On this site, I originally avoided the term “enlightenment” as it is widely used to mean so many distinct things. The actual shift certainly didn’t meet my prior concepts of it either. More recently, I’ve been using “initial enlightenment” to mean Self Realization or Cosmic Consciousness and “full enlightenment” to refer to embodied Brahman. However, even Brahman is not an end to the process.
Others use the term for everything from the recognition that I Am to exalted stages of development like that mentioned in the hilarious Robert Thurman interview. From my perspective, the first is a little premature while the second is setting too high a bar. While it is certainly valuable to recognize the most exalted of beings, we want to set reasonable goals for the rest of us. (laughs)
Another distinction I’ve touched on here is the difference between what we might call enlightenment in consciousness and enlightenment in divinity. This is the masculine and feminine or Shiva and Shakti orientations.
Enlightenment in consciousness is what I primarily discuss on this site. Self Realization, Unity, Brahman. It is the approach of the Vedic tradition I am most versed in and how it has unfolded here.
Enlightenment through divinity is something I’ve touched on but have not discussed as much as it was not my primary path. In fact it’s not a path that has been prominent for some time. It would seem that’s changing.
I have however spoken of the value of the sattva side of the equation. This second orientation is emphasizing clarity and the expressed side of the equation rather than consciousness.
To be clear, these are not separate. Rather they are orientations to the process and different ways of metering it. They lead to the same place and come together if there is nothing resisting that.
I first ran into this second style in an obvious way several years ago on Rose Rosetree’s web site. In particular was her Enlightenment Life List where people where listed who had read clear and connected. Their chakra databanks are working well, relatively balanced, and free of astral (emotional) debris. Their energy was also permeated with the divine along with a quality of joy. I wasn’t sure what to do with this approach. Some on the list where clearly awake in consciousness but others I was dubious about.
On the flip side, Rose does not read someone as “enlightened” who may be awake but still has baggage and lacks the clear divine connection. She was using different standards. Similarly, while someone can’t fall out of consciousness, they can fall back into shadow and Rose occasionally removes someone from her list who has “fallen”.
Recently, Rose approached me about doing an experiment. She wanted to do a read of a sequence of pictures at different stages in consciousness. As I’m a consciousness geek like her, I thought it would be fascinating. And it was.
There where some surprises for me – like a much bigger view of where I was earlier on. One’s subjective experience is of course more limited when there is energetic resistance. She also clearly saw changes in embodiment when there was changes in stage of consciousness.
Rose saw my pre-awake picture where I’d describe myself as “ripe” as enlightened. This makes it clear her starting point can be earlier than mine. And yet she would not rate someone who is awake in consciousness as enlightened if they still have a bunch of energetic debris and lacked clear divinity. In my own case, there happened to be lots of sattva development also, so the divine was already doing well before awakening.
To further the point, she didn’t confuse my early witnessing picture with enlightenment as there where still energetic subroutines and related junk that hadn’t yet cleared. Yet some do mistake witnessing for enlightenment in consciousness.
Obviously a divine connection view is distinct from a consciousness view. From a consciousness perspective, her approach measures readiness for awakening and then degree of embodiment later but not the shift in consciousness itself.
But unlike changes in consciousness, these changes are something most anyone can learn to read. The energy and divinity are teachable markers. Rose recommends this to make us much more sophisticated consumers in the spiritual marketplace. Just imagine a world where enough people know who’s real and who’s faking?
Liberation and the end of suffering come from a shift in our relationship with consciousness. But many of the practical quality of life factors arise directly from unloading our energetic baggage. That includes the onset of bliss. There are many solid advantages to cleaning house, enlightened or not.
This is why I emphasize both on this site – development of consciousness and purification of the vessel. But it’s fascinating to recognize a different take on the process that brings it’s own quite distinct insights.
PS – Rose has indicated she also plans an article on the experiment. And further such experiments in the new year.