There is much about Ken Wilber’s framework, or rather its content the way he presents it, that is sometimes fuzzy for me.
WC Lattice: Stages and states
One is the Wilber-Coombs lattice, with the stages vertical and states horizontal.
It is simple enough, and fits my own experience and what I see in other’s life as well. We all develop along the many lines and levels, and at any point have access to a range of states – including waking, dream and sleep, or nature mysticism, deity mysticism, causal (witness) and nondual. It is simple, common sense, nothing too controversial.
Stages and self-line
It seems that the confusion for me comes in because I have used a similar framework on my own, long before hearing about the WC Lattice, and it is relatively similar although also not the same. This one is the relationship between the stages of human development and the sense of self, or the self-line of development.
So the stages are still along one axis, but the sense of self is on the other.
Our human self develops along its lines and their levels.
And our sense of self develops from identification with the seen (our human self, gross physical, and individual soul, subtle) to the seeing itself (witness, causal), to realizing the absence of I in both seen and seeing. These are not merely states, but a relatively stable center of gravity. There is a stable experience of I as human self, as soul, as witness or absent.
And these two forms of development are relatively, although not completely, independent of each other.
My human self continues to develop, independent on where my sense of I is centered.
My sense of self can be in my physical human self, and this human self can continue to develop in all its lines of cognitive, relational, ethics and so on. And there can be realized selflessness, and my human self will still continue to develop along any and all of these lines. And anything in between, and any other combination, is also possible.
Resolution: state vs. stage along horizontal
So in the WC lattice, they have states along the horizontal axis, and in the model I made for myself, the self-line is along the horizontal axis.
Yet, the content of the two are in a way the same. It is gross physical, subtle soul, causal witness, and nondual in both cases.
In one, it is a temporary state, a glimpse, a peek (!) experience as they say. In the other, it is a more stable center of gravity, it is the stages of the sense of self, the self line.
The two versions of the horizontal lines are the same in content, different in that one is a state and the other a stage, and – in a way, we can say that one leads to the other.
The states leads to stages.
I am plunged repeatedly into the subtle state, and my sense of I gradually shifts into it. I am plunged repeatedly into the witness state, and my sense of I gradually shifts into that. I am plunged repeatedly into nondual states, and the center of gravity shifts into that.
When my sense of I shifts into the subtle state, I experience myself as soul, as energy, as bliss, as fullness. And this is a relatively stable experience. It is where I am most, if not almost all, of the time.
When my sense of I shifts into the causal witness, I find myself as seeing itself, and this is where I find myself most or almost all of the time.
When my sense of I falls away completely, the center of gravity is in the nondual, and that is where it is most or all of the time.
The WC lattice is in a way a cleaner model. It has stages along one axis and states along the other, and that is it.
The model I made up for myself a long time ago is not quite as clean. It has stages along one axis, and stages within one particular line along the other.
Yet, this horizontal line has the same referents: gross physical, subtle soul, causal witness and nondual. In one, as states, and in the other as where my sense of I is centered.
One leads to the other, over time.