An Essay on
© 2008 by Academic Services International, Los Lunas, NM, USA
Definitions - Continued
The Levels of Consciousness
Consciousness is often described as being a ladder-like series of planes or levels, and sometimes as an arrangement of concentric circles. Both descriptions are accurate.
The essential factor is that one is "here" (in the dense physical world) and is intent upon getting to "there" (union with the primordial consciousness). The journey from "here" to "there," sometimes called the spiritual path, involves several alterations in awareness as one acclimates to expanded states of perception.
Although it may be convenient to categorize these succeeding levels as being "up," they are actually "in." That is, all external perception is illusionary, for it is simply a holographic projection of the mystic's inner life upon an external, three-dimensional matrix. Thus, we ultimately discover that the primordial consciousness (the "Adi" ) is not "up there," but rather is "deep inside," covered over with screens and veils that are composed of various forms of glamour and illusion.
"Everything in the Universe is nothing but thought."
These Levels of Consciousness have been symbolized in several ways, but three descriptions are somewhat familiar to the western mystic: The Seven Planes, The Tree of Life, and the Concentric Circles.
The Seven Planes
Consciousness can be described as being a ladder-like series of planes or levels, with the dense physical plane at the bottom and the primordial consciousness (the "Adi") at the top. There is reference to seven planes that are further divided into forty-nine subplanes. The aspirant is therefore required to rise up through these planes, each of which is considered to be "higher" and "more expanded" than the level(s) that are "lower" on the chart.
The Tree of Life
Consciousness can be described as being an offset, ladder-like series of levels, planes or spheres, with the dense physical plane at the bottom and the monadic consciousness (the "Monad") at the top, with the primordial consciousness (the "Adi") surrounding the entire Tree.The aspirant is therefore required to rise up through these spheres, each of which is considered to be "higher" and "more expanded" than the level(s) that are "lower" on the Tree.
Note that both The Seven Planes and The Tree of Life represent the same concepts of consciousness, and can easily be correlated with each other:
Consciousness can be also be described in a series of circles that progressively expand or contract.
Expanding circles place terra firma at the center. This arrangement would be suitable for the magician who views "higher" consciousness as being "up" and "out," as if he or she is astral projecting or expanding into more subtle levels of awareness:
Contracting circles place terra firma at the outer rim. This arrangement would be suitable for the mystic who views "higher" consciousness as being "in," as if he or she is rejecting the illusionary matrix and internalizing into more subtle levels of awareness: