Friday, August 04, 2006

Meta-states of Consciousness - a preliminary paradigm

I haven't posted anything recently because I have been busy with my follow-up essay for Integral World; An Integral Meta-paradigm. But here is a slightly edited part of it, on Levels of Consciousness, which also reflects my current understanding.

Note that these levels (even this word is not right; they are better thought of as "states" or "meta-states" (foundational levels behind) states of consciousness, should not just be simplistically described in perennialist terms of a “Great Chain of Being”, or in Wilberian terms of “include and transcend” (although they can be described that way, but that is just one aspect). While they do represent increasing levels of Insight, they also represent radically different functionings and modes of being. Also, they are not ontological levels, but rather ways of relating to ontological levels. This quick summary will also be elaborated in detail in my forthcoming books.

The Mundane level / Mundane Consciousness – This is the level or state of the “exoteric”, the outer being or surface personality – the outer physical, emotional and mental consciousness, and of the external reality. In other words, this is the only sphere of being at which there is an actual Cartesian dichotomy between subject and object, self and other, “exterior” and “interior”. Of course, what is exterior to oneself is actually interior to another, so even this dichotomy is invalid. Mundane Consciousness, like all the spheres of being, consists of many sub-levels, of which the most focused and “objective” (pertaining to the exterior material world) and hence repeatable and scientific, is the “physical mind”(to borrow a term from Sri Aurobindo) which pertains to the mundane or outer being and the reality it experiences (there is also a much more limited form of outer experience, that of the fundamentalist literalist, who applies a sort of objectivism to every word and letter of his or her particular sacred scripture, seeking to understand it the way that the scientist understands the external universe). This and other surface aspects of the outer being constitute the essential interface between the mundane individual self and the larger mundane exterior world (other selves). And although this is the most restricted and limited level of human consciousness (apart from the subconscious), by that very reason it is also the starting point for higher development.

Occult / Spiritual / Esoteric Consciousness - Beyond the limits of the secular experience and states of consciousness, is the intuitive understanding, experience, and access to the inner being. These are dimensions and states of being far beyond the mundane level of consciousness, and simply cannot be accommodated in the secular worldview. They include both sub-physical, intra-physical, and supra-physical realities. The supra-physical realities are quite ontologically distinct from the physical, and hence can neither be proved or disproved by empirical methods.

At these levels, experience is limited only the highly distorting nature of one's mental bubble or mental fortress. The result of this is that we do not see things as they are, but as we think they are. This is why many esoteric and occult cosmologies are highly subjective, even though they do authentically contact and in their practical form (occultism and some forms of yoga) allow the interaction with subtle realities. Only a few teachers like Max Theon and the Mother (Mirra Alfassa) learned how to access these realities directly,

Intermediate / Pseudo-enlightened Consciousness - Beyond the mental bubble of our own thought-forms are the far more cosmic and potent dimensions of the immanent/transcendent (indeed such dichotomies are meaningless at this and higher levels) intermediate zone of partial realisations, in which ignorance and delusion are determined not by the conceptual mind but by the levels of egoic pseudo-enlightenment and potent but misleading experiences of great power and knowledge which are however still not of the nature of true enlightenment or liberation. Indeed it seems that the great majority of gurus and teachers that proclaim total enlightenment but still retain narcissistic and abusive behaviour rationalised as “crazy wisdom” or “necessary to break down the walls of the ego” are false teachers which are trapped in the Intermediate Zone, mistaking that for the final goal. This is explained by Sant Mat (Sikh esotericism) which refers to a number of misleading lesser heavens, by Sri Aurobindo in his important essay on the Intermediate Zone, and by my own comments in the “gurus and spiritual teachers” section of my website. (see ”The Intermediate Zone guru” and other webpages in this section - still under construction at the time of writing)

Enlightened Consciousness - Beyond the intermediate zone is the state of true liberation or enlightenment. In all traditional spiritualities this is the highest one can go. Sri Aurobindo however refers to even greater states of trans-enlightenment beyond that. The nature of some of these states of liberation or enlightenment has already been referred to at some length in my current essay on Integral World, Towards a Larger Definition of the Integral – section 3, to which the reader is referred.

Supramentalisation (or in Lurianic Kabbalah the cosmic tikkun; also Christian concepts of “New Heaven and New Earth” and Teilhard de Chardin's “Omega Point”) refers to the end process of Integral Yoga, which is the Integral Divinisation and Transenlightenment of the entire being, including even the very cells of the physical body, and ultimately inanimate matter itself. There would seem to be two stages here, a transitional and a more complete Supramentalisation. This will bring about a radical spiritual singularity at the global and eventually the cosmic level. On this, see also my essay The Divinisation Of Matter - Lurianic Kabbalah, Sri Aurobindo, and the New Physics.


Post a Comment

<< Home