Stages of consciousness

Whenever I had a profound experience, especially during my meditation, yoga or breath work sessions, I told myself that I was inching towards a higher awakened state of consciousness. I remember when I was going through my Reiki and Pranic healing courses and after the different levels of the Art of Living courses, all delivered phenomenal experiences. And because of these experiences, which did cause a shift inside me, I continued to diligently practice what I learnt – meditation, the Sudarshan Kriya, yoga, etc.

Much later  when I going through my therapist training for Past Life Regression and for Re-birthing Breath work I had similar profound experiences – even richer than what I had ever experienced , reinforcing the feeling that I was indeed getting there.

And these experiences occurred even outside of any formal course that I was going through. I remember once sitting in the departure lounge of Jeddah airport, quite bored staring out into the runway, when suddenly a surge of energy went through my body, and I felt this enormous feeling of total love, peace, compassion, joy, happiness surge inside me. I smiled and smiled, and was able to identify with every soul who was there and not there. The feeling was and still is unexplainable. I was able to spend time just admiring all of Gods creations – everything, from the plastic flowers in the lounge, to the overflowing waste basket, to the stink coming from the bathroom to the overbearing police man barking to passengers in queue – all seemed so beautiful. I stayed in this awakened higher state of consciousness for many days.

These profound and beautiful experiences were truly higher awakened state of consciousness, and carried me to a space of complete joy, peace and happiness. I had all kinds of messages and down loads during all these experiences. Most of them were higher order truths - about Universal Love, Absolute Truth, connectedness of all beings, etc. Thoughts and ideas came to my mind that were truly astounding – simple but amazing. So many aspects of Our Native Village came to me during these profound experiences, and I am convinced that Our Native Village is a result of my meditation and nothing else! And this of course deepened my passion and connection to Our Native Village.

I started becoming very intuitive, could go into my meditation and ask for and get messages. On one occasion, I was meant to take a flight to Vietnam for a consulting assignment, and a few hours before my flight realised that we could not find my passport. In my two decades of travelling around the world, I have never ever misplaced my passport and for the first time I missed my flight. And the strangest thing was this – after searching for my passport for about an hour, I suddenly had this amazing feeling of complete peace and happiness, and told my agitated wife, Lalitha to stop searching. She freaked out when she heard my next words, ‘I am not meant to go to Vietnam, I don’t know why, but I am not meant to go, so stop searching’. With a smile we opened a bottle of wine and celebrated this amazing feeling of calm, peace and togetherness. Three days later, Lalitha had a brutal and sudden attack of meningitis. And if I had not been there, she would have continued to medicate herself with paracetemol tablets to make her excruciating headaches to go away – it could have been fatal. I rushed her to the hospital in the nick of time, where after an intensive 10 day period she recovered and is well now.

The gratitude I felt towards my experience which saved my wife’s life still lives in me. After 3 weeks, I told her that today in my meditation, I will find my passport. In my meditation I got a message that said “metal and cloth”. And my wife went to her Moms’ Goderej metal cupboard, and found my passport amongst her clothes – and this blew all our minds completely!! My conviction that I was really really getting there only, obviously, grew stronger. This story was shared at many parties, at family get togethers, with friends and I had a feeling of true gratitude that all that I believed in, is true – my meditation and all my practices.

And add to all this, my ability to ‘manifest’ stuff. I wanted a new computer and I got it as a gift from my family, we did not have money to buy a new car, and we miraculously found a solution and got a fantastic Ford Endeavour, I wanted a new phone and my dear friend Sudha gifted me a fancy Black Berry. So this higher awakened state of consciousness was also working in the gross world – which is fantastic.

But there was one commonality in all these experiences over the last 15 years. These were temporary. I would feel the Universal Love in me during the experiences, I would feel the oneness in all humanity – truly feel this in my very being, but then soon it vanished!

I went back to being the same person I was, with all my pimples, blackheads and blemishes, the same temper and impatience surfaced, and there at times, all compassion and love vanished, and my dark side dominated. There were times when I lost my temper, and sense of centeredness completely vanished - and Lalitha used to question of what use is all my meditation.  As much as her words used to hurt, I knew that he question was relevant and it was so frustrating for me. Just as I thought I was getting there, I was blowing it. I contemplated this deeply.

If there has been one quest, it has been on how to be in a higher awakened state of consciousness all the time. Or at least to understand, why I could not be in this awakened higher state of consciousness all the time, and how I could stop this roller coaster ride from in and out of an awakened higher state of consciousness.

And I understood it yesterday.

My dear friends from Dubai, Nargis and Greg lent me a book called ‘The Translucent Revolution’ by Arjuna Ardagh, a book that Nargis had wanted me to read for a long time, which Greg brought for me on his last visit recently. And I have just finished the forewords by Ken Wilber only – I have read just this section over and over again, to ensure I completely internalised what Ken Wilber was saying. And I understood why I was not able to be in an awakened higher state of consciousness all the time.

Ken Wilber talks about three things. The first is the many states of consciousness  (from page xiv) – ordinary states, altered states, stoned states, meditative states, hypnotic states, dream states, shamanic states, formless states, non dual states, hypnogogic states, entrained states, peak experiences, flow states, awakened states. Since most of these states of consciousness and peak experiences, and variations of states of waking, dreaming, deep formless sleep and unity, they are often grouped into four general categories;

1)     Gross – Waking state

2)      Subtle – Dreaming state

3)      Causal – Formless state

4)     Non dual state – Unity state

All these states of consciousness are not permanent – they are temporary. You will swing in and out of these different states all the time. This is the roller coaster ride that I was going through!

And then he talks about the many stages of consciousness. So what is different between states and stages of consciousness? States of consciousness are temporary, stages of consciousness are permanent. So the roller coaster ride I was going through had no permanence as these we only states and not stages!

Ken Wilber details how we all go through different stages of consciousness, which roughly co relates to Abraham Maslow’s investigation into the higher stages of human potential. Maslow first described the normal stages that humans possess, what he calls deficiency needs – physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness needs and self esteem needs. And then he describes higher stages which he calls being needs- self actualisation needs and self transcendence needs. In his research Maslow concluded that we all progressed through all these needs in a sequential manner – there was no way we could jump any of these stages – we had to progress from one to the next until we reached the self transcendence stage.

Carol Gilligan in her book ‘In a different voice’ outlined four stages of female moral development which she called selfish, care, universal care and integrate, which Ken Wilber calls;

1)      Egocentric  - I care only for myself

2)      Ethnocentric - I care only for my tribe, my country, my nation

3)      Worldcentric - I care for all human beings, regardless of race, colour, sex or creed

4)     Kosmocentric – I care for all sentient beings without exception

Like all stages, the move from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric to kosmocentric is a sequential movement of increasing consciousness, care and development. As we pass through these stages, we should remember that these are not passing states but a permanent trait – a permanent stage of competence acquisition.

And here comes the kicker…

The third point that Ken Wilbur makes is this - in each of these stages of consciousness, we go through the different states of consciousness. You can be virtually at any stage of consciousness and have a peak experience of virtually any state of consciousness, and you will interpret the state according to the stage.

So if you are in the egocentric stage, and have a unity experience of Jesus Christ, you are likely to conclude that you are Jesus Christ. Or is you are in the ethnocentric stage of consciousness and have a unity experience, you will conclude that all in your tribe, country, nation should follow Jesus Christ and he is the only saviour for our community (this is what happens to the Born again Christians).  Or if you are in the kosmocentric stage and have a unity experience, then you will conclude that you and all sentient beings without exception are one with the spirit in the timeless here and now.

So in each of these stages of consciousness we are likely to go through the different states of consciousness – so there are roughly 16 combinations possible and hundreds of variations within them. And it is important to remember that these stages of consciousness are almost like waves of consciousness, fluid and flowing, and not necessarily stacked on one the other, but enveloping and embracing each stage when we move into the next stage.



Egocentric  - I care only for myself) Gross – Waking   state
Ethnocentric - I care only for my tribe, my country, my nation Subtle – Dreaming   state
Worldcentric - I care for all human beings, regardless of race, colour, sex or creed Causal – Formless state 
KosmocentricI care for all sentient beings without exception Non dual state– Unity state 

So until we move on to higher stages of consciousness, we will continue to experience the rollercoaster states of consciousness. So the important thing to do is to aspire to move up the stages of consciousness.

And here is the final kicker….

The one thing that helps accelerate the movement up the stages of consciousness is meditation. According to Ken Wilber, research has proved that when you meditate, which exposes you to awakened states of consciousness, and then you are given the Loevinger test ( a famous and well documented test of developmental stages), you will move through stages at a profoundly accelerates rate.

What an amazing discovery for me. Focus on moving up the stages of consciousness – from ego centric to kosmocentric, as this is the only permanent stage. And in each of these stages you can experience awakened states of consciousness – but know that these states of consciousness are temporary only.

Oh, this answers so many questions for me. I hope it does so for you too….thank you Ken Wilber.

I also hope this sheds light on the 'enlightend experiences' that a lot of people go through, and belive that this is a permanent state. I hope they realise that they need to progress up the stages of consciousness, and not just rely on these temporary flashes of awakened states of consciousness.

God bless us all....