Diagonal Polarities: Transcendence and Immanence
Q Let us move on now to deal with your most fundamental polarities i.e. the diagonal polarities. Why are these the most fundamental?
Also can they be properly distinguished for example from the vertical polarities of whole and part (and part and whole) which seem to represent aspects of form and emptiness?
PC Well first of all as to why they are most fundamental!
One way of looking at this is to consider a newborn child's introduction to the world. The first task in terms of psychological awareness is to differentiate in rudimentary fashion the existence of form (through fleeting awareness of phenomena) from the nothingness (or emptiness) out of which life has originated. Indeed this task has already unfolded with the foetus in the womb!
So starting from the state where form cannot be distinguished from emptiness (or emptiness from form) before life commences, we first have the gradual differentiation of the diagonal polarities in the preliminary recognition of phenomenal form (as distinct from nothingness).
However the meaningful differentiation of the other polarities (vertical and horizontal) does not occur till later stages of development. So the neonate (or indeed the emerging foetus) in the womb cannot distinguish whole from part notions. Even less can it distinguish exterior from interior notions.
So the initial identification of form (from emptiness) represents very preliminary structures, with the other polarities (vertical and horizontal) remaining undifferentiated.
Now in reverse fashion the last polarities to be successfully reconciled i.e. integrated (before spiritual union can take place) are the diagonal (i.e. form and emptiness).
So the diagonal polarities are both the first to be differentiated in experience, and also the last to be successfully integrated.
This will become clearer through explaining the process by which integration unfolds at the "higher" spiritual stages.
Beyond the centaur the first polarities to be integrated are the horizontal i.e. exterior and interior (and interior and exterior).
Differentiated development at the (middle) personal stages of the Spectrum takes place largely in horizontal terms (excluding significant interaction with other levels).
By definition the personal is neither prepersonal nor transpersonal. Therefore specialisation of personal development tends to largely exclude access to either pre or trans stages.
It is therefore logical that when the need for corresponding integration of development takes place, that it will be initially viewed in horizontal terms.
Thus with respect to phenomenal understanding, H1 (the subtle realm) is defined in terms of bi-directional interaction of the horizontal polarities i.e. exterior and interior (and interior and exterior).
However because both horizontal and vertical development are ultimately complementary, lack of sufficient emphasis on the vertical aspect, sets limits to the extent to which successful integration of these polarities can take place at H1.
The next major stage H2 (the causal realm) is now largely defined in terms of bi-directional interaction of the vertical polarities whole and part (and part and whole) leading to a much greater degree of interaction as between "higher" and "lower" stages.
However once again because of the ultimate complementarity of vertical and horizontal, the remaining lack of integration with respect to the horizontal polarities sets limits on the degree of success with respect to reconciliation of the vertical polarities that can take place at H2.
So having attempted to achieve integration somewhat independently with respect to both horizontal and vertical polarities, the final task is to achieve complementarity as between both horizontal and vertical (and vertical and horizontal) polarities simultaneously.
This simultaneous integration of both sets of polarities refers to the diagonal aspect of integration and takes place with H3 (nondual reality). Success here enables unobstructed interaction, free of ego attachment, as between phenomena both within each level (heterarchical) and between all levels (hierarchical) of the Spectrum.
Now as regards your second question, you are indeed right. We have to remember that interaction as between all sets of polarities necessarily occurs at any stage.
However the proper mastery of various aspects of this interaction only tends to take place in a specialised manner at appropriate stages of development. So whole and part interactions do of course entail form. However some confusion as to the nature of this form inevitably will take place until the diagonal polarities can be fully integrated.
So typically even with advanced whole and part (and part and whole) interactions relating to H2, a degree of confusion as between the conscious (as directly manifested) and unconscious interpretation (as indirectly manifested through the projection of the unconscious) will remain.
So the integration of the diagonal polarities of form and emptiness, thereby refers to the most refined manifestations of form that are properly consistent with the pure experience of emptiness (nondual awareness).
Q In diagonal terms you distinguish - as always - as between two directions i.e. transcendent and immanent (and immanent and transcendent) which define all development processes.
Can you explain why the transcendent direction so heavily dominates the conventional interpretation of development?
PC We have touched briefly on this earlier (in our discussion on holarchy and partarchy).
Indeed transcendence - though not necessarily - is typically associated with the holarchical direction of development, with immanence - though again not necessarily - with the partarchical aspect.
To appreciate this we need to return to the inevitable interaction, which takes place in experience as between the cognitive and affective aspects of understanding.
As we have seen it is the very nature of cognitive development that it goes beyond and thereby transcends the more limited sense impressions of earlier experience.
Thus in this sense forward differentiation in transcendent terms dynamically co-exists with backward differentiation in immanent terms. So we learn to go beyond - in cognitive intellectual terms - to a more general appreciation of reality through a corresponding dampening down of the corresponding ability to go within phenomena to discover their own unique value. Put another way transcendence - when associated with cognitive development - is often conceived in an impersonal fashion where in effect it represses corresponding personal immanent appreciation (more associated with development of the affective aspect).
Q So can we therefore identify the transcendent direction with the intellectual interpretation of development?
PC No! It is not as simple as that. For someone who is unduly attached to sense impressions (reflecting the affective aspect), transcendence inevitably means a strengthening of the corresponding cognitive aspect providing a more detached appreciation that enables movement to a higher stage.
However we can also have the opposite problem where a person may place an unbalanced emphasis on the cognitive aspect thereby becoming unduly attached to intellectual ideas. So transcendence in this context requires the strengthening of the corresponding affective aspect with a greater appreciation of more personalised involvement. So the higher stage here would entail more emphasis on the affective aspect.
Q How is the immanent direction associated with both cognitive and affective aspects?
PC Cognitive and affective aspects always entail complementary control and response patterns.
So if we associate the cognitive aspect with the attempt to obtain disciplined rational control of reality (as exemplified by conventional science), then the affective aspect represents the ability to emotionally respond through relaxing and letting go (i.e. of disciplined control).
So if we transcend in cognitive terms e.g. by moving to a more universal intellectual appreciation of reality, then immanence here will be associated with the complementary affective aspect in the enhanced ability to respond to reality. In other words this broader conceptual vision can thereby be made immanent in the phenomenal sense symbols that freely enter awareness. And ultimately in a mystical context it is Spirit that is made immanent in such symbols.
However as always the process can work in reverse. For example if one customarily finds it easier to relate to cognitive rather than affective reality, then transcendence might well require greater development of the affective aspect leading to an enhanced ability to relate to reality on its own terms. So transcendence in this context would be associated with this affective appreciation of reality.
Immanence would then be associated with the renewing of intellectual work (from this developed affective standpoint). In such a situation for example a scientist, who might customarily specialise in abstract work is more likely to see creative linkages within phenomena. Precisely because the mind has been enabled to relax (through development of the affective aspect), on returning to intellectual work, general concepts are likely to made immanent in particular data.
So control and response are clearly relative terms depending on context. From the standpoint of one who customarily exercises intellectual control, letting go and relaxing can prove more difficult requiring perhaps development of a unique type of discipline (e.g. meditation).
Equally from the opposite standpoint, it may prove more difficult for the emotional type who customarily responds to reality in an affective manner, to become involved in an impersonal work environment that requires the exercise of intellectual control. So a different type of discipline is required in this instance.
Q I see! You have shown how transcendence and immanence are necessarily involved in development in a complementary manner. Indeed from what you say it all seems quite obvious. Why then is the immanent direction so much ignored in the intellectual treatment of development?
PC I think this is largely to do with the nature of our scientific training. Even when people are critical in some respects of the limitations of science, their very manner of argument often deeply reflects the scientific approach.
As we have seen in the dynamics of experience, cognitive and affective aspects are involved in a complementary manner. However the very nature of science - certainly in its formal presentation - is to reduce the affective to the cognitive aspect.
So in formal terms there is no role for the personal dimension of emotion or feelings in scientific truth.
So science by its very nature - as customarily understood - requires the transcendence of the affective aspect in terms of the cognitive (which then within this context is defined as truth).
Therefore it is not surprising that in the intellectual treatment of development, in a culture so influenced by the scientific approach, that this emphasis on the transcendent direction of development predominates (even though it can be easily demonstrated that in practice transcendence and immanence are necessarily complementary).
Again the deeper issue here is the unwillingness of science to look at understanding in a dynamic manner, which clearly entails the interaction of cognitive and affective dimensions of experience. Due to a number of fundamental reductionist assumptions, conventional science offers a very distorted interpretation of reality. This clearly is a major limitation.
I have long considered this issue of the utmost importance. Therefore I have spent a much time over the years striving for an appropriate indirect manner of scientifically encoding the dynamic interaction of affective and cognitive aspects. Fortunately with Holistic Mathematics I believe that I have found the key.
There is also a significant link with many religious traditions where the body (and nature) are viewed as lower in hierarchical terms than mind or Spirit. So spiritual progress in this context is typically viewed as the transcendence - initially through mind - of the body.
The second related reason of course is that the acceptance of the complementary nature of transcendence and immanence (and immanence and transcendence) in development poses insuperable problems of interpretation for any (linear) asymmetrical approach. So effectively to preserve the somewhat unambiguous nature of such models one aspect must be reduced in terms of the other and largely for the reason I have outlined it is the immanent that is reduced in favour of the transcendent.
Q Can we now look in more detail at the spiritual aspects of immanence and transcendence. Can you clarify their absolute and relative interpretations?
PC Well - approached from the standpoint of emptiness - pure Spirit is nondual and unqualifiable.
However - approached from the equally important standpoint of form - pure Spirit has two complementary aspects that can be expressed paradoxically in dualistic terms. Thus from the (affirmative) kataphatic stance it is both immanent and transcendent and from the (negative) apophatic stance it is neither immanent nor transcendent.
So in absolute terms pure Spirit entails the total identity of what - in dualistic terms - we identify as transcendent and immanent aspects.
However the process of realising this identity necessarily takes place in phenomenal developmental terms where immanent and transcendent aspects are to a degree separated.
Once again we have differentiated appreciation where we recognise the aspects as separate and integral appreciation where we realise their complementarity.
So every stage of development represents an unfolding in realisation of both the immanent and transcendent aspects of Spirit (though the quality of this realisation and the balance as between both aspects can vary considerably).
Transcendence is customarily viewed as a going beyond phenomenal representations (which necessarily limit our realisation of pure Spirit) and generally associated with holism and the unfolding of a more universal appreciation of reality. From this perspective Spirit is ultimately without phenomena. So in terms of the dialectic of form and emptiness, the emphasis on form here is negative and emptiness positive.
Immanence by contrast is customarily viewed as a going within phenomena to gradually find Spirit revealed as their inherent nature. So it would therefore be associated with partism and the ability to appreciate the special unique spiritual aspect of created phenomena. So now in the dialectic of form and emptiness, the emphasis on form is positive and emptiness negative.
However, as always these interpretations are merely relative depending on context.
One can also associate transcendence with partism and immanence with holism respectively. Thus for an academic accustomed to general holistic type understanding, spiritual transcendence could well entail greater practical involvement in day to day affairs.
Likewise immanence operates in two ways. With partism the whole is spiritually reflected in the part. Thus for example if I become aware of the beauty of a flower such as a rose, I would thereby experience immanence (in terms of partism). However equally I could experience a very intimate sense of connection with nature in general. In this case immanence would be associated with holism.
Clearly therefore the process of realising Spirit in development applies to both the immanent and transcendent aspects which ultimately are fully complementary.
With the newborn infant there is great confusion as between transcendent and immanent aspects. Because the infant in unable to go beyond the temporary fleeting experience of phenomena (in any meaningful sense), thereby s/he is likewise unable to meaningfully go within these same phenomena to discover their inherent nature.
So where no differentiation of transcendent and immanent aspects has taken place, Spirit is directly confused with matter (and matter with Spirit).
However as the process of development unfolds and one learns to go beyond to unfold "higher" stages of development, the capacity for spiritual transcendence is thereby enhanced. However equally because one is now less attached to "lower" phenomenal representations of reality, this enhances the capacity - in reverse form - to go within phenomena more deeply to gradually discover their inherent nature as Spirit.
However as always this process is two-way. From the corresponding perspective, each "higher" stage is associated with a greater capacity for immanence opening up the spiritual nature of phenomena. This in turn provides the motivation for greater transcendence so as to remove any remaining phenomenal restrictions to pure spiritual realisation. In this case transcendence will require a reverse process to immanence.
Transcendent and Immanent Directions: Example from Mystical Literature
Q Can you provide any evidence from the mystical literature to support this interpretation?
PC Yes! In the Christian tradition, perhaps the most influential general book written in the past hundred years in Evelyn Underhill's classic work "Mysticism".
Now in relating the process of conversion in the lives of many well-known mystics, Underhill defined them in terms of the two broad types i.e. Transcendent and Immanent respectively.
In other words the "higher" stage following conversion for the first type would be largely viewed in spiritual transcendent terms.
Likeiwse the "higher" stage following conversion for the second type would be largely viewed in spiritual immanent terms.
Q Does this support your contention that it makes little sense to portray the forward direction of development in merely transcendent terms?
PC Yes! What Underhill is saying - drawing on detailed investigation of the reported conversions of many mystics - is that two spiritual directions clearly manifest themselves. And in early mystical development there will typically be an undue emphasis on one direction (largely depending on personality characteristics).
Now because Underhill's understanding is inherently dynamic, she recognises that the very process of spiritual transformation inevitably leads to a greater balancing of both aspects. So therefore with the dawning of the Unitive Life we can generally see in the expressions of such mystics a characteristic fusing of both transcendent and immanent aspects.
Therefore for the Transcendent (metaphysical) type, subsequent development will invariably require a substantial reversal (culminating with the Dark Night of the Soul). This reversal is necessary so as to achieve balance with the corresponding immanent aspect.
Likewise for the Immanent (affective) type, subsequent development will also require a substantial reversal (also culminating with a Dark Night of the Soul), which again is necessary to achieve satisfactory balance with the transcendent aspect.
One implication of this two-fold appreciation is that it makes little sense to unambiguously rank mystical stages in asymmetrical fashion.
Usually for example when the transcendent direction predominates, nature mysticism will be ranked lower than soul mysticism. So there is an undue emphasis here on spiritual development as a going beyond form to realise emptiness.
However as in dynamic terms form necessarily interpenetrates with emptiness and emptiness with form, this emphasis is unbalanced.
So typically for the (metaphysical) type, soul would be initially ranked above nature mysticism.
However this would be reversed for the (affective) type, where nature would be ranked above soul mysticism.
Ultimately, of course from a nondual perspective such asymmetrical rankings have no validity. So the task in practice is to achieve greater balance as between both aspects.
From a correct experiential perspective each "higher" stage has both immanent and transcendent aspects, which ultimately are identical as nondual awareness.
Now remarkably - through not explicitly highlighted - Underhill's very approach is in keeping with an integral four-quadrant approach based on dynamic interaction in all quadrants.
Thus as well as defining Immanent and Transcendent type conversions, it is clear from her accounts that some of these relate to the exterior aspect, with others relating to the complementary interior aspect of experience.
Q So as well as immanence and transcendence having both holarchical and partarchical expressions (representing the interaction of the cognitive and affective aspect) can we also classify them in heterarchical terms in relation to both exterior and interior aspects?
PC Yes! This is so. We can transcend both in exterior and interior terms.
1. Exterior holarchical transcendence could be perhaps reflected in a more universal type understanding of reality.
2. Interior holarchical transcendence could literally represent self-transcendence in the development of a more cosmic type self identity.
3. Exterior partarchical transcendence could represent an enhanced spiritual appreciation of doing the little things in life.
4. Interior partarchical transcendence could represent an enhanced spiritual appreciation of the significance of "minute" moral decisions.
Likewise we can make immanent in exterior and interior terms.
1 Exterior holarchical immanence could be reflected in an intimate spiritually inspired personal connection with nature.
2. Interior holarchical immanence could represent a more intimate personal revelation of one's universal significance.
3. Exterior partarchical immanence could represent an enhanced personal involvement in every day relationships
4 Interior partarchical immanence could represent an enhanced appreciation of the intimate personal significance of every little decision.
Likewise these each have cognitive as well as affective expressions (involving the interchange of the two sets of descriptions listed).
So what is transcendent or immanent in any context is purely relative (depending on context). Just remember the problem of defining direction with our two drivers!
Q Let us deal now with the nature of your diagonal approach. Why precisely do we need these diagonal polarities?
PC The barrier to realising pure nondual awareness is due to the fact that we all want to hold on to dualistic distinction (even in some measure at an advanced level of spiritual development) .
Thus the earlier task - which we associated with H1 (subtle realm) - is the attempt to abandon dualistic distinction in heterarchical terms through realising the complementarity and ultimate identity of the horizontal polarities i.e. exterior and interior (and interior and exterior).
However, limits to this process are inevitable due to unrecognised dualistic rigidities in hierarchical (i.e. holarchical and partarchical) terms.
Thus the second major task was associated with H2 (causal realm) in the attempt to abandon dualistic distinction in hierarchical terms through realising the complementarity and ultimate identity of the vertical polarities i.e. whole and part (and part and whole).
However, certain limits to this process were in turn due to the remaining dualistic rigidities deriving from H1.
In other words both horizontal and vertical and vertical and horizontal polarities are themselves complementary (Type 2).
So the remaining task at H3 (movement to pure nondual reality) is to simultaneously recognise the interaction of both horizontal and vertical polarities, which entails the diagonal polarities.
This can be easily recognised through identifying the four quadrants (though necessarily in arbitrary fashion)
1 UL 2 UR
3 LL 4 LR
So starting with UR, if we are to abandon dualistic distinction in heterarchical terms we must switch to the Left-Hand. Likewise to abandon dualistic distinction in hierarchical terms we must switch to Lower. This means we switch from UR to LL (which is diagonally related to UR). So it is likewise with each of the other quadrants.
Dynamic switching in both horizontal and vertical terms means moving to the quadrant that is diagonally opposite.
What this implies in practice is that phenomenal experience becomes extremely refined and spiritually transparent at H3 (where specialisation in diagonal switching unfolds). Any attachment either within a level (through resting in exterior or interior phenomenal manifestations) or between levels (through resting in higher or lower phenomenal distinctions) is quickly exposed (through the penetration of the spiritual light already developed).
So in one respect this stage represents a tightrope-balancing act as one tries to deal with phenomena without becoming attached to their polarised aspects.
So the closer one comes to managing this balancing act successfully, neither heterarchical nor hierarchical aspects will dominate. Therefore the diagonal lines drawn through the quadrants (dividing them into eight sectors) represent the ultimate state of integral harmony where all the fundamental polarities are kept in perfect balance.
So in this respect these diagonal lines (that perfectly divide the quadrants) represent the perfection of the transcendent and immanent aspects of development through the attainment of pure nondual spiritual awareness.
Q Does it make any sense to separate differentiation from integration with respect to the diagonal polarities?
PC Yes, as long as any phenomenal distinction remains, differentiation is necessary.
It must be stressed here that the object is not at all to get rid of phenomenal distinctions but rather the attachment that customarily is associated with dualistic awareness. So rather than the elimination of form we are aiming at the perfection of form which coincides in turn with the perfection of emptiness (as continual nondual awareness).
However having said this it is indeed true that at H3, bi-directional (linear) differentiation is extremely closely associated with bi-directional (circular) integration representing the fact that phenomenal experience becomes especially refined and spiritually transparent at this time.
Q So tell us now how bi-directional differentiation takes place?
PC If we go back to our original asymmetrical statement that "the atom is transcended and included in the molecule; the molecule is transcended and included in the cell; the cell is transcended and included in the organism", we find that in dynamic terms it is much more complex.
So we have seen that the phenomena (atom, molecule, cell and organism) have both exterior aspects as "objects" and interior as "perceptions" in horizontal terms.
Likewise we have seen that the vertical relationship between atom, molecule, cell and organism has both holarchical and - reverse - partarchical expressions.
Now by connecting the horizontal (heterarchical) and vertical (hierarchical) aspects we introduce the diagonal polarities of transcendence and immanence.
Strictly speaking transcendence and immanence cannot be conceived merely in vertical terms. Without a degree of heterarchical development, there would be no stage to transcend (or make immanent) as the case may be!
So transcendence and immanence are best represented in diagonal terms by connecting opposite quadrants (both horizontal and vertical).
So if we start to differentiate in forward terms in the UR quadrant the holarchical interpretation of the relationship between atom, molecule, cell and organism with respect to the exterior aspect (i.e. as "objects") then we have backward differentiation in the LL quadrant with respect to the partarchical interpretation of the relationship between atom, molecule, cell and organism in interior terms (i.e. as "perceptions").
So inclusion in holarchical and exterior terms implies corresponding exclusion in partarchical and interior terms.
In like manner if we identify forward differentiation with the LL quadrant and the partarchical interpretation in interior terms of the relationship between these respective phenomena, then backward differentiation is implied in relation to the UR quadrant and the holarchical interpretation of phenomena in exterior terms.
So inclusion in partarchical and interior terms implies corresponding exclusion in holarchical and exterior terms.
Now if we identify the former case (i.e. forward differentiation of UR) with transcendence then the latter case (i.e. backward differentiation of LL) will represent immanence. So we strengthen the transcendent interpretation of UR through a corresponding letting go of the immanent interpretation of LL; likewise we strengthen the immanent interpretation of LL through a corresponding letting go of the transcendent interpretation of UR.
Through the extremely refined switching between diagonally opposite quadrants, the capacity for the light to be reflected in our various phenomena i.e. atom, molecule, cell and organism in both a transcendent and immanent manner is thereby greatly enhanced.
In other words as we approach the state of nondual awareness these phenomena become spiritually transparent to a marked degree.
We also have the other diagonal line of differentiation connecting UL with LR.
If we differentiate in forward terms with respect to the holarchical interpretation of the relationship between atom, molecule, cell and organism in interior terms, then this implies backward differentiation with respect to the partarchical interpretation of these same phenomena in exterior terms.
So inclusion in holarchical and interior terms implies exclusion in partarchical and exterior terms.
Likewise if we identify forward differentiation with the LR quadrant and the partarchical interpretation in exterior terms, then this implies backward differentiation with the UL quadrant and the holarchical interpretation in interior terms
So inclusion in partarchical and exterior terms implies exclusion in holarchical and interior terms.
If the former case (i.e. forward differentiation of UL) is identified with transcendence then the latter case (i.e. backward differentiation of LR) will represent immanence. So we strengthen the transcendent interpretation of UL through a letting go of the immanent interpretation of LR; likewise we strengthen the immanent interpretation LR through a letting go of the transcendent interpretation of UL.
Now we initially fixed the UR quadrant with the holarchical interpretation in exterior terms. However we could equally have chosen any of the quadrants and fixed it in this manner leading in turn to different designations in each of the other quadrants.
So in fact we can identify four sets of these four-quadrant diagonal interactions all of which naturally occur in the dynamics of experience.
As I have stated, as the dynamics of differentiation are so fluid at this stage - moving with little obstruction as between diagonally opposite quadrants - integration is very closely associated with differentiation.
Once again integration entails the complementary pairing of diagonally opposite quadrants creating paradox in terms of differentiated directions.
So integration entails mutual inclusion and exclusion with respect to diagonally opposite quadrants.
We could attempt as before to identify forward and backward integration (in the top-down and bottom-up approaches to reconciling mutual inclusion and exclusion) but as they are so closely interlinked at this stage it is perhaps better not to stress this distinction. As we move closer to perfect balance, differentiation and integration themselves tend to dynamic unity (i.e. as the union of form with emptiness and emptiness with form). This is represented by the perfect splitting of the quadrants by the diagonal lines into equal sized sectors completing in turn our eight-sectoral approach.
Q I presume you have been using this simple example of the atom being included in the molecule which is in turn included in the cell and in turn in the organism etc. to illustrate in some detail that it cannot be assigned to just one quadrant (or rather sector) but in dynamic terms embraces all. Does this understanding apply to every event?
PC Yes, every event - by definition - is governed by the three fundamental sets of polarities which dynamically interact in all eight sectors. The nature of this dynamic interaction always entails a differentiated aspect entailing asymmetric interpretations (based on independent polar reference frames) and an integral aspect based on the mutual paradoxical interdependence of such interpretations (when viewed in simultaneous relationship to each other).
We have identified both forward and backward differentiation and forward and backward integration in respect to both horizontal polarities (heterarchy) vertical polarities (hierarchy) and diagonal polarities (heter-hierarchy).
However it is important to realise that the nature of understanding represented in each case can vary considerably. So my intention here has not been to survey the various types of holonic relationships but rather to show how the same basic dynamic interactions apply in all cases (both as regards their differentiated and integrated understanding).
Q I see that what you have been describing is designed ultimately to reflect the Circle of Integration as one moves from asymmetrical differentiated notions to more dynamic complementary understanding. This then culminates in pure paradoxical appreciation of phenomena (as form) that coincides with continual nondual awareness (as emptiness). But as I understand it the Radial approach now leads puzzlingly to an increased emphasis on the recognition of dualistic form. Is this not contrary to what you have been describing?
PC The Circle of Integration represents a specialisation in contemplative type awareness.
However ultimately it is incomplete!
I have used the analogy before of the fire that needs to be continually fed by a material fuel to keep burning.
The fuel for the fire represents dualistic appreciation of phenomena. However without a corresponding means of transforming this fuel into energy, the fire will never get started.
So contemplation provides the means for fully converting the material into fire. This culminates in pure nondual awareness as the fuel becomes completely transformed in spiritual energy.
However without being replenished with more fuel, the fire will eventually die out.
So one eventually needs to return to dualistic activity to sustain and indeed increase the strength of the spiritual contemplative gaze.
So specialisation in integral contemplative type awareness, which characterises the "higher" spiritual levels, resembles a severe and lengthy fast from dualistic phenomena. This is necessary because of the need to be weaned from ego identification with such phenomena, that hampers reception of the pure spiritual light. However though the body can sustain a fast for some time ultimately its reserves must be replenished. So eventually the pure contemplative phase runs its course (when rigid identification with phenomena ceases) and then it is time to slowly return to dualistic type activities, which can now be properly sustained through the permanent attainment of nondual awareness.
Thus we started with the arbitrary nature of dualistic phenomena and then sought freedom through unrestricted spiritual realisation. Now it is time to accept arbitrary phenomena once more. However, whereas before one was trapped by this dualism, now it serves as the creative means of sustaining continual awareness of the Spirit.
Once one was aware of a phenomenon such as a tree (dualistic differentiated experience); then the tree vanished and only Spirit remained (nondual integrated awareness); now the tree returns continually sustained through the light of Spirit (Radial Reality that is both dual and nondual in refined manner).
We all have to make arbitrary limited choices with our lives. There is no other way. The secret is to be able to see in whatever happens the pure reflection of the Divine.
So in the end my favourite description of the radial life is
"ordinary life enhanced through extraordinary spiritual vision"
Final Clarification of Radial Approach
Q Yes, there is a lot to digest here and perhaps we should conclude. Can we finish at this stage with a final clarification of your radial approach?
PC I have been attempting to illustrate it right through this discussion.
Imagine a circle with horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines drawn outwards from the centre in both directions to the circumference.
Understanding in the radial approach is essentially nondual. So in dynamic terms we always start from a spiritual centre and represent the phenomena of form as radiating outwards bi-directionally (in horizontal, vertical and diagonal terms) to an unbounded circumference, then always returning back in transformed manner to the same centre which is continually deepened (through this dynamic interaction with form).
However all the essential interactions governing differentiation and integration (which universally apply to all transformation processes) can be given much more precise scientific expression than in this discussion. However this requires learning something of the nature of Holistic Mathematics.