In reading the Yog Vasistha (slowly), I have come to the part where Rama has awakened and Vasistha is telling him the next steps. He does so by relating a story from a time he spent in the abode of Lord Shiva. Shiva goes by and they meet and have a discourse.
The Lord indicates “The self is not realized by any means other than meditation.”, an “external worship”. (worship could also be translated as practice) He then goes on to describe “internal worship of the self”. With Self realization, all actions become a perpetual meditation. “This is the supreme meditation.” “One should contemplate the Supreme Lord who is seated in the heart…”
“Know that heart to be the abode of God.
Surrounded by nerves, it hangs down like a lotus bud.
At its end is a subtle nerve,
in which is established the Being, who is everything.
A great fire is at its center, which has
flames all around, spreading in all directions.
It is the first partaker, the ageless knower,
who digests and circulates food.
Above and below are its spreading flames.
It keeps its body hot from head to feet.
At its core lies a flame, tapering finely upwards,
like the awn of corn, yellow, bright and subtle,
flashing like a lightening in the heart of a dark cloud.
At the center of this flame is installed the Supreme Being.
He is Brahman. He is Siva. He is Indra.
He is the indestructible Supreme Being, the lord Himself.
— from the Taittariya Aranyaka III.13
Note the word “installed” in the 3rd to last line. When the divine value of the heart awakens, then the Supreme Being can be found there. Because of how this may be experienced, we may say it arises or is installed. The earlier description includes the nadis and prana. (this is not just poetry)
Back to Shiva: “This inner intelligence should be worshiped with whatever comes unsought. Remaining firmly seated in the stream of life and it’s experiences after having bathed in self-knowledge, one should worship this inner intelligence with the materials of self realization.”
There is a key point in here. He goes on to mention “one should abandon what is lost and one should accept and receive what has been obtained without effort.” This is the same as “comes unsought.” These, it says, are the “materials of self realization.”
Shiva goes on to say: “That infinite consciousness alone is fit to be adored and worshiped.” That which is the “father of Brahma, Vishnu, Siva and others.” (forms of God) “consider all of your experiences and expressions are the worship of the self.” He also mentions that worship of God in form is only for those who do not yet know the self. (this is God in form talking)
It should be noted here that we’re discussing a specific perspective or stage on the journey. Some of these sorts of things become whole movements or belief systems, suggested as The Way, rather than a stepping stone.
For example, with some experience of the witness and it’s sense of separation of Self and environment, there can be the tendency to reject the apparent Maya or illusion of the world. As I spoke in Innate vs Illusion, Maya is only illusion at one stage, contrary to typical understanding. Unless you keep in mind the state or perspective the speaker is coming from, and where that fits into the greater whole, it’s just another competing concept.
This is why I harp on having the larger perspective of the process. That there is no one “right answer” for all people. There is a process of human development. Without that understanding, people get stuck on intellectual positions and you get a dominant meme, such as is common in many “traditions”.
“I ask those who propound only the formless: Can any profit be derived from the unmanifest fire which is hidden in a piece of wood? Please show me any bread cooked by an unmanifest fire…
The formless is only Being. I would like to ask those people who meditate only on the formless, how do you meditate on the unmanifest? The mind can only concentrate* on an object of meditation, so how can one make the unmanifest an object of meditation? Concentration on the unmanifest is not possible… Formlessness is beyond all the trios, namely: meditation, meditator, and object of meditation… Only those who do not understand the principle of formlessness can talk about meditation [dhyana] on the formless…
Only when the Lord manifests himself can we say with full confidence that He must exist in unmanifest form. With the help of the manifest form, we have evidence of the unmanifest. Otherwise, how can anyone know the unmanifest?”
— Swami Brahamananda Saraswati, Shri Shankaracharya UpadeshAmrita kaNa 88 of 108
We can go on to say that true Unity does not dawn as long as there is some concept of world as other or separate. Unity starts with the end of other. As more and more is united in oneness, That is found to be the container of all this and infusing it all. It is not exclusive but rather fully inclusive.
What else would Oneness be but more than everything?
*concentration I would normally translate as effortless focus. This is another meme that effort is required in meditation whereas Dhyana means continuous attention and Dharana effortless focus. I’ve found effortless mediation far more effective than common concentration practices. This is because effortlessness is the way of being. Note “obtained without effort” as quoted above, for example.