Non-Dual Consciousness

Levels of Development: Week 2

Non-Dual Consciousness
Friday, December 18, 2015

People who have moved to second tier consciousness finally have the humility to include the value of every previous stage while also moving beyond its limiting boundaries. Ken Wilber writes, “Using what we would recognize as mature vision-logic, second-tier awareness thinks in terms of the overall spiral of existence, and not merely in terms of any one level.” [1] He says only healthy religion is prepared to be the conveyor belt to move you all the way to the top stages, to the mystical level. Education can get you to the Green level, but information of itself cannot get you to the enlightenment stage. That’s what the saints meant when they said it is done to you. You can’t do it on your own, although you can allow it. Or you may be dragged there, kicking and screaming, through the sufferings and loves of your life which slowly transform you. Only 1% of the world’s population and 5% of those in power have grown to the second tier. [2]

Here we can acknowledge that at certain times an earlier level response is required. As Ken Wilber writes, “In emergency situations, we can activate red power drives; in response to chaos, we might need to activate blue order; in looking for a new job, we might need orange achievement drives; in marriage and with friends, close green bonding.” [3] Second-tier consciousness sees the full picture of development and knows that each step is necessary to wholeness.

The seventh stage is the Yellow Integrative level. It first became observable around fifty years ago. The basic theme is to “Live fully and responsibly as what you are, and learn to become more” of what you are. [4] At this level, individuals can think both horizontally and vertically. Hierarchies are valued again if they are actualizing people. You stop overreacting to all authority as Orange and Green levels do. When we use the word “hierarchy” here I am not talking about the Catholic hierarchy of roles and power, although there are some overlaps. I am talking about any notion of higher and lower, better and worse. This is what was rejected at the Green level, where you thought no one is better than anyone else. At the wisdom level, you can acknowledge, “She is smarter than I am; he is better educated than I am; she is more enlightened than I am; he has something to teach me.” This comes with the overwhelming humility of the enlightened stages. Truly holy people are always humble and never rebellious.

At the Yellow level, human lives and society are seen much like vibrant, resilient ecosystems where chaos and fluctuation are expected. People at this level bring to the table flexibility, spontaneity, and functionality. They respect and value differences and find ways to integrate them into interdependent processes.

The last stage Spiral Dynamics has identified is the Turquoise or Holistic level. Its basic theme is to “Experience the wholeness of existence through mind and spirit.” [5] Taking the metaphor of ecosystems even further, the Turquoise level understands the entire world as “a single, dynamic organism with its own collective mind.” [6] I would call it the mind and body of Christ. While people at this stage can recognize their individuality and separateness, they can hold the paradox of also being a part of the whole, connected with everything else in existence. Intuition and cooperation rather than violence are now the primary modes of thinking and doing. These people can actually live Jesus’ command to love their enemies, which is quite unlikely in the first tier where such thinking is both absurd and impossible.

There may be even more stages we have not yet glimpsed or imagined; but the second-tier, Yellow and Turquoise levels help us understand that the trajectory of life is headed somewhere good, toward union. Trust the process and surrender to the urgings of life, gradually growing you up into fullness.

Gateway to Silence:
Transcend and include

[1] Ken Wilber, “The Integral Vision at the Millennium,” Part I, excerpts from Introduction to The Collected Works of Ken Wilber, Volume 7 (Shambhala: 2000),

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Don Beck in an interview with Jessica Roemischer, “The Never-Ending Upward Quest,” What Is Enlightenment?, Fall/Winter 2002,, 7.

[5] Ibid., 7.

[6] Ibid., 7.

Numbers only; no punctuation

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