Question about "Waking Up" states - gradual or skipable?

First of all, I appreciate Ken, Robb and everyone who develop and maintain this ILP site and community. I recently found that this ILP site contains a lot more than I expected before, and I am pleased to put my long-time question here.

I am trying to be more integral and to the way to the Integral insight. Yet, I am mostly on the way in Waking Up path. What I am wondering about is “states” in “Waking Up” path based on the terminologies in “Integral Meditation.” From the book and other books by Ken, the states are listed as gross, subtle, causal, turiya(Witness or I-I) and turiyatita(Non-dual or Unity Consciousness.) in this order. And in my understanding (that coulb be wrong,) the next state requires the previous state, up to turiyatita, and then, turiyatita can be shared by any previous 4 states. Here go my questions.

  1. If I start the meditation with neti, neti process, I feel like I skipped the previous 2 states - subtle and causal. Is it because I am not enough sensitive to subtle and causal states? So actually do I go through the 2 states, even within a second? FYI, I am a 10+ year meditator with various traditions (though I have a long way to go…)

  2. When I reach the turiyatita ( I mean a glimpse of it…) the One Taste seems to be gross and non-dual. But I could not find any descriptions about experience of subtle + non-dual and causal + non-dual from any books of Ken, or I may have missed it. Can anyone give any advice or share experience?

To me, Ken’s books and explanation on spectrum and states have been the clearest ones, but I could not get any appropriate answers from other teachers because each has their own structure of spectrum and states.


P.S. For clarification, my questions is not asking in terms of state-stage or center of gravity (though any opinions in this regard are completely fine.) I am asking about the meditative experience during the regular meditation session or daily-life post meditation.

So, Ken describes that there are states and stages, and then a bit more nuance, state-stages. States can be jumped, but one’s center of gravity (state-stage) seems to work by transcending and including.
You want to experience a high state of mind? Take dmt. You want to live in a high state of mind, life practice.
If you aim high, you will be carried through the lower states, but at times perhaps focusing in on the lower states could be a more direct teaching. Teachers are helpful in this way. You don’t want addictions or allergies, so try practices that bring you into those higher states without developing addictions or allergies to the lower or higher.
As far as states go, I believe you only really experience one at a time. You cannot be both happy And sad. I mean I’ve just heard Ken say this and it makes sense to some degree. I would also not get too attached to the language describing each state, and counting them and so on. People describe them very differently. To me it seems like there are 3, 4 or 5. One being ignorant of awakening, 2 being aware of awakening, 3 being empty mind (nirvana, eckhart tolle), 4 being unity (meeting god, merging, i and father are 1, jesus), 5 supermind (aurobindo really is the only person who talks about this, and no one really knows what it is, but generally speaking it seems to be the healing of the split of matter and spirit, awakened atoms, and might be the merging of the singularity and sages). So, i think until we get more brain science data, the picture of what these states are and what state-stages are will remain a bit cloudy. Also, statestages probably differ according to type.

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Hey Kensho…I am a new member, and enjoyed your post…you wrote “5 Supermind (aurobindo really is the only person who talks about this, and no-one really knows what it is”…

If you have a look at the thread about the ‘natural rights of holons’, you will see a post by MJLS. He has direct experience of this state of Being…

( Sunyata/Void/Infinity )

He has been my Teacher and friend for many years, and is most certainly a ‘living Buddha’. My experiences with him leave me with no doubt of that.

He would be a good one for you to ‘connect’ with.


Cool! I like his writing. It reads clear. Yeah, I’d be interested to hear his opinions on “supermind” and integral theory. Thanks Brett!

Just to weigh in on Supermind–Wilber writes about this pretty thoroughly in “The Religion of Tomorrow.” He addresses at least one difference he has with Aurobindo about it: whereas Aurobindo “…tends to assume that Supermind is the source of involution…I believe that Supermind is the summation of evolution…” (pg.246) In another place he says: “Put bluntly, it (Supermind) transcends and includes the entire universe to date.” And on that same page (241): “Thus, as the radical leading edge of evolution itself, combined or conjoined with the highest state realization, Supermind is the upper limit of both Growing Up and Waking Up (and hence, Showing Up.) These most primordial and significant growth and development processes in humans are now radically unified at their very end limits–a superhuman condition if ever there was one.”

These quotes are just a sampling of his comments on Supermind, certainly not his entire description.

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Thanks to all replied on my question.

For those who may be interested in this question, I will answer on my question - found from the book, “Integral Buddhism.”

  1. On p.37, “But Somebody at a gross state can peak experience a causal or even Nondual state. And mindfulness meditation has you start out by identifying with Witnessing awareness.” That would mean that the lower states can be skipable.

  2. On p.43, “…,where a person’s Awareness is one with all gross, subtle, and causal phenomena, but exclusively identified with none of them.” So subtle+non-dual or causal+non-dual would be experienced as Oneness with phenomena in subtle or in causal.

Hope that it helps.

Sri Aurobindo considered Supermind as one of the planes of consciousness and existence, not just state realisation or structural growth.