Expressions and Needs at Each Plane
Humans are physical, vital, mental, and spiritual beings. We are comprised of these in varying degrees. I have a physical body, and all its organs, muscles, tissue, etc. at the physical plane. I have sensations, needs, feelings, emotions, attitudes, interrelations with others at the vital plane. I have thoughts, ideas, beliefs, engage in rational/logical thinking at the mental plane. And I experience peace, harmony, love, and blissful transcendence, amongst others at the spiritual plane. We are all of these things and more, as the planes interact as one thing; and I am one being
We also have needs at each of these levels, with the most basic and essential ones being at the physical plane, with gradually decreasing imperative necessities fulfilled at progressively higher levels, i.e. vital, mental, and spiritual. Most essentially, we need to function and be fulfilled at the physical level -- in terms of our health and well-being, proper nourishment, security and safety, and others. At the vital level, we require friendship love, family relations, emotionally fulfilling work, etc. At the mental level, we have the need to understand, to be conscious and put into effect the things we believe in, to organize our existence, to conceive of achievable goals, and the ability to think logically and rationally, amongst others. At the spiritual level, we seek and aspire to be fulfilled in terms of peace, harmony, truth, wisdom, goodness creativity, love, delight, timelessness, infinity, and other higher consciousness qualities.
Evolution Upward and Descent Among Planes
As we move up the scale of planes, there are a decreasing number of individuals who are realized there. E.g. there are far fewer mental individuals than vital-centered ones. And yet in the course of human evolution, we are increasingly evolving upward amongst these planes (actually their subplanes, e.g. from fact processing to true rational thinking of mind) in terms of our needs and nature. That is, we have evolved from essentially physical beings focused on survival and the material necessities of existence, to vital beings who seek to fufill themselves, engage one another though social intercourse, and so forth. Now in the last several centuries, and especially the last fifty years, our mental capacities are accelerating. We are emerging as true mental-oriented beings.
As we evolve upward amongst the planes (and subplanes) as a society and individually, we may also notice corresponding descent that complements the process of ascent. For example, if I develop new mental capacities that I never had before, there will be the tendency to practice what I have learned ay a plane below it. Thus, if I want to understand why I have certain physical ailments, and gain that knowledge, I can then turn around and implement it at the physical level -- i.e. a lower plane, so that I can now fully overcome my illness. In this way, the process of progress contain these loops of ascent to a higher plane and a descent into lower planes for its implementation. Overall though, there is still a movement upward.
Scale of Progress Among Planes
Also keep in mind that we can progress to different degrees; in an ascending scale of "development, evolution, and transformation." For example, if I change an attitude, I make a certain progress in life at the vital-mental subplane. This is development. If however, I change my vital nature from being coarse to something more refined in my vital interactions with others, I have evolved at that plane. Transformation is the complete perfection of that plane. E.g. I become a self-giving, calm, serene, and fully positive individual at the vital plane. Thus at each plane I can develop, evolve, and be transformed. I can also do the same for my entire nature; i.e. I can become a completely, integrally transformed being.
Types of Individuals (as Expression of Planes)
Using this approach, we also recognize different types of people from amongst physical, vital/emotional, mental, and spiritual. Though people draws from each of these planes to lesser or greater degrees, one plane usually stand out in that person's nature. For example, one individual is highly focused on his using his mind (such as a programmer, scientist, or philosopher), and is therefore of a mental bent; while another person is centered in his emotions, and is therefore predominantly vital in nature. Then there is physical person who does physical oriented activities, has simple tastes and wants, with his mental life mostly developed.
What we call a “ripe soul” or “realized individual” has a spiritual center and orientation. His nature is to seek out and practice those methods and means that bring spiritual-like results -- such as meditation that creates quietude, self-givingness that enables harmony and love, or the experience of the transcendent divine within, which creates ultimate Delight and Bliss.
Perceiving How Life Presents Itself Among the Planes
It is also helpful to take any situation, circumstance, aspect, thing, and evaluate it in terms of the plane or planes involved -- physical, vital, mental, or spiritual; or any combination. This will give the observer more penetrating insights into that object of inquiry. For example, when trying to come up with a solution to a conflict between two parties, we may notice that one person is more emotional and vital, and the other more mental. In that way, we can appeal to the first person's emotions, or better yet come to work with them through a calmer basis, while we confront the mental person through the realm of ideas, though his better understanding of the situation. In this same way we can evaluate, groups of people, communities, nations, speeches, developments in the world, technologies, and so forth. we will automatically then have a leg up on understanding the issues, giving us great insight for decision making, actions, and so forth.
We garner a tremendous power of observation and insight when we see the world and the unfolding of life through these four planes of existence. Perceiving the physical/material, vital/emotional, mental, and spiritual planes of being is one of mind's great tools to make deep sense out of the world around us.