The planes of consciousness

The experiential nature of the training at CCPE was full of interesting topics such as the seminars on the planes of consciousness.  My challenge was was to ascertain what is a meaningful definition of soul for me?  That question is essentially a big part of the transpersonal journey.  Neuroscientists may typically have a materialistic and reductionist view of human evolution – in that who we are is merely defined by the interaction of neurons in our brain – but those in transpersonal circles believe in the movement of energy, soul journey and deeper existential feelings concerning meaning and purpose.

Some general points made by facilitators:

Soul is receptive by nature, it absorbs impressions, takes on impressions, consciousness starts to identify.  The ideas of Almaas :  Morphing capacity of soul? Can shift and take on different shapes.  Soul has a wonderful fluidity. It can be dynamic and ever changing.  Our minds like to compartmentalise things in our everyday life. When we enter life, we require limitation, (parents, culture, race etc), but soul does not know limitation.

Socialisation means taming our animalistic nature. Children attending nursery school settings and coming up against rules.   Soul has to deal with restriction and gets overlaid with impressions with its journey through life.

Key Qualities of the Planes of consciousness

 Level One: The instinctual/mind/self

• Associated with the earth and the physical world.
• The soul’s experience is one of encountering limitation and the existential suffering of being human.
• The test of limitation offers the possibilities of mastery, of discovering meaning and
purpose and the opportunity to manifest latent qualities.
• The test of limitation may also be a lesson in surrender and acceptance of the
• Distortions of this plane are greed, materialism and a limiting identification with the
instinctual nature.

Level Two: (b) The lower mind or the “computerized self”

• Thinking is logical, concrete and conventional.
• Thoughts are mixed with feelings which are largely unconscious giving rise to outbursts
of irrationality.
• Distortions of the lower mind are confused, muddled and circular thinking. There is a dense, dull, murky and sluggish quality to the mind.
• The test of this level of the mind is to learn to listen to our intuition.

Level Two: (a) The creative mind/self

• Thinking is clear, creative and makes connections and links.
• The person is insightful, understanding, perceptive and can be inspiring.
• The person has a quality of genius and imagination finding creative solutions.
• This is the realm of Jung’s archetypes.
• Distortions of this plane include being hard to pin down, changeable in mood and
frequent change of mind. Souls who resonate with this plane find it difficult to commit, become bored and restless easily and are often one jump ahead.
• The test at this level is of being resourceful, creative and insightful.

Level Three: The loving self

• Souls impressed with this plane are loving by nature, innocent, connected to nature and
beauty, trusting and have a strong desire for harmony. They are often gentle, playful and
childlike. They are often romantic and find meaning through relationships.
• Distortions at this level include a lack of discrimination, an inability to tolerate conflict, being easily manipulated and in turn are manipulative. They often attract abuse and adopt a victim identity. They can be sentimental, needy and dependent.
• They are often tested in love and must learn to assert themselves and to discriminate.

Level Four: The wise self

• Qualities at this level include truth, justice, mastery, faith, power, will, a desire for
authenticity and an inner idealism.
• Meaning, purpose and accomplishment are of great importance along with independence.
• Distortions include abuse of power, dominating, controlling and being driven.
Dishonesty, obsessive behaviour, violence, wilfulness and fundamentalism are also
distortions of the fourth level.
• There is a battle to free the soul from the ego’s grasp.
• Wisdom and compassion arise as a result of the tests and lessons encountered.

Level Five: The angelic/religious self

• The emotion of this level is one of peacefulness, sacredness, glorification, ecstasy, majesty and sovereignty.
• There is a longing to worship, pray and praise the splendour of the Divine.
• The memory of the splendour of the soul and the negative self image acquired in the experiences of life, often leads the soul attuned to the fifth level feeling flawed in their self image. A soul impressed strongly with this level finds life jarring and there is a deep longing for peace.
• The spiritual lesson is of recovering the connection to the splendour, majesty and
sacredness of the soul.

Level Six: The Pure self

• At this level, consciousness is impersonal, immaculate, detached, serene and clear. The soul experiences solitude, clarity, freedom and spaciousness. Consciousness is impersonal and detached giving rise to the Witness. The soul is pure and free of impressions.
• Souls impressed with this level find it hard to incarnate experiencing the world as
imperfect and there is a distaste of the instinctual aspects of being human.
• Distortions include perfectionism, fastidiousness, indifference, coldness and rigidity.
• The spiritual lesson of this plane is forgiveness.

Level Seven: The transcendent state

• This is the level of unity, eternal Oneness beyond the existence and the manifest state. It is impersonal, transcendental – all is absorbed back into Oneness. There is no personal sense of self.

CCPE Notes Angela Gruber

It is important to realise that these planes represent a spectrum along which we can potentially flirt with each plane without being fixed on any particular one. It is also important to appreciate the distinction between stages and states.States are free and temporary (can be arrived at by engaging in peak experiences or by artificial means such as by taking drugs) but perhaps stages have to be earned (by undertaking a regular spiritual practice).