Spiral Dynamic for Consciousness Development

Ken Wilber addresses this issue by proposing the "Spiral Dynamics" model, which is an elaboration of the "value system" proposed by Clare W. Graves (1914-1986), presented in 1996 by Don Beck and Christopher Cowan in the book "Spiral Dynamics: Mastering, Values, Leadership Change" (1996). In 2002, Beck and Wilber fostered a rapid expansion of this initial model, proposing a sophisticated and practical system of socio-cultural analysis. Graves sums it up in the following way:

"The psyche of the human being goes through an emerging and spiraling process of development that is marked by the progressive subordination of the most rudimentary and infraordinate behaviors to new supraordinate behaviors, while the existential problems that afflict it are also transformed. Each of the successive stages, waves or levels of existence thus constitutes a state that the person crosses on his way to higher states of being. When the human being is centered in a certain state of existence, that is, when the center of gravity of the self revolves around a certain level of consciousness, its entire psychological world, that is, its feelings, motivations, ethics, values, belief system, its conceptions and preferences around management, education, economics and politics, also assumes the aspect of that state."

To fully understand the concept of Spiral Dynamics, it is necessary to study some of Ken Wilber's books, such as Boomeritis or A Theory of Everything, or authors such as Graves, Beck and Cowan. In different workshops of the HDA, the Master and Expert Programs and Diplomates, the concepts of the development of consciousness presented by Wilber are applied, but the detailed study of these levels of consciousness is carried out in an intermediate stage of the Master Program.

By way of introduction, let us study the levels of development of Ken Wilber's human consciousness, in the following table, which also mention the percentages of the population that exist in those degrees of consciousness and the degree of power that each of the groups has in the world.


  • Non-differentiated Me
  • Survival by habits and instincts
TRIBE 10% 1%

  • Beliefs, rituals, superstitions, enchantments
  • Extreme polarization of good or evil
  • It seems holistic but it is atomistic
HERO 20% 5%

  • The self that is foreign to the tribe emerges
  • Powerful, impulsive, egocentric, heroic
  • Dominant, dominated; feudalism
ORDER 30% 30%
  • Sense, direction and order imposed by the Almighty
  • Absolutist principles of good and evil
  • Rigid and paternalistic social hierarchies

  • Search for truth and meaning in individual terms
  • Experimental, mechanical and operational hypothetical level
  • Extreme orientation towards objectives
I SENSIBLE 10% 15%
  • Centered in the community, in relationships with others, networks and ecology
  • Pluralistic Relativism: egalitarian, anti-hierarchical, plural values, diversity, multiculturalism, social construction

  • Flexibility, spontaneity, functionality
  • Different levels of reality
  • Contexts that link to plural systems
HOLISTIC 0.1% 1%

  • Integrate feeling with knowledge
  • Great unification
  • A conscious and living universal order that is not based on external rules or group ties
  • Emergence of spirituality that encompasses the totality of existence
  • Interaction between multiple degrees. Mystical order.

In order to better understand the mind and consciousness, we can resort to the metaphor of a lake with five levels of depth.

First Level: The Surface

On the surface of the pond are all the disturbances as in the minds of people overwhelmed by a deep anxiety, insatiable appetites, desires to enjoy and delight. Here the wind shakes the water, the rain falls, the ice appears with the cold temperatures and the high temperatures bring the thaw. The storms make the surface show violent as in the case of criminals, ruffians, libertines, people with bestial tastes and brutal appetites. On the contrary, the placid climate reflects a smooth and crystalline calm which reflects the sincere and disinterested love for family and friends, the admiration towards nobler people, more pure and better than oneself. The surface of the mind is also what is called the mental stage, the conscious or screen where every mental act takes place. It is here where multitudes of sensations, emotions, feelings, thoughts, ideas, concepts, beliefs and attitudes arise constantly and automatically. This is the daily life of psychological life. The winds of existence create agitations. The mind is thus completely populated with thoughts relating to past, present or future external life. This type of existence is exhausting and prevents experiencing the deepest levels. Existence at this level creates the impression that the mind is no more than the receptacle of all these thoughts and life is nothing more than changes in the state of the surface. Through the thinking mind (individualized mind) each person creates their own dream world, imagination and fantasy, with their aspirations and ambitions, hopes and fears, loves and interests.

Potencial Sumergido

Our potential can be largely submerged

Second Level: Just Below The Surface

When consciousness can descend below the surface of the mind, it leaves behind the mental scenario and enters the domains of the intellect, ie analysis, conceptualization, categorization, reasoning, ideologies and reflection. Here, although one is still far from silence, mental activity is now of another kind. The thoughts are potentially of a second order; before they automatically sprung on the surface, now they take distance and are analyzing, evaluating, categorizing, drawing conclusions, creating formulas or methods and looking for reasons for everything. The intellect crumbles and tries to discover why this happened or failed that. At this level there is a constant analysis, where there are progressive, educated and careful people, focused on mundane matters. Also those of religious mentality with their hearts and minds turned towards the God of their choice, of any name or form. Here we have a fragmented and separatist vision, one believes itself special and different with reference to the various mentalities created by the interpretation, conceptualization and categorization of the direct perceptions of the senses. Sensibilities and susceptibilities, likes and dislikes, loves and hatreds, preferences, pride and prejudices, born of the desires of one or another nature make up the contents of the personalized mind.

Third Level: The Accumulated Content

In this domain of the mind the talk diminishes and so does the need to analyze. Through the genetic, collective, historical and temporal memories accumulated in the subconscious, the mind supports its functioning in the association and in the capacity for synthesis. Synthesizing is equivalent to integrating while analyzing is separating. Anthony De Melo says "You're never alone, because you're always full of memories, conditioning, chatter of yesterday; your mind has never been cleaned of all the garbage that has accumulated. For example, the public face of a person we call "successful" is different from his private face, seeks to cover his weaknesses and hide his faults ... laughs in public, but alone in his own room ... Because of the memories of the past we have the impression that "I" is something concrete, like a kind of board on which life is writing a record. Neuroscientist Rodolfo Llinás says that the "I" is a hypothesis that the brain makes of its own existence. The "I" is presented as a center of reference built in time through successive glimpses of the past and the future. What we call "I" is actually the constant movement of an inner monologue inspired by experiences, sensations, thoughts and feelings centered on the protagonism of the ego (physical "I" + mental "I" + emotional "I").

Fourth Level: The Lake As A Whole

Globally today, the stereotype of the "successful and ideal" socialized adult ego is a being with a mass mentality that, believing itself "special" and "free", follows the appearances and common practices seeking their own benefit. It is characterized by a surprising blindness that refuses to admit in everyday life the reality of uncertainty, for example. Everyone feels that That does not describe me! However, we slowly began to realize the artificiality and falsity of almost everything in this civilization, of the violence and corruption of our rulers, of commercial greed and, at times, of the insufficient rituals of our religions. However, all the purposes of the Ego have to do with the mind and the physical body, not seeking peace or broadening of consciousness. It is interesting to quote here the contrast of another culture: "Peace comes from inside people when they realize their relationship, their identification, with the universe and all the forces; and when they realize that the Great Spirit dwells in the center of the universe, and that this center is really everywhere, within each one of us. " We all share that unified space and that experience is what you will find at the core of your being. You understand that you are connected to all life and you feel at peace. It is the place where you begin to savor the joy of silencing the inner dialogue. A person who manages to have all the things and the best positions but ignores his inner being remains unhappy. Consequently, true happiness has nothing to do with what one is or what one possesses. Rather, it has everything to do with one's connection with the Inner Being.

Fifth Level: Getting Into The Reality Of The Bottommost

Everyone, everywhere, is in a state of continuous deception. This deception begins with the erroneous concept of the durability of the human body. When the person, by a practical process of self-analysis (separation in meditation of the different dimensions that make up the human), achieves the experience of going beyond body consciousness, then he knows that the body is not permanent and that it will have to be abandoned one day, whether you want to leave it or not. All worldly attainments concern only external well-being and all rituals to external worship, while the worship of the Self is interior. Here one notices silence. When the mind becomes quiet, the attention leaves the mental domains and in the process the joy begins to flash in the interior Silence. Jubilation is a sign of contact with the Source. Free from egocentricity and from the judgment of oneself and others, as Tara Singh says, "we have to reach silence without desire or necessity; otherwise we are not silent ... Let us move towards discernment (between the temporal and the eternal) and not wanting anything." This quieting and overcoming of the mind is a transcendental experience. The inner silence is a confirmation that the inner being is being experienced. As one gets used to the stillness, one finds that one looks for it regularly. Then a greater degree of consciousness is experienced (ability to realize). Now you know what you can achieve when you silence the incessant inner dialogue. The inclemency will continue in your life, as it does on the surface of the pond. Serenity will no longer be defined as the absence of storms, but as the peace that will live despite the existence of such inclemency. It is recommended that you take some time each day to rest in the unified space, the space open to all possibilities and then continue to the spiritual realms, which are indescribable, beyond all form or name.

Last modified: Tuesday, 17 September 2019, 8:45 AM