Pre/Trans Issues 4

- Twelve Stage Model Interpretations (B:  Higher and Radial)

(Notes can be directly accessed by clicking on numerical links throughout text!)


Part 4 now continues with 6 stage model interpretations of the pre/trans fallacy associated with the higher and radial bands of development.
As the radial stages are the most comprehensive they alone can provide the necessary perspective with which to reconcile - in consistent manner - both differentiated and integral understanding.
In other words the strengths (and corresponding limitations) of earlier stages can only be properly seen from the perspective of the most advanced levels.

Higher Levels - Integral (Holistic) Interpretations

We now move on to the three holistic interpretations of the relationship between pre and trans (and trans and pre), which constitute in turn the understanding of the three higher levels (H1, H2 and H3) respectively of the Spectrum.

Each of these is defined in turn by a bi-directional complementary understanding regarding the relationship between pre and trans.
These complementary relations - which apply to the three sets of polarities (horizontal, vertical and diagonal) - are of three types (requiring increasing refinement of understanding).
H1 is defined directly by Type 1 complementarity, H2 by Type 2 complementarity and H3 by Type 3 complementarity.

7. Integral 1

However before putting these complementary relationships between pre and trans into context we need to say a little about development at each level starting with H1 (psychic/subtle).

There are of course many distinctive ways in which development can unfold. The following therefore is meant as just one type of unfolding designed to precisely highlight the nature of the psychospiritual dynamics involved.

Entry to H1 often follows a deep existential crisis whereby one becomes gradually weaned from the dualistic worldview associated with the middle stages.
Such dualistic interpretation relates to conscious understanding based on the direct positing of phenomena.

However when we identify meaning with such rigidly posited constructs we gradually lose contact with the corresponding unconscious aspect of experience.
So the existential crisis that now arises relates to the first prolonged exposure to corresponding dynamic negation of phenomena. This brings one into the deep regions of personality where a purer spiritual meaning gradually incubates in a hidden fashion.

Then sometimes in a sudden manner - which can be associated with religious conversion - such meaning is released into consciousness through a pure form of spiritual illumination.
This spiritual illumination constitutes the state aspect of the stage. 1

However because states and structures of stages are interdependent as emptiness and form (and form and emptiness) respectively, this new state leads to a transformation in the structures through which reality is understood. The very nature of such structures is dynamic and bi-directional. Because opposites in experience - especially with respect to horizontal (exterior and interior) aspects - have been to a degree already harmonised through nondual awareness, one can thereby readily appreciate the paradoxical nature of dualistic understanding (with respect to such polarities).

So the key nature of structural development at this stage - from a cognitive perspective - is the attempt to consistently reconcile horizontal opposites in a complementary bi-directional manner. 2

There are basically two ways in which this can be approached.
Starting from a refined awareness of physical exterior reality, one can attempt to reconcile this with the corresponding interior aspect. 3

Alternatively starting from the psychological (interior) aspect one can attempt to reconcile this (through nondual awareness) with the exterior pole.
In practice both approaches will be adopted though initially a degree of imbalance (largely relating to personality disposition) is likely to exist.

So during the initial state of illumination (with its corresponding transformation in structure in a new refined worldview) one is aware of having progressed to a higher stage of development. However what proves somewhat disconcerting is that this initial illumination and progress eventually gives way to corresponding purgation and regression. One now feels as if thrust back to an earlier stage of development and subject to all sorts of instinctive impulses that one thought had long been subdued.

To understand why this is the case one has to recognise that there is a dynamic complementarity in vertical terms as between trans and pre behaviour.
Because in refined unconscious terms there is no duality, therefore any conscious identification of trans (as superior to pre) leads to imbalance in terms of the developing unconscious, now increasingly identified with spiritual meaning.
Thus the healing of such imbalance requires a shift in consciousness to the neglected aspect that is identified as pre with a corresponding new set of developmental
issues. 4

Because H1 (psychic/subtle) is vertically complementary with L1 (mythic), this entails that one now is largely exposed to (unresolved) prepersonal issues relating to L1. This indeed is vitally necessary so that this level can thereby be properly integrated with H1. 5

However it is important to remember that this integration of levels is two-way and both of a top-down and bottom-up variety.

This is due to the fact there are two spiritual directions to development i.e. the transcendent and immanent. Therefore what is forward from the transcendent perspective is backward from the immanent; likewise what is forward from the immanent is backward from the transcendent perspective. So when both of these directions are properly developed the dualistic recognition of higher and lower in development is considerably eroded. 6

However this is not likely to be fully so as Underhill recognised well, one direction is likely to dominate (again depending on personality characteristics). Thus though circular type understanding greatly increases at H1, it is still necessarily associated with remaining (rigid) linear elements. 7

So the pre/trans fallacy at H1 can take many bi-directional forms.
We start by defining a spiritual direction i.e. either transcendent or immanent.
If we choose the transcendent aspect, then we can define the following fallacies:

ptf-1(a) - failure to realise that "higher" trans understanding (with respect to the exterior aspect) is complementary with "lower" pre understanding (in terms of the interior aspect).

ptf-2 (a) - corresponding failure to realise that - in reverse fashion - the "lower" pre is complementary with the "higher" trans understanding.8

ptf-1(b) failure to realise that the "higher" trans (with respect to the interior aspect) is complementary with "lower" pre understanding (in terms of the exterior aspect).

ptf-2 (b) - corresponding failure to realise that the reverse "lower" pre is complementary with the "higher" trans understanding.

If we start with the alternative direction again we have the same set of fallacies (this time with respect to the immanent aspect).

Because what is pre from the transcendent is pre from the immanent and vice versa, the full recognition of complementarity would lead to the purely relative appreciation of pre and trans (that is consistent with nondual understanding). However for the reasons mentioned this is not likely at this stage.

So the pre/trans fallacy at H1 can take several forms.
However as well as the H1 interpretation of the H1, we now have the H1 interpretation of the vision-logic stage.

This leads to a more refined asymmetrical interpretation of the stages of development.

In the vision-logic interpretation of vision-logic understanding we still tend to think of exterior and interior aspects of development in unambiguous terms.
However now every exterior interpretation is seen to have a mirror image interior equivalent; likewise every interior has a mirror image exterior equivalent. 9

8. Integral 2

H1 thus leads to considerable development in nondual spiritual states (with corresponding appreciation of dynamic bi-directional structures of form). However unreconciled linear rigidities remain.

Though the intention is to integrate exterior and interior polarities, a certain imbalance arises due to the relative dominance of one aspect. So for example an introvert may find it difficult to give adequate recognition to the exterior pole.

Also though the ultimate spiritual intention is to reconcile transcendent and immanent directions, again one will tend to dominate. So when the transcendent direction is dominant undue repression of lower physical instinctive behaviour is likely to take place.

Indeed this problem can lead to a crisis during "the dark night of the soul" where further progress in nondual awareness is now blocked through neglect of appreciation of the role of the physical body.

Thus the next stage H2 is often associated with a decisive change in spiritual direction. This means for example, for the intellectual who approached development through the transcendent aspect (where Spirit is seen as "higher" than matter), that now the direction is reversed in favour of the - relatively - affective immanent aspect (so that Spirit can be revealed within - rather than without - the body).

I am of the view that the nature of H2 (causal) has been somewhat misrepresented by the spiritual traditions. In my own (Christian) it is not properly distinguished from the preceding H1 (psychic/subtle) stage. By contrast in Eastern traditions though there is indeed a very detailed understanding of the nature of spiritual states associated with this level, there is a lack of corresponding emphasis on dynamically interdependent refined structures of form. So in this respect the treatment could be seen as unbalanced (with an undue emphasis on emptiness over form).

H2 is certainly associated with ever more refined spiritual states. 10

However it is equally associated with extremely dynamic - though very short lived - structures of form.

However though these structures are again bi-directional they are distinct from those of the previous level.

Due to the considerable erosion of (rigid) conscious phenomena at the previous stage, the unconscious now becomes free to express itself in an indirect conscious form. Thus at H2 we have spiritual meaning that is mediated through highly transparent (and fleeting) phenomena that are the indirect expression of the conscious.
In holistic mathematical terms, whereas the conscious aspect of phenomena is "real", the unconscious aspect - that is indirectly expressed in a conscious manner - is "imaginary".

Thus we combine both conscious and unconscious aspects of understanding in scientific interpretation, the nature of all development processes are seen to be "complex" (with both "real" and "imaginary" components).

A key issue here at H2 is the reconciliation of states with structures (and structures with states).
The state relates directly to the unconscious and the structure to the conscious aspect respectively.
It is in the very nature of "higher" stages of development that both aspects become increasingly interdependent.

However both can be separated to a considerable degree in the spiritual life.
When the state aspect is predominant, experience tends to continually fluctuate as between "higher" and "lower" stages without sufficient structural development taking place at any stage.
By contrast when the structural aspect dominates, development tends to plateau at a given level (defined by the forms of that level). 11

In this context I would have a particular difficulty with Ken Wilber's approach to integration.

He has indeed clearly seen the need to synthesise both Eastern (mystical) and the Western (rational) traditions and has contributed enormously in that regard.
However there is a considerable discontinuity in his approach so that there is a strong Western emphasis on structure (up to and including the middle levels) and an equally strong emphasis on states with respect to his higher levels.

Because there is so little detail provided on the structural nature (of the higher levels) with respect to their cognitive, affective and moral expressions, he provides a model of development where meditation experience could easily become detached from normal living.

It is of course possible to attain higher spiritual states in meditation with respect to the subtle, causal and nondual stages. However there is a distinct danger that in the context of active engagement with the world these could "collapse" quickly to the experience of the middle level (due to the lack of corresponding structural emphasis).
In this way advanced mystical states could mainly serve - in an enhanced manner - the needs of everyday activities that are still ego-driven to a considerable extent.
And this is not what authentic spiritual development is about!

Therefore it is vital that development with respect to both states and structures be emphasised equally at the "higher" stages because in the nature of experience they are dynamically interdependent. 12

Once again the pre/trans fallacy can take many different forms at H2 (the causal level).

We can define these with respect to the direction of Spirit and (in a qualified manner) with respect to stages of self and stages of reality. 13
Thus in relation to the transcendent direction, defined with respect to the exterior aspect (as stages of reality), the following fallacies would arise:

1. ptf- 1(a) - the failure to realise that the "higher" state aspect of a transpersonal stage of reality is complementary with the "lower" structural aspect of the corresponding prepersonal stage. 14

ptf-2(a) - the failure to realise that the "lower" structural aspect of the prepersonal stage (of reality) is complementary with the "higher state aspect of the corresponding transpersonal stage.

2. ptf-1(b) - the failure to realise that the "higher" structural aspect of a transpersonal stage of reality is complementary with the "lower" state aspect of a prepersonal stage. 15

ptf-2 (b) - the failure to realise that the "lower" state aspect of the prepersonal stage is complementary with the "higher" structural aspect of the corresponding transpersonal stage.

3. ptf-1(c) - the failure to realise that the "higher" state aspect of a transpersonal stage of self is complementary with the "lower" structural aspect of the corresponding prepersonal stage.

ptf-2(c) - the failure to realise that the "lower" structural aspect of the prepersonal stage (of self) is complementary with the "higher" state aspect of the corresponding transpersonal stage.

4. ptf-1(d) the failure to realise that the "higher" structural aspect of a transpersonal stage of self is complementary with the "lower" state aspect of the corresponding prepersonal stage.

ptf-2(d) - the failure to realise that the "lower" state aspect of the prepersonal stage of self is complementary with the "higher" structural aspect of the corresponding transpersonal stage.

However we can define all of these in turn with respect to the immanent direction.
So when both are related to each other, pre is trans and trans is pre, which is the very way in which full integral development experientially takes place.

So a considerable degree of refinement will occur at H2 as between the interaction of stages of self (and reality) with respect to structures and states. This in turn leads to a substantial amount of integration with respect to the two "higher" and two "lower" levels. The false identification with "higher" spiritual stages as superior is largely addressed, thus enabling a substantial amount of two-way integration as between these levels. 16

It should be stated also that H2 leads to an enhanced interpretation of the subtle level leading to a refined interpretation of the pre/trans fallacy of that level. 17

9. Integral 3

The movement to pure nondual awareness requires the gradual erosion of all remaining (rigid) dualistic understanding.
Though considerable progress is made at H1 and H2 a problem remains relating to what I refer to as the primary modes of development.

Now the primary modes are the volitional, cognitive and affective respectively. Of these the volitional in the will for pure meaning is central with the two other modes closely related to it in a complementary fashion. Therefore pure volitional assent in the exercise of true nondual meaning requires the full complementarity (at a refined phenomenal level) of both affective and cognitive aspects of understanding.

Thus the reconciliation of the diagonal polarities as form and emptiness (and emptiness and form) requires the corresponding reconciliation in diagonally opposite quadrants of both the affective and cognitive modes of understanding.

Put another way pure spiritual awareness (where the transcendent and immanent aspects are both fully reconciled) requires the corresponding reconciliation (in equal dynamic diagonal balance) of both the cognitive and affective modes with respect to experience in all four quadrants.

Expressed in yet another manner, pure spiritual understanding requires - insofar as is possible - the free interpenetration of both the conscious and unconscious aspects of understanding.

The structural understanding of H1 is characterised by the simplest form of complementarity i.e. Type 1 complementarity, which represents the (horizontal) bi-directional relationship of polarities that are interpreted in merely conscious terms.

The structural understanding of H2 is characterised by a more intricate form of complementarity (Type 2) which represents the (vertical) bi-directional relationship of polarities that are interpreted - relatively - in a conscious and unconscious manner with respect to each other. So - as we have seen - the conscious interpretation of one pole (as structure) is related to the - relatively - unconscious interpretation of the other pole (as state) and vice versa thus serving as the means by which states and structures are themselves reconciled in experience.

However the structural understanding of H3 represents the most refined - and literally complex - form of complementarity (Type 3).

This represents the (diagonal) bi-directional relationship of polarities that are interpreted not only in a conscious and unconscious manner (with respect to each other) but also in terms of both their cognitive and affective aspects.

Thus in this form of understanding for example, the conscious understanding (of one quadrant) with respect to cognitive interpretation is understood as dynamically complementary with the unconscious understanding of the diagonally opposite quadrant with respect to affective understanding.

Therefore in this example the intellectual understanding of a structure - say - with respect to the exterior understanding of a "higher" level (as a stage of reality) is interpreted as being dynamically complementary with the emotional understanding of the state with respect to the corresponding "lower" stage (as a stage of self).

So in other words we are now dealing with the most complex form of complementary switching. Thus in one combined movement we switch horizontally from exterior to interior (and interior to exterior); we likewise switch vertically from whole to part (and part to whole); finally we switch diagonally from affective to cognitive (and cognitive to affective).

Furthermore, because experience is now so dynamic, we simultaneously carry out these diagonal switching arrangements from each of the four quadrants.
Because the four quadrants interpenetrate in a very close fashion at this stage,
one approaches - as far as is possible in the dualistic realm - a simultaneous interaction with respect to all quadrants.

Thus a state approaching pure spiritual emptiness (representing the mutual identity of transcendent and immanent aspects) coincides with the extremely refined dynamic interpenetration (in all quadrants) of structures with respect to both their affective and cognitive aspects.

Therefore the reconciliation of body and mind (in structural terms) coincides with the pure state of spiritual emptiness (as Spirit). 18

Remarkably - when understood in the appropriate holistic manner - mathematics provides a language of scientific interpretation that perfectly expresses the nature of this ultimate relationship as between form and emptiness (and emptiness and form). 19

So the pre/trans fallacy of H3 has a number of interconnecting expressions.
Thus if we define using the transcendent direction, and the exterior structural aspect of a "higher" stage with respect to the cognitive mode,

ptf-1 - is the failure to recognise that this interpretation is complementary with the interior state aspect of the corresponding "lower" stage with respect to its affective mode.

ptf-2 - would then represent the failure to recognise that this interior state aspect of the "lower" stage (as affectively understood) is complementary with the exterior structural aspect of the corresponding "higher" stage (with respect to the cognitive mode).

However we have a variety of equally valid expressions determined by our initial starting position. Thus we could vary the exterior to interior, structure to state and cognitive to affective in the Upper quadrants to generate a rich variety of alternative expressions.

Finally we can define all these with respect to transcendent and immanent directions.
So this rich interpenetration of complementary relationships is the direct means of integrating H3 and L3 (and L3 with H3).

Also, through the enhanced appreciation it affords of earlier H2, H1 and vision logic modes, it enables a much greater degree of integration as between H1 and H2 (and L1 and L2) and also of these levels with H3 and L3. 20

So now we have at H3 substantial integration of all the "higher" and "lower" levels in both top-down and bottom-up fashion.
However we still do not have proper integration of these levels with the very important middle levels. 21

Radial (Differentiated and Integrated) Interpretations

The basis of this final set of interpretations is that both the asymmetrical (differentiated) and complementary (integrated) interpretation of the relationship between pre and trans (and trans and pre) can be combined in a consistent manner.

10. Radial 1

The "higher" stages - as I have defined them - represent the specialisation of contemplative type awareness (of reality) associated with their corresponding refined structures of form (which are dynamically interdependent).

This leads to substantial integration of all the "lower" and higher" levels.
However it is not sufficient to achieve integration with the middle levels.
The most advanced development thereby requires that the contemplative and active aspects be given their full appropriate expression.

This is the task of the radial levels.
So the paradox is that we have now the attempted reconciliation of what is most integrated with what is most differentiated (which necessarily must preserve both aspects).

Thus though in a limited qualified sense it may be accurate to refer to the integration of H3 as nondual reality, it is strictly inaccurate to maintain this in terms of Radial Reality, which now combines both the dual and nondual aspects to a very considerable extent. 22

Indeed in some respects the Radial Reality (especially Radial 3) could be more dualistic than any of the other levels precisely because the considerable degree of spiritual equanimity attained (through advanced contemplative awareness) would enable one to embrace a much greater of conflict than would be otherwise possible.

Now it might seem initially puzzling as to why the stages where dual and nondual are combined are in fact more advanced than those where specialised nondual awareness results.

I often use the analogy of a fire to explain this point. For a fire to burn brightly we need a material fuel e.g. wood. Now linear understanding culminating in the specialisation of dualistic understanding at the middle level represents the wood for the fire. The "higher" contemplative stages (entailing circular understanding with respect to structures) represent the gradual conversion of all this material into fire.

However if the fire is to keep burning we must keep adding further material (which will then be converted into energy by the flames). And the greater the flames the more material we can add, further enhancing the energy of the fire.
So the radial stages represented by the interpenetration of the flames and material substance relate to a life where contemplation and committed dualistic activity are increasingly combined. 23

Just as the previous stages moved from horizontal to vertical to diagonal type polarities (at H1, H2 and H3 respectively) these three stages move back to incorporation of unambiguous one-directional understanding (with bi-directional and nondual) starting with the diagonal, then vertical and finally horizontal polarities.

Again paradoxically it is only when one is sufficiently secure in the attainment of nondual awareness, through the continued erosion of possessive attachment to phenomena, that one can be ready to embrace phenomena in a relative dualistic fashion (without rigid attachment arising).

Though circular bi-directional structures necessarily arise during the "higher" stages, one cannot rest in them. Therefore they represent phenomena that are increasingly transient and transparent as one attains to the more specialised experience of nondual awareness.

However with the sufficient consolidation in the permanent state of nondual awareness, one can gradually move back to a world of form where structures of a more stable dualistic nature are embraced.

Not surprisingly therefore the final stages of development are often associated with committed active involvement in the world (as the outward expression of the spiritual life already attained).

We are dealing here with the appropriate intellectual expression of the dynamic characterising Radial 1.

So in analytic terms the diagonal polarities entail the gradual separation of (general) form from emptiness. So this stage is especially suited for the provision of an overall model of the dynamics of development where the general structures for every stage can be made fully explicit.

As stated before, I would characterise my own approach as a (preliminary) Radial 1 cognitive interpretation where all these structures can ultimately be expressed scientifically in an appropriate holistic mathematical fashion. However even here the very nature of mathematics changes to radial with much greater appreciation of the relationship as between the holistic and analytic use of symbols.
However - as one might expect - the nature of duality is much more refined now than at the middle stages.

At the middle stages one cannot properly differentiate polarities (allowing for mirror image interpretations). Put another way one cannot consistently differentiate the four quadrants in such a manner that a variety of interpretations can be given, each of which has a limited dualistic validity in a certain context.

However it gradually become possible now to do so with stages of self, differentiated from stages of reality, structures differentiated from states and affective differentiated from cognitive understanding.

Therefore because of considerable clarity into the limited provisional nature of all dualistic type arrangements one is thereby able to commit oneself to any such arrangement (when appropriate) without undue attachment arising. 24

With respect to the pre/trans fallacy we now combine both circular (complementary) and linear (asymmetrical) interpretations

Thus the pre/trans fallacy at Radial 1 would be as follows.

ptf1 - 1 A failure to properly balance the bi-directional (circular) interpretation of the relationship between all "higher" and "lower" notions of pre and trans with asymmetrical (linear) interpretation pertaining to the diagonal polarities of the middle level. 25

In this sense it would represent a certain failure to successfully differentiate the middle level (with respect to diagonal polarities) and then integrate it with all other levels.
This is more likely to be a problem with the passive type of radial development (where initial experience is more contemplative than active).

ptf 2 - a failure to balance - in reverse fashion - the asymmetrical (linear) interpretation of pre and trans at the linear level (with respect to diagonal polarities) with the bi-directional (circular) complementary of all levels.

By contrast this is the more likely problem with the active type of radial development (where initial experience is more active than contemplative).

Once again the Radial 1 approach brings an enhanced understanding of all earlier levels. 26

11. Radial 2

Now I have to admit right away a certain problem. As my stated aim is to provide a Radial 1 intellectual approach (of a particular scientific type) then it cannot be adequate to properly interpret the more advanced stage of Radial 2. So Radial 1 can give but a reduced interpretation of Radial 2 dynamics.
In other words though Radial 2 would necessitate a considerable expansion in detailed analytic work (that is yet integrated into an overall framework in a fully consistent manner), Radial 1 - by its nature - can only envisage this in a somewhat generalised fashion.

So whereas the more advanced stage can always give an enhanced interpretation of the understanding characteristic of an earlier stage, the less advanced necessarily will give a diminished interpretation of a later stage in development.

However with this limitation in mind we can say that the Radial 2 approach, in scientific intellectual terms, would be associated with a great increase in the detailed investigation of various disciplines in a fully balanced manner. At its best this would represent an approach that would be analytically superb yet imbued with a creative brilliance that would radically transform the interpretation of everything investigated in a decisively clear yet integral manner.

As regards the pre/trans issues this would represent the further mature radial differentiation and corresponding mature integration of both horizontal and vertical polarities with all other stages. 27

So the pre/trans fallacy could now be listed as follows:

ptf-1 - A failure to properly balance the circular interpretation of the relationship between all "higher" and "lower" notions of pre and trans with linear asymmetrical interpretation pertaining to both the diagonal and vertical polarities of the middle level.

In this sense it would represent failure to successfully differentiate the middle level (with respect to vertical and diagonal polarities) and then integrate it with all other levels.

ptf- 2 - a failure to balance the linear asymmetrical interpretation of pre and trans at the linear level (with respect to both vertical and diagonal polarities) with the circular complementary of all levels.

Once again ptf-1 is more likely to be associated with the more passive and ptf-2 with
the more active types of radial development respectively.

12. Radial 3

This stage in its fullest expression represents the most complete life where contemplation and activity are combined in a remarkably creative yet productive manner.
Given a suitably talented individual - as for example a great saint - it can be associated with the marked spiritual transformation of society.
However - though not destined to have the same impact - others can attain this stage at least to some degree.

We are concentrating here on the intellectual expression suitable to the stage.
However it is important to recognise that by its nature it must combine in both its active and contemplative expressions the three primary modes - volitional, affective and cognitive - in a balanced and enriching manner.

The volitional mode is primary and is most simply expressed as agape or love for all creation. So at this stage all decisions, all actions are directly motivated by Spirit.

In affective terms there is a universal form of compassion or empathy (which can also be uniquely felt for each individual person).

In cognitive terms it is associated with a special kind wisdom in the clear and balanced understanding of reality in all of its various forms. So in the perfect expression of this stage, love, compassion and wisdom are combined in equal measure.

With respect to its intellectual nature, only a much-reduced interpretation can be given from the perspective of Radial 1. Because a degree of interpenetration necessarily takes place with respect to all of the radial stages, to some extent one can anticipate the nature of what is involved though - until properly attained - it will be but a pale reflection of the true reality.

I have suggested elsewhere that even for those who advance to the radial stages of development, the proper attainment of its most advanced stage (Radial 3) is quite rare requiring exceptional circumstances to fully emerge.

It entails in effect the final radial differentiation of all three sets of polarities (diagonal, vertical and horizontal), which now equally can be fully integrated in a nondual manner. So here the capacity for full active involvement in reality (through the complete refined differentiation of all polarities) and the capacity for sustained experience of pure contemplative awareness (through corresponding integration of these same polarities) reaches its zenith.

Again the pre/trans fallacy can take two major forms.

ptf-1 - the failure to fully balance the circular complementarity of pre/trans notions with corresponding linear asymmetrical notions (with respect to all three polarities). 28

ptf-2 - the failure to balance the linear asymmetrical notions regarding pre and trans with corresponding integral notions.

Of course the active and contemplative expressions come into full balance, these two aspects become indistinguishable and any remaining remnants of a pre/trans fallacy cease.

One consequence of this final radial development of Radial 3 is that now all levels of the Spectrum once again achieve a relative independence, while also capable of full integration with each other. In more outward active expressions they become relatively separated (and thereby differentiated). In quieter contemplative moments they become relatively interdependent (and thereby integrated) with each other.

Also as before Radial 3 provides the most enhanced perspective possible on all earlier levels in the Spectrum.
To understand development fully - insofar as this is humanly possible - thereby entails the interpretation of Radial 3.


So to sum up we have been demonstrating - with respect to the pre/trans fallacy that a uniquely distinct type of interpretation is associated with each of the major (mature) stages of development.

These are of 4 groups confused holistic (suited to immature integration), analytic (suited to differentiation), mature holistic (suited to proper integration), and radial (suited to both differentiation and integration). Associated with each of these groups are three main stages in each case giving us twelve distinct interpretations.

Indeed we really have many more as enhanced interpretations of earlier stages apply from the perspective of more advanced levels (and diminished interpretations of later stages from less advanced levels).

And these are not static but undergo continual transformation in the context of other interpretations.

Though I have not specifically dealt with the issue in this essay the most remarkable scientific feature of development is that all the structures of development are mathematical when understood in an appropriate holistic sense. 29

Just as conventional mathematics is essential for analytic science, holistic mathematics is likewise essential for integral science and radial mathematics for the most comprehensive scientific understanding that combines analytic and holistic aspects in a balanced manner.


1. Entry to the stage could also be primarily the expression of the structure aspect.
For example insight into new philosophic forms, expressive of the understanding of a higher stage, could promote an intense bout of intellectual activity, thus consolidating attainment of the stage.
However development of the state aspect would ultimately also have to take place. Otherwise these forms - cut off from their spiritual source - would lose their dynamic paradoxical nature.

2. Of course development of structures also takes place with respect to the other primary modes i.e. affective and volitional though in the context of an intellectual approach it is justifiable to place special emphasis on the cognitive aspect.

However because ultimately all modes are interdependent the successful development of one requires corresponding development with respect to the other modes.

It might perhaps be worthwhile to say a little regarding the nature of development of these other modes at H1.
At a middle level (e.g. L0,H0) if I look at a beautiful flower - say a rose - the senses will be evoked through the recognition of the (exterior) object. Thus because the exterior is cut off somewhat from the corresponding interior pole the experience becomes somewhat localised being identified with the merely conscious aspect of experience.

However at H1, when I look at the flower, both exterior and interior aspects will be involved to a considerable extent in a mutual dialogue of meaning.

So now conscious recognition keeps switching in a dynamic flexible manner from exterior to interior aspect (and interior to exterior) in this more personal intimate exchange. Likewise because of the complementarity of (horizontal) opposites, the nondual spiritual aspect of the experience becomes much stronger. Thus the intimate experience of the flower in this I-thou embrace can radiate something of the mystery of the eternal Spirit. In other words it increasingly serves as an archetypal symbol of the divine.
So the affective is still necessarily involved but now in a more refined spiritually transparent manner.

Likewise - due to development of the volitional aspect - morality becomes much more refined at H1.
At the earlier level, morality can vary between two extremes (again dictated by opposite horizontal polarities).

Thus from the first perspective (programmatic) one may still subscribe to "objective" morality where actions are considered good or bad in themselves (much advocated by institutional religion!) The problem about this approach is that it leaves out the all-important interior dimension of what personally seems right or wrong.

The second perspective (permissive) is where moral decisions are largely based on merely subjective personal criteria (often relying on ego-based feelings). Here the wider collective basis for decisions and the need for social constraint can become lost.

At H1, because both poles are involved to a considerable degree of balance, moral decisions become spiritually motivated (through the sensitive voice of conscious). So one takes into balance both objective (impersonal) and subjective (personal) criteria. Then in any context one allows the voice of conscience, guided by authentic nondual spiritual desire, decide what is appropriate.

3. The key point here is that (possessive) attachment to phenomena is always associated with an imbalance in understanding, whereby meaning is exclusively identified with just one arbitrary pole of development.
When this is the case, objects assume a rigid identity in experience (which tends to block out the pure light of Spirit).
So the development at H1 is a continual lesson in bi-directional understanding (with respect to horizontal polarities).

Thus starting from initial identification with the exterior pole, we continually train ourselves to recognise that the opposite pole is always necessarily involved in experience.
Success in such phenomenal training leads to growing recognition of the paradoxical nature of all dualistic truth. This in turn helps to lessen exclusive identity with arbitrary poles and enables growing transformation in nondual spiritual insight.

However total success in freeing oneself from rigid identification with (horizontal) poles is unlikely to be achieved at H1.

Personality characteristics can be very important. Some are naturally extroverts while others are introverts. Though in the truest sense, all who are destined for substantial spiritual development are centroverts, secondary personality characteristics are likely to remain.

Thus an extrovert might experience special difficulty in achieving freedom from (exclusive) identification with the exterior aspect; however the introvert will typically experience greater difficulty with respect to the interior aspect.

Thus in the mystical life an appropriate form of purgation for the extrovert would be the growing concentration on interior development; however for the introvert, appropriate purgation could entail more active involvement in everyday affairs.

4. I would see my approach as being temperamentally similar to that of Evelyn Underhill whose classic work "Mysticism" I have always greatly admired.

Though Wilber in "Integral Psychology" suggested that Underhill's treatment - as representative of the Christian tradition - was broadly in line with his own, I would fundamentally disagree.
Underhill - whatever her limitations - uses an inherently dynamic approach (that is suited for dealing with the integral aspect of development). By contrast though Wilber's approach is superb in its own right and unrivalled in terms of its comprehensive detail, it is somewhat mechanical (being suited for the differentiation rather than the integration of development).

For my comparison of the two approaches click on

Integral Approach: A Comparison of Underhill and Wilber

5. It is vital to appreciate that this integration cannot be successfully achieved at an earlier stage.
A degree of integration - that is appropriate to the nature of the stage in question - must indeed take place at all levels of development.

However as the first task of development relates to successful differentiation, this aspect dominates through the earlier stages. Thus the integration that takes place is in the context of enabling an increasingly more differentiated worldview.

As we have seen this culminates with the stages of the middle level (which represents the specialisation of this differentiated worldview).

So for example the integration of body and mind of the centaur (the most advanced of the middle stages) - relative to that of full spiritual integration - is of a very reduced nature. It mainly enables the ego-based personality to perform in a creative and productive manner (within the context of the worldview defined by the centaur).

The true process of spiritual integration really starts with the first of the "higher" levels (H1).
By its very nature such integration requires bringing to light for the first time (prepersonal) elements that are necessarily repressed (during the early development of L1).

These elements cannot be integrated at an earlier stage as the quality of spiritual light (that is necessary to access them) is not available at that time.

So the return to earlier levels is not just due to earlier unscheduled problems with development (though this of course can also be a factor). Even when development goes fully right - insofar as this is possible - the return to the earlier levels is vital. This is especially so the deeper the nature of spiritual development that is involved. Indeed even the view that it is a return to "earlier" levels is somewhat linear as ultimately "higher" and "lower" are seen as fully interdependent.

So as Underhill portrays so well, progression (under the spiritual guise of illumination) is inevitably followed by regression (under the spiritual guise of purgative darkness).

6. This elimination of dualistic illusion does not happen immediately. Indeed the vertical aspect only arises in an indirect manner at H1.
I will briefly explain this important point.

As we have seen H1 is defined by the attempt to reconcile the fundamental polarities i.e. exterior and interior (and interior and exterior). Initially one is aware of being at a higher level and so attempts to reconcile these polarities within that level.

However the conscious bears a strong relationship to corresponding unconscious understanding. Thus the attempt to reconcile consciously interpreted polarities creates a compensating effect with respect to the unconscious.

Put another way the degree of unconscious development available to support conscious reconciliation of polarities (in heterarchical terms) is not sufficient. This in turn is due to the earlier unavoidable repression, which took place at L1. Therefore it is necessary to return to L1 (which is vertically complementary with H1) in order to bring to (spiritual) light and then heal this earlier problem.

So horizontal and vertical polarities are themselves complementary (subject to Type 2 complementarity). Thus though attention is mainly on the horizontal polarities at H1, indirectly because of this complementarity the vertical dimension likewise is involved.

7. Spiritual development can take two (diagonal) directions i.e. transcendent and immanent.
So we have heterarchical development that can be defined horizontally in terms of the interior direction or the exterior.

We have hierarchical development that can be defined vertically in terms of the whole direction (holarchy) or the part direction (onarchy).

Finally we have spiritual development - which necessarily entails both heterarchical and hierarchical aspects - that can be defined diagonally in terms of the transcendent and immanent directions.

In early (advanced) spiritual development - as Underhill recognised - one of these directions is likely to dominate (largely determined by personality characteristics). However ultimately for pure union considerable balance must be maintained with respect to both aspects.

So for example the idealistic intellectual type might typically start out on the "higher" stages by following the transcendent direction; by contrast the romantic emotional type might initially follow the immanent direction.
As development gradually becomes more refined both aspects - irrespective of initial preference - are gradually differentiated (and then integrated).

8. Initially when linear rigidity is still present at H1, one will tend to identify with the higher trans (rather than the lower pre aspect).
Thus one interprets it as progress to advance to the higher level (H1). However it is considered regression (in linear terms) to find oneself back at L1.

However adjustment to the "lower" stage gradually becomes possible through realising that H1 and L1 are in fact complementary. So when this has largely been achieved one substantially loses concern with one's (asymmetrical) level of development and thus can experience in more authentic fashion, contemplative (nondual) awareness.

Paradoxically when this is achieved one is ready to return - as it were - to the next higher stage of development (where the same oscillating pattern of dynamics will then occur in more refined manner).
If we were to give a brief outline of stages of H1, we would need to define sub-levels.

So initially development at SL1 (sub-level 1) is concerned with the reconciliation of (horizontal) opposites with respect to concrete phenomena (with development in relation to all the primary modes, cognitive, affective and volitional).

So the trans phase (using the initial linear perspective) is associated with illumination and the higher stage of H1; the pre phase is then associated with purgation and the descent to the earlier stage of L1.

Then development returns to the higher level this time with respect to the formal aspect (SL2). (This occurs when one accepts that one initially viewed as pre is from an alternative perspective trans!)

For example in cognitive terms at SL2 one now attains at this time a deeply holistic philosophic worldview in keeping with the paradoxical dynamics of the stage.

Once again we have the trans stage (perceived as higher) and the purgative descent to L1 (as the prepersonal stage). Then when the switch takes place to the "pre" stage, gradual adjustment takes place as one learns to accept it from this new perspective as also trans!

Finally these oscillating dynamics give way to the most contemplative experience of the stage corresponding to the vision stage (SL3) where spiritual stability is maintained (though severe purgation may still occur).

9. I will briefly illustrate this new interpretation of vision-logic i.e. the vision-logic interpretation of H1 with reference to understanding of the four quadrants.

At the centaur (i.e. the vision-logic interpretation of the vision-logic stage) though one can successfully differentiate the distinctive understanding associated with each of the quadrants, it is done in a somewhat unambiguous manner.
For instance there may be a tendency to look at scientific phenomena as belonging (unambiguously) to the exterior (i.e. Right-Hand quadrants).

However now we recognise that a mirror image asymmetrical interpretation can be given for both Right-Hand and Left-Hand quadrants.

Thus the recognition of scientific phenomena has no meaning in the absence of the interpretative constructs we use in understanding.

Therefore actual experience of such phenomena can be taken asymmetrically in two ways.

  •  as exterior phenomena (which are faithfully registered through interior constructs)
  •  as interior constructs (to which exterior phenomena accurately conform).

Therefore we now can see that what initially might have appeared (unambiguously) as a Right-Hand quadrant event has - in fact - a mirror image Left-Hand interpretation.
The same applies when approached - initially from the Left-Hand.

Thus we might see a quality like compassion as belonging (unambiguously) to the Left-Hand quadrants. However it has no meaning in the absence of an exterior context.
Thus if I see a starving beggar and am moved to compassion, I can interpret this event asymmetrically in two ways.

  • as interior feeling (which is aroused at the sight of the exterior phenomenon).
  •  as exterior phenomenon (which arouses the interior feeling of compassion),
So once again what seemed to unambiguously belong to one quadrant is now seen as having asymmetrical interpretations in both horizontal quadrants.

10. In spiritual terms H2 (causal level) is characterised as a state of (deep) sleep.

What this means in effect that Spirit comes to be strongly identified at this time with the refined unconscious residing in the depths of personality.

Light tends to be associated with the conscious manifestation of Spirit (as illumination). By contrast darkness tends to be associated with the unconscious manifestation of Spirit (as the unseen light that remains hidden from conscious expression).

The illumination phases of the causal realm where Spirit is given conscious expression gives rise to dim contemplation and resembles a peaceful night that is lit by gentle moonlight. Because it lies so close to the unconscious it is ideal for a universal holistic type of understanding.

With the purgative stages such "dim" light ceases giving rise to a deeper level of darkness. However because there is so little (possessive) involvement with conscious phenomena, one can remain in a greater state of equanimity regarding the changes in development that occur.

As regards the structures of development, H2 is characterised largely by virtual or "imaginary" phenomena. These relate to the indirect conscious expression (of what is unconscious) and tend to be extremely short-lived and transparent.

However insofar as one identifies with the indirect conscious phenomena - in rigid terms as trans - this leads to unconscious imbalance with respect to earlier pre understanding (with respect to L2).

Thus one must keep returning to L2 to disentangle remaining repressed elements of consciousness from this time. Once again it requires the very pure (unconscious) light of H2 to uncover these repressed elements of L2 (that are buried deep in the unconscious).

Thus though there is equanimity in terms of conscious dynamics, considerable oscillation between "high" and "low" levels takes place with respect to virtual (indirect conscious) phenomena.

These structures (of H2) have a precise holistic mathematical interpretation as "imaginary" in contrast to the "real" structures of the earlier level.
So whereas Type 1 complementarity relates to the bi-directional interaction of "real" (i.e. 180 degree) opposites, Type 2 complementarity relates to the bi-directional interaction of "real" and "imaginary" (i.e. 90 degree) opposites in development.

11. Underhill gives the example of Madame Guyon as a woman whose mystical progress was largely states led though ultimately acquiring enough structural development to attain to the unitive life.

Where the emphasis is primarily on states, unconscious dynamics - which operate in a direct complementary fashion - tend to dominate. Therefore the very rapid switching of (mature) transpersonal and (confused) prepersonal expressions of these states continually takes place in spiritual development.

Because one never stays at any stage for long, it can then become extremely difficult to develop adequate structural development with respect to any stage. This problem can then be compounded through a natural tendency to get absorbed in the rich variety of states characterising one's experience.

So if adequate structures are to take root one must largely ignore feelings so as to increase the "stickability" factor with respect to various tasks.

When the emphasis is primarily on structures the opposite problem can easily become manifest, so that spiritual development tends to largely plateau at a given stage.

I would see the great philosopher Hegel as a very good example of this tendency.

His key insights undoubtedly came from religious type intuitions. These in turn enabled the development of philosophic structures which - in many ways - correspond with "higher" stages of development.
However because of over-emphasis on the intellectual structural aspect, the corresponding contemplative states of these levels did not develop in like manner.

Thus ultimately Hegel was guilty of substantial reductionism, where spiritual contemplative experience gradually became reduced to mere philosophical - albeit dynamic paradoxical - expression.

So if - for example - one has a great capacity for the intellectual development of structures at the "higher" levels , this may need to be considerably curtailed so as to enable the states of pure contemplative development - appropriate to these levels - to take place.

12. As stated before, I can find no real evidence of the nature of structural development with respect to the "higher" levels in Ken Wilber's writings.
He writes as if these levels solely comprise spiritual states and then confuses the permanent attainment of such states with their corresponding structures.

13. Though some modification - perhaps considerable - is required with respect to natural preferences for the exterior and interior aspects of development to take place at H1, they are not likely to be fully reconciled.
Therefore there will be some tendency to concentrate on either stages of self (Left-Hand) or stages of reality (relatively Right-Hand) during H2 though a substantial degree of continuing horizontal integration is likely also to take place.

14. Indeed a good example of this is how a contemplative state of pure spiritual awareness can often be followed by "temptation" (as phenomenal structure) typically of a physical erotic nature.

15. This can easily happen if one spends an undue amount of time dealing intellectually with the structures of H2. It can be followed by an empty confused sleep state where basically the prepersonal unconscious associated with L2 starts to rebel.
Thus one in this state can become unusually sensitive to perhaps strong projections from the unconscious (that are literally of a more "imaginary" than "real" nature).

16. As before we can define three sub-levels with respect to H2, concrete, formal and vision, though considerable overlap will now take place as between these levels.

The understanding that constitutes Holistic Mathematics for example is largely the product of the formal stage of H2. Though it is expressed in structural terms, it equally requires the corresponding spiritual state of this level for its proper comprehension.

However the key feature now is that direct vertical complementarity will take place as between the corresponding sub-levels of H2 and L2. This will of be Type 2 complementarity where "real" structures and - relatively - "imaginary" states (or alternatively "real" states and - relatively - "imaginary" structures) interact.

17. H2 (causal) provides an enhanced interpretation of H1 (subtle).

With the H1 interpretation of H1, the "higher" trans (exterior) aspect of H1 is seen as complementary with the "lower" pre (interior) aspect of L1 (and vice versa).

Likewise the "higher" trans (interior) aspect of H1 is seen as complementary with the "lower" pre (exterior) aspect of L1 (and vice versa).

Now the enhanced refinement that comes through the interpretation of H2 enables us to distinguish clearly as between both state and structure aspects.

Therefore the complete listing of pre/trans fallacies arising from the enhanced H2 interpretation of H1 are as follows.

1. ptf-1 failure to see that the "higher" trans stage with respect to its exterior state aspect at H1 is complementary with the "lower" pre stage with respect to its interior state aspect at L1

ptf -2 failure to see that the "lower" pre stage with respect to its interior state aspect at L1 is complementary with the "higher" trans stage with respect to its exterior state aspect at H1

2. ptf-1 failure to see that the "higher" trans stage with respect to its exterior structure aspect at H1 is complementary with the "lower" pre stage with respect to its interior structure aspect at L1

ptf -2 failure to see that the "lower" pre stage with respect to its interior structure aspect at L1 is complementary with the "higher" trans stage with respect to its exterior structure aspect at H1

3. ptf-1 failure to see that the "higher" trans stage with respect to its interior state aspect at H1 is complementary with the "lower" pre stage with respect to its exterior state aspect at L1

ptf -2 failure to see that the "lower" pre stage with respect to its interior state aspect at L1 is complementary with the "higher" trans stage with respect to its exterior state aspect at H1

4. ptf-1 failure to see that the "higher" trans stage with respect to its exterior structure aspect at H1 is complementary with the "lower" pre stage with respect to its interior structure aspect at L1

ptf -2 failure to see that the "lower" pre stage with respect to its interior structure aspect at L1 is complementary with the "higher" trans stage with respect to its exterior structure aspect at H1

H2 (causal) also provides a further enhanced interpretation of the earlier vision-logic stage.

Once again with reference to the four quadrants, the vision-logic interpretation of the vision-logic stage allows for clear unambiguous (asymmetrical) distinction in each case.
With the enhanced interpretation of vision-logic from H1, we were enabled to provide mirror-image interpretations for both Right-Hand and Left-Hand quadrants.

Now with the enhanced interpretation of vision-logic from H2 we are further enabled to provide mirror image interpretations with respect to Upper and Lower quadrants.

One way of expressing this is that every holarchical (whole/part) interpretation has also got a mirror image onarchical (part/whole) interpretation; likewise every onarchical (part/whole) has also got a holarchical (whole/part) interpretation.

Furthermore using the holistic mathematical understanding of H2 we are now enabled to see that horizontal and vertical quadrants are "real" (conscious) and "imaginary" (unconscious) with respect to each other.
So we can now give four asymmetrical interpretations for the direction of movement in each quadrant.

18. The great beauty of these complex dynamic arrangements is that they all have a (dynamically) precise holistic mathematical interpretation, which is extremely simple once one begins to interpret reality in the appropriate manner.

Indeed - quite literally - all the structures of development represent - in holistic terms - a reduced expression of 1 (i.e. oneness).

Type 1 complementarity relates directly to the two roots of 1.

Type 2 complementarity relates to the two roots of - 1.

Type 3 complementarity relates to the four additional roots of i (where i = the square root of -1). These final roots also have an equivalent interpretation as null lines = 0 demonstrating the ultimate (dynamic) identity of form (1) and emptiness (0).

The full detail of all of this can be found at my site on Holistic Mathematics

This has a remarkable interpretation in holistic mathematical terms, which enables us to show the precise (dynamic) connection as between nondual emptiness and associated extremely refined structures of form.
So in this approach the two-way link as between form and emptiness (and emptiness) and form is never broken.

20. We have a variety of enhanced interpretations to comment on here.

Firstly we have the H3 interpretation of H2.

Basically this appears similar to the H2 interpretation of H2 with the additional factor that cognitive and affective modes can be clearly differentiated.

For example the first of the H2 interpretations of H2 (with respect to the pre/trans fallacy was,

ptf- 1 - the failure to realise that the "higher" state aspect of a transpersonal stage of reality is complementary with the "lower" structural aspect of the corresponding prepersonal stage.

Now the corresponding H3 interpretation of this H2 fallacy would have two forms (now differentiating affective and cognitive modes. These are

ptf- 1 - the failure to realise that the "higher" state aspect of a transpersonal stage of reality (with respect to the cognitive mode) is complementary with the "lower" structural aspect of the corresponding prepersonal stage (with respect to the same mode).

ptf- 2 - the failure to realise that the "higher" state aspect of a transpersonal stage of reality (with respect to the affective mode) is complementary with the "lower" structural aspect of the corresponding prepersonal stage (with respect to the same mode).

Then we have the H3 enhanced interpretation of H1.

Remember the first example of the original H1 interpretation of H1 (with respect to the pre/trans fallacy,

ptf-1 - failure to realise that "higher" trans understanding (with respect to the exterior aspect) is complementary with "lower" pre understanding (in terms of the interior aspect).

This was then differentiated through the enhanced interpretation of H2 with respect to structures and states.
Thus taking the first of these (with respect to structures) the corresponding H2 interpretation of the H1 fallacy was

ptf-1 - failure to realise that "higher" trans understanding with respect to the exterior aspect (in its structure aspect) is complementary with "lower" pre understanding in terms of the interior aspect (in its structure aspect).

Now these fallacies are likewise differentiated with respect to exterior and interior aspects. So taking this first example the enhanced H3 interpretation of the H1 fallacy would have two expressions:

1 (a) ptf-1 - failure to realise that "higher" trans understanding with respect to the exterior aspect in its structure aspect using the cognitive mode is complementary with "lower" pre understanding in terms of the interior aspect in its structure aspect (using the same mode).

1 (b) ptf-1 - failure to realise that "higher" trans understanding with respect to the exterior aspect in its structure aspect using the affective mode is complementary with "lower" pre understanding in terms of the interior aspect in its structure aspect (using the same mode).

Finally we have enhanced interpretations of vision-logic from the perspective of H3.

If we take the H2 enhanced interpretation of vision logic we saw that it gave four asymmetrical interpretations for each quadrant (two heterarchical, two hierarchical).

The H3 enhanced interpretation of vision-logic now gives eight asymmetrical interpretations for each quadrant (two of which are "real" and two "imaginary") .
The additional interpretations relate to combined interpretations of the "real" and "imaginary" (which can be done in four distinctive ways);

What this means in effect is that we simultaneously combine the conscious interpretation of one mode (e.g. cognitive) with the unconscious interpretation of the other (i.e. affective).

21. Put simply, there tends to be a marked contemplative bias with respect to this type of development.
It is not that normal activity necessarily ceases as a result of such development. Rather it ends to take a back seat as it were and duties are carried out as if one were sleepwalking or rather - more accurately - sleepwaking.

22. Strictly speaking, even H3 - from a dynamic perspective - is not nondual (in any absolute sense). In a relative (dynamic approximate) sense it is nondual with respect to its state aspect. However with respect to structures it always remains dual. However because these structures are bi-directional and paradoxical, phenomena ultimately become so transparent and fleeting in experience, that they do not even appear to arise.
However - as always - it is important to preserve both state and structure aspects (as emptiness and form) even in this most contemplative stage of development.

23. Though Christian mysticism may be lacking - by comparison with Eastern traditions - in the detailed clarification of contemplative states of development, in general I would consider it superior in terms of the balanced manner in which it deals with these final radial stages of development (where both dual and nondual aspects are combined).
Two Christian writers in particular I would mention who properly preserve this balance are Richard of St. Victor and the great Flemish mystic Ruysbroeck.

24. The contemplative bias in development entails a continual training in non-attachment. So - therefore as long as any possessive element remains - one will experience the need to keep withdrawing further from involvement with phenomena. For those who have a particularly sensitive temperament, this drive towards pure non-attachment may entail continual deepening throughout one's life in contemplative awareness with very little corresponding engagement in worldly matters.

So radial development therefore requires a certain mastery of contemplation (unique for each individual) thus creating sufficient freedom for re-immersion in active affairs (without undue attachment arising).
In the lives of its great practitioners - because of the contemplative depths already attained - such activity can be invested with a superhuman energy leading to a remarkably creative and productive commitment for others in society.

25. We can distinguish two main mystical strands - with distinctive unfoldings - at the radial stages.

The most common is the active mystical type. Though this requires considerably more development with respect to the "higher" levels (than the centaur) it remains soundly grounded in the understanding and capabilities of the middle level (even when appropriate spiritual development occurs). In other words "higher" spiritual development for this type represents a continual modification rather than a radical departure from the (enlightened) worldview of the centaur.

Radial development for the active type would thus continue to gravitate around the middle level. The "radial" challenge here would be to successfully integrate the "higher" levels (insofar as they can be developed) with this level.

So we have in this case much committed spiritual activity that is inspired and enlightened to a (lesser) degree by contemplative awareness.

The less common is the passive mystical type. Here contemplative development is likely to have developed to a remarkable depth. However this specialisation usually requires a radical breaking from the habits and expectations (even in spiritual terms) associated with the middle level.

Thus the problem for this passive type at the radial stages is to become fruitfully involved once again in active affairs (as the expression of the contemplative wisdom attained).

So radial development here is likely to gravitate for some considerable time around the "highs" and "lows" of the Spectrum (that have now become centred in a nondual state). Thus the "radial" challenge here is to continue to reach out to the middle level (which may be least developed) so as to both gradually re-differentiate (and then re-integrate it) with the other levels of the Spectrum.

Though considerable progress may ultimately be made in this direction, in most cases radial development is destined to remain substantially wedded to contemplation (without a corresponding degree of active worldly transformation).

Perhaps we should distinguish a third type here, where a considerable degree of balance is maintained throughout development as between the active and contemplative aspects.

The superstars of the radial stages e.g. great saints often come from this category and are destined for substantial development at Radial 3 (the most advanced stage).

However others - though not so celebrated - can also attain in some measure to this stage.

26. Once again Radial 1 (R1) brings a R1 interpretation of R1 and an enhanced interpretation of earlier stages.
The R1 interpretation of R1 represents a progression from H3. Now we were enabled to both bi-directionally differentiate and integrate levels (with respect to stages of self and stages of reality, stages as structures and stages as states, and finally stages as cognitive expression and stages as affective expression).

However the difference between H3 and R1 is that at H3, the emphasis is primarily on bi-directional (complementary) interpretation of phenomena as a catalyst for deepening awareness of nondual reality.
In other words though conscious phenomena are involved, their role is essentially indirect (as a preparation for their own dissolution) in nondual awareness.
Put another way this reflects a growing emphasis on the spiritual deepening of unconscious - as opposed to conscious - awareness.

This bias in turn towards the unconscious reflects - as yet - insufficient security with respect to a permanent volitional intent of non-attachment to phenomena.

However with R1 not alone are all these aspects (i.e. stages of self and reality, structures and states, and affective and cognitive aspects) understood in a balanced complementary manner but they are now gradually separated again with a view to their dualistic appreciation.

This signals a turn back towards conscious understanding and also signals that pure volitional intent is now sufficiently developed to support this activity (without secondary attachment to phenomena arising).

So at R1, the emphasis is mainly (coming from the contemplative direction) towards the diagonal re-splitting (in a suitable radial manner) of polarities. This in turn requires the gradual radial re-differentiation (and re-integration) of affective and cognitive modes. One outcome of this is the birth of the radial bodyself (i.e. where one's individual body is seen to freely interpenetrate with the cosmic or mystical body of all creation).

So the task here in intellectual terms is to achieve holistic wisdom (in the clear knowledge of the structures of all development) while maintaining balance in terms of a holistic form of compassion for all creation.
Through extension R1 gives an enhanced interpretation of the early stages, incorporating this new diagonal appreciation with the understanding already achieved.

27. Once again we have here the R2 interpretation of the R2 stage with enhanced interpretations of preceding stages.
From an intellectual perspective Radial 1 was concerned with re-establishing a stable holistic attitude to reality where wisdom was appropriately balanced by compassion.

Now the radial separation of vertical polarities at R2 (i.e. whole and part) with respect to states and structures would enable a much more detailed analytical investigation of disciplines (while maintaining appropriate integration in terms of a bi-directional holistic framework).
In other words at this stage one's contemplative state would enable - in satisfactory manner - integration of the detailed structures investigated.

Also as before this additional knowledge would considerably enhance interpretation of the earlier levels (providing both bi-directional and one-directional appreciation of structures).
During "higher" stages though structures are continually differentiated to a greater degree of refinement, it is mainly with respect to their bi-directional (circular) rather than their one-directional (linear) appreciation.

28. I should point that the direction of (radial) differentiation and integration is initially somewhat distinct for the contemplative and active mystical types respectively.

The contemplative type gradually incorporates the middle from a position of strength with respect to the other levels (where circular type appreciation dominates).

The active type however gradually incorporates these other levels from a position of strength with respect to the middle level (where linear type appreciation dominates).
By definition - however - when both aspects are brought into balance, the same approach applies to the two types.

This balance - though rarely fully attained - is the goal of radial development and ultimately of all development.

Once more we have an R3 interpretation of R3 (the most developed possible) giving enhanced interpretations of all other stages. Thus through R3 we can adequately assess the strengths and limitations of the understanding associated with all of the other levels.

29. I am currently engaged on a lengthy work in progress on the nature of such holistic mathematical understanding and its application to development in "Development - The Radial Approach"


Underhill, E
1993. Mysticism: The Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness:
Oneworld Publications Ltd;

Wilber, K.
2000. Integral Psychology: Consciousness, Spirit, Psychology, Therapy: Shambhala