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Ken Wilber - the Psychic Realm

The following page is from a research notes page by external link Allan Combs which is no longer on line (original url http://www.unca.edu/~combs/HCP/II/Narrative/7Psychic.htm ). I have kept the quotations, which are interesting, but left out the correspondences Of Wilber's Subtle Realm with other systems, as I feel these are - like the tables in the back of Wilber's Integral Psychology - rather forced. - MAK


Psychic Realm

An informal 'phenomenological' narrative:

"The hike through the mountain with my fiancé was everything I wanted. Madly in love, slightly crazed, we both were babbling fools. More like children, but it didn’t matter. For an hour John had dutifully carried the picnic basket on his back, kidding all the time that it was only fitting that he should carry the food of the CEO of Digital Data Corporation, and I said, No, it’s only fitting for a love slave, and that would be you. And I wasn’t even finished with the sentence when suddenly I disappeared, and there was only the vista in front of me, and John, and this body... but no me, or no I, or... well, I’m not sure.  I was one with all of this scenery, one with the mountain, one with the sky, it was exhila­rating, a little scary, but mostly completely peaceful, like coming home. I’ve never really told anyone about it, because on Monday I was back at the office, running Digital, and who would have believed me anyway?

It never happened again. I sometimes read about things like this, one­ness and whatnot, cosmic consciousness, but none of the words sound right for what happened to me. I hear that some people can stay in this state constantly, but I don’t see how, I really doubt it. You’d lose all sense of orientation, I think. Anyway, it came and went. The more I think about it, the more I think it might have been something like a small seizure. It didn’t seem like it at the time, but now it does. After all, what else could it be, seriously?"

Amazon com One Taste; p.146-147.

From descriptions of the major stages of insight meditation.

      Q:  Could you describe the levels of meditation, and how they are experi­enced? What actually happens at each stage?

A: When you practice meditation, one of the first things your realize is that your mind—and your life, for that matter—is dominated by largely subconscious verbal chatter. You are always talking to yourself. And so, as they start to meditate, many people are stunned by how much junk starts running through their awareness. They find that thoughts, images, fantasies, notions, ideas, concepts virtually dominate their awareness. They realize that these notions have had a much more profound influence on their lives than they ever thought.

In any case, initial meditation experiences are like being at the movies.  You sit and watch all these fantasies and concepts parade by, in front of your awareness. But the whole point is that you are finally becoming aware of them. You are looking at them impartially and without judgment. You just watch them go by, the same as you watch clouds float by in the sky. They come, they go. No praise, no condemnation, no judgment—just “bare witnessing.” If you judge your thoughts, if you get caught up in them, then you can’t transcend them. You can’t find higher or subtler dimensions of your own being. So you sit in medita­tion, and you simply “witness” what is going on in your mind. You let the monkey mind do what it wants, and you simply watch.

     And what happens is, because you impartially witness these thoughts, fantasies, notions, and images, you start to become free of their uncon­scious influence. You are looking at them, so you are not using them to look at the world. Therefore you become, to a certain extent, free of them. And you become free of the separate-self sense that depended on them. In other words, you start to become free of the ego. This is the initial spiritual dimension, where the conventional ego “dies” and higher structures of awareness are “resurrected.” Your sense of identity naturally begins to expand and embrace the cosmos, or all of nature. You rise above the isolated mind and body, which might include finding a larger identity, such as with nature or the cosmos—”cosmic conscious-ness,” as R. M. Bucke called it. It’s a very concrete and unmistakable experience.

     And, I don’t have to tell you, this is an extraordinary relief! This is the beginning of transcendence, of finding your way back home. You realize that you are one with the fabric of the universe, eternally. Your fear of death begins to subside, and you actually begin to feel, in a con­crete and palpable way, the open and transparent nature of your own being.

     Feelings of gratitude and devotion arise in you—devotion to Spirit, in the form of the Christ, or Buddha, or Krishna; or devotion to your actual spiritual master; even devotion in general, and certainly devotion to all other sentient beings. The bodhisattva vow, in whatever form, arises from the depths of your being, in a very powerful way. You realize you simply have to do whatever you can to help all sentient beings, and for the reason, as Schopenhauer said, that you realize that we all share the same nondual Self or Spirit or Absolute. All of this starts to become obvious—as obvious as rain on the roof. It is real and it is concrete.

{An interview published in Quest, 1994 Spring ,  pp. 43-46.}  

“Beginning with ( to use the terms of yogic chakra psychology), the sixth chakra, the ajna  chakra, consciousness starts to go transpersonal. Consciousness in now going transverbal and transpersonal. ….This process quickens and intensifies as it reaches the highest chakra- called-sahasrara- and then goes supramental as it enters the seven higher stages of consciousness beyond the sahasrara. The ajna, the sahasrara, and the seven higher levels are, on the whole referred to as the subtle realm.”

Wilber, K. (1980).  The Amazon com Atman Project.  Chapter 8, pg.76.

“...the point of the low subtle - the astral psychic- is that consciousness, by further differentiating itself from the min and body, is able in some ways to transcend the normal capacities of the gross bodymind and therefore operate upon the world and the organism in ways that appear to the ordinary mind, to be quite fantastic and far-fetched. For my own part, I find them a natural extension of the transcendent function of consciousness.’

Wilber, K. (1980).  The Amazon com Atman Project, Chapter 8, pg.78.

The Low -Subtle Self

"...cognitive style- clairvoyant perception and cognition: extraegoic and extrasensory affective elements- transpersonally sensitive suprasensory ( the stage beyond the supersensory centaur) motivational/conative factors- siddhi;paramormal and parapsychological drives temporal mode- transaxial or transphysical; “point-source” time; able to read world lines with precognition and postcognition mode of self- astral-psychic ”

Wilber, K. (1980).  The Amazon com Atman Project, Chapter 8, pg.77.

Apollo Complex   Transition from F-6 vision-logic to F-7/8 psychic/subtle

 “My mind was, as the Buddhists say, that of a monkey: compulsively active, obsessively motive. And there I came face to face with my own Apollo complex, the difficulty in transforming from the mental sphere to the subtle sphere. The subtle sphere ( or the soul as the Christian mystics use the term) is the beginning of the transpersonal realms; as such, it is supramental, transegoic, and transverbal. But in order to reach that sphere, one must ( as in all transformations) “die” to the lower capacity ( in this case the mental egoic). The failure to do so or incapacity to do so is the Apollo complex. As the person with an Oedipus complex remains unconsciously attached to the body and its pleasure principle, so the person with an Apollo complex remains unconsciously attached to the mind and its reality principle. (“Reality” here means “ institutional, rational, verbal reality”,) which, although conventionally real enough, is nevertheless only an intermediate stage on the path to Atman; that is, it is merely a description of actual Reality itself, and thus, if clung to, eventually and ultimately prevents the discovery of that actual Reality.

            The struggle with my own obsessive/compulsive thinking- not particular thoughts, as per neurosis (which is often indicative of an Oedipus-complex holdover), but the very stream of thought itself- was an arduous task. ( An excellent account of such initial battles has been given by Walsh, 1977, 1978) as it was, I was fortunate to make some progress, to be able to eventually rise above the fluctuations of mental contractions and discover, however initially, a real incomparably more profound, more real, more saturated with being, more open to clarity. This realm was simply that of the subtle, which is disclosed, so to speak, after weathering the Apollo complex. In this realm it is not that thinking necessarily ceases (although it often does, especially at the beginning); it is that , even when thinking arises, it does not detract from the broader background of clarity and awareness ( see for example. John Welwood’s (1977) crystal account of this “transpersonal ground”). From the subtle, one no longer ‘ gets lost in thoughts’ ;  rather, thoughts enter consciousness and depart much as clouds traverse the sky: with smoothness, grace, and clarity. Nothing sticks, nothing rubs, nothing grates. Chuang Tzu “ The perfect man employs his mind as a mirror. It grasps nothing; it refuses nothing; it receives but does not keep.”

Wilber, K. (1999). “Odyssey”, Collected Works.Vol.2 , pg41.

“... When  you practice meditation, one of the first things you realize is that your mind- and your life, for that matter- is dominated by largely subconscious verbal chatter. You are always talking to yourself. And so, as they start to meditate, many people are stunned by how much junk starts running through their awareness. They find that thoughts, images, fantasies, notions, ideas, concepts virtually dominate their awareness. They realize that these notions have had a much more profound influence on their lives than they ever thought.

            In any case, initial meditation experiences are like being at the movies. You sit and watch all these fantasies and concepts parade by, in front of your awareness. But the whole point is that you are finally becoming aware of them. You are looking at them impartially and without judgment. You just watch them go by, the same as you watch clouds float by in the sky. They come, they go. No praise, no condemnation, no judgment- just bare witnessing. If you judge your thoughts, if you get caught up in them, then you can’t transcend them. You can’t find higher or subtler dimensions of you own being. So you sit in meditation, and you simply  “witness” what is going on in your mind. You let the monkey mind do what it wants, and you simply watch.

            And what happens is, because you impartially witness these thoughts, fantasies, notions, and images, you start to become free of their unconscious influence. You are looking at them, so you are not using them to look at the world. Therefore you become, to a certain extent, free of them. In other words, you start to become free of the ego. This is the initial spiritual dimension, where the conventional ego “dies” and higher structures of awareness are “resurrected”. Your sense of identity naturally begins to expand and embrace the cosmos, or all of nature. You rise above the isolated mind and body, which might include finding a larger identity, such as with nature or the cosmos- “cosmic consciousness,” as R.M. Bucke called it. It’s a very concrete and mistakable experience.

            And, I don’t have to tell you, this is an extraordinary relief! This is the beginning of transcendence, of finding your way back home you realize that you are one with the fabric of the universe, eternally. Your fear of death begins to subside, and you actually begin to feel, in a concrete and palpable way, the open and transparent nature of your own being.

            Feelings of gratitude and devotion arise in you-devotion to Spirit, in the forms of the Christ, or Buddha, or Krishna; or devotion to your actual spiritual master; even devotion in general, and certain devotion to all other sentient beings. The bodhisattva vow, in whatever form, arises from the depths of your being, in a very powerful way.  You realize you simply have to do whatever you can to help all sentient beings, and for the reason, as Schopenhauer said, that you realize that we all share the same nondual Self or Spirit or Absolute. All of this starts to become obvious- as obvious as rain on the roof. It is real and it is concrete.”

Wilber, K.(1999)  Stages of Meditation. Collected Works 4. (pg.357-358.) Boston & London: Shambhala Press.

           

Correlates with the Psychic realm:

Wilber Correlates

General Self Sense: Soul

Specific Aspects: Psychic Self

Fulcrum: F-7 Psychic

Disorders: Psychic Inflation, Split life goals, pranic disorders, yogic illness

Treatment: Path of Yogis

Moral Span ( those deemed worthy of moral consideration): (Post-postconventional) shamanic, panenhenic, all earthly beings without exception,

Locus: world soul.

Affect: awe, rapture, all-species love, compassion

Levels of ‘Food’: Soul exchange, psychic vision

Gender identity: androgyny

Worldview name: psychic, shamanic, yogic:

Worldview general characteristics: union with World Process; nature mysticism; gross realm unity



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this page uploaded 8 December 2005