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Personal & Spiritual Development

Human development, personal growth, or spiritual evolution is a continuous, inevitable process. The modern "Spirituality" and "New Age" movements have contributed many erroneous beliefs to our understanding of this concept of development, as universal and natural to human beings as the act of breathing. We cannot successfully avoid growth for long, as we will begin to experience any disempowerment as increasingly challenging. We can either be consciously and proactively engaged in the process of growth, or unconsciously resistant and reactive to it. Our level of engagement has a direct influence on how we perceive our experiences in life, as either positive and beneficial or negative and detrimental. More simply, our happiness depends on our attitude, which in turn depends on our wisdom & understanding of ourselves and the mechanics of our growth. One possible definition of insanity is attempting to avoid the inevitable.
Awareness & Flexibility promote Development, Enjoyment & Fulfillment
Resistance & Inflexibility produce Stress & rob us of our Enjoyment of Life
( Growth is inherent, essentially, pain & suffering are what Self Denial FEELS like )

Unfortunately growth is very seldom painless, as we tend to rely on, and apply what worked (or didn’t work) for us in the past, irrespective of the fact that our current challenges are a completely new situation with a completely new set of possibilities. We effectively try to live in the past.

Life is also fundamentally all about relationships, most importantly our relationship with ourselves! At the deepest level, our outer expression and experience of life is very much a reflection of our personal internal relationship with ourselves. This idea may seem strange at first, but think about it a bit... The great mystics and teachers have all taught this simple but illusive truth. “We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.” - Anaïs Nin. "We see the world, not the way it is, but the way we are." - Talmud. “We see the world, not as it is, but as we are - or rather, as we are conditioned to see it.” - Stephen R. Covey. "The eye altering, alters All." - William Blake. "The world around us is a mirror of ourselves, how else would we know ourselves but by its reflection?" - Graham Burwise.

This principle translates into various dynamics which we find present in our interactions. We judge others as "good" and "bad" for the very same things that we admire or dislike in ourselves. "Before you try to remove the splinter from another's eye, remove the log from your own eye." is a quote from the Bible which makes reference to this phenomenon. It also points out that we often try to “fix” what we perceive to be “wrong” with us by externalizing it and trying to fix it in the world around us. This is an exercise in futility, because ultimately, you can’t run from yourself. We will inevitably continue to be confronted by whatever we are trying to disown in ourselves, until we accept, own and integrate it as valid parts of ourselves. Making sense of these dynamics is profoundly empowering because it increases our wisdom and therefor our ability to effectively deal with, and extract, the most enjoyment from our eperience of life.

Introduction to Our CORE RELATIONSHIPS MODEL™ of Human Development

Through years of research, experimentation and practical experience Graham & Monika Burwise have developed their own unique model of human development. This model is a profoundly simple synergy of the latest scientific knowledge and timeless spiritual wisdom, offering a pracical framework that is easy to understand and impliment. The model incorporates the fundamental laws and principles which govern human development, the mechanics & dynamics of this process, an enlightening new understanding of our underlying drives & motivations, and provides the most empowering methods of developing our Self-Worth, Authentic Power, and Spiritual Connection available to date.


As indicated by the diagram on the right, there are essentially two inter-dependent processes going on in our development. One process involves our internal relationship with ourselves, while the other process relates to our interaction with the world around us. The two processes form a feeback loop, each effecting the other as we navigate life's experiences.
Until we gain an understanding of the underlying mechanics and dynamics of our lives, these processes will remain outside of our direct control and much of our lives will be directed by our subconscious drivers and motivations.

The image below illustrates the 5 internal and 7 external core relationships that inter-relate to define our lives.

Internal & External Core Relationship Inter-dependence

Graham & Monika Burwise Core relationships model of human development Image


Internal Core Relationships

  • Love
  • Meaning
  • Purose
  • Power
  • Coherence

External Core Relationships

  • Spirituality & Evolution
  • Knowledge & Wisdom
  • Health & Well-being
  • Family & Relationships
  • Connection & Influence
  • Wealth & Finances
  • Vocation & Business
Personal & Spiritual Development Workshops
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This workshop offers amazing empowerment through an indepth understanding of the mechanics of human development, exposing your underlying drives & motivations, and exploring the relationship between your beliefs, behaviors, self-worth and sense of fulfillment.
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Access Your Power Workshop
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This workshop will transport you beyond the confines of everyday reality to experience states of hightened awareness and profound clarity. Learn how to tap into your inner guidance, inspiration and joy.

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The Evolution of Modern Theories of Human Development
& Developmental Stages
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs ( 1943 onwards )

One of the most widely known theories of development is Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs visually represented on the right. Maslow maintained that an individual would not seek / progress to fulfilling the higher needs until their lower basic needs were satisfactorily met, working their way up the hierarchy. It has been established through a more thorough understanding of human dynamics that this hierarchy is in fact not rigid, and human beings will generally be seeking to fulfill several needs on several different levels at once. It is also now understood that poverty for example, may result from any one or combination of needs from the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th levels being unfulfilled or frustrated. What is true however is that higher needs will often not be successfully met until the more fundamental basic needs are met.

It has since been determined that his hierarchy is incomplete, as it has been proposed that there are both intermediate levels, and levels beyond self-actualization which Maslow did not conceive of. He did however include a later addition Transcendence to the levels
, added to the top of the pyramid.

Transcendence - A later addition at the top of the pyramid was influenced by the work of Dr Clare Graves.
Mazlow's Hierarchy of Needs Image
Dr Clare W. Graves - "Emergent Cyclical Levels of Existence" ( 1959 )
& Spiral Dynamics ( Chris Cowan & Don Beck )

Dr Grave's theory of human development introduced the idea of "vertical" emergent stages, and was the groundwork for Don Beck's spiral dynamics theory which evolved from it. His theory was based on "open systems thinking", and proposed that new stages of human development were evolving as humanity advanced through the existent stages. A central idea was that an individual would be involved in several developmental states simultaneously, rather than fitting neatly into any one level.  "The psychology of the adult human being is an unfolding, ever-emergent process marked by subordination of older behavior systems to newer, higher order systems. The mature person tends to change his psychology continuously as the conditions of his existence change. Each successive stage or level of existence is a state through which people may pass on the way to other states of equilibrium".

Dr. Graves' model is open-ended, so new letters, numbers, or colors will need to be added as new levels of psychological existence are identified in human nature. His use of primes (A'-N' as an alternative to G-T, for example) suggests the notion that the process may be one of six-on-six systems rather than a simple series. Thus, the seventh is an echo of the first, the eighth an echo of the second, etc. This is where the "First Tier" and "Second Tier" notion presented in Spiral Dynamics comes from. There could theoretically be a third, fourth, and more Tiers as and if human nature continues to emerge.

Spiral Dynamics Image

The 8 Identified Stages of Development (and Intermediate Stages)

1.     AN BEIGE (World1)..............Survival/meeting biological needs/instinctive drives & urges
1/2. BEIGE / PURPLE Awakening of a sense of dependent self in a mysterious and frightening world where being with others means

2.     BO PURPLE (World2)............Safety/tribal needs/adherence to ritual/obeying chief(s)/harmony/reciprocity
2/3. PURPLE / RED Awakening of an egocentric self determined to break the shackles of the family or tribe and become a powerful

3.     CP RED (World3)...............….Power/action/excitement/proving individual prowess/shame/cunning dominance
3/4. RED / BLUE Awakening of a purposeful self with guilt in search of meaning in a purposeful existence and reasons why we live
                 and die

4.    DQ BLUE (World4)........…......Purpose/obedience to authority/stability/rules/meaning/guilt/duty
4/5. BLUE / ORANGE Awakening of a pragmatic, independence-seeking self who challenges higher authority and scientifically tests

5.     ER ORANGE (World5)...........Competition/success/making things better/autonomy/adroit control/growth
5/6. ORANGE / GREEN Awakening of a sociocentric self who strives for belonging and acceptance and needs to discover spirit,
                          inner harmony, peace

6.    FS GREEN (World6)...........….Affiliation/sustainability/collaboration/consciousness/fulfillment/sharing/connections
6/7. GREEN / YELLOW Awakening of an inquiring, interdependent self who no longer needs approval yet can collaborate when
                         appropriate with diminishing compulsions or fears

This Separation represents the Shift from First Tier SUBSISTENCE SYSTEMS to Second TIER BEING levels

7.     A'N'* YELLOW (World7)..........Being/functionality/discovery/integralism/responsibilities of living/connections
7/8. YELLOW / TURQUOISE Awakening of experiential self who seeks ways of being that use knowledge to restore natural harmony
                                 and balance
8.     B'O'* - TURQUOISE (World8 )...Experience of holism/accept existential realities/integration of life energies
8/9. TURQUOISE / CORAL . . . the open-ended Graves theory continues as new thinking systems awaken and coping with life's
                                    existential dichotomies activates new neuronal systems

9.     C'P'* - CORAL (World9)......... as yet undefined.

* A'N' = GT; B'O' = HU. For those unfamiliar with Dr. Clare W. Graves's original model, the letter pairs represent the emergent double-helix as Life Conditions (times, place, problems, circumstances plus the conditions for existence) interact with the neurobiological Coping Systems activated in the mind/brain. Thus, the model describes the awakening and submergence of deep values as conditions outside interact with systems inside persons, organizations, and our species. Changes of mind can can lead to actions that change the world. Shifts in the world can alter the perceptions in the mind. This is the preferred terminology, although the color-code, originally designed as a decorative element, has become something of a 'meme' for those unfamiliar with the depth of the model.

In over 30 years of research Dr Clare W Graves discovered some fairly startling information about the way the systems he had identified operated:

  • The O system is stimulated by smooth gradations in light and sound - eg: a sunset - while the P system is stimulated by pulsing light and sound - eg: in a disco
  • In terms of hormones, noradrenaline is higher than adrenaline when the P system is active and adrenaline higher than noradrenaline when Q is active
  • The T system has four times the problem-solving capacity of the S system. Graves was so struck by these discoveries he wrote an article 'Human Nature prepares for a Momentous Leap' (published in The Futurist, 1974), describing the significant difference in complexity of thinking engendered by the move from S to T
  • Fear and compulsion are absent when the T system is activated
  • Galvanic skin response varies between systems and increases dramatically when the U (TURQUOISE) system is activated. "Oh, my God, it becomes so high you can't hardly get it. I'm talking 2-3-4 standard deviations. This thing has really jumped."
    (Graves, 1971/2002, p68)
  • Graves also said of the eighth level: "The H-U person can turn off other levels of consciousness at will. He can go out of this world and go off into other levels of consciousness and come back at will."
    (Graves, 1971/2002, p67)


Ken Wilber's 'Integral' Theory of Human Development & Transpersonal Psychology

Ken Wilber's system is a complex composite of many sub-systems and structures (quadrants, lines, levels, states, and types) dealing with concepts such as consciousness, perception, perspective, identity, reality, individuality, collectives, drives, mysticism, etc. It is far too comprehensive to fully cover here, so I'll just point out some of the key features and leave the more in-depth research up to you.
Wilber defines 4 distinct fundamental dimensions, or perspectives of existence : Interior Individual - "I" ( Intentional ), Exterior Individual - "it"
( Behavioral ), Interior Collective - "We" ( Cultural ), and Exterior Collective - "It's" ( Social ). In his theory, each of these 4 views is a partial perspective, each necessary for a complete understanding of the whole.
His developmental system is based on the concept of  "holons" - entities which are both individually whole and simultaneously form part of larger wholes; and "holarchies" - differing from hierarchies in that each successive holarchy includes and integrates all lower holarchies.

At the broadest level, Wilber divides human development into three very generalized stages:

  • pre-personal (subconscious motivations) pre rational - infantile stages before the development of a sense of self, persona or ego.
  • personal (conscious mental processes) rational - persona or ego based states, empirical and rational states.
  • trans personal (integrative and mystical structures) trans rational - transcendent stages where persona or ego is transcended in terms of our assumed identity and the concept of "self" takes on a more profound deeply integrative and all inclusive meaning.

In terms of stages of development of an individual's concept of "self" and ethical values he makes the following distinctions :

  • Egocentric
  • Ethnocentric or Sociocentric
  • World-centric
  • Being-centric

In terms of levels of consciousness he makes the important distinction between temporary states and permanent structures, also between natural, phenomenal and altered states, and a further distinction within altered states between Exogenous (externally induced) states, Endogenous ( internally entrained) states, Combined Exo & Endogenous states, and Spontaneous or Peak states. He proposes the following levels of awareness or access to consciousness, the last two being considered "universal" states.

  • Gross consciousness
  • Subtle consciousness
  • Causal or formless consciousness
  • Non-Dual consciousness
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