Where is the Self?

On How Many Hearts?, a commenter asked why some teachers talk about the Self being in the center of the head and others in the heart. I thought the response was worth sharing. I’ve added more.

The Self or Atman aka self-interacting consciousness is universal and thus is located everywhere, infusing everything. It is the essential medium of all we experience, including what is experiencing, the process of experience and what we experience. Form, emotion, thought, or sensation and what is noticing these – it’s all consciousness. And yet, at its highest, we recognize that Atman is aware … Continue Reading…

Sustained Awakening

Sometimes there can be a moment, an opportunity to shift. These can happen at any time but are most rich in places where there is an intensity of alertness. A gathering of the awake on a retreat is an optimum place for intensity of attention and awakeness.

If a recognition happens, the question then becomes – can this be sustained by this physiology out in the world beyond that circumstance? Is there enough sustained clarity to support the shift?

Was the recognition clear enough to know That unmistakably? Mind will grasp any doubt and run with it.

Was the surrender … Continue Reading…

The Side Effect

There is irony in the modern idea that consciousness is an accidental side effect of brain complexity.

Actually, it’s the other way around. The impression we are a body comes from identification with the appearance of it. We could refer to the body as a side effect of the dynamics of consciousness.

Our first liberation in Self Realization is liberation from that identification with the body-mind, with the idea of a local me.

The second liberation is that of the heart and senses in God Consciousness.

The third liberation in Unity is a deeper freedom from the local … Continue Reading…

Once You Know

There is a curious dynamic in being human. Once we know, we know.

For example, a DNA test. They can reveal some fascinating detail about your makeup and origins. But what about the genetic markers you have for diseases such as Alzheimers? What about unknown relatives appearing that your ancestors may have hidden? There can be surprises. These are things that once you know, you cannot stop knowing. Good to know but it’s not always easy.

With knowledge comes responsibility. Even in simple things like crossing the street. Children may dart out into traffic. But … Continue Reading…

Energetic Embodiment

In some teachings, the kundalini or energy process dominates. It is seen that awakening kundalini  opens and rises, leading to awakening. They may prescribe techniques to encourage or even push the energy along. This can be quite hazardous and can make the process much rougher.

However, the deeper problem with a kundalini emphasis is that kundalini is not causal. It is the energetic process that results from the process in consciousness and will unfold in the body naturally when it is ready.

I explored some of the variations in the energy process here.

In a similar way, some teachings … Continue Reading…

Further Stages?

This post is more speculative as it’s something newly unfolding that is incomplete and I don’t know of other references yet.

As a being, we experience life from here. Our point from which we view the world is stable. Even if we “astral travel” or move within dreams or consciousness or become infinite, we still come back to this point, these senses in this body. We could say our experience is tethered here.

From a perspective of universal consciousness, Self is aware of itself both globally and at every point within itself. When we’re awake, we … Continue Reading…

Enlightened Duality

The closing of the book Halfway up the Mountain by Mariana Caplan is a chapter on how enlightenment is only the beginning.

She correctly notes there is no “top end” or final state. From the perspective here, there is a final stage in consciousness but the potential of knowledge, perception and refinement is essentially endless. Enlightenment is to be lived, not achieved.

She describes how you have to come down out of the unitive state and live enlightenment in the world in a state of “enlightened duality.” This is what I’d call awakening, Self Realization … Continue Reading…

What is Clarity?

I talk a lot about the 2 primary aspects of awakening – Consciousness unfolding to itself and sattva or clarity. But what is it that becomes more clear?

I sometimes talk about clarity in terms of the awakening heart and refined perception. But these result from clarity in consciousness on the corresponding layers of being. So we have consciousness as awakening and clarity.

To explain the distinction we can think of consciousness awakening to itself as shifting our relationship with consciousness. We become it (awakening), recognize it in the objects of perception (Unity), and … Continue Reading…

Knowing God

Experiencing Divinity is a profoundly moving and life-changing experience. But there are quite a few layers to it. Our degree of development determines our capacity to experience the Divine.

(and of course there are other variations in how this may unfold)

It does Not require spiritual awakening to have an experience of the divine. People have been having such, in all kinds of ways, throughout the ages. However, these are normally brief perceptual experiences. They are often indirect tastes of some aspect and then they fade.

For example:
The shift of makara can be described as … Continue Reading…

Perspectives on Awakening

From the perspective of a person waking up, there is a falling away of a sense of individuality and a “waking” to our cosmic or universal Self. Hence it is called Self Realization or Cosmic Consciousness. This is not just a recognition or an experience but a shift in being, a shift in where we experience the world from.

But for a person, there is nothing they can do to create this event. They can do practices to help smooth the process and prepare the ground. But awakening is a surrender, a letting go, a non-doing. Sometimes it happens with … Continue Reading…

Liberating the Person

While awakening is about liberation, it is liberation FROM the person. It is loosing our identification with being an individual ‘me’ that things happen to.

Both before the shift and for awhile afterwards, there can be a fair bit of unpacking of old baggage: old resistance and incomplete experiences.

There is also a forward progression into higher stages in consciousness.

Part of that forward movement is what can be described as a descent of source into our local experience. Adyashanti described a process of head, heart, gut. This continues to the root.

The effect of this process is … Continue Reading…

Clarity and Release

Clarity and release are the 2 key aspects of spiritual growth. The first helps us move forward, the second clears the obstacles to that. Release brings clarity, clarity brings release.

Traditionally, the “way” is divided into several “paths“. Yoga speaks of the means to Union, essentially ways of pacifying the mind. From that perspective, if you settle the mind, you will discover your own nature under the noise.

However, this isn’t something we do just once or twice. We want to come home repeatedly so it becomes familiar. Not just as a place to visit for peace but … Continue Reading…