In a series of previous pieces I’ve been exploring the traditional teaching of the three great states of realms—known in the East as the gross (aka psychic), the subtle, and the causal. There is also a fourth—the nondual—which is the essence or common substrate of the three.
I’ve covered the psychic here, especially in it’s relation to the UFO phenomenon. I’ve covered the subtle here (as well as subtle UFO/alien elements). I’ve covered the non-dual in this piece. This piece closes the circle, by exploring the causal state-realm.
While those pieces are really helpful background they aren’t necessary. The basic premise of this teaching is that each state has a corresponding realm with its specific types of entities/beings, its own unique worldspace complete with distinct moods, as well as characteristic methods or practices for connecting to each state-realm.
The psychic is the mysticism of the gross material world. It reveals itself in shamanic initiations, plant medicine/psychedelic explorations, psi experiences, as well as encounters with elementals, the dead, UFOs, the jinn, the fairy folk, etc. The psychic often involves journeys to the underworld (as well as the numinous dimensions of the middle world).
The subtle is the journey to the heavens, populated by angels, light beings, ascended masters, guides. The mystic connects to the subtle through processes that take one up on an ascension (as covered here).
The casual is the realm of formless, eternal realization. The name causal comes from it being “the cause” or source of all experience. To access the causal one does not go along a vertical path—neither down (psychic) nor up (subtle)—but rather “in”. One goes utterly within to experience the causal.
In the psychic time is fluid and strange and weird (e.g. “time loss”). In the subtle, time consists of vast aeons of time playing out meta-cycles of mythic importance. The causal, by contrast, is timeless or eternal.
In the causal the flow of linear time stops (or rather is not experienced). For the causal, there is no past, present, or future, only an Eternal Present or Now.
If the subtle is the realm of light, then the causal is the realm of darkness. The great Christian mystic Dionysius the Areopagite spoke of the causal as a darkness that was “dazzling” and “luminous”. The causal realm is so bright it “knocks out” the mystic in a state of superconscious darkness. Like the feeling of being beside a lake on a clear night with the moon shinning gently on the water. Everything is still and at rest. While the psychic and the subtle are in various states of Becoming, the Causal is in a state of Being.
Consequently the practices to access the Causal are, in a sense, “non-practices.” These “non-practices” involve a kind of “un-doing” rather doing. They include things like simply resting in What Is, allowing and letting everything be, observing and feeling whatever arises without trying to change anything. Or inquiring deeply: “Who am I?” and “What is this?”
In the psychic one must gain power in order to travel elsewhere (shamanic journey) and learn how to come back from wherever one has gone safely. In the subtle one must ascend up the spine to the heavens above through concentrative practices like mantras or visualizations. In the causal there is no such movement. One is not going from here to “there”. One is simply injuring into the present, wherever they may find themselves.
If in the psychic one chants or drums to call the ancestors and if in the subtle one sings devotional hymns or chants to the light beings, in the causal one is silent. Silence is the language of the causal. It is a silence, however, that strangely communicates; the causal is an emptiness that is paradoxically full.
Jinn, fairy folk, elementals, the dead, inter-dimensionals/“aliens”, populate the psychic. Angels, ascended masters, and deities are the denizens of the subtle .The causal, by contrast, is the realm of the Godhead.
The Godhead is that from which all beings arise and to which all beings return: souls, spirits of the land, ancestors, angels, even gods and goddesses.
Meister Eckhart, the great medieval Christian realizer said this of the distinction between God (or gods) and Godhead:
“I shall repeat what I have never said before: God and his Godhead are as different as heaven and earth. I will go still further: the inner and the outer person are as different as heaven and earth. But God’s distance from the Godhead is many thousand miles greater still. God becomes and ceases to become, God waxes and wanes.”
God waxes and wanes.
For that, as you imagine, Eckhart got into some serious hot water with the church. That isn’t the focus here but rather on the notion that Godhead is deeper than God (gods). Eckhart famously also argued that in the Godhead his soul and God were one because Godhead was the common source of both God and the soul. In other words there was a deeper ground or fount from which both God (Creator) and Eckhart’s created soul emerge and when he returned to that Ground, he touched his Eternal Essence which was one with God—as both are of the same nature (Godhead).
What Eckhart calls the Godhead, the Vedanta and Vajrayana traditions would know as The Witness (Turiya). The Witness is the unmoved Observer of all reality. It is the background spectator to all existence. It is the Groundless Ground to all reality. It is precisely because of this all-ground nature of the Godhead that one does not need to change state through any specific method but rather relax back into the ever-present state in order to contact it.
Causal-level teachings will often use a compass as a metaphor. When one moves the compass the needle moves in the direction one is facing—thereby giving orientation. If, however, you simply holds the compass flat in your hand, then the needle returns to True North. True North is something like Ever-Present Awareness/Witness/Godhead and the needle is like attention. When an individual lets their attention rest it automatically returns to Awareness. When, however, they deploy their attention in various ways (like moving the compass around), then they get readings. Practices of the psychic and subtle deploy human attention in various ways to journey to specific states-reams of experiences. Causal “non-practices”, allow attention to rest and return naturally to Awareness.
In the causal everything (and nothing) is happening all at once. There is total seamless or non-separate (sunyata) quality to reality in the causal.
The challenge with the causal however is how to relate Awareness and Simplicity to the realm of manifold, diverse creation.
The psychic and the subtle both in their ways work with diverse creation. The psychic focuses primarily on proper orientation and right boundaries and relations between all the various entities—called ayni in Quecha. In the subtle there is a desire to rightly align all creation to the Light. In contrast, the causal dissolves everything back to its Source.
Each state-realm has its opposite. For the psychic it’s between the numinous-mystical versus the mundane gross realm. For the subtle it’s the light versus the dark. For the causal it’s the Unmanifest versus the manifest.
For the causal the question inevitably becomes: what to do about the continued arising of all things? What to do with the Many having now located The One (To Hen)? The danger or potential limitation inherent in the causal is that it can create a very subtle division between The One and The Many.
Here there are differences of view between various causal-level schools of thought. Some—like certain strands of Gnosticism—take a very negative view towards The Many. They see creation as a trap, a spiritual prison from which seek to escape (e.g. David Icke and Daniel Pinchbeck).
While other causal traditions see creation not so much as a prison but as an illusion (maya), a kind of ghostly reality—not to be afraid of or disgusted by but rather simply to ignore as one continues to melt into the Oneness. Extreme forms of this view lead to seeing the world as unreal and in a sense, stillborn.
Still other causal traditions however see the world as more shimmering or spontaneous arisings, evanescent, like bubbles on the water. These traditions really emphasize the flow of all created reality from The Source and ultimately back to The Source.
However exactly depicted, there is always in the Causal the slightest duality between The Witness and that which is witnessed but at least this latter option has a more appreciative sense of arising phenomena which opens the door towards the movement into nonduality.
It is for this reason that in the Eastern traditions the causal is also known as the "very subtle", because there is still the very subtlest form(less) form of duality here present. Consequently, the very subtlest shift from the causal to the nondual involves seeing reality arising as a manifestation and expression of the Causal Source. That the Causal is not only the Source but also the Substrate (or Quality) of all arising phenomena. The previously mentioned Meister Eckhart fits in this tradition, following in the line of the great Neoplatonists like Plotinus and Proclus. For Proclus everything flows out of The One while never leaving it and flow backs to The One while always have remained within. In such a flow every being, every arising reality is given space to be its diverse expression of The One. In nonduality the Oneness is the Manyness. The Oneness is the non-separation or a fundamental semalessness, not a separate ONE, or giant monad. As Plotinus said, The One is not numerical. The One is without a second.
Causal-only teachings conversely tend to reduce the many to the Oneness. Casaul teachings more often than not tend to confuse Oneness (Non-Separation, Seamlessness) for a mega-gargatuan ONE. That ONE will typically seek to either rule over or efface the reality of The Many. The psychic and the subtle can obscure The Oneness by emphasis on The Many. For the Causal, the danger is the reverse (The One over The Many).
The way past that potential very subtle illusion of the Causal is to really emphasize the unity and the equality of all beings arising from the same Source. In the language of the Bible, for example, one could say "we are all offpsring of the same Creator." This emphasis on the unity does not diminish or reduce the diversity of those "divine family members" but simply puts the emphasis on the unity and inherent connection of each to all.
Emphasis on the oneness--without denigrating the nature of the arising diversity--plus an understanding of the common flow between all beings is what helps to move towards a more full embodied nondual realization. The Source is The Font (The Origin) but it is also The Flow (Substrate), the medium of all arising phenomena. With such an approach and embodied interpretation, the pathway to the nondual is "greased" and made more smooth.