Relationships Reforged

I’ve spoken recently about the shift in Security and Goals that occur with awakening.

Another thing that can have a major shift is relationships, especially intimate ones. While we may have spent a lifetime learning how to relate and communicate well with others, those principles can fly out the door when who we are changes.

One of the rude discoveries with awakening can be the jarring recognition of how primitive our world-view and behaviour had been prior. With the witness, the whole thing is much more concious. Did I really believe that? Was I really caught by such a doofus story? It’s a little like some of those teen coming-of-age things when you catch yourself acting out in a childish drama. Urk.

Of course, this depends a little on how distinct the transition is and how much self-work you’ve done prior.

The other part of this is becoming conscious of how others are relating to you. As an object? As a needs-meeting machine? As part of a big codependent story that you have to play along with to be accepted? You have to be a little patient with yourself and others during the transition until you find ways to be comfortable with what is here. It may be a bit disconcerting but some of this is normal and natural and not everybody wants to hear your new “truth”.

Some may balk if you stop playing the game. You may well choose to stop. Or maybe you’ll just see it as a game to play and see where it goes. Just remember it’s not always best to make major decisions when you are in the middle of a shift.

It’s also good to be reminded that relationships can be a means to fulfil our purpose and to resolve our unmet past. Rejecting relationships is just a form of avoidance. Accept them for what they are and they form a great mirror for what remains that is unaddressed.

There’s an old joke that if you want to see how enlightened you are, spend a week with your family of origin. ;-)

With awakening, you shift from a spiritual practice for a small part of the day to being in samadhi 24/7. You live silent being at all times. This will rapidly accelerate growth and purification.

Thus, your own baggage will clear out more quickly but may be a little in your face at times. This can be a good time to have spiritual support. It’s difficult to stay in denial when you’re awakeness itself. ;-)

None of this is a problem. It is all simply symptoms of a transition.

At a certain point, the refinement gets deep enough that the divine begins to become apparent in everything. The world is seen as full of life and perfection. Namaste is real. When we interact with someone, we can see their divinity and may make the mistake of assuming they also do. Isn’t it obvious? This can create curious miscommunication in close relationships. As always – ask, don’t assume. Again, it’s about the transition and getting used to it.

After some discussion, Michael Smith shared this in a forum:
Good or bad, happy, sad ones, perfect ones, painful ones… they are all divine relationships. Serving one purpose.. to awaken wholeness..

The greatest love story is the one your are living. Its not completing yourself with another person, but rather you returning to your beloved. The beloved you left on the shore as all of the dance, the wind, the sun, the place where a breeze appears from…this beloved is your lover.. and.. ha ha ha ha.. lol.. this beloved is cloaked and disguised as ALL…appearing to this YOU.

So how do we return to our beloved.. how? by ending your story, ending your search and seeing that what you have been seeking is what you are already. This beautiful endless being, with no one present, no body, no mind, just an opening of space appearing… boundless.. this is the merge of the beloved.

Look all around see the divine in play, feel the divine relationships of all appearing, Mystery moves the beloved as friends, enemies, ups and downs.. and even creates the play for the mind to appear to separate it all..

so.. its not who YOU are with, but how all is appearing through

Return back to shore immediately by stopping.. and see this.. here now and open whisper .. a gift, a love

As may be obvious, this outlook may significantly change the kind of person you’d want to have a close relationship with. If they can’t relate to how you see them and the world it can make things awkward.

When we escape from the story and drama, a new kind of relationship can open. This is a relationship not based on meeting our needs from outside but on expressing our love and joy that are bursting forth. A place to give to rather than get from. The potential for love, resonance, acceptance, and mutual support is exponentially more profound.

When the Self moves forward and absorbs the heart, the crust falls away and a divine love emerges, flowing out and seeking an object of devotion. We are no longer looking for love but rather seeking a place to give it.” (ibid) In the Vedic tradition they talk about the object of devotion. It can be God (in any form), guru, or upaguru. The last is ones mate as an object of devotion, a point for love to flow to.

What form this will take for each of us is unique – what approach we take in our relationship with God (there will be one, belief or not) and with intimate relationships. The sage Ramana chose a mountain. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, his teacher.

Its worth noting that while renunciation has come to dominate some spiritual traditions, the vast majority of histories greatest sages, both men and women, have been married.

Relationships are very good for you. But you may have to relearn how to be in them, just as you learn how to be who you have become. A few times. ;-)

Security of Person

One of the deep changes that arises with awakening is a profound sense of security. While we’ve typically experienced the rest of our life as somewhat fraught and difficult, when we discover our true nature under the stories of the mind and drama of emotions, we find something that is boundless, unchanging, and eternal. And that is who we are.

In the Bhagavad Gita or Song of God, Krishna explains:
He is never born, nor does he ever die;
nor once having been, does he cease to be.
Unborn, eternal, everlasting, ancient,
he is not slain when the body is slain.

Weapons cannot cleave him, nor fire burn him;
water cannot wet him, nor wind dry him away.

The awake recognizes themselves as beyond all phenomenon, then as underlying all these. The story unfolds on a battlefield as an epic confrontation of highly skilled warriors is about to begin. There, in the middle of it all, Krishna tells Prince Arjuna the truth of life and awakens him. It’s a remarkable story, even thousands of years later. As the line above says “nor once having been, does he cease to be.” It is an eternal story.

The truth of that is illustrated by the Yoga Vasishtha which also mentions the story of Arjuna, thousands of years before the event.

Knowing God

In the past, I’ve spoken here about How to Know God or Experiencing God. But I thought it might be useful to review how this experience may unfold.

Different people will experience the process uniquely, emphasizing certain steps and skipping others. Or will have minor variations in the sequence. But this may offer a general idea of it. Note that by “divine” I mean divinity or God, not angels or spirits. They will show up but this is the progression in recognizing the divine itself, the source.

(be it belief in or non-belief)
-A lived sense of the divine or presence
(not making a mood of it)
-Experience of divine qualities
(through senses or feeling)
-Experience of the divine in form
(perhaps at first as a visit, later always accessible)
-Impersonal God, formless Being
(divine as ever-present & all-inclusive)
-Personal God, profound intimacy beyond imagination
(the Personal)
-God Realization, the climax of Unity Consciousness
(God Realization, a becoming)
-Holiness, beyond consciousness
(refined Brahman)

Some, following a more impersonal path with a focus on development of consciousness, will have less of the divine in experience and a more “dry” unfolding. Some will also have a resistance to the necessary unfolding heart for this process. Others may experience more of the expressions of the divine, like angels, but not yet have the depth of being to progress past perceptions. The ideal is both in tandem, depth and refinement.

Myths of Enlightenment

While there are many reasons to seek enlightenment, there are also a boatload of myths about it. Some are even perpetuated by teachers.

I will become enlightened
Nope. It is not the me that gets enlightened. It is the Self that wakes up to itself through this apparent form. The me is let go of.

Enlightenment is the end of my personal identity
Nope. There is still a person there with preferences and quirks. But it is no longer the centre. Now it’s just an aspect of this expression. More of it falls away over time but you still need a point to function.

I will become a Buddha or Christ or other World Teacher
Unlikely. That’s setting an awfully high standard for the shift. A rare few become world teachers but all of us can become world servers in own unique way.

I will become a Teacher
Also unlikely. Teaching is a skill set most people don’t have. Many of the awake don’t even talk about it very well. They just live it.

Awakening is a Peak Experience
No. Awakening is a change in being. It may cause experiences but that is an effect. That is not the awakening itself. Awakening should not be confused with descriptions of effects like experiences or purification.

All of my problems will be gone
Nope. Again, what wakes up is the Self. The person continues to have their life and karma. However, your relationship with life circumstances can change quite a bit. And that changes how they are experienced.

Enlightenment is exceptional and unusual
One of the first things to strike most people after the shift is how ordinary and normal it is. How did I not get this before? (the me never gets it – see above) It is also part of normal human development so we’ll all get there at some point.

I will Cognize Reality
Maybe. As Maharishi Mahesh Yogi put it, everyone can realize but not everyone will cognize. Cognize in this case is a form of experience where we gain total knowledge of some aspect of creation. ie: become a Seer.

I will become enlightened just like my teacher described it. That is the one true way.
Maybe but quite often not. If you practice similar techniques, you may tend to experience the process the same kind of way. But we all have a unique unfoldment. In any case, it will never match your conception of it because it is beyond concepts.

Awakening is it. Once you know the Self and the world is seen as illusion, you’re enlightened.
We’re Humans. This is like saying once you’re born, you’re an adult. It takes time to get established, clear out the baggage, and mature into it. Awakening is like Kindergarten. It is wonderful but it is the beginning of a new, richer unfoldment of being. This comes in typical stages.

Inner Realization of the Self = Non-duality or Vedanta
Nope. Recognition of the Self within is the first step. As there is still a separate illusion, this is dvaita, duality. Recognizing Self in the world comes later. Non-duality or advaita is when all is recognized as the Self – within, the world, and the divine are all recognized as one. Even on the level of the senses. I am That, Thou art That, all this is That, That alone is to quote the Upanishads. And that’s not the end of it either.

Enlightenment is hard
As enlightenment is not something you do, how can it be hard? It cannot be grasped though. The Yoga Sutras tell us:
1:2 Yoga is the complete settling of the activity of the mind.
1:12 Through regular practise and non-attachment, these activities (of the mind) are stilled.
We just have to prepare the ground. Then it will happen when it does.

Witnessing sleep is the acid test for Cosmic Consciousness or Self Realization
If there is awake consciousness during deep sleep, it is the acid test for witnessing. But if it comes and goes, it is not yet established. Once it stays and there is an ongoing continuity of awareness through all the states of consciousness, the witness is established. The Self is awake. Sometimes,  Self then wakes up to Itself and awakening happens. However, sometimes this doesn’t happen until more preparation is done. The real acid test is the permanent change in being.

A spiritual practice encourages a sense of person so should be avoided
Eesh. A good spiritual practice transcends itself into samadhi. Thus it does not encourage a sense of person. Even Inquiry is a practice. See Yoga Sutras above.

It will take me many lifetimes to reach enlightenment
If you follow the prior statement, sure. But maybe this is the one. For many it is. And any practice you do is cumulative, carrying forward from lifetime to lifetime.

You have to be celibate or a monk to become enlightened
The majority of histories great sages were married. They included men and women. The monks path is for a small minority.

Concepts of stages are barriers to living it and should be avoided
Our concepts of enlightenment can indeed be the last barrier to fall with awakening. However, to give no map to the traveller is to cause unnecessary struggle. We need to point out that the map is not the territory. The concepts are not the awakening. Nor are old good experiences. Each of us has our attachments to let go of to discover who we are beneath the stories.

And no, people don’t usually start dressing funny (although Buckminster Fuller did for a time), making predictions, or flying through the air.

I’m sure there others that didn’t come to mind. But this is enough for now.

Goals Going Gone

One of the interesting effects I’ve observed with the awakening process is the falling away of goals. Not typically all goals, but the vast majority gradually fade away as no longer relevant.

This is a very good thing, due to several factors.

For one, when there is a profound sense of peace and freedom, followed by abiding happiness, we loose the need to seek fulfilment outside of ourselves.

Also, when the impressions (vasanas) that drive us to desires and seeking fall away, many of the needs-driven goals for possessions or accomplishment drop away. Also over time the shoulds and musts, etc.

As the sense of me and mine loose centre stage, life seems to just happen of its own accord. Soon we learn to trust this process and there is less and less call for self-centred doing. We step out of playing roles into just playing. (how long this takes varies)

Along with this, our desires become clearer and cleaner. Combined with the rising support of nature, desires are fulfilled much more quickly and smoothly. Gradually it develops that what you need simply shows up without effort.

We become driven more by the “need of the time” or the divine than any personal stories or agendas. We spontaneously act or feel called to do certain things a me might never have considered.

We also learn to resolve karmic baggage more energetically within, rather than having to live it out in various circumstances and dramas.

This leaves us with a much simpler set of drivers. What is actually important for us becomes clear. It can be surprising what falls away and what stays.

If there is still a family to support, a business to run and so forth, these changes may not be as obvious to others. Those needs will still drive us to act. But for the person experiencing the shift, the distinction is certainly noticed.

Life becomes so much less cluttered and distracted and we’re able to enjoy what is here now. This may come on gradually in a way we only recognize in retrospect. Or it may come suddenly.

Compare this to someone running in a survival mode that is entirely basic needs driven. Or someone in Tribal, driven by a need to fit in and meet the perceived needs of our peers. Or someone who’s life is entirely driven by stories about the past or future and expectations of the story. All of them are distracted by other, away from what is here now.

We can also look at the Yoga Sutras. They outline some of the changes that arise as self-serving tendencies of a person fall away. (Ch.2 v35-39)

2:35 Where non-injury is established, in the vicinity of that, hostile tendencies [enemies] are eliminated.

2:36 When truthfulness is established, activity and it’s fruit [consequence] are closely connected. [results come faster]

2:37 When non-theft is established, all jewels [wealth] rise up.

2:38 When moderation is established, vitality is obtained.

2:39 When non-possession is steadfast, knowledge comes regarding the questions of existence.

Note that none of these are goals. They are the simple consequence of a maturing awakening.

Male and Female Paths

Funny how ideas sneak up on you. How the grander picture often emerges in increments.

For example, I’ve long known of higher states of consciousness. More recently, I’ve shown a more complete model, like this:

1 – Cosmic Consciousness (CC) or Self Realization
1a – Refined CC or God Consciousness
2 – Unity Consciousness (UC), Oneness or non-duality
2a – Refined Unity and God Realization
3 – Brahman or Beyond Consciousness
3a – Refined Brahman
3b – Parabrahman or Wholeness

I’ve also spoken about the Shiva and Shakti dynamic in kundalini – Shakti, the feminine, rising to join Shiva, the masculine*.

I’ve written on the 2 sides to the awakening process that we carry forward from past lives – Atman and Sattva, consciousness and refinement.

Finally, it dawned on me that the above model is dominated by the observer, Shiva, consciousness:
1 – Cosmic Consciousness (CC)
2 – Unity Consciousness (UC)
3 – Brahman or Beyond Consciousness

In this context, refinement is secondary, a support process dependent on the main process. This is the path of Shiva.

However, there are paths that emphasize the heart, healing and refinement. For example, kundalini traditions often measure development in terms of Shakti and chakra opening.

Rose Rosetree describes the stages above but her focus is on purification and refinement. Her Energetic Literacy is what others might call refined perception. She offers and teaches energetic healing skills. Enlightenment for her is balanced chakra databanks, free of energetic debris (“Stuff”) and permeation with the divine.

I ran into an Ascension teaching recently that describes 7 initiations, measured by  the degree of chakra vibrancy and radiance (vs dross) and balance. Some of the associated experiences were similar to those on a consciousness-based process but from a different context. You can’t do a one-to-one between the models but there is an apparent interrelationship with the list at the top.

This is also quite distinct from a kundalini tradition that measures by open chakras and caps – distance vs degree.

If we wanted to give a stages count to a process like Kundalini Vidya, there would be breaking the 3 caps, the crown/bindu, descent to the heart, gut, and root, then the final rise = 8. Of course different individuals would tend to emphasize different things subjectively.

However, I’ve noted before that there are 3 branches of kundalini traditions which correlate the stages of consciousness with the kundalini progress differently from each other. I’ve explored that as a reflection of the variable Shiva-Shakti dynamic – where do they meet? But the various Shakti-oriented models here don’t even measure the same things. This suggests a single model inclusive of both may be elusive.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was a Bhakti but emphasized the Shiva model of his tradition. He used the analogy of Capture the Fort. Rather than going after the silver mines and diamond mines and gold mines – capture the fort and you gain them all. For him, consciousness was the key and meditation the way to pure consciousness.

The hazard of following the Shakti course is of course getting lost in the mines. I’ve also seen how a kundalini path can be much rougher. On the other hand, there’s a pretty strong meme these days that focuses on the fort but ignores the mines as illusion.

Shiva alone is dry and flat. Shakti alone is not founded in the unchanging. The ideal of course is both together. Dipping into consciousness, grounding in the world, and cleansing the vehicle.

UPDATE: It’s worth noting that while the stages of the development in consciousness are limited in number, the potential of refinement and opening to new knowledge is essentially unlimited. Thus, at a certain point in all paths, the feminine becomes the focus.

*Note – this is not male and female in terms of sexual gender but rather duality in the dynamic of consciousness, of the observer and observed from which all creation arises. That becomes expressed as gender within creation.

The Energy Bodies

I first began talking about the energy bodies here in 2009. When I came back to the topic in more detail about a year ago, a definition error crept in I should have caught.

Firstly, “energy bodies” refers to what are commonly called Auras. In Sanskrit, the more accurate term is koshas or sheaths. They interpenetrate one another and each more subtle one is a little less distinct and larger. The Buddhist term is for them is Skandhas.

Here is the list:
Annamaya     physical, etheric
Pranamaya     energy, emotional
Manonmaya     mental, sensory
Vijnanamaya     intellect, Buddhi
Anandamaya     bliss, celestial, causal
Chittamaya     qualified consciousness, flow
Atmamaya     Atman or cosmic Self, Sat

The error comes up over the term Chitta. Chit is consciousness. Chitta is modified consciousness, often a reference to thoughts or subconscious impressions. Some also use chitta to describe the source of manas, buddhi, and ahamkara. (mind, intellect, & ego) In the context of the mind, this is perfectly valid. But defining Chittamaya kosha, more subtle than the celestial, as the storehouse of impressions is completely incorrect. Our baggage is found largely in the energy and mental bodies.

Lived Experience
The koshas also highlight the distinction between typical life and the enlightened experience. Prior to awakening, the lower 3 bodies dominate our experience – our thoughts, feelings and sensations.

When enough of the fog of past impressions are resolved, the deeper levels become apparent. When we reach Makara above the third eye, kundalini becomes stable and the full-time witness arises. We shift into the intellect level and the “resolute intellect” comes on-line.

With Self Realization we shift to Atman. As it becomes established, it is described as sat chit ananda – note the names of the last koshas above. We’re now living from the 3 subtler koshas, experiencing daily life through the “illusion” of the denser koshas.

To fill this out further, lets explore each kosha in a little more detail

Annamaya – literally food body. This is our gross physical body and its etheric underpinning, sustained by eating.

Pranamaya – this is the actual energy body, described as prana or vayu (air) or breath. The Vedas describe 5 pranas and 5 sub-pranas. This is the level of the functioning chakras & nadis. It’s also where we store our energetic baggage – nadi sludge, energetic knots, and so forth.

Manonmaya – relates to the term Manas or mind. This is where the ideas can get confused.
The mental sheath has 3 aspects:
- Manas itself – the habit-driven sensory mind
- Chitta – the subconscious impressions: sanskaras (strong mental impressions) and vasanas (desires). These lead to our inclinations and motives plus our emotions. These inclinations are our unresolved “karma”.
- Ahamkara (I sense, preferences)

All actions make impressions in the subtle body, mainly the mind and energy bodies. But do those impressions bind us or do we process and release them? Also, while we may not consciously know how to “read auras“, we are subconsciously picking up others “vibes”. If we’re an unskilled empath, we’re also taking on their baggage.

Browsing “Kosha” on-line, there is all kinds of conflicting interpretations.
Some attribute Chitta to Vijnanamaya but this is incorrect as the intellect is free of impressions. Some use the mind definition of Chitta to define Chittamaya kosha (I copied that mistake) and some use Chittamaya to describe the Chitta aspect of Manonmaya. It’s important to be clear on these differences.

Vijnanamaya – discernment; this is Buddhi, the intellect, our decision-maker. It may also be called dharmamaya. It is our conscience that drives our values and purpose. It is often overshadowed by the activity of the denser koshas, the mind and emotions.

This is the first sattvic (clear) kosha and is also called prajna. Some experience this as intuition. I mentioned above how this level becomes much more conscious at makara, with the witness. We then reside beyond the mind. With the “resolute intellect” we gain “evenness of mind in pleasure and pain, loss and gain, victory and defeat” as described in the Bhagavad Gita (2v41). These are the mechanics.

The intellect has just one issue to resolve, the “mistake of the intellect“. This is when it shifts from looking out and dividing to looking in and joining. This heralds the shift to Unity consciousness. It also defines the “experience and become” process of the stages of Unity and the development of wholeness or totality.

It’s also worth noting that human development, as studied in psychology, works through the development of these sheaths progressively: body, emotions, mind, intellect.

When people refer to the “subtle body“, they are generally referring to the Energy and Mental bodies but may be including the intellect. When they refer to the “astral“, they may mean the energy body or either combination of ‘subtle body’. It’s one of the sloppiest of terms out there.

Anandamaya – the Bliss sheath and celestial. Deva-atma-shakti. This is the home of name and form where our universe first becomes. As such it is home of the Pranava, Aum. Also of Hiranya Garbha, the golden egg, seed form of the universe. It is sattvic and the home of the universal chakras (we share the same ones) and of kundalini Shakti, the flow and source of all energetic expression. As the celestial, it is home to celestial beings; saints, sages, and devas. (not to be confused with astral beings) Clearly, this is not a personal kosha but a common one shared by all beings in this universe.

When we clean out the baggage of the denser sheaths, this kosha, which is always with us, becomes conscious. Then we live in bliss, either foreground or background. It can be noted here this isn’t the highest bliss, simply when it first becomes established.

It’s also worth noting the dominant element for each of the first koshas:
anna = earth, prana = water, mano = fire, intellect = air, bliss = space. Not physical elements but their seeds. Note how space is nested.

Because the chakras also have these correspondences, we might conclude there is a relationship between the chakras and the koshas. But that’s more generalized. Note how all the chakras function in the prana sheath and all have their source in the bliss sheath.

The Taittiriya Upanishad describes much of the above, calling it the pancha kosha or 5 sheaths. This is as far as many traditions go. If they’re based on Self Realization, they would not see anything further as a kosha. To someone in Cosmic Consciousness, Atman is eternal being. Not a sheath.

However, at the end of Unity, when consciousness does what the intellect did prior, it turns from perpetually looking in on itself to turning and looking out. This is the dawning of Brahman and a recognition that consciousness and Atman have an origin and thus are also sheaths.

Chittamaya – qualified consciousness. Some describe this as the wisdom sheath, but it should not be confused with the Chitta of the mind. This, we could say is the Chitta of God, Lila, the play of creation, flow.

It’s not quite accurate to call this a “body of consciousness“. Atman is consciousness so this level is qualified consciousness, consciousness becoming.

I’ve also seen the term Chaitya used here, meaning soul.

Atmamaya – Atman or cosmic Self, also called Sat. Beyond Atman is Brahman. Brahman has no form.

It’s also worth noting how the states of consciousness correspond.
- Waking state is associated with our physical reality
- Dreaming is associated with the subtle bodies (not a spiritual realm)
- Sleep brings us to the celestial. This becomes conscious with development.
- Turiya, the fourth, is pure consciousness. We experience bliss (the kosha) when passing in and out of pure being.

As I noted above, with established Self Realization or Cosmic Consciousness, we live more in sat chit ananda, the 3 subtle koshas.

The 7 lokas or worlds are all contained within the Anandamaya kosha. Again, we might seek correspondences but they’re not one to one. Bhur is associated with the physical, Bhuvah with the subtle, and the heavens with the celestial.

Gradually, everything comes together in one wholeness.

Stages of Development and EEG

The journal Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences did a special edition on meditation research. In one article, Dr. Travis summaries various studies on experiences of pure consciousness.

Initially this is experienced during meditation practice but soon begins to influence our sense of self. Eventually, it leads to a shift in self-identity when witnessing arises. The study refers to this as Cosmic Consciousness, although there can be stages of the development of the witness.

In a specific study (pdf), EEG patterns were compared to the subjective sense of self and inner-outer orientation. They describe this as the “Conciousness Factor”. This is related to the idea of transpersonal stages of development where the forefront of development shifts from a person to consciousness itself.

The non-meditating group were identified with thoughts, feelings, and actions. (object-referral) Short-term meditators saw themselves as the director of thoughts, feelings, and actions, a stronger sense of personal self. The long-term group saw the self as independent of and underlying thoughts, feelings, and actions. (subject-referral, transpersonal Self)

In other words, there is a correlation between certain EEG coherence factors, brain response tests and sense of self. And the regular practice of an effortless meditation develops the independent self, the platform for spiritual awakening. You can read sample responses and other test factors at the pdf link above.

Note that the mediation referred to is effortless meditation. I’ve noted prior work by Dr. Travis comparing types of mediation by their EEG signatures. Also note that “guided meditation” is not actually meditation at all but a form of hypnosis.

Forfeiting Creative Being

They pass over themselves and all that is created, God and the Godhead, and they say that God is nothing and that they are nothing as well. Nothing is neither blissful nor damned, neither working nor idle, neither God nor creature, neither good nor evil. See, in this way they have forfeited their created being and have become nothing, just as, in their imagination, God is nothing. Heaven and earth and all that God has made have being and existence. These unbelievers say ‘We are nothing and our God is nothing.
- Flemish mystic Jan van Ruusbroec (John of) in The Twelve Beguines

In the most secret part of the understanding, the simple eye is ever open. It contemplates and gazes at the Light with a pure sight that is lit by the Light itself: eye to eye, mirror to mirror, image to image.
- from A Mirror of Eternal Blessedness

If every earthly pleasure were melted into a single experience and bestowed upon one man, it would be as nothing when measured by the joy of which I write.
- from An Anthology of Mysticism and Philosophy, compiled by William Kingsland


Seer, Sage, or Shanti

There’s a pernicious idea people often have that the awake are supposed to teach. That enlightenment somehow gives you a teaching mission. I’ve seen a number of such people start teaching, then fade away. Or start too soon.

Teaching requires a certain set of skills, like an ability to speak to the student on their level. It will probably have shown up in some way already. Most people have other skills instead. Further, you want the awakening to mature and integrate well first. Too soon and you speak from too small a place – even if it does seem boundless. Until the awakening is embodied, there can still be a lot of shadow.

The book Kundalini Vidya by Joan Harrigan touches on outcomes. While everyone’s process does not follow this pattern, it’s common enough to be useful.

Firstly, there is the rise of kundalini to the crown and awakening. Shakti rises to join Shiva. Then the awakening descends into form. The higher value descends through the chakras. Adyashanti called this “head, heart, gut”. And on into the root. This corresponds to the “higher states” I’ve often discussed here. Then Shakti rises again, but to the chosen platform for that individual. This varies widely.

The Vedas describe 4 forms the awakening may lead to. Firstly, most continue to live in the world as ordinary people. Of the many I know who have shifted, most just continue as before, but now from a more happy and peaceful place. They become quiet lights of peace (shanti), even in a full and busy life.

A few have significant shifts in their life as inner clearing changes outer expression. Often this is simply a shift in role such as a career or lifestyle change after some karma completes along with the awakening process.

A small number of these are the second group, sages, given a mission to travel about teaching and giving spiritual guidance. But again, this is arising after the descent has completed, not after simple awakening. This is also not something we create but rather are called to. The third group is the subset that will teach and guide only if someone comes to their door. These are quiet teachers supporting small numbers powerfully.

Another small subset not mentioned as one of the 4 are the seers. These are the cognizers of reality, the visionary messengers. Some of these are also called to teach but not all. The Vedas are founded on the most illustrious of this group.

Note “seers” doesn’t mean seeing angels or astral beings. Seers peer into the structure of creation and the fundamental intelligence of existence. They look  beyond the celestial. (see the ‘covering’ quote at the bottom of the page, explained in About near the bottom. The Gold of sattva is on the celestial.)

The fourth group is the born monks who live as hermits away from society, dwelling in Oneness. These are amongst the brightest lights and are described as the pillars of society as a result. But again, this is their proper role. Anyone in avoidance or spiritual addiction is not integrated so is not an embodiment.

If you’re wondering what your destiny is, look no further than your life now. You’re already living it. Will it change later? Maybe, but that’s not what’s important. It’s just the side effect of being. As all things are in being, be.