When I hear many speakers talk about higher awareness or expanded perception, they often talk about several different states but don’t differentiate them. The result for many people is a muddling together of ideas of Oneness, waking, self-actualization, and God realization. Kind of lumping it together with no context for the process.
Human growth and development is a process. A path. A continuum. A process of opening. While there are certain markers or apparent stages, any division of the path is arbitrary, just as we might measure a road in miles, kilometers, or chains. But without some sort of gauge, its hard to understand where we are, and whats next. If the mind is uncertain, its harder to get it out of the way.
We know that our experience is variable. We can be clear one day but then have a muddier time for a few days or months. In other words, our perspective shifts around, up and down within a range. We know enlightenment is natural as it happens spontaneously for some. They simply arrive, uncertain how they got there.
What we’re talking about here is a conceptual framework, but one of being, not of ideas or beliefs. I’m talking about who we perceive ourselves to be. Do you experience yourself as a body? A sense of individual? A spirit? And where do you consider yourself to be? That may sound like a strange question but it does change. A lot.
Lets run through the process of typical general stages. Experiences will vary. Note how these are mirrored in the stages a child goes through to adulthood, although most stall part way along.
At its basic level, we have a Survival mode. A person who is running on base instincts and emotions. Some call this level the bliss of ignorance as we have a greater connection with the environment, but often it is dominated by fear and anger. In todays culture, these people do not fit in so become our outcasts.
From there, we grow into Tribal mode. We relate ourselves to the group or peers and see ourselves largely at the mercy of our perceived masters and dwell in the past. We take our cues and beliefs from others. In its negative expression, it is a story of victim. Much of North America is in this state. This is clearly reflected in newspapers and TV.
At the next level, the Individual is dominant. The ego is strong and sees the world as us or them. Many of our leaders in government and business are dominant here, as well as many of the books on success, and the lower values of ideas like “The Secret”. This group is future oriented and often focused on amassing material goods and power. They have a sense of entitlement and specialness.
As the folly of the individual gradually becomes clearer, a person becomes more inner centered. They begin to recognize the power of attention and begin to seek a connection with a higher reality. They become more present, in what Eckhart Tolle calls Being in the Now, and seek a better understanding of the world, such as in places like this. The higher ideas of things like “What the Bleep” and “The Secret”. We may try to hold on to occasional ‘spiritual’ experiences but gradually make the inner connection to source. We discover that much of the process is one of opening, of letting go of old resistances.
At a certain point, we finally let go of who we perceive ourselves to be and make a switch or shift. We change from being the individual having spiritual experiences, to being spirit having individual experiences. We are Self, not the world, not the body or mind. The idea of ego is lost, although some residues usually hang around for a time, like old bad habits. We wake from the first illusion. This is what many call awakening or enlightenment, although it is actually just first awakening. Full enlightenment is a little further along. Some of the newer teachers today don’t know this, yet. This is what the film Moses Code is talking about, although they mix in some other perspectives. “I am That”.
Usually well before this, a concurrent process is underway, one of refinement of perception and the nervous system. Gradually, we begin to experience all the “other” stuff going on, the more subtle values of life and existence. This is dominated by expansion of the heart, by love and gratitude. Founded in deep peace, the divine heart awakens now and real love and compassion become possible. Love becomes the vehicle to Oneness. “Thou art That”
Finally, we lose the core sense of identity, the vestiges of individual fall away and we wake from the final illusion, the illusion of the world. The sense of “inside” and “outside” is gone. Time collapses into the present moment as we become the presence alone. Everything is found to be within the one silence, flowing within Itself. And then we find the world is real, but not the real we once thought. Rather with an intimacy as we are that. We are the world, it is within us. “All This is That”
Thus we have reached the Upanishadic saying, “I am That, Thou art That, all This is That”. Full enlightenment.
This is where we are going and the path many of us will follow in increasing numbers in the next short while.
Human potential does not stop there. This is really just the beginning. It is our natural real state of being, where we can expect our coming offspring to reach as a natural process of becoming adults. It can be hard to imagine but this is because it is beyond mind, arising in our very Being. It is also several stages up from the dominant perspective for many of us.
Just remember what it was like to be 9 years old. You can’t, really. You can remember some experiences, but your perspective is so much greater now, you can’t really remember how it “was” to be 9. Thats how the ego will soon be for many people, a forgotten idea. And that is just the beginning of what is opening.
One could write a whole book on this and indeed I have. (laughs) But perhaps this may give you a sense of perspective when you hear people talk on these subjects. You’ll have a better sense of the sequence of signposts along the way.