John C. Lilly, on Levels of Consciousness, 1971

Published on Aug 8, 2012

Introduction and some Q&A excerpts from a 75-minute lecture entitled “Continuous Satori-Samadhi”. New York, 1971. “Lilly describes the levels of satori… describing his own experiences of each of these levels. He also discusses the teaching methods of Oscar Ichazo and relates his personal reactions to them”
available from…..

The lecture was given after Lilly had come back from working with Ichazo in Arica in 1970, but before publishing his experiences in The Center of the Cyclone (1972) . Some of the references are also from his work Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer: Theory and Experiments (1968). For a partial chart of the “satoris” from Lilly’s work, see…. and Figure 17-5 at:…

Satori is a natural, simple, easy, obvious, and continuous state. Anything that brings you out of satori we are going to call EGO-programs.

Anything in you that take you out of easy, obvious state of satori we are going to call EGO or EGO-programs.

This is not a usual definition of the EGO. This is a different entity.

In my terminology, we call these DOWNER programs or EGO-programs.

When you are in a natural, simple, easy state and suddenly you are not in that state, you have to examine how it happened. What brought you DOWN? It is YOUR responsibility! It is nobody else’s responsibility. If you allow somebody else to bring you down – you are faking it. You are pretending that out there is a force that operates inside you. This is nonsense. If you are centered and grounded, it is going to be extremely difficult for somebody else to bring you DOWN, short of hitting you over the head with a brick or some other violent means.  This is the whole basis of my talk!

02:25 What do I mean by grounding and centering?

I mean the same thing that we in Esalen or any other growth center say, that you are in your body, you are of your body, and your body is on this planet accomplishing some sort of a job or a mission.

You can feel this “Here and now,” instantaneous grounding, and centering by proper exercises and getting into a consciousness of your whole body.

Before one can successfully do a spiritual trip without tumbling into outer space and getting dizzy, one has to do the grounding and centering. If you are going to move out of this planet, make sure you are well trained and know how to keep part of you going here while you are going somewhere else. That part of you is your physical body.

In the disciplines I was exposed to, you have to solve what used to be called EGO-fixations. In the new terminology, we say these are the beginnings of the EGO-programs (Downer-programs).

This can start anywhere in your life: when you as a child were threatened when the continuity of your body was threatened when the continuity of your being was threatened. You may have made certain decisions, suddenly and instantaneously, in order to survive. What’s child’s brain conceived of as the necessity for survival, as an adult you can go back to and look at these instances, those fixation points, and correct them. This is well known both in psychoanalytic work and in esoteric schools.

Part of the discipline is finding these points at which your EGO was created (the EGO in the sense of Downers). So, you can have a group that does EGO reduction on one another, but EGO reduction in this sense is not knocking you down at all. It is finding out where your sensitivities lie and allowing you to get rid of them.

05:00 Let’s get to satori itself. What do I mean by this term? In the school in Chile, where I spent 7 months with 53 other Americans, the Satori is given, assigned different levels. Gurdjieff’s vibration level numbers are used to designate those levels. This is an arbitrary scale which goes by a factor of 2, and it is an inverse scale. The highest Satori has the smallest number, and the lowest Satori has the highest number. These vibration levels are the wavelength of sound in centimeter in air. So, the highest number of satori is the shortest wavelength or the highest frequency.

So, satori 3 would be 3 cm wavelength of sound in air with frequency 30 cycles/sec.

06:30 Description of Satori.

What we want to do is to attenuate all the signals from the consensus reality to the lowest possible level, so we can pay attention to the lowest possible level, so we can pay attention to the signal coming from those other places: from other people, from other species on this planet, from other characters in the cosmos, etc. you are limited by your concepts in terms of what you can do here, even receiving information. That can be totally meaningless to you because it is from dimensions that you have not experienced (You cannot perceive it/EK)

The whole business of moving into those spaces and accepting them and then exploring them is a very difficult thing without proper cognitional equipment.

07:19 Q: Are there ways of getting out, if you find yourself in level 3 or 4 without a guide?

A: I’d say you better have a guide. A got to those places alone, and I would not advise you to do it the way I did it. It’s kind of scary. If you had one experience with a guide, then you can do it again on your own. But you have to start.

The requirement is that you stay conscious, totally conscious of what is happening all the time.

Sufis say that you have to reach a level of awareness, level of consciousness of an awakened man, a man who goes through those negative experiences awake, stores them all in a conscious way, and remembers them. If you cannot do that, if you go unconscious at any point and cannot remember – you cannot do this work.

08:30 Q: question is missing

A: If you are a trampling type personality – yes. You have to have the agony and the ecstasy. But once you can move through that, that’s the transition phase. Then you can move into a place where you can stay neutral and go on all night.

09:00 Q: Chakras and Kundalini

A: Recommend to read Kundalini by Gopi Krishna first-hand account of what happened to him

Book of the dervishes for old terminology

10:10 Q: What are the implications of all of this to psychotherapy?

A: Mental health is an ability to navigate these spaces. If you do not have this ability – you need psychotherapy to help and teach you to navigate these spaces. In our formulation psychotherapy is just another technique for EGO-reduction.

Q: what happens after death?

A: I don’t know. I have not died yet. My theory is that essence just pulls out and does not come back to the vehicle. Essential memories are taken out and passed on somewhere else. The information gained through that vehicle is not lost. You take essential memories out of a computer and put them somewhere else in another storage mechanism: human or non-human, solid state, other essences. This is the formulation for reincarnation.

11:40   Q: question is missing

A: They all depend on one another, on your attitude, and how much work you are willing to put in. In Chile, each one of us gave up our job, went there, and spent all our time on it. I was there working for 8 months. The rest of the group spent 10 months there. We were working 7 days a week. You are not thinking or doing much else, but the trip. Half a group could afford it, another half could not. There is a mutual support that should go on there. It is rough to do it, but if you are to do what we were trying to do there, that’s how much time you should spend. If you have a job and have to stay nailed to the job – you have less time to devote to it, the same kind of activities will pay off at the end. It depends on where you are, how strong your EGO-programs are. Each one is a special case.

We are all in a big room. There are thousands of doors in that room. Each one of us just needs to open one of these doors. At that point, you are in those spaces, and you can navigate there. So, Oscar was showing us thousands of ways of doing it. 501 will work for me, but not for the next guy. It is complicated. At the present time we do not know direct pathways. So, it is a shotgun attempt to try everything. It works. There are group processes that can get you into these things as the Sufis and dervishes knew for many years. There is individual work as yoga has shown. It is available. It is in the literature.

15:50     Q: question is missing

A: Positive and negative have to do with what we put on them. They are entities, and they are neutral. We assign them positive or negative values. We can make them evil or super-good.

16:20     Q: question is missing

A: It can still be a projection. It can still be a program in my computer, creating as if. However, it does not have that feeling. When you are there, you have the absolute certainty that this is the reality, outside yourself and you are not creating it. This might be an illusion too. I don’t know.

16:50     Q: question is missing

A: she is talking about positive and negative bothering her again. It’s a dichotomy (duality EK) built in our computer. There are systems in our brain that when stimulated give rise to subjective feelings of pain, fear, or anger. The direct experience of that is something you want to avoid. Therefore, we label them negative. There are other systems in the brain which when stimulated make you feel a pleasure of different type (sexual, psychological, physical) and those we label positive because you want more of it. You get attached to these. The position that you have to get into – the satori – is that you neither have an aversion (view them as negative) nor you are attached to them. Otherwise, you cannot get there. So, you have to start with 48 and move to other areas and then you have the experience of positive thing but it is not the desire for positive thing that gets you there.

This is old stuff. This is in Patanjali and all the other yoga texts.

18:00 Q: Detachment

A: Detachment is the old way to say it. We say neutral. You have to know this state exists and work on it.

Find out where you are attached

Find out where your aversions and attachments are


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