Continuing to compare the Alice Bailey/Wisdom levels with those of Integral/Wilber, we move on to Group Seven in the Bailey model and the Green level in Integral.
Group Seven and the Green levels are often associated with the Hippie type of person. The picture I choose here is meant to symbolize the idealism of this group as they shift into spiritual levels, along with the impracticality, naivete, and kind of fake and pretentious way they approach spiritual practice.
Integral Levels of Development
As always in these posts I start with the Integral Map and its seven to ten levels.
And, here is another chart zooming in on what is emphasized above.
And, here is the Ageless Wisdom map, with its 61 levels, 12 of which are found within the Egoic Lotus..
10 Soul Groups of Alice Bailey & Integral Connections.
Again, a reminder that in Esoteric Psychology II, (EP II) pp. 203 – 207, 10 groups of evolving humanity are presented. We will now examine Group Seven. Another reminder, EP II was written nearly 80 years ago.
Group 7 & Green.
In Esoteric Psychology, Vol II, (EP II) p. 207, lets us know that Group Seven is made up primarily of “mystics.” It is important to understand, however, that these mystics are also thought to have highly developed minds. Group Seven comes after Group Six where the logical concrete mind is developed and the abstract mind is coming into play. They are simply going beyond mind, beyond rational into “trans-rational.” But, as we will see there is a lot of confusion regarding this stage. In the Integral teachings they call this the “pre/trans” fallacy, and this distinction is one of Wilber’s brilliant contributions. What this means is that too often people confuse the levels of what Integral calls Amber and Green, or what the Bailey model refers to as Group Five and Group Seven. (Note: I will be doing a separate post on this to further clarify). So, as we get into Group 7 we need to understand that those at this level are building upon the achievements of Group Six and the development of the logical and somewhat abstract mind. If there are those who seem mystical and “New Agey” and have not developed the mind, then they are actually more in Group 5 and Amber.
Acknowledging this we will move onto Michael Robbins exposition on Group Seven in his Egoic Lotus Webinar Commentaries 4 Series starts at the beginning of the two hour video commentary around 15:00. Here is where we start to see the Love/Sacrifice petal opening up in the Egoic Lotus. (Petals are symbolic of stages of growth). Now the individual moves onto what the Bailey books call the Path of Probation. To let those of you who are not already immersed in the Bailey teachings know, there are certain short-hand names that indicate where a person is on the spiritual path. First, there is the aspirant. These are people who aspire to know the Real, but don’t do more than make haphazard attempts. Aspirants were correlated to Group Six and the Integral Orange level (see my previous post on this). Next, there are probationers. Robbins says when you are on the probationary path “you are willing to be tested, to start to subject yourself to real discipline (related to sacrifice).” Probationers are also called “probationary disciples.” Next, you go on to various stages of discipleship including the Disciple, Accepting Disciple, and Accepted Disciple. After this stage you go on to become the Initiate, of which there are nine initiatory levels. I will explain more about all of this in posts to come.
As mentioned, at the Group Seven level one is starting to open the Love/Sacrifice petal. After this stage (as we move into Group Eight) a quantum leap is made into the Sacrifice petals and the real spiritual work begins. I am mentioning this here because the word “sacrifice” is used quite often in the Bailey teachings and it is not a word that a lot of people respond to very well. In fact, in the Integral model and in the various talks and books I have read from Wilber and Integral, I don’t recall Wilber ever talking about sacrifice, though he does mention service somewhat. As we shall see, “sacrifice” is quite important in the Bailey teachings and we will come to see in later posts why this is the case. For now, let’s go back to a description of Group Seven.
Here we are told that the individual is much more willing to improve oneself. The self-improvement spoken of here is quite different than that which is found at the Group Six (which correlates to the Orange level of Integral). Here the notion of “self” is shifting from “self” with a small “s” (which is highly individualistic and selfish) to “Self” with a big “S” (which is more wholistic and unselfish in nature). In fact, it is precisely at this level that the whole notion of the pairs of opposites emerges, where one enters upon the mystical path that characteristically involves a lower/egotistical self, looking for a higher/Egoic self. And, the whole notion of a Higher and lower self is used quite frequently at this stage.
EP II also says that those in this group, “are the sensitive, struggling people, who long for release from failure and from the existence in the world today.” To start with, let’s put this sentence in context. Again Group Seven comes out of Group Six. In Group Six we have individuals who were the “cream of humanity” (at least in the physical and material sense). They reached great heights of mastery over the physical world and were often rewarded highly for their efforts putting them in the forefront as the intelligentsia, financiers, political rulers, and heads of corporations. In short, they reaped all the physical rewards this world has to offer. Yet, these rewards were often built on a foundation of selfishness. Even if they were generous somewhat (as noble patrons), that generosity (as mentioned in the post on Group Six) was still fairly limited compared to what they really had to offer, keeping much of their wealth and power still to themselves. However, as they continue to evolve spiritually, they see that all this material success still does not bring them to the Real. They fall short of understanding their true nature. In this way, despite having achieved all, they remain failures. The physical world did not give them what they longed for. So, if true “happiness” or “bliss” is not to be found in the world, maybe it is found “out” of the world, causing that inner dissatisfaction with the world that pushes one to want to be released from it.
In many ways these individuals are torn between two worlds — the physical world which they were once masters of, and the spiritual worlds, which they are just beginning to truly comprehend. EP II says, “They cannot yet control themselves as they should, and the higher illumination remains as yet a joyous hope and final possibility.”
I will now go on to share more of what Robbins has to say. He indicates first of all that those at this stage are restless and in many respects driven by the spiritual impulse which is within, but they are not practical. And, he says that they may be mentally colossal, wanting to build big and mighty things (in thought etc), but at the same time they don’t really want to work at it as meticulously as they should. For me, this process seems a bit like a hangover from Group Six. In that stage they reached the heights of success. Now, they are like “newbies.” Instead of having the humility to acknowledge that maybe they don’t know much, they still might have a tendency to place themselves in the forefront as instantly enlightened spiritual leaders, with grand schemes and plans that again put them in the forefront (as super advanced) and allow them to retain all the goodies they got when they were in Group Six (in the way of lots of money, sex, and powerful influence over others). In truth, however, they are like spiritual babies who despite their grand ideas about themselves, haven’t done very much. Unwilling to “fall” and loose too much prestige as they move into the spiritual realms, they keep pursuing rapid spiritual shortcuts that elevate them above everyone else.
Robbins adds to this the idea that they are excited by all the various religious/spiritual possibilities, going here and there spiritually, which is just like the well-known phrase going through the “spiritual smorgasbord.” Robbins then talks about how they look to guides and teachers to help instantly enlighten them. (It may even be the case that after a few brief meetings with a spiritual teacher, they confuse the spiritual high they get from being around a teacher as proof of their own instant high spiritual status and enlightenment). If they have not already elevated themselves to a super high spiritual status in a short period of time, there may still be a tendency to “name-drop” spiritual teachers they have visited and make much out of the spiritual disciplines they have practiced. All of this is basically similar to the tendency of Group Six types to want to hang on to their status and prestige by letting others know they are around those who are considered to have status and power, only they are reverting to those with spiritual status now.
Robbins then goes on to say how those in Group Seven often want release from an inner sense of failure (when being in Group Six didn’t give them real spiritual sustenance) into a quick sense of spiritual liberation usually by moving towards poetry, drugs, ecstatic experiences, or anything to help facilitate the escape they are looking for from their inner sense of failure and to launch them almost instantly into spiritual success. He also indicates that they want everything to be pure and perfect without having to get their hands dirty too much. I believe this too is a status hangover in that as they move into the spiritual path they want to be seen in the right spiritual clothes, eat the right spiritual foods, and so forth. There is nothing wrong with this, this is a phase like every other phase. (Using my words here now) The emphasis primarily is making sure the spiritual path is relatively easy, that it helps you be surrounded by the “right” spiritual people, helps you keep healthy, fit, and financially secure, takes you to glamorous spiritual “hot spots,” gets you “in the know” with famous gurus, helps you get and maintain instant spiritual status for yourself, and helps you arrive at a final goal of “enlightenment or unity consciousness” in one instant moment that is akin to something that comes out of a modern movie. To use Robbins words, he says that they want that which is wonderful, beautiful, high, attractive, pleasant, easy, and quick. And, they are usually willing primarily only to submit themselves to these kind of paths. (Maybe this is why Robbins calls this the New Age petal).
Robbins goes on to say that they have touched the soul and are overstimulated by it, but not yet psychically controlled. This is because many do not want to submit to the mental disciplines preferring to get into higher “states” instead. Again as probationer disciples they will submit to certain disciplines, but not sufficiently enough. One of the reasons for the avoidance of developing the mind in regards to knowledge of the higher spiritual realms, Robbins says, is because they like to think of the mind as the slayer of the real. What they don’t understand is that the mind can reveal the real as well. Maybe again this is an aversion to being in Group Six where the mind was more developed, but mainly through the concrete mind. In Group Six the mind is logical, practical, rational. The irrationality and aversion to mind that seems to emerge at Group Seven, may be due to a sense of impatience driven by the sense that one is losing status and importance. If we remember, Group Six was results oriented. In the material world results are easier to come by and prove. You have so much money in your bank account, you dress and look a certain way, you apply certain effects using a scientific method and certain results are assured. When faced with the mass amounts of abstract knowledge (the Egoic Lotus and Group Seven take us more into the abstract mind levels), there can often be a level of both overwhelm and aversion. It all seems too much, too complicated, and too confusing. In short, Group Seven simply doesn’t want to “go there” much at all.
Using the classic language of psychology they may be going through what is known as a “reaction formation.” They have formed a reaction to the lower concrete scientific mind, which may have got them results in the physical/material world, but did not give them the release they hoped for. For this reason they may be averse to applying scientific method to the inner realms. In addition, even if they wanted to use a more scientific approach they would argue that they don’t have the technological tools. Being in a hurry to have spiritual status (in addition to the material status they may or may not still possess), they simply don’t want to wait for those technological tools to be developed.
In conclusion, Group Seven is well meaning and in their growing realization of the “higher realms” they manage to do some good. Yes, too often they are lost, unrealistic, and in their spiritual quest overly egotistical (without their even realizing or acknowledging it) frequently claiming spiritual status they do not deserve. Still, they are raising humanity (and themselves) in their own way. As Robbins says, they are not yet the full disciple who really has control of the mind. And, I would add they have yet to realize how far they still have to go to really relinquish their selfish egos.
Integral and Green
And, here again are quotes directly from An Overview of Developmental Stages of Consciousness compiled by Barrett C. Brown, Integral Institute April 3, 2006.
Values: Bottom line: Community harmony and equality. Basic theme: Seek peace within the inner self and explore, with others, the caring dimensions of community What’s important: Sensitivity to others and the environment; feelings and caring (in response to the cold rationality of Orange); harmony and equality; reconciliation, consensus, dialogue, participation, relationships, and networking; human development, bonding and spirituality; diversity and multiculturalism; relativism and pluralism; freeing the human spirit from greed, dogma, and divisiveness; distributing the earth’s resources and opportunities equally among all Where seen: Frequently visible in the helping professions (e.g., health care, education, and feelings-oriented business activities); John Lennon’s Imagine; Netherlands’ idealism; sensitivity training; cooperative inquiry; postmodernism; politically correct; human rights and diversity issues
Self-Identity: Main focus: Self in relation to the system and in interaction with the system. Qualities: Makes decisions based upon their own view of reality; aware that interpreting reality “always depends on the position of the observer”; more tolerant of oneself and others due to awareness of life’s complexity and individual differences; questions old identities; more interested in personal accomplishments independent of socially sanctioned rewards; increased understanding of complexity, systemic connections, and unintended effects of actions; begins to question own assumptions and those of others; talks of interpretations rather than truth; systematic problem solving; begins to seek out and value feedback How influences others: Adapts (ignores) rules when needed, or invents new ones; discusses issues and airs differences
The Two Models Compared.
As we move into the description of the Green levels there seems to be a gap in their model. The leap from Orange to Green seems to be, quite frankly, too much, too soon. I say this because when you read the description of Green above, it doesn’t seem to match Group Seven much at all, yet the phase of Group Seven most of us would acknowledge is very real.
The descriptions of Group Seven do, however, match what Ken Wilber talks about in his conversations about “Boomeritis.” In fact, when you read about Boomeritis (a phrase that comes from the problems that emerged with the “Boomer” generation of mainly the 1960’s took control), Boomeritis sounds a lot like what Bailey teaches about Group Seven in general. “Boomers” (according to Wilber) tend to be more spiritual than religious in an orthodox way (with orthodoxy following the rules and regulations handed down to them by others, which is something Amber and Group Five is more prone to do). Boomers are more likely to go on a quest to find the Higher Self (or whatever you call it), and to approach the spiritual path with a sense of dualism (polarity, opposites). Boomers also may speak of “Oneness” and may accept all paths as equal, but Wilber says they are often making a mess of everything because they put everyone on an equal level (Mother Teresa and Hitler being the same for example).
The tendency to make everyone equal comes from a lack of mental discernment, and an emotional idealism (let’s just love everybody), that is wonderful in its idealism, but not in its realism. Boomers also tend to run around telling people not to judge others or be judgmental, when in fact, they are constantly judging others for being too judgemental. Their desire not to judge also represents their confusion between the critical put-down nature of the lower concrete mind, and the inclusive discerning nature of the higher mind (especially when it comes to the Buddhic plane). Because of their overly independent orientation to spirituality, and their confusion (between the higher Buddhic levels of mind and the lower concrete levels of mind), Boomers frequently dislike any mention of levels and hierarchy because they feel they are only designed to judge, ostracize, belittle, and repress people, especially marginalized groups.
And, Boomers, in their desire to escape this realm and the trappings of the gross world and gross physical body, want to hang out more in the subtle body and subtle realms. (Getting high in the way Robbins talks about). In the subtle realms we spend more time focusing on the dream state, astral travel, drug experiences, mystical states, raising the kundalini to obtain high states and psychic powers, and other highs that come from intense emotional and even sexual experiences. There is nothing wrong with experiencing any of these states. This is a natural phase that we all go through at some level. Still, as Wilber loves to emphasize, there is a big difference between states and stages, and just because you can get yourself into all kinds of states (or spiritual highs) it doesn’t really prove very much as from a stage (or levels) approach you still may have a long way to go.
Moving away from what Wilber says about “Boomeritis” into what the text from Brown says about the Green level (written above), the notion of Boomeritis doesn’t seem to be reflected much there. Still, to let you know I have often heard Wilber associate Boomeritis and the Green level together. When I read what Brown has to say about Green, it makes me wonder if Brown is presenting us with the more mature and ideal ways in which we hope Green might be. Yes, they often want consensus and want to avoid judgments. Yes, they are often found in the helping and healing professions. True, they want their own “view of reality” and often talk about things like “create your own reality” and ideas like “quantum physics” without really understanding how these things work. Never mind that they don’t really understand quantum physics and are resorting to what well known quantum physicist Amit Goswami calls in his Quantum Activist documentary “solipsism” (where people think that they are the only ones creating what is so in the world and no longer acknowledge the role of the group). And, yes, there is also more talk about systems and building cooperative groups and so forth. I just feel that more distinctions need to be made between Boomeritis (which is similar to what is written about Group Seven with its many glamours), and how eventually it becomes a more mature process in the way Brown represents the Green level.
Again below is a map of terms that we use throughout the rest of this blog.
Have comments, questions, suggestions? They will be posted so long as they are civil and expand the discussion.
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