Monday, June 26, 2017

Revision of Bands (4)

In the context of radial development, it can be perhaps fruitful to distinguish as between three mystical types.

The active type, is by far the most common. Though considerable contemplative development at the "higher" levels will necessarily take place, it never removes a strong grounding in the world of dualistic phenomena. Thus for these types contemplation tends to serve the purpose of bringing a greater sense of integration to everyday responsibilities.

Thus following the opening up of new contemplative levels in development, backward integration tends to readily take place, with spiritual capacities integrated broadly with one's many activities.

It is highly unlikely in such cases that the most refined contemplative states e.g. at the causal level can ever thereby undergo sustained development (because of this natural affinity with duality).

So therefore though such a person may be superbly gifted in many ways, enabling much fruitful work to be carried out with untiring energy and dedication, because of the dominance of the conscious aspect of personality, spiritual meaning is likely to become sometimes rigidly identified with the world of form.

Therefore though exemplifying radial development in many ways, its full expression remains limited in important respects.


The passive type, where contemplative type development is now likely to be dominant, is much less common, certainly in Western culture.

Here a person is likely to show from an early age special sensitivity to the promptings of the unconscious mind. Then if later developments proceeds in a successful manner, this leads to growing absorption in intuitive contemplative states (and accompanying dynamically refined structures) ever more refined in nature.

However the greatest difficulty for this type is to then subsequently ground such development in the temporal world of form.

Even when successfully achieved with the transition to radial development, such a person, while now willingly engaging with the world, is likely to operate with a degree of caution and in a much more restricted manner than the active type.

So again this represents a limitation with respect to the full expression of radial development (with the holistic unconscious remaining more dominant than the conscious aspect).


The third type, the mixed type, is I believe extremely rare, representing in some ways an ideal of what human development at its best might represent in the future.

Here, both the conscious (dualistic) and unconscious (nondual) aspects are harmonised with each other to an extraordinary degree.

This then enables radial involvement in the world that is immensely productive and creative, with a continually deepening contemplative attitude, thereby enabling a wide variety of activities to be fully integrated in a highly purposeful manner.

In other words, when one can truly engage with phenomenal symbols (without possessive attachment) then one can thereby act, as it were, as a superconductor of spirit. And in this blessed state, both activity and contemplation mutually support each other, with activity deepening the intensity of one's contemplative orientation, and this orientation in turn facilitating an ever greater breadth with respect to one's active engagement.

Now in general one can perhaps criticise Western mystical  traditions for traditionally placing too much emphasis on (dualistic) form, and Eastern traditions too much emphasis on (nondual) emptiness.

Thus the most complete expression of radial development exquisitely balances both dual and nondual aspects in a greatly refined manner, through a highly dynamic interactive experience.

Thus paradoxically true immersion in nondual reality enables one to embrace duality in all its fullness, when deemed appropriate.

For example imagine someone at this level that becomes involved in supporting the rights of a strongly marginalised group in society! This could involve intense involvement in combating extreme prejudice and resistance to the most basic human demands. So one would require the patience to hold firm in the midst of considerable pressure. Therefore though one's basic attitude may be formed by an enlightened spiritual outlook, this would now need to be wedded to realistic targets for achievement (that can be objectively measured).

So true spiritual (nondual) enlightenment should thereby be combined with total realism with respect to one's (dual) practical activity.


We will now move on to briefly outline the three levels of Band 7 (which represent the specialised expression of radial development).

Indeed it is only at this band that both the specialised stages of linear activity (Band 2) and the specialised stages of contemplative awareness (Band 4) can now achieve their fullest combined expression. 

The key point here is that we now witness the mature and balanced behaviour of the three primary modes (volitional, cognitive and affective) with respect to both their differentiated and integral aspects.

Though there is now necessarily considerable overlap as between all three, we can to an extent distinguish each level with respect to one key mode.

So Level 1 (Radial 1) can best be identified with the radial cognitive mode in the exercise of true wisdom, where both holistic and analytic aspects interpenetrate to their fullest extent.
Now there still is likely to be a marked distinction as between the active and passive mystical types.

In the first (active) case the analytic aspect will be to the forefront in an ability to become fruitfully involved in a wide range of activities (that properly actualise an underlying commitment to the spirit).

However in the second (passive) case the holistic aspect will be to the forefront, where one is likely to be involved in a more restricted range of activities (that in the circumstances offer the best expression of one's spiritual potential). So in the first case activity is seen as the means of actualising the spirit; in the second case activity is seen as the potential means for generating the spirit.

Now of course both of these perspectives are ultimately fully complementary and best harmonised with the mixed type. However, typically - even at the radial level - a greater or lesser degree of imbalance is likely to persist.

 Level 2 (Radial 2) can best be identified with the radial affective mode, where again both holistic and analytic aspects interpenetrate to the fullest degree.

This results then in the expression of a developed form of compassion, which is felt deeply both in a general sense for all creation and in a more active manner for those who one directly serves in society.

Again there are likely to be differences as between the active and passive mystical types. The active type frequently operates best in large groups in the ability to powerfully communicate with a considerable number of people. The passive is often best in a one-to one situation, in truly accepting another person unconditionally (free of preconceived notions).

However the important thing here is that in the case of both types, they will now have found the respective circumstances in which they both can best express their respective gifts.

Level 3 (Radial 3) represents the true high point where the volitional aspect of personality itself reaches its fullest development. In the Christian tradition this is often expressed as acting perfectly in accordance with the will of God. This would then equate in a psychological manner to the situation where both the conscious and unconscious aspects of personality are now perfectly harmonised (though in experiential terms such a situation can only ever be approximated rather than fully attained).

This then results in the fullest expression of divine love.
Love is a much misunderstood word in our culture being often identified with mere romantic feelings (often of a very self-centred nature).

However the true measure of love is how far one can go in identifying one's own being with universal being so that they are experienced as the same essential reality. (Again in Christian terms this is the ability to identify one's own will fully with the will of God). And when one can operate from such enlightened volitional intent, then everything that one does represents the direct expression of a human love, that is equally divine in nature.

I have always referred to the volitional mode as the most important of the three primary modes.
In fact it is the volitional mode that ultimately is required to enable the two other modes (cognitive and affective) to work in perfect harmony with each other.

And when considerable barriers still exist with respect to successful development, the volitional mode is most important in terms of providing the vital sense of what true integration entails, which can then empower the psyche with considerable capacity for the necessary transformation entailed.

So the innate sense of our eternal destiny (in God) is provided through the will (and its consequent volitional intent).

However, though Band 7 is designed to represent in a sense the full flowering of radial development, I also portray a further band (Band 8).

Band 8 is designed to deal with the later stages of radial development, which though often seeming somewhat of a diminishment on what has gone before, can represent in fact its finest ultimate expression (in human terms).

The painful fact is that the full expression of radial abilities is not likely to last a long time. Realistically one may well be middle aged (or older) before human development can reach this point (though its more active expressions can occur somewhat earlier in life).

Physical ailments and serious illness may limit one's active response. Also a certain form of disillusionment can set it as one realises that the problems and frailties of human existence continue to persist despite one's best interventions.

And human life inevitably ends in physical death. So ultimately one has to prepare well for one's own death.

So just as early development alternates between light and darkness, this remains true with respect to the radial stages. However by now one can better embrace the darkness with equanimity (as representing the hidden light).

There is a great danger in applying secular notions of success even to the highest stages of development. So just as we celebrate those with considerable achievements is sport, business,
politics, the arts etc. likewise we tend to celebrate spiritual superstars who likewise have become famous through their activities and writings.

However "spiritual success" by its very nature tends to remain hidden and largely unknown to those who look at the world through material eyes. And here the "most successful" are often already among us dealing heroically with unforeseen difficult circumstances in life (that most would rather avoid).

I have mentioned already how even at the radial stages we find (depending on personality) active and passive expressions.

Now with the final band there may a conscientious attempt to go against type.

This would mean that the active type - possibly due to unavoidable personal circumstances - may be required to move in a strongly contemplative direction.

Likewise the passive type might be required to become fully commited to some active cause e.g. deep solidarity with a group facing social injustice.

Among religious leaders Pope John Paul 11 represents a good example of the former as Parkinson's disease greatly impeded his activity in later years. However rather than seeking to resign the papacy, he chose to act as a witness on behalf of disabled people everywhere, thereby offering hope to others with similar problems.

Perhaps the Dali Lama represents an example of the latter type. Though clearly of a more strictly contemplative disposition, he has been forced for much of his life into a very difficult political role resisting Chinese domination on behalf of the people of Tibet.

Thus in brief the three levels of Band 8 are:

Level 1 (Suffering Involvement 1). This arises when the shadow side of - even enlightened radial activity - inevitably begins to surface in one's life, often accompanied by a decline in one's physical - and perhaps mental - powers. So darkness intermingles increasingly with the spiritual light.

Level 2 (Suffering Involvement 2). This relates to the courageous "going against type" that I have just mentioned. Though done willingly, this is likely to entail an inevitable increase in suffering.

Level 3 (Suffering Involvement 3). This represents the final stages, where one prepares for death with resignation and equanimity (which could entail a prolonged period of physical and/or mental suffering).

Again coming from a Christian background the key symbol that we are offered is of a man undergoing death through a gruesome Crucifixion. And the important significance of this is to show that ultimate meaning can be found even in the midst of the greatest torment.

And this unselfish example has exercised an immense impact on subsequent followers.

It is useful to ponder finally on how the potential value of physical and mental suffering can be properly recognised within our models of psychological development!

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