The Esoteric/Gnostic stages of Transformation (I'm using the plural here because there are many dimensions and aspects) goes beyond the secular, religious, New Age, and New Paradigm Holistic stages to a truly gnostic and transcendent level of insight. The relation between these different attributes and states can be shown in the following diagram:
In this diagram of Integral Psychology and individual states of consciousness, the three divisions represent the three psychological elements of mental, emotional, and physical. The outer level, shown as the darkest, represents the surface consciousness, relative obscurity, non-gnosis, and non-empathy (Self-Other) of "Ethnocentric"/Dualistic consciousness ("lower tier" in spiral dynamics jargon).
Moving inwards, or transforming the outer (through New Age, spiritual, and yogic exercises) leads to the intuition, sensitivitry, and centerdness of the holistic/"upper tier"/postmaterialistic level of individual and collective consciousness. Of course, progress is never this smooth or one-diemnsional, as the different aspects follow their own lines of development. Here the subtle or inner or transpersonal is accessed, but generally filtered through gross reality and outer consciousness.
Finally there is the Esoteric/Gnostic stage, which incorporates profound gnosis, I-Thou empathic, and metaphysical states. Here the subtle dimension is experienced in itself, through gnosis and occult insight. This represents a far more profound level of self-transformation and transcendence of ordinary consciousness. There is thw realisation of esoteric, and mystical dimensions, but not yet Realisation proper.
Also, although the Esoteric/Gnostic stage is mostly only attained on the individual level, there are also occult and esoteric groups, and even a few New Age centers and intentional communities like Findhorn, Lindisfarne, and Auroville, which combine Holistic and Esoteric/Gnostic elements. However, there are currently no esoteric cultures and societies. In ancient times there was Egypt. To some extent there have been societies like India, but not to the same extent. The last such esoteric society was Tibet, which was overrun by mainland China. This marked one of the great atrocities and tragedies of the 20th century. Since that time, the people are subject to institutionalised genocide and the natural environment and wildlife have been decimated.
Moving beyond even the Esoteric/Gnostic stage takes us to Realization proper , as represented by the center of the diagram, the absolute reality Immanent and transcendent in all. In most cases however, indeed in 99 out of a hundred, what is realised is only a Partialnonduality of the "Intermediate Zone". This is where even the best gurus and spiritual masters around today are at. Very few indeed go beyond the Esoteric/Gnostic and Partial realisation to the Complete Realization of the authentic Sage and sadguru. And very few even of such sublime beings as they are go beyond even that to the integral path of Transformation required to transform the world.
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