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February 9, 2023

On Boundaries, Mechanism of Conscious Evolution, Perennial Philosophy and Experiential Approach to Integralism (By Oleg Linetsky)

By Oleg Linetsky

Open letter to Ken Wilber and integral teachers

Dear Ken,

First of all I would like to express my deep love and gratitude for the light of wisdom you bring and your incomparable contribution for the good of sentient beings. Your works had a great impact on my own life, for which I am very grateful to you. On my journey through the pages of your books I experienced a true divine joy.

In this letter I would like to illuminate a side of the Integral Approach (IA) which up until now remained in the darkness, i.e. boundaries. Just like any other objects inside the quadrants, boundaries are objects that can be felt and realized, so they cannot be ignored and left outside the integral map. There are boundaries, even though also illusory for the non-dual witness.

In the natural state of non-dual oneness it becomes clear that all forms arise from the light of primordial ground, and even boundaries are a concentrated light of clarity of the nature of the mind and the final barriers on the way to the inexpressible. They are the very core of our feeling of aliveness and awakeness. They let us feel joy and suffering of life and make life meaningful. The message about boundaries (as five elements, fivefold mahabhuta or five skandhas) came to us from ancient traditions dating back thousands of years. This message is as valuable for humanity as The Great Chain of Being. There is a special method which lets us study boundaries today even in our usual waking state. Boundaries are the missing link between the absolute and the relative, emptiness and form, spirituality and religion, IA and its popularity.

Today we see that the message about boundaries actually describes the mechanism of conscious evolution, understanding of which can promote a progress of humanity towards 2nd tier and simply help us living from the deepest part of us that you and Marc Gafni call the Unique Self. Five boundaries described here are right about how to live in resonance with our Unique Self and how to resolve the problem of wise choice in everyday life using an integral approach.

I want to share my view of boundaries which arose from combining pure non-dual vision (when all boundaries are seen but seen as illusory) and integral vision. Five types of boundaries initialize the format of our evolutionary Game. Here I speak of a timeless, but not of an absolute wisdom that is also called diamond or vajra wisdom in Buddhist tradition. As you know, the state of oneness is paradoxical: everything is “I am,” but “I” remains above everything. But living in this state brings another paradox: although everything is ”I am,” “I” is not the only source of game novelty, so “I” constantly has to face challenges from a nameless source. Each of us is simultaneously the great Creator and an ordinary player on the common playground structured in a certain way.

The text below is composed as a very brief set of theses which are written in terms of IT and still have to be discussed and elaborated. I talk in detail about the message of boundaries in my book The Game. User’s guide. This message can be called “the integral approach to experiencing” as well. It is astonishing that today the wisdom of vajra is being revealed to the world again, largely through the integral approach. This letter is the expression of gratitude to you and all the pioneers of evolutionary spirituality and the integral approach. I would appreciate your feedback and hope there’s a possibility of a broad dialogue about boundaries with you and integrally oriented spiritual teachers like Sally Kempton, Marc Gafni, Terry Patten, Roger Walsh and others.

Love, light and wishes of good health,

Oleg Linetsky                                                   

20th of march 2012

1.«I», which recognizes the quadrants, is outside the quadrants and is the basis of them

According to the concept of quadrants every object of experience can be considered as an interior or exterior, individual or collective, so that we get four unique fields of experience which cannot be reduced to one another, four experiential perceptual perspectives, each having their own data collection and verification methods.

Let’s consider the questions: who decides which object belongs to which quadrant? Who differentiates between interior and exterior, between gross and subtle qualities? Who ascribes phenomena to major categories? It is YOU, whoever you think you are. In other words, it is our “I”. Since “I” correlates the interior and the exterior, the personal and the social, it is devoid of these qualities, which it sees as just labels. If “I” was interior or exterior, we would not be able to compare the categories of interior and exterior. In order for something to be compared to something it has to be realized as an object. The eye cannot see itself. Whatever categories we take, the result is going to be the same – that is duality. Therefore “I” is free from quadrants, states or any other categories, and has a spontaneous ability to discriminate.

However in order to compare two objects to find out if they have a certain quality, we have to touch them, experience them, “become them” for a while, placing them in a common space of comparison. We cannot evaluate a quality of an object if we do not absorb this object. It happens again spontaneously and effortlessly. Cognition and discrimination occurs on the basis of feeling. But who feels objects before ascribing them to a category? Again, it is YOU, your “I.”

Thus “I” can feel objects and ascribe them to categories while not being any of these objects and not having any of their qualities. “I” cannot be an object, but it is an ultimate subject that doesn’t have any qualities but discriminates qualities of objects and serves as a background for objects. This “I” that can feel and choose, be aware and compare, is YOU! “I” manifests itself as energy and consciousness, uniqueness and generality; it includes all things within its perception and transcends them. That is why it is said that “I” is both immanent (I) and transcend (i). “I-i” or simply “I” does not have any preferences, but it gives the very ability to transcend and include.

Thus, it is not difficult to prove that for “I” which is free of mind there are no real boundaries. In practice it gives us the ability to perceive objects of any quadrants, to identify ourselves with them, to say “yes” to them, as well as it gives the ability to choose between objects, to disidentify with them, to say “no” to any arising object, to awake from objects.

Figure 1. I-i

Figure 1. “I,” as immanence and transcenence

2. True «I» sees objects using instruments of seeing in all four quadrants

If “I” is free from objects, how can it “see” arising objects? It can do so by using instruments of seeing that can be found in every quadrant. Thereby in each quadrant we find relative subjects and objects that they perceive. Each type of objects is perceived through corresponding instrumental system. Personality does not perceive sounds, and body does not realize thoughts. Within perception one can find four classes of objects, each class is fundamentally different and not reducible to other classes. This means there are also four corresponding classes of subjects, or perceiving structures of the true Seer that also cannot be reduced to each other.

If this was false, if, for example, it was possible to perceive thoughts and images through the same eyesight, then the eyesight itself could not have been performed exclusively through an external organ. This organ would have to be neither external nor internal. But since we can find no forms between the internal and the external, the physical eye cannot perceive both types of objects. Similarly each quadrant has its own unique structures of perception, lenses, that evolve in time, and through which we see different dimensions of reality.

According to “The Eye of Spirit,” “Genuine philosophy… is not merely a matter of making pictures of the objective world, but rather of investigating the structures in the subject that allow the making of the pictures in the first place.” These structures are found in all four quadrants. Cognizing structures are not what we are, but rather the means of expression or the game instruments of what we are. Therefore in each quadrant we can study both the objects of the quadrant, and the instruments of cognition. This gives us eight approaches to knowledge. Moreover it turns out that the autopoietic principle of living structures self-organization during their lifetime also applies to cognizing structures in all four quadrants.

At each given moment we are both the stream of perception (I) and the one who subjectively tries to grasp it using the structures of mind, to realize, to digitize it (i). The possibility of orientation in the stream of being is provided by four types of developing subsystems that perceive the projections of the stream. These four subsystems are dimensions of external sensations (UR), internal conceiving (UL), collective resonance (LL) and functional coordination (LR). Perception in every dimension is a projection of the event that cannot be cognized in any other way. Therefore any phenomenon can be represented as four non-overlapping projections or tetra-represented.


Figure 2. Perception of objects through lenses of corresponding structures

3. «I» also recognizes states and bodies that organize experience in different realms

Just like we asked before, let’s ask again: who decides which experience is dreaming and which is waking? Who recognizes the presence and compares it with other types of experience? Who can switch from gross sensations to subtle images, to self-consciousness and presence? It is again our “I” which is free of any states and bodies, and which is the ground of experiencing them.

Below I consider four realms – gross, subtle, causal and natural (non-dual). Being in every realm is supported by a corresponding body. Each of these bodies (excluding the ground body) has all four dimensions of experience. The experience of gross body is the experience of five sense organs, the experience of subtle body is the experience of dreaming, the experience of causal body is the experience of self-consciousness and degree of interest in forms (it is named “casual” because all situations are based on our interest or clinging), and the natural experience is the experience of pure presence. Considering the quadrants we emphasized objects. In the case of bodies we emphasize actions.

What is special about the waking state is that all four bodies are simultaneously available in it. However as opposed to the case of quadrants in which we saw an object of any realm as tetra-perceived by all four subsystems, in the case of bodies the perception is considered as a sequentially unfolding process. The presence is ever-present and against the background of the presence the observer appears. Against the background of the observer’s at-tention dreaming unfolds. ‘NOW’ is the first dream. Against the background of images of dreaming behavior arises. This dynamics Presence -> Attention -> Imagination -> Behavior is similar to the sequence Theater -> Spectator -> Director -> Role. This cycle is continuous just like tetra-arising.

Any phenomenon of the waking state can be simultaneously considered as a projection of perceiving structures, and as a result of a range of processes. Experienced objects are detected by structures, and behavior stems from processes or patterns. An example of these patterns is subpersonalities that speak through us during the “Big Mind” process. Usually we can’t discover objects that can’t be ascribed to any of four quadrants. We also can’t find actions other than presence, attention, imagination, and behavior.


Figure 3. States and bodies/realms of experience

4. There are five objects directly experienced by «I», bypassing cognitive structures

When we look at the quadrants we find two boundaries, and when we look at realms/states we find another three boundaries. These five boundaries are present every moment within all our experiences and determine the illusory perception of reality. They always stand in our way to experiencing the unity with everything that arises in the stream of being, supporting the illusion of separateness and providing the possibility of playing in this world. These are the boundaries between “me” and “us”, between the exterior world and its interior representation, between presence and self-consciousness, between observation and imagination, between fantasy and behavior. And we perceive these boundaries as objects! “I” realizes all boundaries directly bypassing cognitive structures and without taking any action, it happens spontaneously and effortlessly.

We recognize the boundaries as energy tensions, appearing during the ruptures of perception. They are the fundamental existential anxieties which humanity has always sought to be freed from. Following is a brief description of these five types of contradictions.

  1. Exterior/Interior. My idea of reality contradicts a new exterior experience. Here we have unjustified expectations and breaking of patterns.
  2. Individual/Collective. My personal interests contradicts with interests of a group that I belong to. These are relationship conflicts.
  3. Gross/Subtle. My desired self-image and longing for a new experience contradicts my existing skills and habitual patterns of behavior.
  4. Subtle/Causal. My desire to quietly observe everything that is happening contradicts the desire to get involved in the process and express myself creatively.
  5. Causal/Natural. My desire to dissolve in Spirit and to just follow the tendencies of space contradicts my desire to assert my will and play my own game.

In each case we experience inherent contradiction, tension, splitting, uncertainty, emptiness, disorientation, excitement, confusion, lack of support, concern, perturbation, rupture of perception wholeness, and not-knowing as a particular feeling. Before there’s any interpretation or attitude we feel an inseparable connection, which is inexpressible, but inevitably felt! These feelings of connection are exactly those extraordinary objects, which are cognized by “I” without cognitive structures. There are five, because the tension at each boundary is felt in a special way. They are objects, because we discriminate them, but we do it through “I-i” itself. Boundaries do not tetra-arise and they are not the processes, but they display unique qualities.

  • They are mystical and inexpressible, since they cannot be accessed by perceiving structures.
  • They cannot be sensed with body organs or understood with mind, but it is difficult to deny the fact of their existence.
  • They are not notions or concepts, but direct experience of connectedness.
  • They are constantly in perception, but not many people pay attention to them.
  • They are not connected to time, space, level of development or culture.
  • The feeling of reality of boundaries disappears in the states of unity.
  • They are outside evolution, but determine the space for evolutionary game.
  • They can be integrated and seen as illusory only in mystical states.
  • They are recognized as a source of great energy (as a tension, and not simply UR energy).

Boundaries are like no other objects of experience. We can try to find other types of boundaries, but they are going to presumably be just concepts, products of cognitive structures, and not a direct knowledge that is present at any moment. For example, three times – past, present and future – are also stable boundaries of perception. However, the time is not perceived directly. It is just a stable concept that explains changeability of gross phenomena and can be referred to the exterior/interior boundary.

5. The five boundaries call forth five feelings and basic aspiration for wholeness

According to Integral Approach, all events in Kosmos are tetra-arising. To be more precise, they are just tetra-reflected, but not simultaneously in all quadrants. For example, seeing two moons through the glass pack window can cause me to fall into a stupor for a short while, until a proper explanation that will satisfy me appears in my mind. At such moments when the data from the sense organs does not agree with the models of reality existing in the consciousness, a micro rupture of the wholeness of perception occurs. The quadrants do not link up. The conflict between the models and the new experience is a conflict taking place inside me. When an explanation is found, the objects on both sides of the boundary seamlessly come into accord, the wholeness of the stream of being restores, and the tension reduces.

This happens every time when we struggle to find a compromise between personal and group interests, new facts and old models, an image and an action, contemplation and imagination, one’s own will and the tendencies of space. When facing a novelty we feel rising energy, tension and painful uncertainty which are the source of both delight and suffering. This pain is a result of splitting inside the subjective reality. We instinctively try to immediately restore the wholeness of the present moment, to justify the rupture, and our attempts are often accompanied by suffering. In this sense five boundaries generate the primary needs and drives that arise before any of the needs of Maslow’s hierarchy. They support an illusion of splitting, and at the same time cause an overwhelming desire for wholeness, for connecting separate projections of perception, and bringing them into agreement. The contradictory desires on both sides of the boundaries are listed below.


  • Desire to claim own uniqueness, to stand out of a group; personal interests
  • Desire to dissolve in a group, desire to belong; group interests


  • Desire to create own subjective views on oneself and the world
  • Desire to take into account the characteristics of common reality and its existing tendencies


  • Desire to preserve the existing habits and needs of personality and body
  • Desire to play with infinite images and experience new experiences and states


  • Desire to be drawn in dreaming, to manifest playfully and creatively in the world of forms
  • Desire to watch the play of images imperturbably, to remain a free observer


  • Desire to live and enjoy own game, to impose own will
  • Desire to dissolve in Spirit, to take into account the tendencies and interests of all creation

The experience of touching the boundaries can be associated with feelings in contrast to sensations (UR), emotions or prehension (UL). Feelings are usually dual and ambivalent, they reflect the inner conflict or conflicting desires. They anticipate a new discrimination or development. Feelings are realized as vague energy tensions, a sense of connection, neutral in essence, but sometimes experienced as a horror of losing support or as a delight of astonishment. The ability to be comfortable in an intense situation of this vague uncertainty of ruptures of perception correlates with the level of individual development. The process of experiencing of feelings is directed at letting go of previous partial notions and finding new, more integral interpretations, which include the interests on both sides of the boundaries, and then expressing the energy of feelings in an act of connecting. Getting in touch with our own feelings is a greatest challenge and a greatest fear for sentient beings, but it is the only way to resolve any inner and hence outer conflict.

6. We experience the reality through regaining the wholeness of the stream of perception

Note that we do not grow our hair, do not direct our bloodstreams, and do not generate the structures of consciousness. We are not creators of thoughts and images – they come from nowhere, from emptiness and we just accept some of them and reject the others. We do not commit acts with our body – they happen in accordance with an image in our mind and an intention. We don’t even direct our attention – we often find it already focused on some object. Our structures inside the quadrants are largely self-organizing and mainly work autonomously. In a sense not only we are not any of these structures, but we also do not commit any acts inside the realms. In this case what are we doing here? If we consider this question from the point of view of quadrants and realms we can say that we are not so much living in reality, but rather experiencing it.

In perception there arise the stream of body sensations (UR), the stream of thoughts and images (UL), collective resonance (LL), functional coordination (LR), mode of actions (subtle), and even the observer (causal). Each of these separate parts is cognized through corresponding perceiving structure and these fragments rarely completely agree with each other. We know it because we continuously feel something. To a certain degree we continuously experience tension and anxiety caused by ruptures of the five boundaries. That is a reason why it’s not easy to meditate. It happens because other players change the common playground of the Game. And while we are inside the Game we have to meet the challenge of novelty. In the process of the game we restore the wholeness of the stream of being by choosing wiser interpretations. We do not manage structures within the quadrants and processes inside the realms directly, but we participate in conciliation of their interests. I call this process “experiencing”. In this sense the reality is (co)created by experiencing or by choosing a suitable interpretation.

An instant before we experience any event there is a moment of uncertainty when mind pauses in order for us to choose the exact way of experiencing the arising rupture energy, the way to treat it. This is made possible by the right of “I” to the transcendental freedom from any objects, and all the schools of coaching and psychology are based on recalling this right of choice. At the moment of choice we feel the situation to the extent of our sensitivity and intend to make a most holistic and inclusive decision possible. Whether we try on a new suit or make a business decision the Mind justifies ANY decision and suggests a range of arguments for and activity patterns. In the process of any experience we collect scattered fragments of perception and tensions of their cohesion and intend a decision that can combine them as smoothly as possible, sew them together with integrity, reducing the tension from ruptures to a minimum depending on the extent of our sensitivity. Finally the experience fixes the interpretation.


Figure 4. Feelings arising on ruptures of stream of perceptions

7. In the process of experiencing we explore our resistance to wholeness

Let’s consider the tension arising at the interior/exterior boundary. Usually we can clearly feel it when new facts do not fit old patterns. For example, when Nicolaus Copernicus suggested the heliocentric model of the universe based on empirical data, his model conflicted with the ideas of the Holy Writ. The church officials felt boundary tension associated with the contradiction between faith and experience. Failure to cope with the tension of the conflict results in avoiding the state of uncertainty, adhering to the previous experience, and asserting our own rightness. At the same time our own interests on the other side of the boundary are forced out and the tension moves into a background.

It makes sense to separately consider continuing (or being explored) experience and conscious (or wise) experience. Wise experience of feelings implies an integration of interests on both sides of a boundary, so that the tension eases, and the capacity for awareness grows. If we prefer to accept only one side, the connection energy is distorted by one-sided interpretation. In addition, it usually causes the unfolding of such a life scenario in the result of which after some time we are forced to integrate both contradicting sides into our vision anyway. Galileo and Bruno experienced giving preference to the importance of an experiment. And Church experienced a long and painful process of resistance to science.

To experience tension or a state is to enter your feelings, a space free of thoughts, a state of unknowingness and uncertainty, to realize the innate connection of opposites and to find a new connecting interpretation that will ease the tension of a conflict. Some tensions last for moments, others for decades. Conscious experience starts with letting ourselves feel tension and ends with implementation of integrated understanding. In essence it is acceptance of message of absolute oneness and its application for more holistic relative interpretation. Moreover we don’t create a new interpretation by ourselves, but rather anticipate it, saying firm “no” to any arising partial ideas.

The following stages of any experience cycle can be marked out:

  1. Accepting energy state of rupture and tension of uncertainty, letting go, presence (natural).
  2. Realizing a choice of interpretation of tension and keeping the intention for integration (causal).
  3. Staying in mindful openness till the integrating solution is found, letting in (subtle).
  4. Implementing a more holistic solution in a situation and activity (gross).

The experience cycles are common fundamental basis of both development and any therapy or coaching. In the interval between the openness to a greater wholeness and arising of a new understanding a change in cognitive structures occurs. In this sense any experience is a micro transformation. The definition for transformation given by R. Kegan (that transformation is a change when a subject of one stage becomes an object of a subject of the next stage) is just another level of abstraction in explanation of the phenomenon, which has the same mechanism, since in the process of experiencing we always let go of a preference in order to reach a new position which smoothly conciliates both sides of the contradiction and sews up the stream of being. Transformations through levels of development is just the experience of tensions of greater amplitude or longer cycles of tension.

If we are not able to stay within often frightening and disturbing uncertainty or just consciously give preference to only one of two sides, we launch the scenario of exploring the value of rejected part. This “karmic” scenario (or game) is based on our resistance to greater integrity and often continues until tiredness or boredom makes us relax and go back to the moment of chose of interpretation, where the cycle of experience ends with a conscious integration of opposites. Such unwise experience becomes an exploration of resistance to greater integrity.

8. NOT/NOT + AND/AND is a formula of wise integration in the process of experience

Our own desires lie on both sides of boundaries and sometimes contradict each other. We realize interests on both sides of the boundaries and are interested in both parts, so if they do not agree we feel the tension between them in our heart. Thus, all boundary conflicts are the conflicts between me and myself within my own universe or my subjective reality. We have personal interests, cultural interests, role interests and body interests. But above all of these interests is the need for their holistic integration, for harmonization of all mosaic fragments, which is experienced by “I”.

I remain free from objects and desires arising on both sides of any boundary and I’m aware of my right to choose. I also realize the interests on each side and thereby make them subjects of my concern. I am neither one of arising objects, nor all of them, nor neither. I am free from any definitions or qualities and remain above everything, but I also include everything I’m aware of, which means I have an ability to realize/feel and make a choice. In this Game “I” am not a thing and I possess no thing, but I temporarily give preference to something.

Regarding the tension of uncertainty the wise position of experiencing is an understanding that:

  • From the perspective of identity I am none of the arising objects and their interests. NOT/NOT, I am “neither this, nor that”, NETI/NETI.
  • From the perspective of wise choice and agency all objects and their interests are mine. AND/AND, MINE is “and this, and that”, ITI/ITI.

I am not a thing, but everything what I feel and realize is completely mine. Restoring the wholeness requires including and recognizing all sides of illusory conflicts, all aspects of myself that do not agree with each other. NOT/NOT + AND/AND is a possible practical formula of a more integral view, a formula of identity and self-expression on each level of development. The maximum wholeness and true relaxation can be reached through inclusion of all mosaic fragments into holistic tracery of being, in which the boundaries are relatively real and non-contradictory. Gazing into the space of unity of opposites and intending to reach a non-excluding decision we can expect to get something more lively and steady.

Integrating experience has two aspects: acceptance of a new state and inclusion of all opposites; mastering a new energy of uncertainty and more holistic interpretation of boundaries. To experience the tension of boundaries wisely is to recognize inside tension our own interests on both sides of a boundary and to include them into our field of care, to realize a right of choice and to relax in the center of energy tension, to pause for touching the common ground, from which a more integral solution will occur. If it does not happen right away, you have to prolong the pause, leave a space for mindful uncertainty and listen to omniscient emptiness with the intention to unite all parts. The response may require a further development.

Wisdom requires remembering about oneness and remaining free from preferences, while an integrated decision is being born in mind. Great not-knowing is an ability to stop at the very first moment of tension, to put aside all known patterns, to listen to the single space of the heart, and then to let the Mind suggest an integrated solution that is true for a certain situation. Moreover what the heart feels is not an objective truth, but an extent of wholeness of our own stream of being, i.e. the agreement between its quadrants and realms, structures and processes. This approach lets us see not-knowing as a natural possibility for integration, liberation from the tension, expansion of clarity, and the whole world as self-liberating game of the primordial space. In the end all feelings or tensions are liberated in an act of integration.

9. Boundaries are primary classical elements or mystical archetypes

Above we have discovered five fundamental boundaries, each boundary supporting fragmentation of consciousness and creating illusory perception. Due to these boundaries we live with the illusion that imagination and actuality are separated, individual and society are separated, the interior and the exterior are separated, observer and the observed are separated, we and creation as a whole are separated. Perhaps, these boundaries are the basis of “original sin” of separation or obscuration. This separation does not exist objectively for the true “I”. None of the arising objects is “I”, but all of them arise in the space of perceptivity of “I”. It is true both for the objects inside realms and quadrants, and for the boundaries themselves. Every boundary and every contradiction is a tension that we can feel empirically. “I” can directly feel this energy of rupture/connection, not using any cognitive structures.

Having eliminated any of the five boundaries through complete relaxation we find ourselves inside one of mystical forms of oneness. If we go backwards, in the process of involution first objects of perception are five boundaries, five energy ruptures, five scars on the primordial face of pure awakening that predetermine evolutionary unfolding. Here we can use analogy of a prism refracting the primordial clarity which splits into a perceptional rainbow spectrum. Each boundary has its own vibration, frequency or quality of manifestation. The greater the depth of feelings, the closer the state to the boundary and the more intense is its energy and arising tension. The five energies can also be represented as primary archetypes arising prior to evolution and lying in its basis.

Ancient sages and philosophers knew about five fundamental forces and marking them out as five primary elements constituting creation. I could not find a clear explanation of where these elements come from in any tradition I know. Meanwhile, there are indications that they were known virtually to every ancient culture, particularly in the East. They are earth, water, fire, air and the fifth element of space or ether. These are the very whales, elephants and turtles supporting the world. These are the five skandhas of Buddhism that form our Self (in Jung’s terms) and determine its main aim of integration. Later I will come back to the question of correspondence of the five elements to the discussed boundaries.

Below is a table of correspondence of boundaries to symbolic systems in religions. In tantra the accent is made on wise subjective experiencing of the state of not-knowing, and in Buddhism it is on enlightened activity coming from understanding of the cohesion of the stream of consciousness.

5 Boundaries Elements 5 energies of Shiva in Hinduism 5 Buddhas of wisdom in Buddhism
Causal/Nondual Space Energy of consciousness (Chit shakti) Wisdom of space (Vairochana)
Subtle/Causal Water Energy of bliss (Ananda shakti) Mirrorlike wisdom (Akshobhya)
Indiv/Collective Earth Energy of will (Iccha shakti) Wisdom of equality (Ratnasambhava)
Interior/Exterior Fire Energy of knowledge (Jnana shakti) Wisdom of discernment (Amitabha)
Gross/Subtle Air Energy of action (Kriya shakti) Wisdom of all-accomplishment (Amoghasiddhi)

An element can be clearly realized as a feeling which is present before we choose how to experience the tension of loss of the wholeness in a given situation. In order to grasp the quality of energy of a moment we must realize both poles of contradiction and be consciously present in the state of not-knowing, not fixing our interpretation. All thoughts and images appear as a result of how we decide to experience the energy of boundaries. These are only forms of presentation and expression of the energy of connection/rupture.

10. The boundaries reflect five components of cosmic evolutionary impulse

The knowledge about boundaries is completely practical. It lets us wisely manage the elements and our own game. If being in the situations of uncertainty we recognize our feelings and arising excitement, then against the background of openness and readiness to go into unknowingness we can harmoniously express them in the world and move towards more integral interpretations.

  1. Individual/Collective: energy of resonance and connection between myself and others, which is an impulse of interaction and dialogue. When I feel a lack of understanding, tension in relationships and conflict of interests, I actually feel the connection between us and start communication trying to articulate my feelings. If I repress this impulse, accepting only my own position or agreeing to unfavorable condition of a partner, I show haughtiness or arrogance.
    1. Interior/Exterior: energy of resonance and connection between the external world and internal models, which is a research impulse. When the reality demonstrates that it is more complex and interesting than any yesterday’s models and I am lost in ignorance, I actually feel the connection between novelty and my ideas and start researching the subject. If I repress this impulse, instinctively clinging to dead models or immediately trying to deny them, I show attachment or longing.
    2. Gross/Subtle: energy of resonance between possibilities of gross and subtle dreams, which is a self-expression impulse. When I am shy to display my passion, to assert my image in the world and lost in indecisiveness I actually feel the connection between habitual gross mechanics and new fantasies and start expressing my desired image through available means. If I repress this impulse on various pretexts that seem reasonable, I start feeling jealousy and envy to those who can afford to express it.
    3. Subtle/Causal: energy of resonance and connection between witness and the witnessed, which is a creativity impulse. When I cannot imagine what can be thought up in a situation requiring my involvement I actually feel the connection between awareness and dreaming and start being inventive as to the object of my interest. If I repress this impulse preferring the detached contemplation, I feel anger and aggression to those who in an important situation do not act the way I want them to.
    4. Causal/Non-dual: energy of resonance between a separate being and the Spirit, which is a playing or participation impulse. When I don’t know what to do or I just get lost in a situation, I actually feel the connection between myself and the whole creation and start discovering a spontaneous interest to bring my own game and the universal game into accord. If I repress this impulse choosing to be stubborn or lazy, I feel confused and sink into ignorance.

In essence all impulses going back to the impulse of participation reveal the single evolutionary impulse/call of Cosmos in each of us. We can also call it a playing impulse, since we’re kept in the Game by our desire to participate. Its recognition is based on realization/feeling of the connection between all extremes or simple acceptance of love. Love is a fundamental feeling because as a rule its expression is a big challenge. Recognizing the challenging cosmic impulse we transform arrogance into collaboration, attachment into curiosity, envy into decisiveness, anger into inventiveness, confusion into care and fear into ecstasy. These actions correlate with enlightened buddhas’ activities in Buddhism, with effortless, wise and compassionate behavior coming from pure vision.

Whatever side we tend to prefer, we always partly absorb and let in the position of the other side and partly keep the existing position. When the life energy is blocked and turns into irritation the cause is resistance to its liberation and expression. The remedy for this is a wise action, which revives the flow of the life energy. Understanding and cognition both appear as a result of impulse expression, as experience.

11. One may need special keys for wise expression of impulses

We can point out five keys that help the harmonic flow of the energy stream and the wise interpretation. These keys of managing the elements are the aspects connecting both sides of the boundaries. In essence the keys are their shadows or basic types of projections that we need to return to ourselves. A situation is experienced wisely and remains an evolutionary challenge as long as we cope with uncertainty and realize the necessity of wholeness. If we cannot stay with the state of uncertainty, if we lose confidence and awareness, we start feeling irritation and launch the process of projecting which impedes the integration.

The resonance between all boundaries happens spontaneously and as deeply as we can afford without sliding into an interest, fear or ecstasy up to complete dissolving in oneness. Our task on the way to integration is to bring back from shadow and integrate our disturbing aspects supporting the mutual resonance of all sides of boundaries, which, in essence, is a dance of me and creation. In this sense, since experiencing has 5 basic boundaries, all types of therapy can be viewed as a superposition of the 5 keys.

  1. Individual/collective: qualities. It’s not that people around us are not good enough, it’s that we sometimes cannot cope with the states arising in the process of communication and do not accept our own the qualities and behavior styles that we ascribe to our interlocutor. When we show these irritating qualities in the process of dialogue, we expand our boundaries, feel a great resonance and as a result we achieve understanding and chose a wiser interpretation of out partner’s position. True collaboration is born from the resonance between our uniqueness and interpersonal or group unity.
  2. Interior/exterior: freedoms. It’s not that the world stints and confuses us with its complexity, but it’s that we often cannot take a challenge of novelty and changes, we are afraid of expansion, hold to our habitual thinking patterns and lose the touch with reality. Expressing unfamiliar degrees of freedom and facing paradoxes, we feel a great resonance with the surrounding reality, infinite richness of its possibilities and chose more inclusive ideas. Knowledge is born from the resonance between new facts and known patterns.
  3. Gross/subtle: images. It’s not that the circumstances put pressure on us and there are no opportunities, it’s that we do not display our image in the world actively and bravely enough. When we firmly hold to a desired image, we feel a resonance between the image and available skills and behavior patterns. As a result new ideas and dreams gradually start to embody in a real world activity, and we choose more and more sophisticated forms of self-expression. Ideas and dreams usually do not come true by themselves. A path appears under walking feet, from the resonance between fantasies and activity.
  4. Subtle/causal: attention. It’s not that we lack imagination and ideas, it’s that we do not pay enough attention to the object of our interest to let a beautiful dream unfold around it. When our observation is steady and relaxed, when we nourish an object with our attention, we feel a resonance with the center of our interest. As a result, various images spontaneously appear in our mind and we chose the right one. Contemplation is not better than dreaming, since the world is created by fantasy. True creation is born in the resonance between mindful awareness and flowing imagination.
  5. Causal/non-dual: presence. It’s not that the creation is deaf to our pleas, it’s that we are sometimes too immersed in ourselves to notice feelings and signs it gives. When we steadily and openly present, we feel a resonance with all space, let it direct our attention to the points of our interest, to the points that need our care, and chose an object of participation and play. With our hands spirit takes care of the world. As a result, there is a resonance between persistence and humility, between the own will of creator and responsive trust in greater complexity of creation.

12. Using the keys for integration and energy liberation

  1. We understand what we encountered, what we recognized in self, what we felt and experienced.
  2. We know what we examined, what we’ve learned, what we felt and experienced.
  3. We express what we imagine, what inspires us, what we feel and experience.
  4. We imagine what catches our attention, what we create, feel and experience.
  5. We are attentivewhere we’re present, where we’re open, where we feel and experienc

    Figure 5a. Correlation of Game / Role and Presence / Behavior


    Figure 5b. Correlation of Freedoms / Knowledge and Qualities / Understanding

.13. Five boundaries form the basis of mystical maps of pure lands

When your hand is on the table, you can say that the table pressures your hand. But we can also say that the hand pressures the table. Both statements are true, because these are just two different ways to interpret the felt pressure. However, these two interpretations induce completely different experiences. Saying that “the table pressures the hand” I experience myself as a victim and feel some resentment. Saying that “the hand pressures the table” I experience myself as an aggressor and feel some guilt. In both cases there is an uncomfortable feeling, even though it can barely be felt.This kind of tension does not appear if a reason is not specified in a statement. The reason is not objective, it is just an interpretation resulting from preferences, images and objectives of the speaker. While “there is a pressure” everybody has a choice of how to experience it. But when I implicitly specify the reason, I get involved in the game and take a side. In Cosmos there are no objective reasons. However, reasons make sense for a subject in relation to his goals. Therefore, when we research the ground of being, we are interested not so much in reasons but in the very tensions, the interpretations of which reasons are.

In this sense the genuine philosophy is not only an issue of interpretations and not only an issue of researching the structures of subject that engender those interpretations, but first of all an issue of researching the basic tensions that we ever have to interpret! Actually it means that the language of wisdom is the language of boundaries/tensions/connections/feelings, and not of judgments, structures or processes. Wisdom shows a connection, helps to realize a tension and gives a person the right to choose an interpretation. Thus, IOS can be supplemented with five boundaries that will become its foundation, since it is not a dogma, but a pure experience, which remains outside of evolution.

For example, Buddhist mandalas are concerted descriptions of the stream of being seen through the eyes of enlightened people, the mystical models of the Universe. Mandala of pure vision is a map of the world the way it is seen in the state of mystical oneness, where the illusion of boundaries is revealed. In terms of “reliable spiritual science” mandalas are the first scientific notions of integral model of experiencing. Carl Jung considered mandalas as archetypical symbol of a human perfection. You also noted that a form of deity is our own deepest structure. Above I put examples of ancient mystical maps of the Universe in Buddhism and Tantric Hinduism (Sri Yantra).


Figure 6. Yantra Mandala

Inner and outer circles symbolize terrestrial and heavenly being respectively. They are connected by four doors of wisdom and a central component of space. Mandala demonstrates the difference in perception of obscured consciousness and the consciousness of mystics dwelling in sahaja samadhi or turiyatita. The diffidence between pure vision and samsaric vision is that pure vision is free from delusions which according to most spiritual traditions are only five. Realized beings are constantly aware of illusion of the boundaries and become creators of playing actuality and an expression of the greatness of Absolute.

14. Five boundaries give rise to five types of mysticism and five classes of spiritual practices

What prevents us from living in the consciousness of unity? We fall out of it and sink into illusion. The chances to regain it are quite low if we do not know what we are looking for. Mystical unity is far from the unity of everything. “Unity of subject and object” for most people is just fine words. If we don’t have a notion of unity we can’t see spontaneous forces that ruin it. Five boundaries are a nexus between the absolute and the relative, between unity and duality. They are the boundaries between me and us, between being and its presentation, between imagination and action, between contemplation and involvement, between me and Spirit.

Since usual samsaric perception unlike mystical pure vision is characterized by belief in reality of five boundaries, it is reasonable to speak about spirituality in context of mystical dissolution and revealing unity of the stream of consciousness. Spiritual experience is dissolution of one or all boundaries and touching single nature of all phenomena. In the ultimate non-dual state of sahaja samadhi all boundaries are present, but seen as illusory.

Dissolution of any of the five basic boundaries is characterized by a temporary experience of mystical unity. The absolute non-dual oneness of oneself and the stream of perception occurs only with dissolution of the causal/non-dual boundary. In other cases we experience unity of “me” and “us”, “me” and exterior world, gross world and my dream, dreaming and witnessing, although there is no clear distinction between these states. These are different mystical states corresponding to different boundaries. In this sense natural boundaries are five portals to different forms of unity or five doors to the divine. Bardo posthumous experience is also connected with consecutive dissolution of all boundaries (or elements) and own evaluation of past life from pure vision point of view.

The experience of states of unity unfolds in a certain sequence of stages of spiritual ascending towards more energy-consuming states, from gross to non-dual, to the extent of development of contemplative practice. It is true not only for individual practice, but for the overall history of evolution of spiritual achievements. Mystical traditions can be correlated with the boundaries the following way:

  • subtle mysticism – the path of shamans (gross/subtle)
  • ascetic mysticism – the path of dervishes and fakirs (exterior/interior)
  • heart mysticism – the path of saints (individual/collective)
  • causal mysticism – the path of sages (subtle/causal)
  • non-dual mysticism – the path of siddhas (causal/non-dual)

The depth of spiritual practice increases if we understand what the practice is aimed at. The difference between spiritual practice and any forms of therapy, body work or subtle states work is just that spiritual practice is aimed at dissolving the boundaries and exploring the common ground of all dual pairs. Purification of all bodies, psychotherapy and concentration practices that allow to direct the attention all serve as supplementary practices. The ultimate pure essence of spiritual practices is peering into the boundaries till their complete dissolution. Direct contemplation of boundaries is probably the highest spiritual method veiled in different spiritual techniques. Below are examples of such techniques:

  • gross/subtle – meditation on yidam, meditation on the sound of singing bowls
  • exterior/interior – skanda yoga, reframing, analytical meditation
  • individual/collective – tonglen, karma yoga, bhakti yoga, practices of forgiveness
  • subtle/causal – Maharshi self-study, vipassana, shikantaza
  • causal/non-dual – trekcho, mahashanti, mindfulness meditation

Different types of koans also use different entry points of ruptures in boundaries. For example, “Who is the master that makes the grass green?” (interior/exterior), “How one hand clapping sounds?” (gross/subtle) or “How to get a goose out of a bottle?” (subtle/casual).

15. Integral philosophy of life based on use of the five boundaries

Five boundaries are a bridge that connects the playing activity and the enlightened pure vision. Through them we can express the enlightened wisdom in order to be guided by it in everyday activities. The value of this approach is that it explicitly point out the nexus between the living and the dead, feelings and models, heart and mind. It is a secure foundation for integral philosophy. Perennial philosophy was based not on ontology and metaphysics, but also on authentic experience of inexpressible feelings.

From the perspective of pure vision there are two approaches to integration of the boundaries: spiritual path of direct experiencing of boundlessness of the stream of being and integral path of wisdom of taking the boundaries into account in everyday life. Spiritual path is a direct contemplation of boundaries, as a result of which we find ourselves in a state of absolute wisdom. Integral path is an integration of boundaries in the waking state and acquisition of relative wisdom. Absolute wisdom cannot remain without relative wisdom, because if we don’t meet challenges of life wisely it is very difficult to keep seeing boundlessness of the world. In essence integral wisdom as opposed to spiritual wisdom should give us understanding of how to make decisions, how to act in life, or in a more narrow sense, how to face conflicts and uncertainty.

From absolute perspective the world is one and we can make sure of it if we just completely relax. From relative perspective the world is whole and this wholeness needs to be continuously and carefully supported. Perhaps, uniting absolute and relative truths or practical union of emptiness and world of forms it is one of the most delicate issues. It is not just a temporary mystical experience, but a practical tool available to everyone. Enlightenment has to return to the world as wisdom of life. Five elements are the foundation that can help us ground the absolute non-dual wisdom in the relative world.

The union of wisdom and method is especially emphasized in Buddhism. On the absolute level wisdom is staying in natural state, direct seeing of the world as boundless, and the method of this wisdom is integration of presence with any performed activity. Relative wisdom is remembering about the wholeness of the stream of being, and its method is acceptance of conflicting interests on both sides of all illusory boundaries. In both cases method is integration, but it is applied differently. Absolute method is an integration of presence and all states. Relative method is an integration of interests of the sides into non-conflicting whole.

Fundamental boundaries are a basis of individual being. It is impossible to ignore the boundaries in any integral approach, since they are similar to any other object of perception. Boundaries, just like other objects, arise in space of our awareness, but unlike other objects they are perceived by spiritual heart! It is a moral obligation of wholeness: what is realized should be taken into account. Integral vision is all-inclusiveness, understanding of the wholeness of creation.

The heart is neither feelings nor emotions. Wisdom of the heart is felt as realizing a degree of wholeness of the stream of being through the prism of five ruptures. Any integration first occurs in the heart and only then it is reflected in the form. Therefore any good map cannot ignore the sacred heart. Wholeness means reducing the discomfort of tensions coming from disagreement and contradictions. Wholeness is determined by the extent of relaxation. It is surprising, but we don’t have any other means to tell what is “better” and what is “worse”. All but a silent voice of love, a feeling of greater integrity is a rationalization.

We can say that five boundaries are the map of the spiritual heart and its concerns, and areas arising from boundaries (quadrants, levels, realms) are the map of creation and previous experiences. We can also call them the alphabet of feelings, strings of a soul, formula of love or philosopher’s stone. They are also a source of unlimited self-liberating energy and refined methodology of awakening. If we want to be really integral and to live our lives to the full, we have to take into account both areas and boundaries, the mind and the heart.

16. When experiencing we teach the Mind that organizes Game reality through our choices

Just like we teach our voice, teach our movements in dance, we can arrange the space of consciousness/energy so that our natural life play be truly divine. We can reach this goal with the help of integral map supplemented with knowledge about five boundaries and understanding of the nature of experiencing. A tension of any situation can be seen in the terms of five basic tensions, since they form the evolutionary space. In all five cases we find ourselves in a corridor between two extremes and our degree of wisdom is reflected in our ability to restore free flow of energy through addressing the consciousness of oneness. Below is a map of evolutionary impulses in the space of experiencing.


Figure 7. Elements

The peculiarity of experiencing is that to a large extent in all quadrants and realms the phenomena and processes arise without our efforts. The Game does not require that we manage functioning of consciousness or body, deliberately breathe, think or create images in our imagination. All objects in perception, even the observer, are temporary and managed by the Game itself. Stable contemplation reveals a mechanism of the Game: we feel the ruptures in the stream of consciousness (in proposed circumstances) and teach the Mind through our preferences that depend on a depth of realization of unity, and in return the Mind shows us a greater depth. The Cosmic Mind is like a giant artificial intelligence system or a matrix that is taught through our choices. We can say a firm “no” to it every time we feel with our heart that a suggested image lacks in wholeness and does not lead to relaxation. The rest is done by the Game itself on the basis of aggregated requests of all participants.

Thereby we can point out five classes of questions that the Mind itself cannot answer without our help, because it only provides decisions depending on a depth of our realization of the wholeness. Answering all these questions implies feeling a degree of wholeness with the heart:

  1. To what extent should we act in our own way or to follow common interests?
  2. To what extent should we stick to an existing model or to include new facts?
  3. To what extent should we stay within the habitual or to expand as the soul desires?
  4. To what extent should we get involved in solving a problem or to let it solve by itself?
  5. To what extent should we impose our own vision or to follow tendencies of the space?

There are no definite or right answers to these questions. Otherwise, we all would be robots. Everyone chooses their answers depending on their perceptibility, level of development and preferences. The best approach I know is to feel the unity of all pairs (NOT/NOT) and to let our own integrated decision be born (AND/AND)!

17. All-including approach takes into account tensions and pairs of interpretations

We cannot make affirmative judgments about the true reality, because the reality is not limited by the framework of mind. But we all need a basis of reliable worldview to build our life. In order to avoid metaphysics I suggest to bypass conceptual judgments and rely on the very tensions, that precede any interpretations and invariant in our experience. This approach implies taking into account interpretations appearing on both sides of boundaries. We feel “pressure” and consider a pair of contexts: “the hand pressures the table”/ “the table pressures the hand”. This way we remain free from preferences and preserve interpretational pluralism.

For example, the causal/non-dual tension that arises at the first moment of narrowing of the natural state to self-consciousness gives rise to a pair of partial contexts: “I am in the world” / “The World is in me”, both of which have to be included into integral study. Similarly five boundaries give rise to five pairs of basic partial notions about reality (and primary natural typology), the disposition to which can be seen at any level of development and in any state. When detached from their pairing element these ideas give rise to ten fundamental delusions about reality:

  • “I am in the world” / “The world is in me” (or “I am a sentient being” / “I am a Creator”)
  • “I create a dream” / “Everything in the world is just happening”
  • “I act in reality” / “Everything is just a dream, a projection of consciousness”
  • “I live in my own reality” / “I live in common material reality”
  • “Life is based on personal interests” / “Life is based on common interests”

Currently IA thoroughly considers partiality (absolutism) of the last two pairs of judgments only. Meanwhile, for instance, the first pair characterizes the boundary between ‘me’ and the Spirit. This means that we can experience the initial splitting from all creation from any of the two positions that cannot be reduced to each other: “I am God” and “I am the Son of God” (“I am the creator of the Game” and “I am just a player”, “I’m a whole” and ”I’m a part”); both positions are legitimate, but partial judgments about initial tension. On the one hand I am the center of own Universe which I create every moment from the light of my clarity through experiencing. On the other hand, I am involved in the play of interdependence that makes me take into account universes of other creators and all evolutionary history of the Game.

Since “I” is free from preferences and can choose any of these positions, we cannot help but considering both contexts simultaneously, playing reductionism. All-including chronology goes on through parallel narratives: any experience contains history of evolutionary cosmic habits and individual choices. Perception is not only perspectives, but also our choices, preferences, feelings and agreement to see the world the way we see it. This supports the very existence of a phenomenon of psychotherapy. Buddhists say that “the Universe was born in the previous moment of perception”. Scientists say that “The Universe was born with the Big Bang”. Both contexts of our Multiverse deserve to be accepted.

Practically it means that even the quadrants themselves have to be considered simultaneously from two highest perspectives. Cosmic habits are probability waves, which means tendencies exist alongside with a freedom of choice. The presentation of quadrants with “I” in the center suggested in the beginning does not abolish, but supplements the familiar AQAL presentation with “I” in UL quadrant, which allows another partial interpretation “I am a creator” to also unfold. In other words, practical acceptance of one’s own divinity, appreciation of “philosophy of subject/consciousness” and boomeritis restores a healthy balance (greens like no other feel a lawfulness of perspective “I’m a Universe”, and without accepting it they’ll hardly accept such version of integralism). For example like it’s shown below:


Figure 8. Sectors

18. Five boundaries give rise to five archetypical scenarios of figure/background

An amazing paradox of creation is that every moment each of us is creating the entire Universe through experiencing and at the same time we live in the Universe that is created by cooperative efforts of all players. We mutually reflect each other and it is not just a mythic postulate of Rigveda about the Indra’s net, but a postmetaphysical necessity to stay outside preferences of a separate perspectives (NOT/NOT) and to take into account paired contexts (AND/AND), when they cannot be integrated in one. Practically, it means that we can use IA not only when analyzing cognizing objects and phenomena (“Self in the word”), but also as a compass which helps us to make wiser decisions in our lives and implement a conscious and wise choice (“World in Self”)! In each case we can at least take into account quadrants, realms, levels and five keys of experienced boundaries. Below is a brief list of factors, which can be taken into account by Integral Approach with regard to the boundaries.

 «The Universe is in me»

What is taken into account

when experiencing

 «I am in the Universe»

What is taken into account

when analyzing phenomena

Quadrants / Structures
  1. Ideas
  2. Sensations
  3. Relations
  4. Agreement
  1. Individual
  2. Organism
  3. Culture
  4. Systems
Realms / Processes
  1. Behavior
  2. Imagination
  3. Attention
  4. Presence
  1. Activity
  2. Dreaming
  3. Sphere of interests
  4. Tendencies of the environment
Boundaries / Experiencing
  1. Qualities
  2. Freedom
  3. Images
  4. Attention
  5. Presence
  1. Friendliness
  2. Innovation
  3. Activity
  4. Creativity
  5. Social service

IA regards karma in the quadrants as relatively sustainable cosmic habits, the heritage of the past. However, we can also talk of tensions between the quadrants and between all boundaries in general as of karma of experiencing, which we continuously create, inherit and live through. This karma characterizes imbalance on borderline. For example, Christianity created tension by launching inquisition, which later became a prerequisite for liberalism and caused a tide of denial of spirituality. Until the Church repented its actions, and people sincerely forgave it, so that everybody could feel a relief, the karma of the Church has not been lived through. It is true for any experience no matter if it lasts an instant or for thousands of years. It is not ill fate, it is splitting that we bear inside ourselves as five types of tensions of different power. Through shadow mechanisms this splitting gives rise to scenarios which bring us back to the necessity to relive a tension in a wiser way, to restore the wholeness. Therefore we can also talk about five fundamental fears, five lines of development and five archetypical scenarios.

In this sense taking boundaries into account also serves to disentangle karmic factors and can be applied in any sphere. For example, when today we consider if a company can be our partner, the analysis of quadrants is not enough. Process oriented approach by Arny Mindell proposes also taking into account a dream of company top managers and the company itself (realms), their shadow roles. Shadows are present in all quadrants and realms, because everything that “I” can realize “I” can also force out. We can go even further and determine karmic scenarios of the company through analysis of boundary tensions. Rejected side of a boundary becomes the background and we can foresee possible scenarios in any contexts, from personal to international. Using boundaries we can predict the future and assess a degree of influence on it with a high probability. Understanding what aspects should enter in resonance we also see ways of resolving conflicts. Until an individual keeps forgetting that “everything is good” (in its contexts), life is built in accordance to 5 basic karmic scenarios figure/shadow.

19. Wisdom of five boundaries is non-historical and appears in the light of non-dual vision

The additions suggested above arose from consideration of the integral theory from perspective of pure non-dual vision. This is how our Game and the process of life are seen from the state of oneness (sahaja) in terms of IA. This vision implies absence of unconditional faith in anything. In Bodhidharma’s words, “vast emptiness, nothing holy”. In the light of non-dual wisdom there is no conceptual basis and no unconditional preferences, no ontology and no metaphysics – nothing universal. Ultimate purifying spirituality implies liberation from any absolute values. All of this is present in separate contexts and situations, but background sense of self is a silent solitude of impartiality (NOT/NOT) and luminous openness of all-inclusion (AND/AND), emptiness of identity and fullness of expression of will.

The awakened heart is free from separate ideas and values, but it is not empty either – it contains the entirety of interests of everything arising in perception. There is nothing to rest upon, except all-embracing uniting love in the form of compassionate evolutionary impulse that spontaneously challenging us to express at every moment. This is a NOT/NOT-identity (ultimate transcendence) and an AND/AND-relation (ultimate immanence) that take root in the consciousness of the awakened through the integral vision, the great seal of healing inner calmness and great perfection of blessing outer action.

Timeless wisdom of boundaries can be called diamond, vajra or invincible wisdom, since it appears before there are time, space and evolution. Regardless of the level of development and any reasons of the world of forms, the primary tensions are present in consciousness. It is a non-historical cosmic habit, which wasn’t chosen in the process of evolution, but that we permanently feel while we aware of ourselves. Perhaps, it is the only 100% common knowledge in our experience. The views on evolution will change over time (division into levels, lines and types is mostly speculative), but it is hardly possible to build an all-inclusive model that will be able to do without diamond wisdom. The Great Chain of Being and cognition is not the only gift of spiritual traditions. Knowledge about primary components and elements, the heart of truth, is the deepest heritage of ancient civilizations. This is a format of an individual stream of consciousness in this Universe. Huston Smith and Ernst Schumacher described only a half of perennial philosophy.

At the same time even wisdom of boundaries is not universal and primordial, because boundaries phenomenologically arise as the first move of involution, when emptiness starts lighting up with rainbow radiance and evolutionary patterns have not captured consciousness yet. The Big Bang and Evolution create me just like I create them at every moment. It becomes obvious when the boundary tensions find their primordial peace in the Spirit and dissolve in all-embracing luminous bliss and great spontaneous equality. When boundaries disappear consciousness remembers the nature of the Game and a stream of perception fully realizes itself. Then all-pervasive light of natural wakefulness turns back to the world revealing the sense of boundaries as continuous evolutionary source of meaning picking up the baton from religions.

We can recognize ourselves in the one who feels the energy of boundaries and makes a conscious choice restoring the wholeness of tracery of being, who plays with energy/consciousness. Even rigpa, a self-realizing wakefulness, is not who I am, but only the nature of mind. Just being present is not actually enough for wise and playful expression! Three (or four) bodies, division of one into many and dual nature of energy/consciousness make basic rules of the Game in this Universe, markings of our empty playing field. Our games are made according to an extent of seeing wholeness through the boundaries. The message of integral wisdom is simple: to live within the boundaries, but to remember about their illusory, playful nature. This means staying awake from any transient images (NOT/NOT) and to act taking into account a maximum amount of realized interests in any situation (AND/AND). Real wisdom points out on tensions (feelings) and leaves people the freedom of choice.

20. Five boundaries can be used for aligning our Self-sense with integral vision of Unique Self

We live in amazing time when the Game settings are changing before our eyes. Splitting reduces, boundaries become more permeable and evolutionary energy is flowing faster and faster. Individual will more and more agrees with the group will, the gap between imaginary and real is rapidly reducing. In this situation we may need a formula of awakened self-sense. IOS is good in all respects, but it does not show clearly how to act in life wisely in order not to get involved in study/karmic scenarios. I see that one of the tasks of the Integral Approach is evening our self-sense in concordance with pure non-dual and integral vision, since it is the very self-sense of a sentient being that self-liberates through its play. We can summarize this pure/integral vision the following way:

  1. We are not one and not many, but we manifest as unity in diversity, and therefore we have to take into account personal, collective and universal interests, displaying interest and compassion, but at the same time not losing self-respect and dignity. To do this we need to learn to recognize this tension as a resonance between one and many and an impulse for communication and collaboration.
  2. We are not consciousness and not energy, but we manifest as conscious energy, and therefore we have to take into account our existing subjective ideas and new facts of the objective actuality, displaying non-attachment and curiosity to a degree that we still have an ability to act responsibly. To do this we need to learn to recognize this tension as a resonance between consciousness and energy and an impulse for research.
  3. We are not established habits of body/mind and not fantasies of dreaming body, but we manifest asunfolding subtle images and patterns in the gross world of puppets, and therefore we have to take into account both given potentials of gross dreaming and interests of imagination, taking the challenge to realize our dreams actively and resolutely to such a degree that our natural uniqueness and abilities are taken into account. To do this we need to learn to recognize this tension as a resonance between gross and subtle dreams and an impulse for brave and respectful self-expression.
  4. We are not richness of forms and not a formless observer, but we manifest as an observer interested in the diversity of forms, and therefore we have to take into account the interests of both sides, taking the challenge to set free our imagination, to show playfulness to such a degree that awareness is not lost, to dream lucidly. To do this we need to learn to recognize this tension as a resonance between the observer and the observed and an impulse for creativity.
  5. We are not separate sentient beings and not the Spirit, but we manifest as a playing Spirit, and therefore we need to live with both our human interests and the interests of all realized creation, taking the challenge to enjoy our play and assert our will to such a degree that it conforms to the good of sentient beings and all the creation. To do this we need to learn to recognize this tension as a resonance between ourselves and the Spirit and an impulse for caring and playful divine behest.

That is the result of applying the formula NOT/NOT+AND/AND to the five basic boundaries, an integral recipe for wise living and wise leadership on any level (we can also supplement it with similar descriptions for boundaries of altitude levels or SD). Having tuned in with this divine, personally-impersonal, acceptingly-commanding vision we find ourselves in the space of our Unique Self[1]. The self-sense of an awakened player combines ultimate simplicity (NOT/NOT) and divine playfulness (AND/AND), total surrender and royal grandeur, our True Self and our unique perspective. It is exciting uncertainty, readiness for the unexpected and distrust to any illusory decorations. It has something in common with the symbolism of Shiva’s cosmic dance. It is not easy to dance between all opposites without preferring anything, without losing balance and without stopping. Such a dancer realizes illusiveness of any splitting and manifests holistic decisions. Guided by the heart he joins with his own highest Self in the form of deity. Nataraja, the Lord of the dance, the Master of the Game, symbolizes practical realization of the idea of unity in action.

21. Conclusion

Dear Ken, in my opinion the map of our awareness can’t ignore feelings! It is our only compass in this world of impermanent objects, cosmic glue and a constant reminder of oneness. They can be a basis for ultimate integral philosophy that adds an evolutionary dimension to really perennial philosophy. Eternal philosophy can’t be based on postulates and therefore doesn’t reject anything and is devoid of internal contradictions (any axiomatic system is knowingly contradictory). Feelings are non-conceptual and pure, so this basis is as solid as a diamond. They reflect the way we experience the ruptures of wholeness (although the language for boundaries can be different for different levels of development). To put it simply, only Love can sustain the building of integral aperspectivism. Love is the only secure ground of non-contradictory philosophy and it has 6 dimensions: 5 boundaries and dimension of evolutionary depth (gradients of development).

A regular person relies on beliefs, conventions and habits in his or her activities, while an awakened being relies on emptiness (NOT/NOT) and wholeness (AND/AND) or freedom of choice and depth of feelings. Feelings can be described by pointing to fundamental ruptures of perception, inner contradictions of only five known classes. We are not any of the objects (NOT/NOT), but having realized our right to choose we take into account all interests of five boundaries (AND/AND) in concordance with a degree of our sensitivity that lies in the basis of the levels of altitude/depth. The experience itself is also nothing (NOT/NOT), but it can be partly described as the sum of projections (AND/AND).

The irony of life is that all tensions are spontaneous and causeless (NOT/NOT) just like the Game itself. However the requirement for their conscious and wise liberation is taking into account all categories of causes that cannot be reduced to the common context (AND/AND) and equal attitude towards them. Thus base rules of our Game (or the Theory of Everything) can be almost comprehensively described by formula {quadrants, realms, boundaries and levels}, and if we look at it from inside and outside it gives us the following:

  • {forms, patterns, experiences and individual karma} on the inside
  • {structures, processes, evolution and cosmic habits/attractors} on the outside,

where experiences = feelings + choice, and evolution = tensions + points of bifurcation.

The basic evolutionary achievements (like premodern, modern and postmodern discoveries) were partly and essentially predefined in our consciousness as basic tensions that gradually self-liberate in the course of unfolding as a dance of the timeless and the evolutionary. Experiencing is what evolution looks like on the inside. Evolution is an outside reflection of our experiences. These are complementary, interdependent and inseparable contexts “The world is in Self” and “Self is in the world”, which cannot be reduced one to another without derogation. The world evolves with our personal evolution, with our every experience. Conscious evolution is connected with the awakening to conscious agreement of quadrants and realms in the process of experiencing. It is a radical transformation from egoic games of regaining our projections through karmic scenarios to more evolutionary games of conscious creativity as an answer to the challenge of cosmic diversity.

By the way, in Excerpt A (from Volume 2 of the Kosmos Trilogy) considering the question of crisis of legitimation and social revolutions, the issue of ruptures between LR and LL quadrants was already touched upon, as one of the reasons of cultural wars. But this process of “inheriting with novelty” or “inheriting with a rupture” is also going on continuously in all of us, as a foundation of life, and it happens on all boundaries.

The wisdom of sustainable enlightenment in the process of everyday life, in internal and external conflicts, activity strategies of beings that achieved realization are topical for our times. The approach to enlightenment as to a peak state is the spiritual landmark of the past. Such enlightenment is not a final goal, but the intermediate state on the way to a free and conscious life. At Now the question of how to learn to play in a human life without turning it into a continuous spiritual search has a crucial importance! Today the evolutionary goal of awakening is to discover ourselves as divine players.

We’ve come a long way from understanding the world as a given divine creation through its understanding as an automatic machine to a discovery of forms self-organization in the process of evolution. Our concepts of ourselves, of the meaning and activities have come the same way. We listened to shamans, priests, scientists and psychotherapists trying to find a way in life. Now it’s time for us to realize ourselves also as self-conscious, self-organizing evolutionary streams of being, to discover our inner guru, master, coach. A present moment gives us complete feedback through our feelings and contains all necessary information on meaning, so that we no longer have to rely much on faith. A cosmic human sees the entirety of the arising stream of being as his or her primary teacher and feelings in the heart are viewed as a spontaneously arising guiding wisdom of self-liberating tensions of space.

In fact, the integral vision can be expanded by answering the question “What would a siddha who constantly dwells in the state of pure vision be guided by when facing complicated challenging situations of modern life?” Five boundaries/elements and the pure/integral approach can help us ground the enlightened vision in the level of regular people letting them awaken faster and express themselves wiser. Development of steady contemplation on the spiritual path (NOT/NOT) can be supplemented with the criteria for wise behavior (AND/AND), and the boundaries can be used as a basis for grounding in the infinite. Thereby, the ancient alchemic knowledge about primary elements is coming back to the world as the diamond wisdom of the heart, as a map of awareness and tuning-fork of conscious evolution, helping us to remember ourselves and to tune consciousness in accordance with the self-sense of cosmic players.

Two thousand years ago Garab Dorje, the first teacher of Dzogchen, demonstrated that a highest possible achievement of yoga which is a natural state (NOT/NOT) can be recognized as a simple presence in a usual waking state. Now we witness a new turn of the Wheel of Dharma, that makes it possible to recognize five boundaries/elements/energies (AND/AND) in a usual waking state as five basic feelings or integral wisdom of taking into account ten fundamental perspectives (and their combinations) that cannot be reduced to each other.


Figure 9. Vajra (Credit: Luke Brown)

[1] Marc Gafni, Your Unique Self, The Democratization of Enlightenment, 2012 Integral Publishing; Marc Gafni, The Evolutionary Emergence of Unique Self, A New Chapter in Integral Theory, JITP. 6:1 Sunny Press


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