice especially the ideas that are out of sync with your old vibe but which are clearly spawning from your new vibe.
Take action on these ideas as much as you can. Give yourself permission to be very spontaneous during this time. Don't hesitate. Just act.
You won't do this perfectly, so don't beat yourself up if you miss an opportunity. Just keep leaning into your new vibe with action. Take action again and again.
Similarly, hold back on taking action when you identify ideas as stemming from your old vibe. Let those ideas fade.
So here you're simply getting your actions aligned with your new vibe.
8. Shed the Incongruent
This step is absolutely critical, and it's a huge stumbling point for many people. I see lots of people crash and burn here. I can't caution you enough that you'd better prepare yourself for it. This step often takes a lot of heart and courage to complete.
As you shift your vibe, your reality is going to shift too. But you must cooperate with these shifts. If you fail to cooperate, you will effectively block the shift from taking place, and you'll remain stuck in your old reality.
As you shift your vibe internally, you're going to see some flare-ups of polarized energy in your external reality. Some of it will be very positive. New forms of support will rush towards you to encourage you. But much of it will take the form of resistance.
A common form of resistance is people telling you that they don't like what you're doing, especially people who are close to you now. If your vibe has been fairly stable for a while, then realize that your personal relationships right now are a result of your current default vibe. As you shift your vibe, your relationships must change as well. Some people may shift their vibes to join you, but many won't.
It's a mistake to try to negotiate and compromise with the people who are putting up resistance. Simply disconnect from them and let them go. This will create space for new people to come into your life, people who are vibrational matches for your new vibe, not your old one.
If you want to create abundance then, expect to lose many of your scarcity-minded friends. If you can't stomach that, realize that this is actually a result of the scarcity vibe itself. From the vibe of abundance, this is needy, clingy behavior, but from within the vibe of scarcity, it will more likely be labeled as loyalty.
The tricky part about shifting vibes is that some vibes include sticky elements that make them very stable. Scarcity is such a vibe. Depression is another. When you're depressed, for instance, you're going to repel happy people from your life, and so the only people who will deal with you are probably depressed, angry, or otherwise down on themselves. You won't see much evidence of what a happy reality could be like until you shift your vibe. So some vibrational shifts are a bit of a catch 22 indeed. If you're waiting for evidence that shifting your vibe will improve your reality, and you're unwilling to try shifting until you see such evidence, you'll be waiting a very long time. Your vibe will repel such evidence from even entering your reality.
This is why I like to have my default vibe infected with a sense of exploration and the desire to embrace new experiences. This helps expose me to new potential vibes to explore, and it helps prevent me from getting stuck. In fact, I've probably enjoyed the biggest and most positive shifts by embracing friends with vibes that were very different from my default vibe at the time I met them.
In order to complete my own shifts, I sometimes have to shed old friends who aren't compatible with the other side. It's difficult, but it's worth it. People are like magnets, and keeping people in my life who will keep pulling me back to my old vibe isn't helpful. Whenever I let go of those relationships, I feel relieved, and it's so much easier to complete the shift afterwards.
Just to clarify this a bit more, I'm not really letting go of the people. I'm letting go of the vibes they're currently holding. If they were to shift their vibes later to something more compatible with mine, they could easily re-enter my reality. For instance, I recently had to tell a friend that as long as she insists on holding herself in a vibe of depression and abuse (and remaining loyal to people who treat her like dirt), I'm not going to continue to connect with her because that's incompatible with what I want to experience. But I let her know that I'm happy to reconnect when she shifts her vibe to something more compatible with me (positive, growth-oriented, etc).
On the other hand, it's also quite beautiful when I connect with other growth-oriented people who are on a similar path, so we can work on our shifts together and help support and encourage each other along the way.
9. Embrace the Dimensional Shifts
As you see your reality begin to shift, welcome it. Notice signs that you're making progress, and celebrate them. Creatively observe that your reality is indeed changing.
These shifts happen over time, usually weeks or months in my experience. I like to think of this process as traveling through the intermediate dimensions between my old reality and my intended new reality. During much of this time, I'm no longer in my old reality, but I'm not quite in the new one yet either. I'm crossing through other dimensions that represent combinations of my old vibe and my new one.
This is where you will see a lot of partial matches. A business deal shows up, but it isn't quite right. A new potential relationship partner shows up, but s/he isn't interested or is already involved with someone else.
My advice here is not to force anything to happen. If you get too involved in these partial matches, you're very likely to get stuck partway through your shift. So don't get clingy with these intermediate universes and the "opportunities" they present to you.
Keep your focus on your new vibe, and do your best not to succumb to the lure of partial matches. I know they're tempting, but don't take the bait. This is especially tricky when shifting out of a scarcity vibe, where clinginess is part of the vibe. Just do your best to keep moving forward.
What happens to these partial matches as you continue to shift? In my experience they typically go one of two ways.
The first possibility is that they simply fade from your life, and something better shows up later.
The second possibility is that the nature of the connection shifts. So the same business deal or relationship exists in your desired reality, but the circumstances are different. In these situations, as you continue to shift, you'll see changes occurring. New funding will come through that wasn't there before. Someone who was unavailable becomes available.
When dealing with partial matches, it's very important to allow them to be as they are without undue attachment to outcomes. If you try to force or push the partial match to become a full match, you're going to stick yourself to one of those intermediate dimensions, and you will block yourself from experiencing a full match.
I have fallen into this trap so many times it's not even funny, but these days I'm really committed to not forcing things when I observe a partial match. I have enough experience that I don't need blind faith to keep me going, just the remembrance that partial matches are a clear sign of progress but not a reason to pause in mid-shift and proclaim victory.
When you don't fall for the temptation of a partial match and hold out for a beautifully aligned match, you can keep moving forward vibrationally. Then when your new vibe is locked in and your old vibe seems like a distant memory, you're going to be in your new desired dimension, and that's where the really good matches will appear with grace and ease. When these matches hit you, it's like a smack upside the head. Their alignment with your desires seems almost too good to be true. Just be careful not to push them away by seriously thinking that they are too good to be true. Welcome them with appreciation and gratitude, and know that you're ready to experience and enjoy them.
10. Enjoy Your New Reality
Vibes can be very sensitive, and it's unlikely that you'll achieve what you might label as perfection. It would be really tough to lock onto the exact dimension you wish to experience and go there specifically. These tools are not that precise. But you can get close enough to your desired universe that you can still proclaim victory.
At some point I usually reach a tipping point, and I can tell when I've tipped. I've escaped the gravity well of the old vibe, and I've clearly been pulled into the gravity well of the new vibe. I may not have shifted completely into my desired reality, but I have enough momentum that I can predict I'm going to get very close to it if I just maintain course.
A good way to lock in your new vibe is to appreciate your new reality. You've come a long way, and now you're in a whole new universe. This new universe has a different energetic signature than your old one, and it's a good match for your new vibe.
If you resist this shift and start loading up your old vibe, you can shift back. There's no rule that says that just because you made a positive shift, you can't undo it. You can certainly undo it and backslide. So to prevent this from happening, make a point of appreciating what you have now.
It can take some time to get used to your new reality. Try not to get too excited about it, as if it's something exceptional that won't last. Try to embrace your new reality as normal; expect it to persist for a while. Feeling good about it is great, but don't get so excited that you doubt its continuation since that may ultimately backfire on you. If you believe it's too good to be true, you'll attract a universe that validates your belief. So even if you attract something really amazing to you, know that you deserve it.
When you're ready for another shift, you may wish to hold the more desirable parts of your current vibe/reality stable, and work on creating the vibrational shifts that will allow you to slide sideways into a nearby dimension that has your desired improvements. For instance, once you've shifted into a reality where you enjoy financial abundance, you may wish to shift from there into a reality that includes social abundance as well.
Dealing With Resistance
As you work through your own shifts, let me reiterate: it will be hard, but it will be worth it. The most difficult sticking point is being able to say goodbye to parts of your old reality than can't make the journey with you. Your heart will ache at times, but you'll be happier on the other side.
I'm coming to appreciate the resistance to vibrational shifting since I see that it serves a valuable purpose. Resistance helps keep your current vibe stable. When you drift away from it, forces push you back towards the center. This may seem like a trap, but it has the benefit of stabilizing your vibe long enough so you can experience and learn from the full richness of it. If your vibe could shift very easily, you'd be crossing dimensions all the time, and your reality would be highly unstable. It would be difficult to learn much. This would be the ADHD version of reality.
With a stable vibe, you're less likely to accidentally flip into very different dimensions. This gives you time to explore, learn, and grow in a stable reality. Then when you're ready to shift, you need to exert enough willpower to cross the resistance barrier. This ensures that when you do shift, it's due to a very conscious and deliberate choice, not by accident.
If you think of resistance in this light, I think you'll come to appreciate it as I do, and it won't be such a big deal. You'll see that it's actually helping you.
And in truth, when you're truly ready to change, you'll know that no resistance can stop you. Dealing with resistance is a process of saying goodbye to the old and getting comfortable with the new. It's a graduation of sorts, which is frequently a mixture of sorrow and joy.
Are you really ready to let go of negative, scarcity-minded people? Do you feel you deserve to experience happiness, joy, and love every day? Are you ready to enjoy your life fully, or do you need to punish yourself some more?
If you don't like the reality you're experiencing now, then why are you still clinging to this particular dimension? Are other possible dimensions too far outside your comfort zone? Are you willing to experience discomfort and uncertainty while you shift? What is it about this reality that you'd have a hard time saying goodbye to?
Shifting dimensions is challenging but also deeply rewarding. If I didn't learn how to do this, I'd might be experiencing the inside of a prison cell today. In some other dimension, that is indeed what I'm experiencing. From my current dimension, I can feel compassion for that guy, but I have no desire to join him in his cell. And perhaps he also knows that in some other dimension, he is very happy and free. This contrast just makes me appreciate my current reality even more.