Gross and subtle realms - how to move more to the gross from the subtle

From what I’ve read of integral theory and Hindu philosophy, it seems the stages of spiritual development move from the gross to the subtle, to the causal, to non-dual, then to unity consciousness.

However, I would like to know what the thoughts are on accessing previous stages. I find my centre of gravity is mainly in the subtle realm, and has been for a long time. When I drink alcohol, I’m able to access more fully what I think is the gross realm (perhaps it isn’t though) - I’m able to be fully present and see everything in the ‘real’ world so clearly. I find meditation helps me do this as well, but it does require a lot of meditation. I wonder what people’s thoughts are on this and any methods people know for someone to be able to access this realm whenever they choose - surely it should be quite simple for someone who has had experience of being fully in the gross realm… which I had up until about the age of 15, when I suddenly accessed the subtle. But groundedness in the gross realm now seems so difficult to access.

However, I also know groundedness is something that a lot of people find difficult. Is this to do with difficulty returning to the gross realm?

Thank you for any insights.

Hi Julia :slight_smile: Offering out a few thoughts here that could be useful, but I can’t know without directly working with a person, have more familiarity with a person, and in the end I still entrust to everyone I work with their own experience and decisions for what is useful and meaningful :slight_smile:

I gave a talk on the three states in a recent Buddhist Geeks Integral Dharma training, though it was focused more on subtle, causal, but I do talk about attachments to those realms, as well as nondual.

With respect to the gross realm and groundedness, another talk I gave might be relevant, What is Embodied Awareness:

And really I highly recommend Judith Blackstone’s work, The Realization Process, of which I am a teacher. Her process is really about grounding in the gross realm and showing that we have access to all three bodies through are lived daily experience. For example, we can experience radical openess/emptiness throughout our body and environment. She doesn’t use the integral terminology, but that’s the deal.

The gross realm is always here, so we don’t return to it per se, we constrict our experience of the gross realm, disembody, disassociate in subtle or coarse ways, and often these patterns are habitual and need patience and self-compassion for them to heal, unwind in time.

Thank you so much for your helpful comment. I really liked your talk on embodied awareness. I think this is a type of meditation I should try more of and that seems like it would be helpful for a lot of people who tend to dissociate. I’ve been doing a lot of vipassana for the past few years in the tradition of S N Goenke, and the focus is in fact very centred on reaching the subtle and causal, rather than the gross, and I’ve actually just realised the irony of me doing this meditation when I do in fact want to go in the other direction. But I am also striving after the causal after experiencing that, which I cannot reach again because striving…

Thanks a lot. I will look further into this. I also liked your video on the different states. It’s something else I wanted to look into more - the idea of addiction to subtle and causal, and know some further places to look now. Thanks :slight_smile:

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