Originally I wasn't going to include the Partial Realization (or Intermediate Zone as it is also referred to) or Relative-Absolute; the reason being that this is such an ambiguous and paradoxical region, as its name indicates! On the one hand it belongs to the Relative, and can be included with the esoteric-gnostic, on the other to the Absolute (Realisation). On the other hand, perhaps for this very reason it is important to describe this stage, its strengths and its pitfalls. Also, in a sense, every Stages of Transformation is transitional (a bardo (intermediate state - Tibetan Buddhism) or barzakh (interword - Ismaili esotericism - ref Henry Corbin)), which overlaps with the others (in this sense Wilber's emphasis on "waves" rather than fixed "stages" is useful), as well as develops in parallel.
This stage of Partial Realization corresponds in part to Sri Aurobindo's Intermediate Zone. It is basically any state or stage in which it appears that Realisation has been attained, and in which Reality is experienced in Itself, transparently, but in which there is still a sense of doership, and hence of ego or narcissism. In other words, Relative-Absolute differs from True Realisation in that there is still a sense of "I' or "me", whereas True Realisation and all stages beyond that (Integral Transformation) are egoless.
It was once pointed out to me that Da Free John (who later became cught in a vortex of narcissism and called himself Adi Da, claiming to be the only Realiser in all of human and cosmic history to have attained Realisation) as a classic example of Relative-Absolute stage Realiser. Here is someone whose statements on the spontaneous self-shining Reality are so profound and amazing and have such power of Truth, and who is among the few Realisers to have gone out of his way to ensure the needs of nonhuman sentients (Ramana is another), and no doubt to many of his disciples as well, yet whose personal life, abusive behaviour to other disciples and devotees, and chronic and narcisiistic use of first person pronoun indicated the exact opposite.
But to deny the sublimity of Da's genuine insights is as one-sided as to dismiss him as a fraud and psychopath. Both courses are equally one-sided, and equally ridiculous.
I would never follow Da Free John or read any of his later, crazy books (or later revisions of earlier classics which dated from a purer - pre-Adidam - period) where luciferic ego has run rampant, but I still have learned a great deal from him.
Other Relative-Absolute or Partial Realisers would be Meher Baba, Mother Meera, Amma (considered Fully Enlightened by her devotees), Papaji (also non-abusive, a little known but incredibly influential figure) and Swami Muktananda, and maybe Osho as well; I don't know about him, I don't harmonise with his energy, he is too sensual and I am more ascetic and intellectual.
Depending on whether you look at it from a yin, selfless perspective, or a yang, egocentric one, Partial Realisation can be differently represented. This is shown by the following diagram:
On the left is the yin, more spiritual perspective. Here the dulaistic, exoteric consciousness is the outer or surface being. This represents the stages from delusional through dualistic to holistic and mesoteric. Consciousness is divided into Inner/Subjective and Outer/Objective, Self and Non-Self, At the selfish and delusional stages, which are maximally narcissistic, this dichotomy is very marked. By the time we get to the holistic and mesoteric the duality is starting to disappear. Going within, spiritually (as opposed to subjectively, the subjective is shown by the left side of the diagram), is the next ring, marked by empathy (higher Emotion/intersubjective), gnosis (higher Mind/Consciousness), and transformation (subtle physical), in which I-It and I-You is replaced by I-Thou. This is the Esoteric/Gnostic sphere. Beyond this is the further Relative-Absolute, described here, and beyond even that, as the true inner core of one's being, once ego is let go of, is Realisation, the transcendencxe of Self and Non-Self, which in turn opens the way to the Integral Transformation
The yang diagram (right) presents the other side of the coin. Here self-transformation is not so much the movement inwards to the Soul and Spirituality as a personal and cosmic expansion, although this is also in a sense "inner" relative to the outer or exoteric reality. So the narcissistic ego represents the greatest limitation, the greatest contraction, of consciousness. Beyond this is the transpersonal, which begins even at the pluralistic and holistic stage, and extends even more into the Esoteric/Gnostic. Beyond that again is the vastness of the transcendent Relative-Absolute, which appears infinite (and in many ways is infinite), and hence fools so many sadhaks (spiritual and yogic aspirants) into thinking they have somehow attained the end goal. Indeed, for those with absolutely no understanding, even the holistic stage is considered to be Enlightenment!!!! (I have seen this in the secular integral movement; I suppose it is typical of the New Age movement in general). This is why there are so many spiritual wankers, each claiming to be Enlightened, and drawing in those gullible souls who ironically are more spiritually developed then these fake gurus. Of course, once the sense of seprateness that still characterises Partial Realisation is transcended, then being truly does become infinite, bec\ause one is now transparent to Reality, and there are no longer any boundaries (veils) between self and cosmos, or self and God.
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