What is Translocation?
A friend recently asked the question, “What exactly is translocation?”
I’ve had many experiences, which I would classify as translocation, but until today, I’ve never tried to explain exactly what I mean when I use this word.
I think the term translocation encompasses a number of different things, which are related, but different. Because most of us are unfamiliar with these concepts, we tend to lump them all into one broad category, but perhaps we should see them as separate things.
One type of translocation is physical translocation – where your physical body is moved from one location to another. The classic example is when Philip was physically moved from Gaza to Azotus as recorded in Acts 8:39. This type of translocation is pretty easy to understand.
Another type is spiritual translocation. This one is not so easy to understand.
The difficulty lies in how it is experienced and how it is explained by different people. Very few people describe spiritual translocation the same way. The terms we use are confusing and at times misleading and are a product of the culture we come from. Someone from a New Age background might describe the experience a Christian has in very different terms.
When I think of spiritual translocation, I think of an experience where our spirit ‘goes somewhere’ that it normally would not. Or at least that’s how I perceive it.
Most of the time, we perceive the world through our body, with our soul and spirit all from a single perspective. We identify them all as being at one physical location. In a translocation event, our spirit either goes somewhere else or it views things from a different perspective than the normal one. When we perceive the shift of perspective, we call it translocation. But what exactly is happening?
The first problem we run into is that when we talk about these experiences, we tend to think in terms of physical locations. Since our physical body relates to the world in physical terms, it’s our default setting for any discussion that involves perspectives or movement. But our spirit doesn’t have its origin in the physical plane of existence. It has its origin in the spiritual plane, which assigns different values to things like time, location and distance. This means that the concept of physical location is more or less irrelevant when describing the movements of a spiritual body.
Since physical location is irrelevant to the spirit, we usually become muddled in a discussion using terms that don’t capture the essence of what’s really happening. It’s impossible to accurately describe the spiritual world in terms that are intended to describe to the physical one.
Having said all that – my understanding of translocation stems from the fact that our spirit is not limited in the same way that our physical body is. Our physical body is confined to a narrow set of physical parameters. It occupies a set amount of space, it can be located by a set of coordinates on a map. It has a certain mass, etc. All of these things describe the limitations of our physical body.
These limitations apply to things which have their origin in the physical plane of existence. They are of little use in describing our spirit, which originates in the spiritual plane. Things that originate in the spiritual plane have a different set of limitations imposed upon them. While these limitation may be similar to the ones of the physical plane, they’re different enough that applying them to the spirit will inevitably create confusion.
But my friend wants this question answered, so here’s my best shot at explaining translocation.
When our spirit begins to explore various planes of existence, both the physical and the spiritual, it begins to view things from a different perspective than the normal, static viewpoint of our physical body. Our spirit experiences a shift of perspective.
The experiences that our spirit has are passed on to our soul through the mind via the imagination. They’re usually perceived by the mind as visions, or daydreams and if they happen at night – as the usual nighttime dreams most of us have. When our spirit moves through the spiritual plane or the physical world, it sees different locations and encounters different beings. These experiences are perceived by the mind as a kind of dreamy, visual scene being played out in our imagination. Often, our mind classifies them as the product of an overactive imagination and they’re dismissed as not being ‘real’. The mind has difficulty registering them as ‘real’, because it is used to experiences which stimulate the physical body – not the spiritual one. But in fact, these are the very real experiences of our spirit.
When these things happen – we describe them as translocation.