Following are brief thoughts about parallels between Ageless Wisdom and the Wilber/Integral model related to “states of consciousness.”
States of consciousness can be divided into three general categories.
- Waking (Gross body)
- Sleeping (Subtle body)
- Deep Dreamless Sleep (Causal body).
Everyone, regardless of your stage of development goes through these three stages whenever we fall asleep and wake up. We have various experiences (or states of experience) when we are awake through the use of the five senses and are in the Alpha brain wave patterns. Daydreaming means we are still in the gross body, so even though we are in Beta brain wave patterns, these dream-like experiences are still related to waking states.
While asleep, doing drugs, or in altered states through meditation we can enter the subtle realms through the subtle body. Many mystical experiences are connected to this level. Theta brain wave patterns are typically involved here. To get to the causal body and into Delta brain wave patterns, we go beyond any experiences what so ever. We enter the “void,” go into states of unity consciousness, go back to suchness, emptiness, and our true being as Self.
Lucille Cedercrans Model
In these teachings (Nature of the Soul/Teacher Training) we are taught that we are meant to build the antakarana (the rainbow bridge). This “bridge” has three main components:
- The Life Thread
- The Consciousness Thread
- The Creativity Thread
The life thread is connected to the heart and remains continually in place until one is officially dead. (In this model that happens when the heart stops. Interestingly enough the heart is the first thing to develop and according to Heart Math is much more significant than we previously thought, as the heart actually sends signals to the brain and may know things before the brain does. Could it be that the life thread is connected mainly to the gross body and is the main “lifeline” to being in the waking state?
The consciousness thread is anchored in the brain and is said to “unhook” every night as we go to sleep. It is also loosened in altered states of consciousness. Seems like there is a subtle body connection here. It may also involve the Integral causal body.
The creativity thread is one we have to “build” ourselves. This means that we have to achieve “continuity of consciousness.” What is this? It involves stable awareness of who we are as the Self (or Monad) at all times. We are told we build this between the third and fifth initiations (expansions of consciousness) and that is has to do with the “Monad.” As we build this thread we complete the building of the antakarana, which takes us to the next section.
The Vortex or Black Whole
As I study the Wilber and Cedercrans models and apply them to my own experience, it seems like each and every night when we detach the consciousness thread we go through a kind of “black whole.” (I am using the phrase Black Whole related to the documentary of the same name by Nassim Harriman). We go back into the void, emptiness, or space. The key is to go in and out of this consciously. Eventually as you go in and out the “bridge or cable” taking you back and forth between these various states of consciousness becomes more steady and especially between the third and fifth initiations you are working on the Observer and the Observed becoming ONE.
In some spiritual traditions we hear about the “Observer and the Observed.” Eventually we realize we are not the body (that which is observed), we are the Self (the Observer -though actually there are many different “Selves” to realize, see Infinitization of Selfhood by Michael Robbins). Certainly for those of us familiar with the Cedercrans methods, the meditations she gives (which are similar to those found in a few other traditions) are designed to have us develop the capacity to know ourselves as the Observer (or the Self as Monad), instead of the observed (body in the waking state). This completion of the antakarana seems to be related to causal awareness.
Alice Bailey Model
In the books by Alice Bailey we are given much more detail about what is known as the causal body (that the egoic lotus, or soul) uses as it unfolds. The causal body in the Bailey model actually has a very complex number of stages that are represented symbolically as petals of the “egoic lotus.”
To begin with we have to be careful as the terms causal body in the Bailey model and the Wilber model do not necessarily line up. The causal body as Bailey speaks of it actually seems primarily related to Wilber’s subtle body. For example, we are told in the Bailey system (and also the Cedercrans model) that from the 1st to 3rd initations, we are becoming aware of the soul and are entering the “kingdom of heaven.” Here we more dualistic and relate to beings “out there.” We have soul and personality and we seem to be primarily the personality (separated self) relating to the soul.
During these initiations we may also be much more focused on getting into subtle states induced by meditation, drugs, and so forth. We still relate too much to the soul and Monad in an objective sense. They are like entities “out there” somewhere that we are trying to get in touch with. But, when we line them up with what Wilber and the Integral methods are saying we can look at them in another way. We can see the soul and Monad represent states of consciousness.
When we are focused within the soul (and the especially the first six petals of the twelve petaled egoic lotus that the soul uses), we are more likely to pursue states of consciousness that are more akin to being in what Wilber calls the subtle body realms. We want to get “high” more than to continue to get Self-Realized. We are more into “siddhi” powers than true spiritual Being.
In fact, much of the writings by Alice Bailey deal with these matters. We are told that her book the Light of the Soul (her commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali) and Glamour: A Spiritual Problem are essential to study and learn from especially during the stage of her second initiation where “highs,” “siddhis” and the spiritual ego (called the spiritual imposter by William Meader in his book Shine Forth: The Soul’s Magical Destiny) are much more fascinating to the spiritual seeker than true spiritual understanding. To let the reader know who may not be familiar with the term, glamours are all the games the personality plays to assume that it is more evolved spiritually than it is. These glamours create the spiritual imposter that is doomed at some point to wake up to his/her delusions often in a very painful way.
We are also given the book Esoteric Psychology, Vols. II, which outlines the many problems that the person interested more in subtle states can get into. These are known as the “Diseases of Occultists and Mystics” and they include problems with premature kundalini awakening (which causes one to leap into subtle states they cannot master), getting involved with channeling without understanding what/who they are contacting (there are over a dozen things listed that it could be in this book), wanting to obtain occult/siddhi powers for the sake of being someone special (usually so you can have plenty of power, sex, and money, which are related to the three lower chakras), and more distortions that I cannot list here.
Only when we clean up these distortions and glamours and confront the spiritual imposter (known in the Alice Bailey teachings as the Dweller on the Threshold) can we more safely and truly access causal states. Here at the third initiation we start to develop Monadic awareness, which is more like the Witness/Observer that is talked about in other traditions.
Eventually, as the egoic lotus (soul or causal body) unfolds, we move out of a focus on dualism and the Observer and the Observed become ONE. We know ourselves as the Monad. When this realization is complete, it is said that the soul or causal body is destroyed (at the 5th initiation). At this point continuity of consciousness is also achieved.
The dilemma with comparing Wilber/Integral to the Alice Bailey model is that in the Bailey teachings there is much more to the story than just reaching Monadic awareness and experiencing the Void. Yes, Monadic awareness means we stabilize 24/7 in knowing we are the Observer and do not lose sight of this (similar to the forgetting and remembering of the Self talked about in Sufism). But, in the Alice Bailey model, we shift from the causal body to the body of the Triad. And, eventually, we go into the plane of the Monad itself. So something more seems to be going on here in the Alice Bailey system beyond simply going into causal realms.
There is the initial very brief comparison. More to follow.
Have comments, questions, suggestions? They will be posted so long as they are civil and expand the discussion.
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