Author: Shekhar Algundgi
The seven levels
Dr. Shekhar Algundgi, consultant and faculty, ‘the other song: International Academy of Advanced Homoeopathy’.
To understand the expressions at various levels, we who use the Sensation Approach have classified the symptoms into various levels. Why do we need to do this? If we are to see the example above itself, the symptoms go from apparently the superficial level to a deeper level, which forms the core of the individual. So it is a great advantage to the physician who now knows how to get the patient to the deepest possible level for that individual. This then when expressed at the core levels is the true expression and helps characterize the individual, helping his complaint to be differentiated from a person with a similar complaint. As stated by Hahnemann in aphorism 153 of Organon of Medicine ‘… in order to find among these an artificial morbific agent corresponding by similarity to the disease to be cured, the more striking, singular, uncommon and peculiar (characteristic) signs and symptoms of the case of disease are chiefly and solely to be kept in view; for it is more particularly these that very similar ones in the list of symptoms of the selected medicine must correspond to, in order to constitute it the most suitable for effecting a cure.’
Let us go through what the levels of experience are:
Level 1 – Name
The first level is the experience of a situation as just
The experience of a situation at this level ends with the naming or classifying of a situation or person or thing.
For example: ‘This is a computer.’
In medicine this would equate to making a diagnosis like: “This is asthma” or “This is a case of depression”.
Level 2 – Fact
At a somewhat deeper level one can experience a situation as a set of facts (Level 2). For example, with a computer, one can experience it as a series of facts such as features, specifications, price, manufacturer, etc.
Regarding a situation, one can choose to look only at all the objective facts of the situation like the where, when, and what of it.
Level 3 – Emotions
The desire to know these facts about a person or situation arises from a deeper level, the emotional level. We want to know a person and facts about him because we feel emotions for him like love, suspicion, hatred, etc.
Human beings view problems at an emotional level; they feel sad or happy in relationships, angry about the prevailing global situation, scared about the future etc. They view the external world in terms of situations and each of these situations is associated with an emotion. Our speech, actions, reactions and fears, all reflect these emotions. Emotions are experienced through the mind. Also they are individual specific.
Level 4 – Delusion
On looking deeper, we see that emotions stem from a delusion or imagination which is beyond likes and dislikes, happiness and sorrow. These imaginations or associations tend to evoke images which in turn give rise to certain emotions in us. So although our eyes see a certain thing, our mind may imagine it to be something else (i.e. a distorted perception of reality).
For example, we experience fear when we perceive danger, especially from some situation or object or person that we are sensitive to. No matter how safe an object may be in reality, if the eyes see it and the mind decodes it as dangerous, a complete chain reaction of feelings, sensations and reactions arises. The imagination evokes this fearful response. Our distortion of reality, our false perception will be exactly the same each time it happens throughout our lives.
Level 5 – Sensation
Although the delusion is manifest in the mind, it is not intellectual; it does not arise out of thought process, nor does it stem from emotions like fear, anxiety, hatred and joy. Examined deeper, delusion is a part of a much deeper experience, the sensation that encompasses the mind and the body. This is the general level and as the delusion arises from this deeper level, the experience of it can be “felt in our very bones”.
Let’s take an example. A person with a back problem continually says: “I need some support to my back. That is the only thing that gives me relief”. Regarding his emotional needs he says: “My friend’s give me support, I can lean on them.” He refers to his religion, god, or guru as his source of “moral support.” His experience of needing support resonates at every level within him. It is experienced not only in his body but has a deeper basis within his entire being, manifesting itself as a need for support emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. His basic sensation of “I need support” is felt at a level deeper than, but common to, both mind and physique. This is the level of sensation, Level 5.
Often for patients, their symptoms, their chief complaint, may be primarily in the physical or mental sphere. Whatever their chief complaint, their core sensation will always be clearly and most vividly expressed in their main symptoms. The way the patient describes the chief complaint, often his physical ailment - is an exact description of the deepest sensation that he experiences all over, in general and in his mind state, a sensation that lies at the core of his being. When I explore the mind state of a patient, I find the same sensation expressed there as in the physical symptoms, and vice versa. Since the sensation is felt or experienced at both the levels, the level of sensation is deeper than that of delusion. This sensation that links the mind and body must exist prior to its appearance in both these localities. It is therefore central or vital. Hence the term Vital Sensation. We also term it as the experience, as it is the experience running common in mind and body.
Level 6 – Energy
Finally, let us explore the origin of this vital sensation that is at a still deeper level. We cannot explore this deep level of Sensation by thinking about it intellectually. Rather, we must allow ourselves to experience it within our own body, and to observe the ways in which others express their experience of it (usually with their body language). Once we start exploring this level of sensation, we begin to notice certain recurrent body gestures. A gesture is a specific movement in a specific direction with a specific energy (force). For example, when we want to describe a pain in our abdomen which is of a twisting and stretching type, our hands will start moving in a specific direction in a specific gesture which is characteristic of our personal (individualistic) energy pattern. This Energy pattern is one of our deepest experiences, and it is from this level that the vital sensation arises.
Energy is represented by:
Level 7 – The Seventh
We explore the origin of Energy itself, or more accurately the fundamental origin or basis of all the levels, that deepest level which forms the background of all the other levels. Even deeper than the energy is the experience that provides the base of a given energy pattern. This is the Seventh level. The Seventh, or deepest level, can be compared to a blank canvas on which some pattern or picture can take form. Though it has no energy in itself, it still is individual and specific to the energy pattern that is going to manifest itself on the canvas. Probably this Seventh level is spontaneously experienced at the moment of birth and death as a blankness from which the form arises and into which it dissolves.
To experience an experience is the ultimate training. We are not alive and open to the experience.
We are more of a thinker and a dreamer. We miss the poetry of the experience.
One’s thinking can go round and round forever and still not experience the truth of the moment.
Most of life’s problems are rooted in dreams and expectations.
It is only in this comparison that one tends to be unhappy.
This comparison happens in a mind that is filled with expectations.
If one learns to be more of an experiencer rather than a thinker or a dreamer the truth of the moment will bless.
Truth is hidden in the experiencer and one has to be silent to see it, feel it, and merge with it.
Dreaming keeps one occupied and missing the moment.
How is the mind to be stilled?
Look at the subject who is looking at a world of objects. See the seer and not just the seen.