After Awakening or Cosmic Consciousness, there arises a sense of descent of the divine or spirit in reverse of the rise felt prior. In Emptiness Dancing, Adyashanti talks of the “head, heart, and gut”. This is what I jokingly called the 3 Am-Egos. What also might be called the 3 levels of identity. Clearing these corresponds to each approach of the 3 stages of enlightenment.
There is also a 4th stage, the root. I discussed this in Point Value. When the divine has descended to the root, spirit begins to be lived and experienced in form, in the formerly outer world. Enlightenment can then be much more fully and richly expressed. We might call this Embodiment. Adyashanti calls it Autonomy. Embodiment is what differentiates an awake person from the birth of a master.
There is another way of seeing these 4 stages. They occur after the release of what might be called the 4 Grips.
1) the first grip is the letting go of the concept of a me. What is often called ego. Then we shift into Self or Atman. This shift is known as awakening or Cosmic Consciousness.
2) the second grip is in letting go of the crust on the heart and the emotional energy feeders of ego above. This opens us to the divine heart and the flow of life & Love. This leads to more refinement and eventual God Realization.
3) the third grip is the core fear that leads to the gut sense of an individual I or identity. This fear is usually unrecognized until close to the shift yet it has cast a shadow over our lives for millennia. It has fed the emotions and concept of ego above. It also gives us the sense of an inside and outside and thus gross duality. When this grip falls, the identity and our whole sense of reality falls, leading to the intellect recognizing Unity. (see Mahavakyas)
4) the fourth grip is profoundly subtle. It is the grip of ignorance, for want of a better word. The Sanskrit term Lesha Avidya or faint remains of ignorance comes to mind. Just like when you squeeze something it twists, this grip pulls the end of the sutra or thread that connects us with the divine back slightly so it doesn’t rest in the root chakra. This creates a subtle sense of duality that sustains the subject-object relationship and prevents the experience of wholeness, what is known as Brahman.
In the past, I’ve touched on the 10 stages of unity, said to be mirrored in the 10 mandalas of the Rk Veda. The 10th mandala or stage is Brahman. Brahman Consciousness is no longer a state or stage of consciousness but is rather consciousness itself; wholeness itself. We could say the 4th stage is stageless.
This is obviously the true Vedanta or end of the Veda. Thus it is true Advaita or non-duality. Until the 4th grip is released, there is still the subtle duality in our every experience of Self and the world so true non-duality has not yet arisen. Just as the inner unity of Self Realization leads into the outer unity of Unity Consciousness, so too does Unity become a full unification in Brahman. But an inner unity of Self Realization under 2 layers of duality is hardly non-duality.
Words really fail when you try to describe something without a subject-object relationship. Basic grammar requires it. This is beyond the object being known to be nothing but subject. I hope to find further inspiration on the subject as time goes on.
Of course, as I wrote earlier today: remember there is no process in awakening. (laughs)