A continuing explanation of the nine levels of spiritual maturation.
In my previous article, the first three levels of consciousness/spirituality were discussed. The levels discussed prior as well as those to be discussed later in this post, are examples individual, group and global levels of spirituality/consciousness based on the work of child psychologists, adult psychologists and religious mystics. The information shared in these posts comes from the book Putting on the Mind of Christ by Jim Marion, an American Christian mystic.
The fourth level on Ken Wilbur’s map that is being discussed is the Rational level. This is the dominant level of spirituality/consciousness found in the world today. (Think of the advances in sciences, government, the media, etc.). This level usually begins in adolescence and is marked by the ability to begin to think abstractly and to understand, at a deeper level, general statements (i.e. all men are created equal). But remember, as with any level, not every person will learn enough to move to the next level; some will move quickly from the Mythical level into a high level of the Rational; some will only move to a lower level of the Rational; some won’t move at all and will remain in the Mythic level.
A person who has reached the lower Rational consciousness/spirituality level, while able to think a bit abstractly, tends to more often think in clichés and has few original thoughts or insights. Those at the lower levels of this spirituality/conscious level haven’t yet developed the ability to think clearly enough to articulate what they want to express.
Those who move into the higher levels of the Rational are interested in abstract concepts and are open to, and are making an effort to, expand their minds and their consciousness/spirituality. At this level though, one can easily fall prey to ideology – one system of thinking at the exclusion of all others.
Finally, there are those who have mastered abstract thought and logic and move to the top of the Rational level. These individuals can begin to look at things from a global perspective and are creative because they can create original thoughts and ideas. Think of scientists and artists in today’s world and the creativity that comes from them.
While the Rational level of spirituality/consciousness dominates today’s world, its grasp is not total. Many adults in today’s world are only at the beginning of the Rational level or have yet to make it out of the Mythic level. Many fundamentalist religions, no matter the faith, are made up of individuals still in the Mythic level – holding onto their world view that their religion is the only true religion. Since they cannot grasp concepts beyond the Mythic level, they are stuck and will remain there, or at any level, unless they seek help.
The fifth level of consciousness/spirituality is known as the Vision-Logic level. A person who has developed to this level is incredibly creative and is a “great thinker”. Think of Einstein, Shakespeare, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Steven Hawking, etc. A person at this level can go beyond abstract thinking and reasoning and take in many different perspectives, integrate them and put them together in new and sometimes surprising ways.
For a person at this level of spirituality/consciousness, Ideology is no longer problem. Because of their ability to look at things globally, one no longer sees things from just one perspective – be it race, religion, sex, whatever – but can see from the perspective of one of six billion people on the planet. The Vision-Logic person is very tolerant of other religions, cultures and races and appreciates other perspectives and philosophies.
Because of the global perspective of the Vision-Logic level, and the fact that there are many at this level in high level positions in government, industry and academia, concepts of global thinking are becoming dominant. For those at most of the Rational level grades, this is acceptable and they can be led in this direction. For those at lower levels however, the idea of a global community is terrifying, and there is no way those at the Mythic level will go along with this approach without a fight. To those at this level, a global community is the work of the devil.