What Stage of Life are you at? What does is mean to Wake up? It seems that everyone is talking about it these days. What they don’t seem to be talking about are the other dimensions of Human Development.

According to Ken Wilbur, and many others, there are four other dimensions to fulfilling the human potential. They are:

  • Grow Up
  • Wake Up
  • Clean Up
  • Show Up

What on earth are they talking about? I’m all grow’d up aren’t I? Even in our 20’s most Westerners consider themselves “grown up”. If you look deeply at what that statement means, you will quickly discover that 60% of the world hasn’t really “grown up” yet.

Four Dimensions of Human Development

Growing up involves how you see the world. Do you look out at the world and see a bunch of scary ‘others’ who are trying to screw you, or do you see a beautiful tapestry of potential allies?

Waking up involves determining how your experience of reality is actually constructed, and how it all works. Eventually, you discover who you really are, or are not.

Cleaning up involves Shadow work, processing past Trauma, that may be getting in the way of you Growing up. This is the kind of work that hasn’t been common in Waking up traditions, and is why we see ‘Enlightened’ people sleeping with their students.

Showing up is being that shining example of how we can be in this world, and inspire others to be better, and walk along the path of development. It helps others become unstuck, to see those examples of people showing up.

Growing Up: Stages of Psychological Structure Development

We all see the world very differently. You only need to look at the ‘taboo’ topics at the ‘dinner table’ in order to figure this out. Religion, Politics, Gender Roles, all of these are very hot topics.


At their core, there is something very similar about each. They all touch on the identity of who we are as a collective. And in defining who we are, we must also define who we are NOT. This creates a transpersonal structure of ‘self’ and ‘other’. At the group level, the ‘self’ are those we identify as our ‘tribe’.

In North America, there are two ‘main’ tribes, and a new ‘emerging’ tribe. The culture wars, seen as the #metoo movement, BLM, Feminism, and the liberation of Gender identity, are at the forefront of this battle. Who are these tribes, and why can’t they agree? Isn’t this just as simple as Left vs. Right, Progressive vs. Traditional values?

Of course, it’s not that simple.

Growing Up: The beginning

This is a battle of consciousness, and how we choose to see the world.

You see, when we are first born, we have no concept of self, or other. We don’t even have words for mama or dada. We are pure, naked, empty consciousness. Within that grows a process we call Ego, and it helps us optimize for pleasure, and minimize pain. In doing so, it notices that there are these seemingly independent beings ‘out there’ that can help us get food, etc.

This realization breeds the idea of something out there that is not ‘me’. In doing so, duality is born, and the idea of ‘self’ takes root. But this idea is not permanent and unchanging. In fact, it changes quite a bit as we grow up. This transition to self vs. other is the movement from “No Person View” of the world, to “Person and Environment View” of the world.

We now understand that there is something outside ourselves, and that changes the way we behave.

Growing Up: Ego Centric

The next transition evolves within us around 1 years of age. It’s the First Person view of the world, or Ego Centric. It’s basically all about ‘Me’. I, Me, Mine. In this power based view of the world, it’s all about what can I get out, given what I’ve put in. It’s dog eat dog, and doesn’t view anyone as friendly, only looking out for themselves. And since that’s the view, it creates the experience of what that individual lives. This is a very ‘animal way’ of experiencing the world.

Growing Up: Ethno Centric

Eventually, hopefully, one evolves out of this view and adopts a ‘Second Person’ view of the world. Around 7 – 8 years old, they begin to realize that there are ‘others’ out there like them, and that they can trust some of them and not others. Some people are scary, some are familiar. The mental pattern matching system that creates this view essentially absorbs certain types of people into it’s definition of ‘self’.

This creates a very Ethno-centric, conformist, traditional view of the world. There are some people with whom I’m comfortable, and anyone who is not them cannot be trusted. This is much deeper than anyone realizes, and thus, no one actually knows that they are racist as a result of that. It’s just how they see and experience the world at this level.

Hopefully, around mid-teens, they evolve beyond that limiting view. But as we’ve seen, this is not always the case. In fact, 60 – 70% of the WORLD is stuck at this level.

Growing Up: World Centric

In the mid-teens, assuming that there are good examples around to learn from, and individual can begin to see the world from a Third Person perspective. They can put themselves into the shoes of people who are not part of their ‘trusted group’. They can begin to see, and accept arguments that justify those being’s right to live a life, have rights, and freedoms. Similar rights that ‘me and my group’ enjoy must also be valid for those ‘other guys’.

This creates a Rational, Modern view of the world. It is from this mindset that all science and rationality, objectivism has arisen. It has universal truths, and rights that apply to all humans equally. So this is where human rights came from, and how slavery ended – this level of consciousness arose and fought for these ideas. Who did they have to fight with?

Just look at the previous level, and imagine them trying to have a debate. People who can put themselves in the shoes of ‘others’, vs. people who at a deep level do not truly believe that ‘those others’ are even humans. Surely, this is why much blood has been spilled: The battle of ideas, and levels of consciousness.

Growing Up: Pluralistic

But wait! There’s more.

This new group is still emerging, and represents the third largest portion of the population, next to World-Centric. This group has done something truly amazing, and can not only view the world from the perspective of ‘others’…but are also not confined to the idea of ‘universal truths’. So they can accept that others have ideas, and ways of operating in the world, that are different. Many different truths can be accepted.

It if from this base that the Civil Rights movement, BLM, #metoo, and many other cutting edge, transformational ideas / movements have been born. The simple idea that 2 + 2 just might sometimes = 5 for someone else, and that is OK. You don’t identify as male or female? Cool, that sounds great. It is here that a deconstruction of ALL value systems happens.

As you can see, these last three groups are very, very different. And given the struggles in the world, are all three central to the evolution of humanity as a whole. There are more levels beyond, but they are not necessary to discuss in this article. Check out Ken Wilburs work in “The Religion of Tomorrow” for a much more detailed analysis.

Waking Up: Gross State

Waking up is described differently in different cultures, and traditions. I am going to do my best, to describe it from direct experience, vs. an academic view, however it’s very hard to detach that from the environment I had the experiences in.

Most people in the world, are very strongly identified with their bodies, their family, friends, others, and even possessions as their sense of self. They perceive a threat to any of these things as a threat to their very existence. This is called the “Gross State” or “Physical State” of consciousness. Please don’t confuse this with the structures of consciousness in the “Waking Up” dimension, these are very different.

Waking Up: Subtle State

If one chooses to inspect reality, via meditation, prayer, or some other practice…eventually it is possible to see that there is more to how the experience is constructed, than is immediately apparent to the ‘eye’, or other senses. That there are layers to this reality, and it’s really hard to even tell how many. Much like a rainbow, we can slice and dice it in many different ways…either 8 colors, or maybe thousands.

Following an initial inspection, we begin to see that there’s a more subtle form, or body, just ‘beneath’ the physical one. Some might call this an energy body, thought body, or body of emotion. It again really depends on where you draw the line. In any case, let’s just say it’s a Subtle body, and contains all that you can’t directly touch or see. However, you can ‘perceive’ it.

Waking Up: Very Subtle State

Continuing down whatever path you’ve chosen, eventually you begin to ‘see’ how everything in your direct experience is connected, and can perceive cause and effect of subtle phenomenon. You can see clearly that energy, or the subtle moves all matter, or the physical. And that there’s a kind of order to the way that all of that happens.

That ‘order’, or ‘dharma’, or ‘law’ is what we call Very Subtle, or ‘Causal’. This is where the idea of Karma comes from. When you shift into this state, the way people behave, the way animals behave, even the way trees and rocks behave all kind of makes sense.

Waking Up: Turiya State

Turiya, in Sanskrit, literally means “the 4th state”.

This is the state where one begins to notice that all phenomena is ‘out there’, and that there’s some sort of witnessing awareness ‘in here’ watching it all happen. You’ve observed enough of causality to know that you’re not really the one making decisions, and that much of what happens is only influenceable through minute pushes / pulls.

It’s kind of like having been in Virtual Reality your entire life, then finally figuring out that you have this VR helmet on, that you can’t take off. But that the character you see in front of you (this body) and all the thoughts / emotions, literally all experience, are not ‘You’.

You ARE the one who receives the ‘experience’.

Waking Up: Turiyatita

Turiyatita in Sankrit literally means “beyond the 4th state”.

This is full liberation, joining with all that is…and realizing that you are all that ‘is not’. Some call it ‘God-Head’, ‘Liberation’, or many other names. It’s somewhat different than ‘Enlightenment’, in my experience, though it includes it. Really, it’s very very difficult to explain this in words. Let’s just say that it’s completely unimaginable for most people. There’s an element of transcending Time and Space…so yeah. You can’t really wrap your head around it.

(It’s kind of wrapped around your head actually)

Cleaning Up: Related to Growing Up

Why are there so many ‘Enlightened People’ who seem to be taking advantage of women, children, students, minorities, etc?

How can they be ‘Enlightened’?

Well, most often than not, our path along the ‘Growing Up’ phase gets interrupted. What by you ask? Well, trauma.

You see, Trauma creates Shadow Material. And Shadow Material inhibits the growth of a particular part of our consciousness. Whether the trauma was regarding sex, power, safety….It always seems to make us behave in ways that are counterproductive to our own development on the Growing Up dimension.

Cleaning Up: Shadow Work

So, how do we continue along the path? If we’ve Woken up…but not Grown up? This is where Shadow work comes in. We need to go deep into our subconscious and dig up those past memories that are haunting us from the shadows. We need to face that which we are not willing to face. We need to lean into the discomfort and see why it’s uncomfortable in the first place.

And when we do that, almost like magic, we begin to Grow Up again. And we can move very quickly, if we’ve done the work of Waking Up already.

Showing Up

This is where the rubber hits the road. Now that we’ve walked the path, on all dimensions of human development, it’s up to us to show the way for others. This is how we change the world, one person or group at a time.

Showing up doesn’t necessarily mean teaching, though for many it does. It can be as simple as living your own truth. Once you’ve connected with your subtle consciousness, you quickly find out what that is. You will have no time for wasteful activities as mundane as simply making money, or collecting ‘stuff’. There’s much work to be done, and life could end at any moment.

So forge on, create, produce, inspire. Make the world into that beautiful tapestry that you know it can be.

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