In these dialogues, Dr. Wyatt Woodsmall and Dr. Marc Gafni were talking about how God appears differently at different stages of consciousness.
Dr. Marc Gafni starts the first dialogue by setting up the meta-question:
As we’re trying to develop a world spirituality based on Integral principles, one of the key ideas we have is this distinction between what we call ‘wake up’ and ‘grow up’. Wake up refers to waking up, the way we use the words, waking up to states of consciousness. I wake up to a higher state of consciousness, for example, a state of consciousness in which I realize that I’m not separate from everything, but I am part of the seamless coat of the universe. I move beyond my limited identification with what Gregory Bateson called “my skin-encapsulated ego” and I access a larger sense of my identity. And that has all sorts of implications in terms of how I look at the world, etc.
This is material that you are all, of course, very familiar with, and Wyatt has taught many times, I’ve taught many times, and we’ve lived in our lives. That’s waking up, and that is what’s often called enlightenment. That’s classical enlightenment. So Shankara, the major teacher of Vedanta, particularly Advaita Vedanta, is all about this kind of awakening. And whenever you hear terms like liberation, awakening, selfinquiry, who are you really, it’s always about this. So that’s waking up.
But one of the things we’ve realized is that waking up isn’t sufficient. You also need to grow up. To grow up refers not to higher states of consciousness, but to higher structures of consciousness, to higher stages of consciousness, to higher structure stages of consciousness, of the kind that were so beautifully described by Jean Gebser in his kind of breakthrough work, by James Mark Baldwin in his earlier work where he talked about the different stages of consciousness in the three major lines of the aesthetic, the moral – the good, the true and the beautiful – and the scientific. Baldwin talked about the aesthetic, the moral and the scientific, and about clearly different emergent levels of consciousness in each one, much like we would use the terms from Kohlberg’s research – egocentric, ethnocentric, worldcentric, cosmocentric – which are different levels of moral consciousness, Piaget, who talks about different levels of cognitive ability, from concrete operational to formal operational, which is his highest level.
So the other part of world spirituality is not just waking up, but growing up, growing up to higher and higher levels of consciousness, and at each level of consciousness God appears differently. So if we would take, for example, the model of Spiral Dynamics, which is one model that you and I have talked about before, which is the Graves model which is the source of it, that Dr. Woodsmall who is with us is really one of the world experts, not only at this model, but he’s actually evolved it, deployed it, integrated it with other material which gives it an enactment, but which is all beyond this conversation. Dr. Woodsmall is one of the leaders in the world in evolving this material to a whole new level, which we’ll get to hear about in the coming weeks.
Stream the audio here and download the transcripts below: