In a number of ways, I’ve talked about the progression of higher stages of consciousness here. How Self Realization unfolds into Unity or Oneness.
There is some variation in how the subjective experience plays out that suggests Shakti may take a different route. Perhaps where descending soma (nectar) and rising Agni (fire) meet. Put another way, the balance of Atman (cosmic Self) and sattva (purity) or Shiva and Shakti in an individual process.
A key aspect of this is the middle part. The heart. The stage known as Refined Cosmic, God, or Celestial Consciousness.
There is 2 aspects to this stage – the refinement of perception and the awakening of the divine heart. Both are accomplished with a combination of purification and refinement. When we are spiritually awake, we are effectively meditating 24/7, so this is an ongoing process. Purification is accomplished with the inner fire, the light of consciousness, the vayus & shakti. And refinement is a consequence of soma, a very refined product of the body people notice as a sweet taste in the mouth and a dripping in the back of the throat, typically after samadhi or transcendental consciousness.
As the physiology becomes more refined and clean, we experience finer and finer values of the world and come to discover its underlying mechanics. We also change our relationship with the world as we change how we are with it.
But this post is more about the heart aspect. We have a physical heart, slightly to one side of the chest. We also have an energetic heart, known as the Anahata Chakra. Like the other chakras it can be seen as a vortex or flower in the middle of the chest.
But when the descent happens, we awaken a deeper level of the heart, a much finer and more powerful space. Some describe this “higher” heart as above the head, but in the curious ways of refined perception, the above-head chakras are actually finer versions of the original 7 chakras.
This more refined value of the heart is Hridaya, the divine heart. This is quite different from the heart chakra. At this level, people describe the heart as a vast space, containing the universe. It can seem to fill the chest and more. The crown chakra contains all the other chakras and Hridaya contains and comprehends the crown. “The hridaya or spiritual heart is not the heart chakra (Anahata) but the core of our being, the seat of Atman or Purusha, in which all chakras, all worlds, and all beings are comprehended.” — Dr. David Frawley
This space may also be seen as a flame or the home of our Ishta Devata or chosen form of God. It may be seen to have 8 petals unlike Anahata’s 12. The petals correspond with the 8 qualities described by Vaisheshika. Hridaya is also golden as is contains Hiranya Garbha, the golden egg and womb of the universe.
It is not in a different place or space than the heart chakra but just a more refined value of the same space. This is the nature of spirit, to express in layers upon and within itself. And while you may find it in your chest, you also find it contains the whole universe in that heart-space.
We might look at this as a common first perspective from the cosmic body, though that’s not quite true. A cosmic perspective certainly but from the perspective of the cosmic body, we contain everything. That includes all of creation and all universes, not just our own. In that perspective, the universes are lower down in the body.
Such an adventure.