This is the final post regarding the Physical Plane in Bailey’s model of consciousness and an overview of the subplanes. The post covers the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st subplanes. The post also takes a look at some of the correlations that can be made to the Integral model.
Ruby — 3rd Subplane Physical Plane
Moving onto the “super etheric” subplane where the Third Ether is, we find in The Tibetan Book of the Dead that after we encounter the element of air we go into the element of space. In some systems that have five elements the element of space is also known as ether. Much debate exists about what exists at these etheric levels. If we are to draw any meaning from the space association there seems to be a sense of vastness and a specious feeling. People who have had near death experiences often report that when they cross over they experience having no, or very little, boundaries since everything is so spacious and seems interconnected to everything else. Some theorize telepathic rapport happens at this level. In quantum physics we are told that two objects can suddenly and seemingly simultaneously appear in two or more places at once. Albert Einstein called this “spooky action at a distance” and many people believe the mechanics underlying telepathy and other psi phenomena are connected at this 3rd subplane level. It is my theory that a lot of Near Death Experiences (NDE) where the person is traveling about in a flash of thought and seeing a tunnel of light exist at this level.
If a person returns to life from a Near Death Experience (NDE), Bailey would say it is because the life thread is still attached to the heart center. This is based upon the notion that we have two “threads” attached to our body — a life thread and a consciousness thread. The consciousness thread is thought to be connected at the top of the head by way of the head center. This consciousness thread withdraws every time we go to sleep, and reattaches when we wake up in the morning. But, the life thread, which is connected to the heart center, only attaches while we are in the womb. And, this life thread only detaches at the time of death. When this life thread breaks its attachment to the physical body it is said we cannot return to life. At that point then, the consciousness thread also cannot reattach and the consciousness is thought to withdraw into the second and first ethers of the Physical Plane.
Another interesting Bailey association is that of the sense of sight being connected to this 3rd subplane of the Physical Plane. This association flips things around because normally we think of ourselves as losing sight at the time of death. Drawing again from Near Death Experience’s (NDE) we might say that we gain true vision, especially as we are able to see the whole of the physical life at a glance. In a way, this is the third eye or sight of the Egoic Lotus (Soul) that does a life review to see what lessons from the life were of value overall.
Sky Magenta & Blush — 1st & 2nd Subplanes Physical Plane
At these very top “subatomic” and “atomic” levels we find the rarest and lightest etheric “matter” (though it might not really be truly matter at this level). Whether such things as quarks and the “God particle” are found at these levels I cannot say. What I can share is that some spiritual traditions claim it is the mastery of these levels that helps the dead person keep the physical body after death in a coherent non-decaying state for days and even weeks after the physical body should have fallen apart. Mastery of these levels may also be connected to the mystery of how to create what is known in Eastern religions as the “mayavirupa” (body of illusion). In the Christian tradition this may well be similar to what is known as the Resurrection Body, and in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition these levels may also be involved in what they call the Rainbow Body (where bodies are said to dissolve into rainbow colored light).
Regarding the senses connected with these subplanes, Bailey puts taste at the 2nd subplane of the Physical Plane and smell at the 1st subplane of the Physical Plane. These two senses, taste and smell, are not very well developed in most human beings. As for the deeper significance of their association at these levels, I cannot say. I leave that to others to hypothesize and figure out. Finally, I would like to come back again to the Physical Permanent Atom that is said to reside in the 1st subplane of the Physical Plane. Again this “atom” is said to store the sum total of experience and mastery of having a physical body gained during our many lifetimes. In many ways it is like the DNA code that sets up the kind of physical and etheric body we are going to have in our next lifetime. That means that anything we do in this lifetime to enhance or improve our mastery over our physical and etheric bodies, even into our 60’s and beyond, can help us to have more vibrant and healthy etheric and physical bodies from this lifetime into the next and the next and the next.
INTEGRAL MODEL COMPARISONS
Before we leave our discussion of the Physical Planes in the Alice Bailey model I would like to make some comparisons to what Integral talks about. I will begin by talking about what Integral calls States of Consciousness. As you remember they call these Gross, Subtle, Causal, and Nondual and Integral correlates these as follows: Gross = Waking Consciousness, Beta. Subtle = Daydreaming Consciousness, Alpha. Causal = Dreaming Consciousness, Theta. Nondual = Deep Dreamless Sleep, Delta. To let you know Ken Wilber is also contemplating adding other states than this one. For example, in his latest book The Religion of Tomorrow he talks about another state that he calls Turiya (sometimes called Turiyatita, which some say is also another state).
As I see it these all correspond to the four lower subplanes of the Bailey model. In other words Integral Gross = 7th Subplane Physical. Integral Subtle = 6th Subplane Physical. Integral Casual = 5th Subplane Physical. Integral Nondual = 4th Subplane Physical. Integral Turiya = 3rd Subplane Physical. The turiya state is borrowed from Hindu philosophy. Turiya, तुरीय, means “the fourth.” Also known as caturiya, or chaturtha, turiya is said to be pure consciousness and is the background that underlies and transcends the other states of consciousness. Why do I put these states of consciousness on the Physical Plane? Because as Wilber agrees, all human beings go through these states every time they go to sleep and wake up. Later, Wilber started to distinguish states from stages, which are his Altitudes of Development. That is why when you read his writings or listen to him talk he will say that everyone goes through these various states of consciousness (gross, subtle, etc), but when they go through them they interpret what they experience according to the “stage” level they are at.
Bailey’s model has always made this distinction between states and stages. That is why when you look at her original chart you see the various triangles going all the way down to the physical plane. These triangles imply how higher processes in higher stages are reflected in the lower stages. In her model she talks about what happens when the “consciousness thread” that is anchored in the head detaches every night as we go to sleep and reattaches as we wake up. In time we learn to build “continuity of consciousness” by learning how to create continual awareness within the physical body and etheric subplanes of the higher planes. This is done in meditation practice as well, Bailey states. Again, this is very much the same as what Wilber and the Integral model speaks of.
Summary of the Physical Plane
To summarize our brief understanding of the Physical Plane, it becomes evident that though we live in physical bodies and where billions of people have come a long ways in consciousness from Group One, we still have a great deal to discover at this level. After all how many of us master our physical bodies enough to really know how to take care of them and keep them maximally fit and healthy? Through in the etheric planes and the entire yogic idea of mastering the various nadis and meridians so that we can create resurrection bodies or rainbow bodies of light, and it is clear that though we can celebrate the fact that our consciousness is no longer locked or fused into these lower levels the way Group One is, we still do not understand very much.
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