exposingsingapore has written 22 posts for Objective Consiousness

Consciously Building Your Life

In my preceding post, I talked about life being akin to an interactive movie where nothing is real but the experience (https://exposingsingapore.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/life-is-very-much-like-an-interactive-movie/). I also mentioned that life thus became an act of lucid dreaming and that I mentioned living was consequently the art of dreaming lucidly. I didn’t elaborate, however, on how to turn living into an art of dreaming lucidly or what it means exactly.

First, most people build their lives without realizing how life works. Consequently, most lives are shaped unconsciously. While it is true that we make conscious decisions in our lives all the time, we do not shape our lives consciously since we have no idea of what life is and we are ignorant to the reality that all life is fundamentally one. The notion I’m going to put forth has already been made by many others although mostly they are thought as a fringe make believe nonsense. In fact, I used to believe so too. So many others have also misunderstood the notion and basically, distort it as a harsh enforcement of positive mindset or thinking or a regimented vivid dreaming/visualizing or the mindless fear of negative thoughts.

Now, just how do you consciously create your life? First, you need to know exactly what you want in your life. By this, I do not mean the objects of your interest but your base motivation in life. What do you really want out of life? Some may say they desire a life of happiness, some others may say they desire true love, others may wish to leave the world a better place. Next, be as specific as you can in knowing your desire. If you desire a life of happiness you must know what that constitutes. If you desire true love you must know what kind of person you would love. If you desire to leave the world a better place you must know in what specific area you wish to do that. Now, turn that desire that’s often selfish or full of the will to receive into the equivalent desire or will to give. If you desire a life of happiness you must know that you desire to lead a life full of gratitude. If you desire a true love, you must know that you actually desire to express and bestow love, unconditionally, toward another person. Likewise, if you desire to leave the world a better place in a specific area then you want to lessen the suffering of people pertaining to that specific area that you have imagined. This is important since by purifying your desire into a desire to bestow or give with as little desire to receive anything in return is how you ‘market’ your desire into the universe and make God work. This is why regimented positive thinking and visualizing are nonsense and ineffective UNLESS you turn your desire into the desire to give and not the desire to receive. The universe or God doesn’t grant personal desires. It grants only pure desires to bestow as it is God’s nature to bestow and not receive and you have that God’s nature in you too. You and God are basically inseparable! God then will manifest in its unlimited intelligence and creative power your desire to bestow as it is also God’s will. Thus, your desires will be manifested impersonally. This means you do not get to choose the particular object of your desire. This also means that you need to be sure of what you really want. Say, you want A because A is B, C, and D to you. In reality, the A that you desire is not B or has no B quality in it. God will manifest for you an A that’s likely not the A you desire that has B, C, and D in it! So, you’re being provided, impersonally, based on your need to selflessly bestow. It goes without saying that in the desire and act of your bestowal that you too receive what you bestow but the desire to receive must not be there or a primary motivation in desiring something in life. In other words, you get what you want by the desire of giving what you want without desiring to receive what you want.

So, finally, happy creating, lucidly!


Life is Very Much Like an Interactive Movie

A typical summary of life would read like the following, we were born, we age as we live, and we will finally die. Within that period of a lifetime, we spend our time avoiding pain and chasing after pleasure. We may or may not chase pleasure at the pain of others but we chase after pleasure nonetheless in the attempt of aligning with our own ideals of a pleasant life. However, once in a while, life opens up its true nature to some of us through various ways which in essence having to do with the weakening of our egos. That life declares to us that the ego is nothing but a mental construct. A mere conviction that we ascribe to ourselves out of our and societies’ valuation of ourselves and our unique human narratives. In turn, these people teach us about the hidden nature of existence, of being. Succinctly, the teaching reveals to us that all life is one. There are no seven-and-a-half billion human beings on this planet in addition to the animals. There’s only one, both seen and unseen, fundamentally speaking. Of course, such a revelation is very hard to intellectualize if not impossible altogether.

It is also often said that spiritual awakening or the realization of the true nature of Self (note the capital S) would bring about a liberation from suffering. Thus, awakening is often pursued as another human endeavor to avoid suffering not knowing how the said liberation from suffering is made possible.

Every deed taken not in a full realization of God in the small selves is a deed taken by the ego, the biomechanical animal creature which is preoccupied with advancing its egoic and physical security and with chasing after pleasure for itself even to the detriment of others. Thus, beings can be selfish, mean, and cruel toward one another and as a result, we suffer one way or another since the game of separation (life) is being played in its full illusionary nature.

However, since these egos aren’t real, the damage they do to others isn’t real either, fundamentally speaking, since there are NO REAL persons to be damaged, to begin with. The damage done is only ‘real’ as experiences like a dream or nightmare which is real only as an awful experience. So, thus, life is very much like an interactive movie where we can watch it unfold as an experience but nothing real can ever be imparted upon us and by us.

I’m not saying suffering isn’t real for it is but it is real as experiences only. A dream or nightmare that lasts a lifetime would seem real too and it is real but only as an experience of a lifetime. With this realization, everything that transpires in life loses its significance since there is no one capable of doing anything to anyone else since there is no one to begin with but the One Self. Of course, it goes without saying that no one would want to endure a lifetime of nightmare but knowing it a nightmare helps alleviate suffering as the nightmare loses its significance. Life thus becomes the art of dreaming lucidly.

So, when you’re going through tough times, know that life is very much like an interactive movie. It is real only in being the flow of experience. You are never in real danger. There is no one to win anything and likewise, there’s no one who stands to lose anything. There only appear to be winners and losers. In the end, although we experience life subjectively, ultimately, there is only a single Self watching it all, alone in the movie theater. Happy watching or should I say, happy dreaming!

The difference between life and dream is an illusion, however persistent that illusion is.

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. -Albert Einstein.

The Future of Money: None.

We are moving towards a moneyless society (Not digital money or a cashless society but no money at all). Money has been the primary problem for our species and in order to help free our society from a fear-based living, money has to go. A lot of people will fear and oppose this change though. The alternative to a moneyless society is a world rife with enslavement, discrimination, and persecution. Any authoritarian government is only a manifestation of the fear-based world we are co-creating that stems from an unequal and unfair distribution of money and thus, influence and power.

Don’t mistake this with a lazy unproductive society. On the contrary, in the absence of hoarding money, humanity can strive to pursue what really matters and to strive to live their lives to the fullest of their potential. If people could get anything they wanted, completely free, there would be no reason to hoard anything at all and to destroy the planet just to hoard money.

This is not extremism. This is not a crazy, unrealistic idea. This is no propaganda. If you think this through, it is very workable. We are responsible in co-creating our interactive movie in this life. If we put everything at monetary value then we will get a humanity enslaved to money. Capitalism doesn’t work. Less than 10 people own half of the world’s entire wealth. Around 200 people probably own as much as 75-80% if not more of the world’s entire wealth. This interactive movie, this dream is turning into a nightmare for too many monadic ‘consciousnesses’ by a world pandering to just so few people. Currently, we don’t get the best of things produced simply because they would be unaffordable for most people. By doing away with money altogether we can start producing what we can actually produce totally unrestricted by monetary constraints. We must do away with a fear-based living. A life based on the mindset of illusory scarcity. Deep sea mining would become possible if you took away cost. So would lunar and asteroid mining. Even mining other planets would become possible eventually giving us the means to harvest our sun’s energy. Many of these aren’t done simply because the costs would be prohibitive. There probably isn’t enough money in the entire world even to try to mine our moon on a massive scale. Thus, money impedes progress and raises inequality through a fear-based living creating a world rife with persecution, oppression, poverty, envy, and enslavement of humanity to money. 


Imagine yourself growing up in a society where there is never any want or need or financial insecurity of any sort. You will be a very different person. You will be absolutely uninterested in conspicuous consumption. … You will probably be interested in things of a higher nature—the cultivation of the mind, education, love, art, and discovery. And so these people are very stoic in that sense, because they have no worldly interests that we today could relate to. … I usually say that they’re all aliens, in a way.


It’s one step at a time,

A moneyless society is termed a resource-based economy. This is going to happen through the process described in the video below, in phases. It will lead to a society of ‘masters’ as we will experience a leap in skills. This is so because when people are liberated from the need to make money they, with time, become ambitious and focus on things that matter. Improving themselves and their environment. So, yes, making money makes most of us dull. Spiritual enlightenment will become much more common until hopefully, it will be common instead of exceptions in such a society as people leave behind a fear-based mode of being.

I felt I didn’t need to write the following but turned out I do: a money-free society should not be mistaken for a work-free society. People still work, they just don’t work for money.

What if the purpose of existence is to evolve us to another level of existence altogether

Human beings often seek the reason to their existence and the answer seems to be ever elusive. If I were to take a guess at this point in my life, the purpose of being might very well be the development of one’s consciousness. That life is a sort of school for monad (unit) consciousness and that the success of being is measured, not by acquisition of status and wealth or even knowledge, but by the attainment of having graduated from being altogether. That is to say to shed one’s sense of self. To be all things but not of any. To be in a state of pervasive non being.

The reason why this could be the purpose of existence is because such eventuality does happen to some of us and it offers a glimpse to another level of existence altogether. One that is almost incomprehensible to our everyday understanding of existence. Sadly, not too many of us have realized that this is even a possibility and this is why the philosophical answer to our existence remains much a mystery to most people who are trapped in their own egos playing this game of life without knowledge of its true purpose. But this is not to say that knowing the purpose of the game of life is a prerequisite to attaining a state of non being as all the dramas of life bring us closer to this very goal, no matter how little. That all beings encroach to this pervasive state of non being, just that a few do it more efficiently than others.

Bearing in mind the possibility that our current existence is nothing really different than a school for the advancement of consciousness, we should cultivate a more compassionate approach to our fellowmen. After all, if we had been so perfect we would not have been placed in this existence in our current form. That we are here to teach others and, at the same time, to be taught by others through all the experiences we are bound to give and receive. Within this idea, physical evolution becomes the vessel for greater evolution, the evolution of being. The evolution of existence.

But before we all get too serious, evolution to another level of existence is just a guess on my part*. It may be wrong or it may well be true. We will never know this for certain until we push the limits to the notion of not only being a human being, but that of simply being. Perhaps not too few of us have reached this stage of development. The only way to find out is for us to reach this possibility ourselves.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand

– Albert Einstein

*I have only experienced continual glimpses of transcendental/objective consciousness brought about by the cultivation of objectivity (the loss of subjective fictitious filter coupled with continual if not continuous reflection or inner awareness and the resulting weakening of ego). However, I have known a certain Carmelite monk who has exceedingly surpassed my level of experience. Then, I didn’t know such a thing as objective/transcendental consciousness was even possible and it frightened me much because I was living in ignorance. The monk was likely to have been living, at least, multiple entire lives within his own life time. I mean not by glimpses but the entireties of multiple lives that span space-time while living his own, down to every second of those multiple lives from the beginning to end including non awaken times. To top it all, those entireties of multiple lives were experienced in a short span of his own physical real time. It’s incomprehensible from our everyday understanding of living but nature doesn’t have to conform to our beliefs or limited understanding.

Levels of Consciousness: Too little known, too big an impact to ignore.

I found some very interesting information on levels of consciousness. You’ve probably heard of levels of leadership and the hierarchy of needs but this one is even more fundamental than either. Every behavior and attitude displayed by each one us can be seen to correlate to the level of consciousness that each one of us is operating on. Some people developed different categorical names for the division but ultimately the assessment is the same. I’m aware that these will be mere words to those who don’t understand the wording of some of the levels. In my opinion, the wording of especially the higher levels of consciousness or the highest is intentionally left non detailed or ambiguous as the conclusion would alter a lot of things that the majority of mankind now accepts as facts. The same reason why many authors would not acknowledge Maslow’s transcedental cap stone in his hierarchy of needs. Mankind has the tendency to reject notions which it is not familiar with or which would distort its perception of truth in such a way that its perception would be rendered false by accepting such notions. In any era, the majority of us all feel that we have known everything and the thought that we know so little evokes fear that makes us to reject such notion and fight against anyone who brings new ideas to the world. Here are the more simplified categories of consciousness that are easier to digest: From lowest to highest precedence:

  1. Instinctual: This is the most basic and fundamental level of human consciousness and is not much more than the survival instinct. This level is reactionary and focuses on the acquisition of the basic resources necessary to sustain life. Conflicts for people functioning at this level of consciousness are typically viewed as, and sometimes are, struggles with life and death ramifications. Roughly 10% of the world’s population functions primarily at this level.
  2. Individualist: This level of consciousness centers around the defense and advancement of the ego, as the apex of physical consciousness. People functioning  at this level are focused on the avoidance or elimination of threat to their ego, person and property. This frequently surfaces as a need to control their environment and other people. Failure to have control is viewed as a grave detriment to the person’s ego and security. At this level of consciousness, the person’s ego and security are typically undifferentiated from their perceived wellbeing. Roughly 20% of the world’s population functions primarily at this level.
  3. Conformist: This level of consciousness centers around the need for acceptance, and often manifest as a herd or tribal mentality. Members of the perceived tribe are valued over others, as they offer the support system the individual perceives itself as needing. While relationships become important in and of themselves, persons outside the tribe are viewed as less important, inferior  or even dangerous. This level of consciousness often carries a strong emphasis on compliance with tribal rules and custom. The importance of these codes of conduct are evaluated by their level of acceptance within the tribe, rather than by the merits of the rules themselves. The tribe or clan can be any type of identifiable group. It could be a family network, a religious group, or even a socio-economic class. It can be any group with which the individual strongly identifies. Roughly 40% of the world’s population functions primarily at this level.
  4. Rational: At this level of consciousness, formal rational thinking predominates. Logic and reason are employed in evaluating situations and relationships. The moral standard of this level is viewed in terms of fairness, justice, and effectiveness. The scope of consideration for applying these values typically extends beyond tribal boundaries. Roughly 30% of the world’s population functions primarily at this level of consciousness.
  5. Pluralistic: At this level of consciousness, and egalitarian view predominates and people are valued because they are human beings, not because they are right or excel at some particular trait or skill. Love becomes the moral standard. Empathy becomes a globally usable skill and can be extended to any human being. Roughly 10% of the world’s population functions primarily at this level.
  6. Integral: At this level of consciousness the inherent value of all people and all levels of consciousness becomes apparent. The dispassionate reason of the Rational Level and the irrational love of the Pluralistic Level, are viewed as integral components of an effectively functioning system. The various views, approaches, and considerations of all the levels of consciousness are seen to function harmoniously rather than competitively IN THE PERSON. Roughly 1% of the world’s population functions primarily at this level.
  7. Transcendent: At this level of consciousness a sense of the divinity of all things emerges. Perception shifts from the harmonic interaction of disparate parts as seen from the Integral Level, to a wholistic view of all reality. All the parts of the universe are seen as one organic whole expressing itself in limitless ways. Roughly 01.% of the world’s population functions primarily at this level.

Another similar categorization of consciousness

By Deborah Ooten and Beth O’HaraAugust 2010 First published in The Enneagram Journal, Vol. 2, 2010, a peer-reviewed publication of the International Enneagram Association.

“What Gurdjieff calls ‘Objective science’ uses the musical analogy to depict a universe composed of a chain of energies that stretches from the lowest octave to the highest: each energy is transformed as it rises and falls, taking on a coarser or finer nature according to its place in the scale. At each specific level, an energy corresponds to a degree of intelligence, and it is consciousness itself, fluctuating within a wide range of vibrations, that determines human experience…Gurdjieff also affirms the reality of an absolute level of pure quality (always evolving). From this source, energies descend to meet and interact with the energies we know. When this intermingling of pure with gross takes place, it can change the meaning of our actions and the influence they bear on the world.” Peter Brook (Gurdjieff, 2008)


Our experience has shown that if the Enneagram is used as an isolated personality system, people can become more identified with their type rather than evolving. In Integral Psychology, Ken Wilber (2000) states that typology systems such as Meyers-Briggs, the Enneagram, and Jungian types are horizontal systems. While useful for self awareness, these systems do not describe the whole picture of human development. However, pairing a horizontal system like the Enneagram with a vertical system of the stages and waves of the unfolding of human consciousness like Spiral Dynamics®, “you can start to see what a truly multidimensional psychology might look like” (Wilber, p. 54). In order to bring about true evolutionary change in an individual and humanity, we believe that systems can help us understand and define the personality and the different levels of human consciousness. There are a number of systems that describe these two areas in the human being. The Enneagram of Personality is a dynamic and powerful personality typing system that assists individuals in elucidating their unique and particular personality structure; it is magnificent in its description of the psychological defense mechanisms that each and every one of us uses (Palmer, 1998). As we become more aware through self observation by understanding our patterns and habits, we are better able to make empowering conscious choices. Spiral Dynamics® is a system that offers a view of the evolution of human consciousness over the last 100,000 years (Graves, 2005). It is a superior tool for helping humanity to shift cultures. As we become more aware of the spectrum of human values and worldviews, we are capable of developing deeper insight into the core issues that are responsible for conflict or cohesion among people, groups, and cultures. When combined, each of these systems informs the other, allowing individuals to have a multi-dimensional understanding of their inner workings over their lifetimes and a broader view of the always evolving levels of consciousness operating within and without (Ooten, Unpublished).

The first phase of the study was completed in 2005 at the International Enneagram Association Conference in California with 38 individuals who were very familiar with their Enneagram types and who are widely known Enneagram teachers. Participants were taught the Spiral Dynamics system and then divided into nine groups based on Enneagram type. Each of the groups was asked to: “Give a one-word name that describes your Enneagram type at each level of consciousness,” (Figure 1) and to “Give a descriptive phrase that describes your type at each level of consciousness” (Figure 2). A consensus was reached among recognized Enneagram teachers and researchers of 63 archetypal titles and descriptions for each of the Enneagram types at each of the levels of consciousness.

The second phase of the research has been ongoing for the past five years. Deborah Ooten, Ph.D. has administered the Values Test to 230 individuals who were already familiar with their Enneagram type through training with Dr. Ooten or with other recognized Enneagram teachers and have taken Spiral Dynamics training with Dr. Ooten through outreach programs and the School of Conscious Living, a two-year IEA Accredited Enneagram Certification School. “The Values Test: Priorities for Life Choices, An Analysis of Seven vMemes, Worldviews and Belief Systems in People, Organizations, and Cultures” (Beck, 2002) is a scientific and validated analysis of an individual’s acceptance and rejection of the worldviews and values of the seven developmental levels of the Spiral Dynamics® system and tabulates the levels of consciousness operating in an individual and whether these levels are operating consciously (acceptance) or unconsciously (rejection). There have been 74 men (32%) and 156 women (68%), ranging in age from 21 to 65 years, who have participated in the study to date. The mean age is 47. The levels of consciousness develop sequentially, each level encompassing the levels before. While not all participants have developed to the highest levels, all levels of consciousness have been represented. Twentyone participants had developed to the Blue Level, 52 participants had developed to the Orange Level, 73 participants had developed to the Green Level, 65 had developed to the Yellow level and 19 had developed to the Turquoise level. Participants were then presented with the 63 archetypal titles and descriptions of the Enneagram types at each of the levels of consciousness. Participants were asked for their feedback on how well each of the titles and descriptive phrases described their type at each of the levels of consciousness. The original descriptions from 2005 have expanded based on the most frequent responses. This study is still continuing through students of the School of ConsciousLiving and will be published in more depth in Deborah Ooten’s upcoming book (Ooten, Unpublished).

This paper presents the Levels of Consciousness of the Enneagram through these 63 archetypal titles and descriptions. This look at the Enneagram personality types within each of the levels of consciousness elucidates the vast variety of characteristics of the Enneagram types beyond wings, dynamic movements and subtypes as well as bringing an added dimension to the lifetime work of conscious evolution.  

Spiral Dynamics®

Spiral Dynamics® was developed in 1970 by Dr. Clare Graves and has been elucidated since then by Drs. Don Beck, Chris Cowan and Natasha Todorovic, among others. This system describes a bio-psycho-social, double-helix, openended emergent model of human consciousness that provides a new way of framing and understanding the forces of human interactions and behavior through stages of human development (Graves, 2002; Graves, 2005; Beck, 2006). These stages can be applied to individual, organizational and geo-political nation-state levels (Beck, 2006). The expression of the level of consciousness is a product of interaction between external conditions of existence and internal complex adaptive systems. Nine basic levels or waves of human consciousness have been observed at this point, alternating “I” expressive and “We” sacrificing levels, divided into two tiers. In the first tier focus, there is conflict within levels and between levels. The second tier levels promote alternative, highly adaptive means of problem resolution. Each emergent level transcends the level before while also including the values, methods, and perspectives of the previous stages (Graves, 2002). Levels of Consciousness Spiral Dynamics® is an open-ended system, meaning that levels continue to emerge as humanity evolves. To date, eight levels of development have been clearly observed, studied, and documented (Graves, 2002; Graves, 2005; Beck, 2006). The ninth level of development is just now emerging, but not enough individuals have reached this level to accurately describe it yet. The image of the spiral is used because each level includes the values, skills, and mechanisms of the levels below it while becoming more adaptive, complex, and expansive (Beck, 2006). As we evolve through each of these stages, all previous levels of consciousness are still operating and can be expressed appropriately or inappropriately given the life conditions of the time, place, problems, and circumstances we face (Beck, 2006). While Clare Graves assigned letters to the levels during his double blind studies,the levels are now often referred to by the colors assigned by Beck and Cowan for simplicity, and we will adhere to their color naming scheme for this paper (2006).These levels apply across different types of development, including the span of time of human evolution, the continued maturation of the individual from infancy through adulthood, the progression of societies, and the stages of corporate culture (Wilber, 2000).

Beige The first level is the Beige level of existence. The Beige level of consciousness is concerned with instinctual drives of survival of the species and immediate gratification of the very basic needs of food, water, safety, and sex. This level is sensory-driven and has no concept of individuated self, no temporal concept beyond immediate needs, nor spatial concept beyond the occupied space. Individuals can decreasingly still be found existing primarily at this level in remote areas, living off the land in loose, small bands with no leadership. It is also expressed as the primary level of operation in newborn infants, late stage Alzheimer’s patients, and after extreme trauma and shock (Graves, 2002; Graves, 2005; Beck, 2006). Managing survival is completely integrated into the genetic code and social operations for most individuals today. Survival is rarely an issue and if so, then usually for only brief amounts of time. However, when survival is again an issue, this level rises to the forefront as during extreme events like the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Since the Beige level is inherent and fully integrated in 99.9 percent of all humans, it is not separately evaluated in the Values Test (Ooten, Unpublished). As additional energy becomes available to humans, observation of cause and effect emerges, and when competition and threats endanger satisfactory survival, the Beige level shifts to the next level. At this point, new neurological connections create an awareness of a distinct self as well as awareness that group efforts are needed to ensure continued existence (Beck, 2006).

Purple The Purple level is magical and animistic, and the core motivations are about keeping the spirits happy, the tribe safe, and ensuring continued gratification of basic needs. In this stage, the core belief is that the world is mysterious and frightening, and in order to survive, the tribe must band together to placate or appease the gods, spirits, deities, and authorities. The needs of the individual are subsumed in the group. In an animistic worldview, everything has meaning and is living, including the rocks, trees, and earth (Graves, 2005; Beck, 2006). This level is highly motivated by assurance of safety and survival, which is achieved through traditionalism and adherence to the tribal order (Graves, 1974). If and when the rituals, taboos, and tribal order become too constrictive or do not assure survival, some individuals will evolve to the next level, which focuses on expression of self for self-gratification (Ooten, Unpublished).

Red The Red level of consciousness is impulsive and egocentric. The core motivation is about doing what you want and being who you are, regardless of the consequences (Ooten, Unpublished). Neurotransmitters related to guilt are not physiologically present in individuals at this level, thus guilt is not expressed (Graves, 2005). The world is seen as rough and harsh; the mentality is about fighting to survive. At this level of consciousness, the needs of the individual outweigh the needs of the group. The individual expresses himself in an egocentric, exploitive, impulsive, control-driven manner. There are two categories of individuals at this level: the victim and the perpetrator, or a few “haves” and many “have nots” (Beck, 2006). Hedonism, immediate sensory gratification, power impulses and displays, and spontaneous guilt-free actions drive the individual. Individuals at this level are most motivated by survival fears, using any means of exploitation to attain power (Graves, 1974). When individuals begin to question why they must die and impulsive living takes its toll, some people will shift into the next wave of development (Graves, 1974).

Blue From the chaotic and usually short-lived lifestyle of the Red level, arises the Blue level of consciousness, wherein the individual becomes concerned with the world being divine, controlled and purposeful. There is obedience to authority and, for the first time in the developmental stages of humanity, the sense of guilt becomes present, thereby creating a desire at this level to do right, to do good, and to sacrifice now in order to obtain rewards in the afterlife (Ooten, Unpublished). At this level of consciousness, individuals are likely to find purpose in causes and to dedicate themselves to crusades or jihad. Fundamentalism predominates (Graves, 2002; Beck, 2006). “At this level man accepts his position in life. Inequality is a fact of life. He believes that the task of living is to strive for perfection in his assigned role—absolute perfection, regardless of how high or low his assigned station” (Graves, 2005, p. 254). Individuals operating at this level seek security of salvation through sacrifice. Tired of sacrificing for future gains, the Orange level arises, seeking immediate rewards (Graves, 1974).

Orange The ego becomes fully individuated at the Orange level of consciousness in a world view where independence, logic, competition, success, optimism and progress are highly valued (Ooten, Unpublished). Orange level thinking rationalizes the means to reach the ends. The scientific method is highly valued, yet learning is often through self-experimentation and observing what has worked for select others. Authority, however, is not highly respected. At this level, individuals are capable of seeing many ways to solve a problem; yet, they also believe there is always one best way. They are highly self-motivated and often shrewdly, subtly and strategically manipulate others to reach their goals (Graves, 2002). Paradoxically, individuals at the Orange level see themselves as highly objective, yet the ego is most subjective at this stage (Ooten, Unpublished). This level of consciousness is instrumental in raising quality of life through technological advances for the entire world and is also responsible for heavy depletion of natural resources (Graves, 2005; Beck, 2006). From the Orange level, people are motivated by independence and use scientism to achieve materialism (Graves, 1974).

Green From recognizing the intense pain that arises from ego individuation, independence and competition in the Orange level of thinking, the individual may realize that he or she has separated from fellow humans (Ooten, Unpublished). A need to connect and join in community with others develops in the transition into the Green level of consciousness where the valued group, inner peace and unity are valued over materialism. Thinking at the Green level is more expanded and open to more solutions than previous levels. Individuals at this level turn their attention to their fellow man and creating equality of rights, opportunities and resources (Graves, 2005). Yet paradoxically, this level becomes lost in self-contemplation and uses massive resources with little production. Acceptance and harmony within the valued group are key to the individual at this stage. Feelings and spirituality become more important than rational thought and materialism (Graves, 2005). This level of consciousness is highly idealistic and believes that all humans are equal and, as such, equal opportunity will allow all individuals to flourish. There is discrepancy when both freedom of expression and adherence to the group are equally valued. Consensus rules while change and action occur slowly in an attempt to maintain group harmony, consider all options, and maintain the status quo. This level also naively believes that all humans are loving, good, and can learn to appreciate one another (Graves, 2005; Beck, 2006). Individuals are motivated by affiliation and use sociocentricity to achieve a sense of community (Graves, 1974).

Yellow The transition from the First Tier of Consciousness to the Yellow level of the Second Tier is a “momentous leap” according to Clare Graves (1974, 2005), when the individual realizes that equally distributing resources among all people and expecting that all humans are equally good and loving creates more problems than it solves. This leap may occur when life conditions change to seriously threaten survival, and the individual/species has to relearn survival (Graves,2002). There are currently a small number of individuals who operate from the Second Tier of existence, but the species as a whole has not yet evolved to this level (Ooten, 2010). Adherence to the favored group in the Green level is transformed into acceptance of all people for who they are, where they are in the Second Tier. This acceptance allows individuals at the Yellow level of consciousness to speak to the listening of others, regardless of their level. Chaos is seen as part of the natural order and imperative for change (Graves, 2005). These individuals are highly flexible in their thinking and are able to see from a perspective that is larger than all the levels of the First Tier combined (Graves, 2005). The reality of existence is emphasized and interconnected with spirituality. The individual transcends self-centered, instinctual and emotional drives to a way of being that expresses self to the benefit of self and others (Ooten, Unpublished). Individuals at this level live from the knowing of the interconnectivity of all of humanity, and that what affects the individual, affects the whole. The focus becomes the continued existence of all of life (not just humanity), using whatever means are appropriate given place and time (Beck, 2006). Methods and thinking are fluid, adapting to conditions. If democracy is appropriate, democracy is used. If consensus is appropriate, consensus is used. Technology is highly utilized for self and all of humanity to rapidly network and interconnect with others at all levels of development, as well as to quickly produce solutions and resources for existential problems. People at this level can also express a level of arrogance about their broader perspectives and understandings (Graves, 2005; Beck, 2006). Individuals at the Yellow level of consciousness are motivated by the continuation of existence and use acceptance to ensure the continuation of life (Graves, 1974).

Turquoise The Turquoise level arises when the interconnecting technology of the Yellow level creates chaos and new global problems. In the Turquoise level, a sense of order is understood within the chaos of the universe, and spirituality and physics are combined for a deeper understanding of how the universe and multiverses operate (Graves, 2005). The idea of the holon is embodied (that the microcosm reflects the macrocosm and the macrocosm reflects the microcosm; or as above, below and as below, above). The individual is seen as a part of the larger cosmos, a conscious collective, which serves the whole and the one as the same, because they are not separate (Ooten, Unpublished). In the understanding of that Oneness, individuals at the Turquoise level are aware that all actions and nonactions impact all beings, all planetary bodies, the entire cosmos (Graves, 2005; Graves, 2002; Beck, 2006). Individuals at this level see the earth and all living beings that inhabit the earth as one organism and understand that sacrifices are necessary by all for life to continue. These individuals learn intuitively and experientially, are deeply grounded in the metaphysical, and live minimalistically to create more for all (Graves, 2005). With such a broad awareness, there may be difficulty with creating direct and focused action. Paradox is embraced and known as essential (Graves, 2005; Beck, 2006). Individuals who operate from the Turquoise level value experience and through experiencing, they create communion with all that is (Graves, 1974).

Enneagram Archetypes within Levels of Consciousness Spiral Dynamics is a model that describes phylogenetics, the evolution of the species. The Enneagram of Personality is a tool that details the fixated aspects of the individual and describes ontogentics, the development of the individual of the species. Pairing these two systems provides a map for the evolution of individuals through levels of consciousness. Through properly comprehending and applying these two systems, we can develop deep compassion and understanding for our fellow human beings and can be more effective in all endeavors (Ooten, Unpublished).


It is sad to see that many of our leaders, men that are so often praised and hailed in the media (take Lee Kuan Yew for example) evidently functioned at low level of consciousness. The insecure Lee Kuan Yew was evidently an ego-centric person who fell into the following category:

The Red level of consciousness is impulsive and egocentric. The core motivation is about doing what you want and being who you are, regardless of the consequences (Ooten, Unpublished). Neurotransmitters related to guilt are not physiologically present in individuals at this level, thus guilt is not expressed (Graves, 2005). The world is seen as rough and harsh; the mentality is about fighting to survive. At this level of consciousness, the needs of the individual outweigh the needs of the group. The individual expresses himself in an egocentric, exploitive, impulsive, control-driven manner. There are two categories of individuals at this level: the victim and the perpetrator, or a few “haves” and many “have nots” (Beck, 2006). Hedonism, immediate sensory gratification, power impulses and displays, and spontaneous guilt-free actions drive the individual. Individuals at this level are most motivated by survival fears, using any means of exploitation to attain power (Graves, 1974). When individuals begin to question why they must die and impulsive living takes its toll, some people will shift into the next wave of development (Graves, 1974).

Individualist: This level of consciousness centers around the defense and advancement of the ego, as the apex of physical consciousness. People functioning  at this level are focused on the avoidance or elimination of threat to their ego, person and property. This frequently surfaces as a need to control their environment and other people. Failure to have control is viewed as a grave detriment to the person’s ego and security. At this level of consciousness, the person’s ego and security are typically undifferentiated from their perceived wellbeing. Roughly 20% of the world’s population functions primarily at this level.

But this begs a question that for such people as Lee Kuan Yew to succeed, the majority of us must be living primarily on the same level or lower or hardly a level above. Only monkey would lead monkeys so to speak. You only need to take a look at quotes from Lee Kuan Yew to realize what kind of person he was. He was no Mandela nor Mahatma Gandhi. He had never said anything really great in character and the older he got the more you can see that he was nothing but an insecure man trying to hold on to power.

Taken from


Beyond Being

When the ego has been tamed due to the realization of the true nature of being, things become less personal. After all, the I encompasses all, seen and unseen within the whole timeline. That we are the universal essence of consciousness and that’s all to it. While each of us is contained in a specific body in this specific timeline, we are not those of our bodies neither are we those of our thoughts and feelings because those things are fleeting. The irony is that the realization of the true nature of being requires taming of the ego in the first place. I’d prefer to call it the cultivation of objectivity. When we cultivate objectivity, we lose our filter of subjectivity. In the attempt to be objective we lose the importance of our sense of self and thus we indulge the ego far less. The losing of this filter of subjectivity means that we are no longer skewing and distorting our perception with our beliefs or prejudices. We see things as they are. One of the traps of subjectivity is the creation of reality from our subjective,thus distorted, perception. As we believe in things, as we interfere with our perception we create our reality in accordance with our distorted perception. Simply said, as we act on our subjective beliefs which represent distorted truths, we make everyone around us and thus our own circumstances set in accordance with our distorted truths. For example, a man who is convinced he would not succeed in an endeavor would put no effort or much less effort in that particular endeavor of his. Another example would be a person who believes that everyone is hostile to him would act with certain extent of hostility towards everyone he encounters and thus inviting or becoming the source of hostility to himself.

When we do not cultivate objectivity we are but children and we put our fates in the hands of other people and our own ego. Whether we succeed or not then becomes a game of luck. Thus it is paramount to cultivate objectivity and only then a man can truly become an independent individual. The peak of objectivity, however, is the loss of personal identification that we call the ego. Although the person knows his history, he no longer identifies with his personal life. Sure he would still acknowledge his name and his relatives and family but the attachment to these identities has been broken. This would not have been possible, however, had it not been for the expansion of his consciousness or what I call glimpses of objective consciousness. Reasoning would not make a man a man. Good conduct to his being (i.e., the cultivation of objectivity) would and this in turn would enable the expansion of his consciousness that brings about the revolution of his being and nature. Although physically still an individual such person can no longer be thought as an ordinary individual for he has lost his attachment to his individuality. He would be called simply as witnessing consciousness. Dramas cannot take hold on him. And if such a person gets angry, his anger would be justified because he’s not being angry simply because he’s offended.  If such a person fights, his fight will be for all that is important not only to him but to everyone, directly or indirectly. In other words his life becomes a service to all consciousness which to him is one and universal in its true nature.

There’s however, the awareness that most people are living in their small selves and thus are but children that are prone to be harmed and prone to harm others. A sort of disappointment because he realizes that there seems to be no one like him and the world is hurting because the majority of people have no clue about the principle of being and thus never develop themselves beyond their small ego.

I long to see a world leader who has realized the true nature of his being. The vastness of being should not be contained in the smallness of our petty beliefs and ideologies. It should be let free. Fear is ignorance and ignorance is fear.

Spiritual Alchemy: When Trauma and Turmoil Lead to Spiritual Awakening

Originally published in the Scientific and Medical Network Review, Winter 2009

Spiritual experiences are overwhelmingly positive experiences. They are experiences of rapture, in which we perceive reality at a heightened intensity, feel a powerful sense of inner well-being, experience a sense of oneness with our surroundings and become aware of a force of benevolence and harmony which pervades the cosmos. When the experience is especially intense, the whole phenomenal world may dissolve into an ocean of blissful spiritual radiance, which we realise is the ground of all reality, the source from which the phenomenal world has arisen, and the real nature of our being.

It seems almost paradoxical, then, that these experiences are frequently induced by states of intense despair, depression, or mental turmoil. Many Network readers will be familiar with the work of Alister Hardy, who established the Religious Experience Research Unit at Oxford University in 1969 (it is now based at the University of Lampeter in Wales). When Hardy analysed the triggers of spiritual or religious experiences, he found that the most common trigger of them was ‘depression and despair.’ 18% of the experiences were apparently triggered by this, compared to 13% by prayer or meditation and 12% by natural beauty. [1] Over the last few years I have been collecting reports of spiritual experiences (or awakening experiences, as I prefer to call them), and have also found that many of them were triggered by trauma and turmoil.

For example, 25 years ago a woman named Emma was suffering from serious depression, which was partly the result of her upbringing by an emotionally abusive mother. She became so depressed that she felt suicidal and was hospitalised for several weeks. At one point in hospital, when she hadn’t spoken to anybody for four days, she picked up a marble that was lying on her bedside cabinet, and started playing with it her hands, watching it closely. All of a sudden, it was as if the familiar world melted away, replaced by a vision of beauty and perfection. As she describes it:

I saw reality as simply this perfect one-ness. I felt suddenly removed from everything that was personal. Everything seemed just right. The marble seemed a reflection of the universe. All my ‘problems’ and my suffering suddenly seemed meaningless, ridiculous, simply a misunderstanding of my true nature and everything around me. There was a feeling of acceptance and oneness. It was a moment of enlightenment.

A colleague of mine had a similar experience several years ago, after a long period of inner turmoil due to confusion about his sexuality, which led to the breakdown of his marriage:

It was our last family holiday before the break up. We were in Tunisia and went on an excursion down to the Sahara. We went on a camel ride across part of the desert and at the end of the day, I sat on the sand dune watching the sunset. There were quite a few people around but it was as if everyone else disappeared. Everything just ceased to be. I lost all sense of time. I lost myself. I had a feeling of being totally at one with nature, with a massive sense of peace. I was a part of the scene. There was no ‘me’ anymore. I was just sitting there watching the sun set over the desert, aware of the enormity of life, the power of nature, and I never wanted it to end.

Some of the experiences occurred during times of physical illness too. A recent student of mine – a middle aged lady – told me how several years ago she was seriously ill and spent four months in hospital. A lot of the time she was so weak and ill that she couldn’t get out of bed, and often felt depressed. However, occasionally this gave way to a powerful sense of serenity:

The first time I was ill, I was ill for six years and in hospital for four months. Even though I was very ill and in danger of dying there were times when I didn’t feel afraid at all. At times I had this marvellous sense that all was well, that there was a force supporting me, that I was being cradled… I felt a marvellous sense of well-being.

Another lady told me how once she had broken her hip and was confined to a hospital bed for weeks, feeling frustrated and uncomfortable. One day she was lying there when:

Out of the middle of my forehead intense energy seemed to be flowing out of my third eye. I didn’t know if anyone could see it. When my mother came in I felt intense love, the same for my friends and family. I felt such intense love and vulnerability. This lasted for six weeks. I felt connected to the universe, as if the source of everything was flowing through me.

Permanent Transformation

As well as one of the most common, these states of turmoil may be the most powerful trigger of awakening experiences, in the sense that the experiences they give rise to are usually of a very intense kind. The experiences are sometimes so powerful that they lead to permanent change of being, and even a permanent state of enlightenment.

Another recent student of mine – a senior lady – told me how, 30 years ago, she was in a very distraught state due to the breakdown of her marriage. As a church-going Christian, she felt that she had let herself – and God – down badly, and felt extremely guilty. She rang the rector of her local church to ask for help and he told her, ‘You are claiming your rights!’ She was not quite sure what he meant, but suddenly her guilt and pain dissolved away and she had a powerful mystical experience which is still very vivid: ‘There was a spinning sensation in my head and the top of my head seemed to open up – I felt a sense of being one with the universe…There was silence between me and the rector but I felt that ‘He’ [God] was there.’ She feels that this experience changed her permanently, that she has never been the same person since. As she describes it, A change had taken place in me. I was on a high – which has lasted – the honeymoon stage gradually faded – but I was no longer the person I was. That person is still within me and carries me through life with a wisdom which still surprises me’ (her italics).

As a part of my research for a new book, I have found many examples of such transformational experiences: for example, an alcoholic who reached ‘rock bottom’ and lost everything but then became liberated; a woman who has lived in a state of wakefulness ever since being told she had breast cancer; and a man who became paralysed after falling from a bridge onto a river bed, who struggled for months with pain and despair, then underwent a spiritual rebirth and now lives in a state of permanent bliss. These individuals all experienced a particular ‘point of transformation’, when they stopped resisting their predicament and ‘let go’. At this point they underwent a permanent psychological shift, a change to the structure of their psyche, after which they lived – and still live – in a constant state of well-being, with a constant of gratitude of the basic goods of life, a new sense of connection to the cosmos and a new sense of meaning and purpose.

It’s also very significant that many great spiritual teachers or gurus have found enlightenment after intense periods of mental torment. The most enlightened person I know personally is an 87 year-old spiritual teacher called Russel Williams, who has been the president of the Manchester Buddhist Society for over half a century. Russel had his first major enlightenment experience as a young man, after a long period of frustration. As he describes it:

I was in a state of desperation, very annoyed with myself. There was something I knew that I knew but couldn’t get access to it. There was something inside me that had to come out but wouldn’t. I was pushing it further and further away.

Eventually I was so desperate I shouted out ‘Somebody help me!’ Somebody dropped a blanket over me and I’ve never known such peace in all my life. It lasted three days. I was a completely different person inside. There was a sense of freedom and peace. And that freedom and peace have continued inside me right until now.

The contemporary spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle had a similar awakening experience. He writes that until his thirtieth year he ‘lived in an almost continuous anxiety interspersed with periods of suicidal depression.’ One night he woke up with ‘a feeling of absolute dread’ inside him and felt a strong desire to kill himself. This triggered a powerful spiritual experience, in which he was ‘drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy,’ and which led to a state of enlightenment:

Everything was fresh and pristine, as if it had just come into existence. I picked up things, a pencil, an empty bottle, marvelling at the beauty and aliveness of it all.

The next day I walked around the city in utter amazement at the miracles of life on earth, as if I had just been born into this world. [2]

The Sources of Spiritual Experiences

In order to understand these experiences, we need to understand how spiritual experiences are caused. In my view, there are two basic sources of them, which produce two fundamentally different types of experience.

The first are wild, ecstatic experiences caused by a disruption of the homeostasis of the human organism. These can occur as a result of fasting, sleep deprivation, drugs, breathing exercises, pain, dancing, and so on. All of these activities can put us ‘out of homeostasis’ – by changing our body temperature, blood pressure or metabolic rate, causing dehydration and exhaustion or chemical changes – and when this happens there’s a chance that we’ll experience a higher state of consciousness. (Although this certainly doesn’t always happen, of course. Most of the time the only effect that depriving yourself of sleep and food often has is to make you feel miserably tired and hungry.)

The second type of spiritual experiences are more serene and calm states which occur when there is an intensification and stillness of life-energy inside us. This can happen in any situation when we’re very relaxed, when there’s peacefulness around us, and when the mental chatter inside our heads fades away. In meditation, we make a conscious effort to intensify and still our life-energy by being inactive, by withdrawing our attention from the world around us, and by focusing on a mantra (or a candle flame or on our breathing or any other object) to slow down and quieten our mental chatter. As a result, meditation is probably the most effective way of generating spiritual experiences.

However, the experiences can also happen more spontaneously – in natural surroundings, for example, when there’s peacefulness around you and the beauty of nature has a similar effect to a mantra in meditation, focusing your attention and quietening your mental chatter. They often occur when people are listening to music or contemplating works of art. Certain sports are also very conducive to spiritual experiences, such as long-distance running or swimming. This is also probably part of the reason why spiritual experiences can occur during or after sex. The sheer pleasure of sex can have the effect of shifting our attention away from our ego-minds, which may fall silent as a result.

In my view, spiritual experiences induced by despair or mental turmoil belong to this second type. Perhaps the key to understanding the experiences is the concept of attachment. Normally, as human beings we are psychologically attached to a large number of constructs, such as hopes and ambitions for the future, beliefs and ideas concerning life and the world, the knowledge we have accumulated, and our image of ourselves, including our sense of status, our appearance and accomplishments and achievements. These are accoutrements which become attached to the sense of self but which are not actually a part of our true nature. At the same time, there are more tangible attachments, such as possessions, jobs, and other human beings whose approval and attention we might crave. These are the building blocks of the ego. We feel that we are ‘someone’ because we have hopes, beliefs, status, a job and possessions and because other people give us approval.

However, in states of despair and depression all of – or at least some of – these psychological attachments are broken. This is the very reason why you are in despair: because the constructs you’ve been depending for your well-being have been removed; the ‘scaffolding’ which supported your sense of identity has fallen away. Hopes and beliefs are revealed as illusions; your possessions and status have been taken away, your friends or lovers have rejected you. As a result, you feel naked and lost, as if your identity has been destroyed. But at this very point you are, paradoxically, close to a state of liberation. You are in a state of detachment. Your Self has been released from external constructs. In an instant, therefore, the pain of despair and desolation can switch into a state of freedom and joy.

This is close to the interpretation which Russel Williams and Eckhart Tolle have given of their awakening experiences. According to Russel, his enlightenment experience was a matter of ‘Letting go of everything which I thought was me. The frustration was so much that my old self has to give way.’ While according to Eckhart Tolle, his experience was ‘a death of the sense of self which lived through identifications, identifications with my story, things around me in the world. Something arose at that moment that was a sense of deep and intense stillness and aliveness, beingness.’ [3] In other words, both of these teachers saw their enlightenment experiences in terms of detachment.

This may also be why some severe alcoholics and other addicts have powerful awakening experiences when they reach ‘rock bottom’, when their addiction has destroyed their lives and they can no longer sustain themselves with hopes or illusions. A middle-aged man who I interviewed lost everything due his alcoholism – his wife and children, his job, his house and his savings. He considered killing himself but he’d been brought up in a spiritualist family and believed in life after death, so realised that suicide no solution. He started to attend AA meetings, and after two weeks, he decided to go through the process of ‘handing over’ his problem to a higher power. As he described it to me:

I physically sat down that night and handed it over. And I would class it as a miracle. Sitting in front of the gas fire with the wallpaper peeling off, I felt so content, so at peace, it was quite unbelievable.

After that there was a two-year period when I felt like I was on honeymoon. I didn’t have a trouble in the world. I owned nothing, I was happy to own nothing, and it was like I was watching everybody else, feeling sorry for them because they hadn’t got what I’d got. It’s this understanding that there is something working a higher level than you are, that you don’t have anything to worry about.

In fact, one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson, had a similar experience, when he was lying in hospital after a drinking binge, in a state of mental and physical collapse. According to his biographer, ‘there was nothing ahead but death or madness. This was the finish, the jumping off place.’ But then, in Wilson’s own words:

Suddenly, my room blazed with an indescribably white light. I was seized with an ecstasy beyond description…A wind, not of air, but of spirit [blew through me]. In great, clean strength it blew right through me. Then came the blazing thought, ”You are a free man.”…A great peace stole over me and…I became acutely conscious of a presence which seemed like a veritable sea of living spirit. I lay on the shores of a new world. [4]

In both these cases, their attachments had been destroyed by their addiction. Every external kind of support – relationships, status, hopes and illusions – had dissolved away, so that they were completely desolate and completely free. In the words of Stan Grof, speaking generally of alcoholics and addicts who reach this point, ‘the person is left naked, with nothing but the core of his or her being.’ [5]

But this may also be, at a deeper level, connected to an intensification of life-energy. Attachments to possessions or to other human beings consume our life-energy. Simply maintaining the attachments uses up life-energy – for example, the constant effort to sustain our wealth and status, to defend our beliefs against other people’s, or to keep the approval of others. And in a more subtle way, these attachments exist as ‘psychological forms’ which are present within our minds even when we aren’t aware of them. You can picture them as a whole network of forms which constitute one overall structure of attachment within our psyche. And there has to be a continual of energy to maintain this structure, in the same way that there has to be a continual input of energy to maintain the physical structure of the body.

As a result, when these attachments dissolve there is a sudden release of a large portion of life-energy. And now that this structure of attachment no longer fills our psyche, there is a sudden new clarity and openness inside us, a new sense of wholeness. Our life-energy becomes intensified and stilled, and therefore we have a powerful spiritual experience.

Encountering Death

This is also why encountering death is such a powerful trigger of spiritual experiences. Like states of despair and depression, facing death may occasionally induce a state of detachment, in which the individual spontaneously releases herself from psychological attachments. The German Zen Buddhist Karlfried Von Durckheim experienced this during the First World War, when being surrounded by death made him aware of that there was a part of his being which transcended physical extinction. Later, he collected reports of similar experiences during the Second World War, and found that they were surprisingly common. He found examples amongst soldiers who believed they were about to die on the battlefield, inmates of concentration camps who had lost all hope or survival, and people who were convinced they were about to die in bombing raids. [6]

Such realisations can also occur after a person is diagnosed with a fatal illness, and is told they only have a certain amount of time left to live. Initially he or she experiences feelings of bitterness and despair, which may give way to a sense of serenity and acceptance and a new spiritual perception. When, in 1994, the English playwright Dennis Potter discovered he was dying of prostate cancer he paradoxically became happier and more at peace with the world than he had ever been before, and also developed an intense awareness of the nowness of his experience and the beautiful is-ness of the world. As he said during an interview shortly before he died:

We forget that life can only be defined in the present tense. It is is is. And it is now only…

That nowness becomes so vivid to me that in a perverse sort of way I’m serene. I can celebrate life…The nowness of everything is absolutely wonderful…The fact is that if you see, in the present tense – boy, can you see it; boy, can you celebrate it. [7]

Many people who return from encounters with death – either because a threat passes or they make a miraculous recovery – undergo a permanent spiritual shift. Of course, this is one the most significant features of near-death experiences. Most of those who undergo the experience gain a new spiritual outlook, becoming less materialistic and egotistical and more compassionate, more concerned with helping and serving others than fulfilling their own desires and ambitions. They are no longer afraid of death, they develop either new or intensified religious and spiritual beliefs (though realising the inadequacy of organised religion), and may even develop paranormal abilities. They also report a much greater capacity for joy, and a heightened appreciation of beauty. [8] These effects may not only be due to the content of the NDE – e.g. the sense of profound well-being, an encounter with a being of light or deceased relatives, or the life-review – but also to a simple and direct encounter with death.

Like intense despair and desolation, imminent death dissolves psychological attachments. If you know you are going to die soon, there can be no more hopes or ambitions for you. Your possessions, your successes, the status and the knowledge you’ve accumulated can have no more meaning, now that you are going to be separated from them forever. The normal worries and concerns of daily life fade away for you too, as does your attachment to your career and to the people whose approval you sought.

This is why, initially at least, facing death is a painful experience. You are stripped of the externalities which give you your sense of identity, security and well-being. You are literally reduced to nothing. Many people do not move beyond this pain; for them the process of dying is simply a depressing and devastating experience, not redeemed by any sense of joy or meaning. But for some people this state of enforced detachment brings about a shift to a spiritual state. As the attachments dissolve, there is a sudden intensification and stilling of life-energy, enabling the dying person to look at the world with fresh, child-like vision, to experience serenity and peace inside, and to become aware of their essential oneness with the cosmos.

Long Term Spiritual Development

We can look at long term spiritual development in these terms too. Many spiritual teachers have told us that in order to ‘find God’ or to become one with our true self or with the universe, we have to detach ourselves from possessions, social status and ambitions. Spiritual development means gradually becoming naked, emptying the soul so that the fullness of the spirit can enter. In order to do this, throughout history spiritual seekers have turned away from the everyday world of work and families and chosen to live in the forest, desert or monastery. In all spiritual traditions, adepts are expected to practice ‘voluntary poverty’, to have a bare minimum of possessions, and to live without any unnecessary comforts and luxuries. They are expected to make spiritual development the only goal of their life, and not to have ‘worldly ambitions’ for fame, success or power.

We can see this life of renunciation as an attempt to avoid the ‘energy-drainage’ caused by attachments, so that the seekers could generate a permanently high level of life-energy, and therefore a permanently spiritual state. This underlying purpose of this process of ‘conscious detachment’ was noted by the scholar of mysticism Evelyn Underhill, who described it as a process of ‘stripping or purging away of those superfluous, unreal, and harmful things which dissipate the precious energies of the self.’ [9]. The practice of ‘voluntary poverty’, for example, can be seen as a method of stopping our life-energy being drained away by possessions. As Meister Eckhart wrote, ‘There are men who completely dissipate the powers of the soul in the outward man. These are the people who direct all their aims and intelligence towards transient possessions.’ [10] And many mystics and spiritual teachers would say the same of ambitions, relationships and ‘worldly pleasures.’

This process of detachment is equivalent to the long periods of suffering and turmoil endured by Eckhart Tolle and Russel Williams before their enlightenment experiences. The only difference is that for them this happened involuntarily, whereas mystics undertake this process consciously. The mystics made themselves suffer, while they simply suffered.

So where does this leave us? Does it mean that we have to suffer in order to have spiritual experiences or become enlightened? Do we have to make our lives as barren and miserable as possible, to renounce the world, take vows of silence and sleep on cold stone floors for years?

Of course not – there is a ‘middle way’ between this extreme suffering and a life of attachment. As we live our lives, we should try to make sure that we don’t become too dependent upon externalities like money, status, hopes, beliefs, our self-image and other people. We should try to make sure that we’re always partly rooted inside ourselves, so that we never give ourselves completely away to the world. We should remember that the only true source of well-being lies inside us, and that to attach ourselves to externalities means losing touch with this. Through making a conscious effort to remain self-sufficient and connected to our true selves, our beings will be open and free, and there will always be space for Spirit to flow through.


  1. Hardy, A. (1979). The spiritual Nature of Man. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  2. Tolle, E. (1999). The Power of Now. London: Hodder And Staughton, p.2.
  3. Cohen, A. (2000). ‘Ripples of the surface of being: An interview with Eckhart Tolle.’ What is Enlightenment? 18, Fall/Winter 2000, p.53.
  4. Walsh, R. (ed.) (1993.) Paths beyond Ego, New York: Tarcher, pp.146.
  5. ibid., pp.146-7.
  6. Watts. A. (1973). In my own Way. London: Cape.
  7. Fenwick, P. & E. (1995). The Truth in the Light. London: Headline. P.201.
  8. see. Fenwick, op. cit; Grey, M. (1985) Return from Death. London: Arkana; Moody, R. 1975). Life after Life. New York: Bantam Books.
  9. Underhill, E. (1911/1960) Mysticism. London: Methuen, p.204.
  10. Meister Eckhart: From whom God Hid Nothing (1996). Ed. David O’Neal. Boston:Shambhala, p.117.

Taken from: http://www.stevenmtaylor.com/essays/spiritual-alchemy/

Until One Frees Itself From the Externals, Its Being Shall Not Be Truly Free

As a result of my ordeal in Singapore in 2002 and the following years of prolong persecution and abuse, I believe I suffer from mild post traumatic stress disorder which is characterized among others by continual vigilance or tension. PTSD itself as I understood is a spectrum wide disorder. Now this has been a hindrance for me to completely realize my being. I’ve noticed that only when I free myself from my external circumstances, only when I feel free that my being is brought upon its highest potential, to a fuller transcendental state. Otherwise, my glimpses of Objective Consciousness, my transpersonal experiences, would be far more limited. Thus I’ve learned that to shut myself from the manifestations of others, to maintain control over my own feelings, thoughts, actions, and beliefs through the wisdom of objectivity is to live free and to realize my being. Unfortunately, it is easier said than done as the hold of ego can be addictive and strong.

The mastery over ego is not easy and to be in fuller transcendent state, one needs to free oneself from the discomforts and pains of the external things. It’s similar to taking the initiative in military whereby one’s action should not be dictated by the maneuvers of one’s enemy so it is with the mastery of self. While it is true that some environments would offer more freedom than others, ultimately, the ability to react independently of one’s circumstances denotes genuine mastery over self (ego) which is the pathway to self transcendence, the realization of one’s being.

To bear unpleasant manifestations of others and not letting them affecting the inner world of oneself is an exercise of mastery over self that will lead, with time, to transpersonal living. As hard as it is, a simple realization that one has always a choice in any circumstances brings a powerful awareness that one is ultimately in control of one’s reaction and decision, both inwardly and outwardly and not anybody else. Opening access to anybody else to one’s inner world is losing control and initiative and ultimately to give that person power over oneself which goes against the practice of self mastery, the cessation of one’s identification with the ego.

In the shortest possible sentence, the way to transpersonal living which is characterized by glimpses of objective consciousness or transpersonal experiences is gained through the cultivation of objectivity. The cultivation of objectivity inevitably must involve the switch of one’s mode of living, from ego center to more objective mode of being. It also means that the switch would not have been possible without the assertion of one’s self control or mastery over self (over one’s ego). This is why over centuries, the methods to spiritual enlightenment, which transpersonal living is, have been named many different things, namely: the annihilation of ego, the destruction of self, self mastery, mindfulness practice, etc. They all refer to the same thing i.e, the cultivation of objectivity. Although the more traditional methods to transpersonal living may involve a strict discipline of meditation or martial arts, these varying methods are not the root of the cause but what they brought upon is. Medtiation, the correct mental rigor of martial arts and the rigor of correct religious practices develop mastery over self with time.

Ultimately, the failure to attempt to realize one’s being is a failure to recognize the mandate of being which is to graduate from personification into pure BEing that transcends space, time, and individuality.

Worth reading link on Maslow and Spirituality: http://www.mang.canterbury.ac.nz/people/nilakant/spirit/abraham_maslow_and_spirituality.htm

Transpersonal Living

As one continues to develop his/her objective consciousness, gradually, he/she begins a journey towards transpersonal living. Transpersonal living is the consequence of losing one’s identification with the ego. It is the transcendence of space, time, and individuality in one’s being and since it involves the transcendence of the three aforementioned elements, the use of the word ‘transpersonal’ may be regarded as insufficient to describe such state of being. However, one of the strongest indications of the defeat of the ego is not only the ‘ability’ to span space and time but also that of individuality and it is perhaps the most defining characteristic to denote the realization of one’s being. Arguably, even the spanning of space and time most of the time involves the transcendence of individuality. Thus the word transpersonal living, a person who loses himself/herself (his/her ego) but gains everything in return. Hence the words of sages that until one loses oneself, one can never find oneself.

In such state one realizes that every being is not separate nor external to oneself. And that every being is contained within. However, in my experience it is the realized Self and not the ego that chooses what to experience as oneself in any moment of time. Meaning that while one does experience transpersonal experience, one doesn’t lose one’s perspective of individuality, only the attachment to the false ego.

It’s a bit of an irony in the end that what cultures denote as satan might be best described as the perfect embodiment of ego and it too ‘rents’ its existence by virtue of God’s generosity. Thus, the ego is the nemesis of the Infinite Creative, the Supreme All Encompassing Being we all call God.

Interestingly, psychology has been trying to get a better understanding of transpersonal experience. The study of transpersonal living is called transpersonal psychology. Carl Jung and Abraham Maslow were among those who were very much interested in studying transpersonal experience. Sadly, modern science has decided it knows better and now largely refuses to accept that such notion is even possible. Much of the work of Jung and Maslow in transpersonal psychology has remained largely hidden from mainstream knowledge unlike other parts of their work. There have been attempts too to discredit transpersonal living as a form of mental illness or psychosis! But the truth doesn’t need to pay homage to society nor science for the matter. When society rejects the truth it will face direct and indirect consequences to its ignorance, as will science (imagine what kind of revolutionary possibilities could be made possible with scientific understanding of transpersonal experience! Mankind would find itself suddenly hurled into a big leap of evolution!).

Thus, for now, transpersonal living is meant for those select people who have reached a certain stage of development to their being. The people who have become disillusioned of their false egos. People who are waking up to life. The ego is the nemesis of God, the ego is thus the primary obstacle to God. The Jacob’s ladder to God is the annihilation of the ego. The individual remains but his/her ego has been vanquished. The result is an objective being, one that’s living a transpersonal existence. One that is more acceptable to God.

More on transpersonal psychology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transpersonal_psychology


A Probable Reason Why God Would Create the Illusion of Individuality

Through experiential objective consciousness there is no doubt to me that every living being including the unseen lives by virtue of existing within the universal and singular consciousness. Furthermore, because I believe in God (had seen God while I was a kid) I tend to see this singular and universal consciousness that makes possible the existence of virtually every living being as part of God or simply God. Although most beings are unaware that they live within God so that they think their individualities are real and operate from the so called ego center which is the internal personal identification they ascribe themselves, however, because everything takes place within God and nothing outside, all beings are part of God by virtue of living within God.

The only idea I could guess as to why God would want to create this illusion of individuality from Himself is that God wanted to share His existence, His perfection so to speak that He created the illusion of individuality in order to develop each self to be on par with God (at least in terms of consciousness). In the end, every being that has realized it is being part of God would retain its ‘self’ while being like God thus enabling God to ‘produce’ gods who exist by virtue of God’s creativity as these gods exist by virtue of being part of the one God. In short, individuals rent while God owns everything and is the only thing that’s real and alive in any moment, even when there’s no being alive in the entire universe.

Thus, the purpose of the whole creation could be the propagation of God’s consciousness. Small selves serve the purpose of being the seeds planted for the development of their consciousness. God wishes to beget gods, probably out of His loving kindness to share the existence of Himself in similar perfection of Himself that is unconditioned, unbounded as is. This probability would open the possibility of reincarnation as small selves preserved as souls would need to continually being reintroduced into being to ultimately reach the stage of full development of their consciousness and graduate from being into all that is.

If this is true then the purpose of the whole creation is schooling, the education of each small self for its consciousness development for the sake of graduating from being into all that is. You could also say evolution but not arbitrary evolution by natural selection. Instead, the purpose of creation is conscious evolution, not that of physical but of spirit as the body is but a vessel to this conscious evolution process. Therefore, all things considered, nothing is more important than one’s development of consciousness that’s cultivated from behaviors i.e., the cultivation of objectivity or what others call self-mastery. This refers to the mastery over ego that develops one’s being that translates directly into the development of one’s consciousness.

Erwin Schrodinger, a renown German quantum physicist and Nobel laureate was known of his fascination with the Hindu’s Vedanta. He was quoted to have said the following words: “Vedanta teaches that consciousness is singular, all happenings are played out in one universal consciousness and there’s no multiplicity of selves“.

The idea that the self is an illusion is not exclusive to any one religion. The following link deals with Islamic mysticism called Sufism that writes about the annihilation of ego as a way to transcend consciousness, to be one with the God all encompassing:


Other informative link on the annihilation of ego self in order to realize the illusory nature of being with a little quote from it provided below:


As with my previous warning take in what is suitable to you. DO NOT assume that other parts of the same link are credible.

As for the experience of being assimilated into oneness, what we find is a profound loneliness. Our mind expects to find heaven and/or Nirvana. We do experience a profound freedom and infinity of being. But once we get over the profound freedom and ability to span time and place, we find there is no one else. We are totally alone. We are the Creator before Creation.

What needs to be understood is that when become one with the consciousness within, or behind, Creation, we have its perception of Creation. We no longer have our perception as an aspect or part of whole. We are in the perception of the whole. In this perception, there is no other but ourselves. Our ego and the Ego of All that Exists or the ego of the consciousness within or behind Creation become one. We return to that point of being alone and desiring a playmate as described in the Creation Story for the Creativity Perspective.

Furthermore, the idea of objective consciousness (just a term to denote a different kind of consciousness than its ordinary subjective counterpart) is not non-sense. Science has been slow to acknowledge this and it has become much like a religion. When Boltzmann proposed the concept of atom, those within the scientific community bitterly opposed and ridiculed him due to their rationale that atom could not have existed since it could not be seen. Greatness or excellence is not to be found in the majority. In fact the nemesis of greatness is the mediocre majority hence the term the tyranny of mediocrity. The driving force of life for the majority of people is fear thus the majority of people tend to look favorably into preexisting orders and conceptions even when they are stupid and morally unjustifiable. In short, the majority of people are followers, even those in leadership roles. There are few bold men and women who dare to be genuine individuals. Most of people never really go through their complete individuation process thus they partly become what society expects them to become and behave i.e., followers. It’s a sad testimony to mankind that the majority of human beings never get to experience objective consciousness in their whole lives. While it is true that we were not born into this world with a manual, most people lost their independence in the experience of living, on becoming and forgot about being. Until we really explore what it means to be a human being, until we really understand the nature of being we will never really be a complete human being we are destined to be.

But with a society ruled by the tyranny of mediocrity, greatness is often mistaken as madness unless of course that greatness is not really that great then it would be called greatness because it fits the idea of mediocre people. New ideas become accepted not because people change their minds about them but because new generation grew up with their notions.

The vast majority of human beings dislike and even actually dread all notions with which they are not familiar… Hence it comes about that at their first appearance innovators have generally been persecuted, and always derided as fools and madmen.”  Aldous Huxley