At this point in the discussion, I’m replying to several people. I’m not including the questions generally because this is an international discussion and some are using English awkwardly. It would not be appropriate to use or edit their words.
Meanwhile, the home front has settled again and I can get back to writing this week. Yeah!
This conversation began here
Q&A 2 Q&A 3
In some ways, it can seem like settling into the calm eye of the hurricane when meditating or similar. But in awakening, it’s not like that. You’re not in the hurricane anymore. You are the silent peace that is distinct from the noise of the world. You are boundless liberation, unbound by any form or idea. Abiding happiness can come with that but for some it comes a little later, after more clearing and integration is processed.
On “permanence of Happiness”, it’s useful to note that the volume of happiness still varies in an enlightened state. I mentioned how the depth of that unfolds over time, for example. And simply when we’re tired, we’re less receptive to it. But it is always there, background or foreground. It is the rich “tone” behind all of our life. Smiles come easily. 😉
The 10 stages of Unity relate to the themes of the mandalas [of the Rig Veda] and the prakritis [Atman, the 8 prakritis (5 elements, mind, intellect, & ego), and Brahman] of Vedic tradition. Without going into a song and dance about that, we can simply note that there is a process of experience and become – everything we experience is recognized as ourSelf and becomes part of what the Brahma Sutras call the Aggregate or wholeness.
How this process unfolds varies by person but essentially it begins when there is a recognition that what is inside is the same as what is outside. We find that we contain everything. Where once the world was seen as a separate illusion, now it is seen as an expression of the same Self that gives rise to us. It takes on a concrete quality, a greater reality than it ever had. Not as physical form but as none other than that same eternal being.
At first, just what we’re experiencing in the moment is united. But over time, the layers of perception, our memories, and all other aspects of experience are united into the one whole. The unity gets bigger and bigger and deeper. The 10 stages are one way of describing that.
This is not just an idea of oneness but is in the direct experience. Because you literally recognize yourself to be all things, perception demonstrates it. For example, when you touch an object, you feel the object you’re touching. But as you also are the object, you also experience being touched.
The Vedas describe this process continuing until even the farthest reaches of the universe beyond perception are joined in one wholeness. Which of course they’ve always been. We’re just recognizing it so there’s no need to see it to recognize ourselves as that.
In the 10th stage, we recognize the origins of all of this and then go beyond it. We transcend Atman into Brahman and let go of all the prior development of Unity. This is known as the Great Awakening. As it is beyond being or non-being, beyond consciousness, beyond anything you might possibly conceive of, there is little that can be said about it. Except that it’s more than everything and nothing. 😉
You cannot tell if someone is even awake from their behaviour. Nisargadatta, for example, continued to smoke heavily and died of lung cancer. Jesus was considered a criminal by many. The best way to understand this is that it’s not the person or me who awakens. It is the cosmic that awakens to Itself, through an apparent person.
So yeah, enlightenment is not an instant solution to all problems. Instead, it is the fulfillment of your deeper purpose at a much deeper level than the field of action.
In one sense, nothing changes with awakening. We’re just discovering what has always been. The shift in perspective can cause certain things to change for some people. A compulsive liar I know stopped telling stories after she woke up, for example. And there can be a general tendency to laugh more easily.
It is curious. What is now seen to drive activity is quite different. Rather than reactive, obsessive or fear driven motivations, it tends to come “through” as we talked about prior. Like life is a constant inspiration. But to others the activity seems much the same. Some may see you as a little odd or tending to be less predictable, much as someone who is driven by intuition. But that doesn’t make it an identifiable feature. Everyone still has a personality, preferences, and the momentum of an unfolding life. Most people would not know that a friend is enlightened.
I should note that enlightenment does not automatically make you a teacher any more than it would make you an acrobat unless you already were one. Tolle would be an exception.
Part of the awakening process is the integration of mind, body and spirit. They progressively act more as one. Certain practices, including allowing an astral entity to take over you, reduces that integration. It can be very hard on the channel. Most have to stop after a time for health reasons.
A Course in Miracles has nothing to do with non-duality. It is about living life prior to awakening. The voice of the entity who called himself Jesus didn’t speak anything like Jesus of the New Testament. It is conceptually dense, for example. Also Jesus reached a level of development well beyond the astral so would be very unlikely to show up that way. Those who know the work better than I indicated he didn’t claim to be The Jesus, just called Jesus.
I’m not discounting the Course. Only placing it in context. The group of entities who come through Esther Hicks call themselves Abraham. This was simply for familiarity. ACIM may be similar.
Personally, I’m very circumspect with channelled material. How do you verify they’re who they say they are? And what is motivating them to effectively possess someone? Some are clearly attention-seekers. If they were quite spiritually developed, they wouldn’t need to come through someone. But many of us don’t know how to distinguish the astral from the divine and give it all the same weight. Yet the astral is where most of the energetic sludge is.
It’s important to recognize the difference between how someone else sees the world and how you see them. You see them from where you are, not from how they are. Even if someone is very enlightened, they won’t tend to look or behave in some special way you can identify.
These changes are for the most part “personal”. They’re more than obvious to the person experiencing them. But what is changing is mostly at the deeper levels. Eventually, that inner wakefulness comes not only to the surface of perception but comes right to the surface of the body. Then the physical body is also liberated. Then behaviour may be a give-away when they behave in ways we might consider impossible. However, in the current time, few people have lived enlightenment long enough for that.
Each of the stages i mentioned awhile back is considered a separate stage because it is a complete change in our sense of reality. Thus, such a person goes through several such complete changes of perception of the world and who they are. (this is not such a stretch if you consider how children also go through several similar major changes in their sense of the world and themselves)
But again, these are inner changes in the sense of being and perception. These changes do not directly affect how You perceive Them.
Such a person would still be able to engage in normal conversation from simple experience. It would only be if you probe them more deeply that it would become apparent they see the world very differently. They will however tend to expose their hand occasionally in simple conversation. But you’d notice it only if you’re familiar with the world-view of each stage. And how do you know if this is experience or philosophy?
I can note that you can apparently develop skills that show how much of the divine is coming through a person and how much astral debris remains. But the skill must be learned for most people. Then you’d have a better idea of it.
Some people who are awake come from different traditions where it is framed differently. For example, Buddhists speak of no-self rather than cosmic Self. If they maintain a no-self description, their tradition (concepts) may be getting in the way of a deepening experience. Or they may just be using familiar terms.
Tolle recognizes more than awakening but doesn’t yet have enough examples to build a larger framework of higher stages. He’s an example of someone who woke outside of any tradition. But you can see the Refined version of the stage unfolding in some of those around him by the way they write and talk.
We can also say that everyone’s perception of the journey is unique, so there will be a wide range of descriptions and emphasis. It’s the same with puberty – lots of different ways it’s experienced. But the fundamental process is the same for everyone.
Yes – a friend of mine does a weekly interview show with the awake. Quite a few of the people he knows who have shifted do not make good interviewees because they’re not able to describe their experience clearly and answer questions about it. It’s simply not a priority. They just live it.
The main message of stages is context. Everything is about context. How we see the world, what is true for us/ reality, and so forth. That’s why I talk about stages – not to build concepts but to put the journey in context and support our growth.
In the case of my comments, keep in mind that the context jumps around from comment to comment. For example, sometimes when someone asked a non-dual question, I answered from the context of Self Realization as that would address the point in a more relevant way. I usually mention this but may not always have.
It is the ego itself that decides if it will be easy or hard. If you expect the journey to be hard, it will be. If you drop the expectation of hard, you’ll find there may be bumpier spots but the road itself is not always hard. In fact it tends to get easier and easier. At a certain point, even if there is a hard spot, it is just being observed. It is not I who is experiencing it being hard.
All expectations of the path are of the mind and can be dropped. Let it be what it is and it will flow much more smoothly.