How developmental consciousness is important to the evolution of spirituality
(It’s long…give it a read if you can…😊)
“The process of growing the intrinsic human capacity for self-transcendence, in which the self is embedded in something greater than the self, including the sacred. It is the developmental engine that propels the search for connectedness, meaning, purpose and contribution. It is shaped both within and outside of religious traditions, beliefs, and practices”. —- Benson, Roehlkepartain, & Rude.
It is said that we are approaching a unique time in the history of man and science where empirical measures and deductive reasoning can actually inform us spiritually. Any system that processes and integrates information, be it organic or inorganic, experiences the world subjectively to some degree. Consciousness is spread throughout space like a cosmic web of experience. Of course awareness is greatest where there is significant information integration, but in essence, mind is everywhere. Reflective self-consciousness is an explicit, conceptual, and objectifying awareness that takes a lower-order consciousness as its attentional theme. It is the mind’s inner mirror that reflects to us what we’re doing and thinking, and lets us ponder that. It provides the capacity for self-appraisal, self-judgment, self-correction, and self-guidance. Developmental consciousness simply reveals an underlying harmony in nature, and a sweeping mental presence that isn’t confined to biological systems. What it yields is a new kind of evolving spirituality that paints a picture of a soulful existence that even the most diehard materialist or devout atheist can unashamedly get behind. “The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity.”—Albert Einstein
While most humans currently evolve, at best, through only two major stages of development, prepersonal and personal levels, everyone possesses the potential to develop into, through, and beyond the transpersonal stages, which transcend yet include, belief, reason, and our waking identity. Together these stages and their non-dual culmination describe the spectrum of consciousness. Each of these stages appears to be characterized not only by a particular approach to living but by a particular approach to waking up from the dream of life. Who we think we are at any particular stage of our development is determined by how we define ourselves. “I am” means, “I identify with…
Stages of Identification
Prepersonal: (-9 mos. To 5)
Early prepersonal: “I am my sensations.” Identification with the body.
Mid-prepersonal: “I am my preferences.” (Likes/dislikes): Identification with emotions.
Late prepersonal: “I am my ego:” powerful, narcissistic, heroic: Identification with ego
Personal: (5 to 20+)
Early personal: “I am my memberships.”: Identification with name, race, family, school, team, country, religion
Mid-personal: “I am my competencies.”: Identification with rationality, capabilities, responsibilities, status.
Late personal: “I am my inclusiveness.”: Identification with the world, world culture and ecosystem
Vision-Logic: “I am multi-perspectival.”: Identification with multiple points of view
Early transpersonal: “I am energy and nature.”: Identification with energy and nature
Mid-transpersonal: “I am devotion and bliss.”: Identification with God, divinity
Late-transpersonal: “I am no self.”: Identification with formless wellsprings of creativity
Non-Dual: “I am all of these selves and none of them”: Identification with life.
As we understand, consciousness develops through recognizable stages, each stage revealing a markedly different understanding of the world. The holistic evolution of nature which produces everywhere higher and higher wholes, shows up in the human psyche as development or growth. A person’s growth, from infancy to adulthood, is a miniature version of cosmic evolution; psychological growth or development in humans is a microcosmic reflection of universal growth on the whole, and has the same goal: the unfolding of ever higher-order unities and integrations. Modern developmental psychology has studied various levels, stages and strata of the human constitution-mind, personality, psychosexuality, character, consciousness. If the lower stages and levels of the psyche are instinctual, impulsive, libidinous, and the middle stages are socially-adapted, mentally-adjusted, egolcally integrated, the higher stages are a marvelously high-order unity, unity of the self with the cosmos.
Evolution is the ascent of consciousness from matter to body to mind to soul to spirit. Consciousness evolves from an unconscious fusion with matter into identification with the characteristics of the prepersonal, prepersonal, and transpersonal until it achieves stable identification with non-dual spirit. We tend to think of spiritual evolution as moving to experience the higher frequency bands, for example love, peace, harmony, evolving from one state of being to another through developmental consciousness.