Roberto Assagioli about psychological levels
“The collective unconscious is a vast world stretching from the biological to the spiritual level, in which therefore distinctions of origin, nature, quality and value must be made.” (C. G. Jung and Psychosynthesis)
“The third group of symbols, a frequently occurring one, is that of elevation, ascent or conquest of the ‘inner space’ in an ascending sense. There is a series of inner worlds, each with its own special characteristics, and within each of them there are higher levels and lower levels. Thus in the first of these, the world of passions and feelings, there is a great distance, a marked disparity of level, between blind passion and the higher feelings. Then there is the world of intelligence, or the mind. Here too there are different levels of higher, philosophical reason (nous). There is also the world of the imagination, a lower variety and a higher variety, the world of intuition, the world of the will, and then, higher still, those indescribable worlds referred to by the term ‘worlds of transcendence’.” (Transpersonal Development, p. 84, 2007)
“From a basic, original absolute reality, a series of levels of life, intellect, feeling and material life has developed, through gradual differentiation, to the point of inorganic matter. Thus every quality or attribute of the eternal world, of matter itself, and of the countless different creatures is but a pale, obscure reflection of a quality or attribute of the spiritual Reality, the Divine Being.” (Transpersonal Development, p. 251, 2007)
“It is quite possible, although at this time we do not have scientific proof that the different unconscious levels are in reality different fields of energy which interpenetrate, but which would be almost impossible to present in a two-dimensional diagram.” (Psychosynthesis p. 200)
“The psychiatrist Urban talks about the ‘spectrum of consciousness’ and says that we are only aware of a limited range, similar to that of the spectrum of light from red to violet, but he says there are also psycho-spiritual regions corresponding to infra-red and ultraviolet. It is possible for our area of consciousness to expand or broaden to include ever larger regions of psycho-spiritual impressions and ideas. This expansion may be understood in ‘spherical’ terms, implying expansion in all directions, both vertically and horizontally from the individual to the group, to society and to the whole of humanity.” (Transpersonal Development, p. 85, 2007)
“Now that gives me an opportunity to take up another essential point of psychosynthesis, that of the various levels of reality. There are various levels of reality, or if you like a modern term – energy fields. Each has its own qualities and laws.” (Talks on the Self)
“… one can conceive a direction of dimension going from “matter”, as we know it, through other and more refined states of “substance” and energy to the realms of Vitality (Prana), of Feeling, of Mind; concrete and abstract; and on up to the sphere of pure spirit.” (Undated, The Cognitive (Scientific-Philosophic) Way – Archive Assagioli, Florence, in folder Height Psychology ))
“We can get a good idea of the different kinds of action and their definite stages, which we propose to master in meditation—from the analogy of a missile being sent into space, pursuing its course and returning to earth. A corresponding cycle takes place in the meditation process.
The first stage is that of projection. The propelling energy of the missile conquering the downward pull of gravity projects it upwards into orbit around the earth, or beyond. In the same way we can project our center of consciousness upwards, through the sphere of feeling and imagination, and penetrate to the world of thought and even further—to transpersonal levels, Our propelling energy is that of aspiration, which has aptly been called “fiery aspiration”, and we direct it—as in fact we must direct the whole meditation process by the great unrealized potency of the will.” (From the article: Meditation)
“As we consider the subject of love we need to bear this overall spiritual framework in mind. First of all we have the original unity, free from any form of differentiation, i.e. the Absolute, Transcendent, Unmanifested. It is from this that we have obtained the manifestation or differentiation we might regard as the projection, emanation or self-expression of the Supreme. The great cosmic process has various stages. The first is that of duality: the One becomes two. The first fundamental difference has been introduced: spirit and matter, the subjective and the objective aspect, energy and resistance, activity and passivity, a positive pole and a negative pole, a male aspect and a female aspect. So far we have only spoken about the objective aspect of matter, undifferentiated. We have not spoken about matter already differentiated as we know it. This is the primordial stage which we can call the relationship between the two.
The two great aspects of being do not remain separate, as though they were indifferent to one another. Exchanges take place – there is action and reaction – and the effect of this vital attraction is the creation or the manifestation of this fully developed, concrete universe. It did not reach its present form in a moment: there were successive stages of differentiation at the heart of creation. There was the expression of ever more concrete and material planes or levels of life and ever more limited states of consciousness. And at each level countless new, successive differentiations took place until we reached the present highly divided state of separateness and difference between creatures in the widest sense of the word.
This then is the framework, or the stage on which we must come to terms with an understanding of love. Beneath the present state of division, difference and separation, in their various ways, and to different extents, these creatures have a distant, dim recollection of their original unity, a vague sense of common origin and an unconscious, though powerful, longing to return to that origin. Every creature, every separate being, feels incomplete, inadequate, unsatisfied: it lacks peace and searches for something, though it does not know what that something is. As it searches it makes mistakes and suffers one disappointment after another, but it cannot help continuing to search. It is spurred on relentlessly, and its thirst is never quenched. Indeed there is no alternative because this urge, this yearning, is an expression of the great law of evolution.” Transpersonal Development, p. 250-251, 2007
The direct achievement of Immortality.
“If we need to accomplish this achievement, we have to ask ourselves: ”What or who is Immortal?” The answer to this question involves the analysis or the knowledge of the different sides and levels of our psyche, differently described during the various historic periods. My opinion is that the following classification is the most in accordance both with esoteric teachings and the modern psychological discoveries.
- a) instinctual
- b) emotional
- c) mental
- d) spiritual
The instinctual level is almost entirely inconscious or subconscious; the second and the third are partly conscious and partly subconscious, the fourth is almost entirely superconscious. The achievement of Immortality can be realized only through, or inside, the spiritual psyche. So we can work out the problem only by lifting up our consciousness to that level or opening our mind to the resulting revelations.”
(About Immortality: By Roberto Assagioli, published 15.4 2011 in the “Psicosintesi” Magazine)
The High Range View
This is more difficult to realise because it relates to the inner stature of man, and the unfathomable reaches of the spiritual dimensions. Of course, the word “ high ” is only symbolical, but it has always been and still is widely used to indicate the various levels of psychological and spiritual awareness and realisation which the more advanced among humanity have reached, and to suggest the more subjective or subtle spheres which may be sensed or intuited.
Proceeding from the known towards the unknown, we find, first, the physical level of awareness which is formed by sensations produced by the various physical senses. Then comes the extensive emotional realm, which has various sub-levels or zones, from the lower emotions and passions to the more refined feelings. Next to it we, as mental beings, are aware of mental activity, ranging from the simplest common-sense to the most abstract, philosophical and mathematical concepts.
These levels are more or less familiar and constitute the inner dimensions in which humanity normally lives. But there is a fourth level or realm which only a few become aware of and reach. It has been called the intuitional level, because only through the use of this faculty, the intuition, which is consciously functioning in only a minority, can it be reached.
But the experiences and teachings of some of the great mystics and seers point to even higher reaches of inner reality. There the human individual consciousness is transcended and various degrees of contact and union with Transcendent Reality can be achieved.
Recently, a group of advanced psychologists, among whom Professor Maslow was prominent, instigated scientific research into what is called “Height Psychology”. This concerns the “peak experiences” coming from superconscious or transpersonal levels and has been undertaken as a result of the number of these experiences which psychologists and psychiatrists are meeting with in their work.
It is into this dimension of “ height ” that the exploration of “ inner space ” takes us. Its reality and importance have been emphasised from the very start of our meditation study, and the increasing interest in all types of meditation indicates that there is a growing sense of this dimension enticing human consciousness on to discover it.
From his booklet Meditation for The New Age, Year Three: