As readers of this blog know, I like to explore different ways of seeing the awakening process. Although the process is broadly consistent, how it is experienced and the terminology one might use varies widely. Sharing different views of the journey can offer further clarity and insight.
Two things from it I’d like to touch on – one is the loss of meaning his most recent book raised, and the other is another way he’s described the awakening process.
In the book, Adya differentiates realization from liberation. Essentially, realization allows the liberation and liberation is it’s completion. Similar to non-abiding and abiding awakening he talks of in the later book.
Within the process of liberation or enlightenment, he speaks twice of personal and impersonal enlightenment.
Personal enlightenment he describes as “exclusive transcendence, in that it excludes the world of space and time.” We awaken within and have internal unity but remain separate from expression. This is what is typically called Self realization or Cosmic Consciousness here.
Non-personal enlightenment is an “inclusive transcendence; it sees that the world of space and time is the expression of eternity. Thus, it is a truly non-dual perspective.” “Beyond non-personal freedom lies Liberation.” Put another way, full enlightenment arrives after unity.
He also touches on the “vast non-personal Love for the whole, for all beings and things. It is the realization that you are the whole.”
This is the process of awakening to unity or oneness. As Adyashanti describes in “Emptiness Dancing“, after first awakening Self moves forward and absorbs the head, heart and gut. In absorbing the heart, divine Love awakens. This builds the ‘bridge to unity’. Absorbing the gut is when the identity falls away.
This middle stage of the heart is differentiated a little more by some teachers who experienced it more distinctly. God realization is the typical term. However some teachers observe that full God realization often doesn’t happen until after unity for westerners.
These are the 3 stages I typically refer to. Self, God, and Unity. The stages themselves are just concepts. The key is to recognize there is much more than just awakening. Quite literally, Self realization is nothing in comparison to what can unfold after it. “…a freedom that is in any sense personal seems pale in comparison to…love” Like comparing a dry desert to the ocean of love, even if you do have the bliss.
There are quite a few teachers I’ve run into that are awake but have not yet seen the non-personal stage nor have a teaching that mentions it. They confuse Vedanta (end of knowledge) and Advaita (non-dualism) with internal unity, not recognizing further awakening. This can get in the way of it’s unfolding. Not that it requires a seeker to gain it but it is much helped by attention and allowing.
Embodiment is another notable term Adyashanti used. “Embodiment starts with the realization that every manifest thing and non-thing constitutes your true body.” “The entire cosmos is your body. Let your humanness reflect and manifest the whole.”
This is sometimes called the cosmic body or in Sanskrit, Purusha. From what I’ve seen, there can be habits of mind that think ‘what is personal and what is cosmic?’ for a time until it’s fully seen that there is no such difference. Just some left over concepts. We, as he describes, give “myself to the vastness.” (yep – more of that allowing)
We could describe this as another value of oneness where we are not only of one spirit and one mind, but one body as well. There is only one set of chakras. A littler hard to conceive?
We’ve discussed the loss of meaning on the path recently. Adya also spoke of this in reference to the process from personal to impersonal.
“With the dawning of Liberation, all motivations drop away. One does not act out of any reason or motivation, action simply occurs. Many mistake personal freedom for liberation because in personal freedom, it is common to loose self-centered motivations to act. Many get stuck there thinking that they are in the highest state, but they are actually stuck in the emptiness, or absence of self-centered motivations. They have not yet awakened to a truly selfless, non-personal love and life of service.”
I mentioned another quote in comments recently on this as well. Buddhist Roshi Bernie Glassman said “There’s a state in Japanese Zen that’s called the “Cave of Satan.” It’s that place where you just stay—because there’s nothing to do. And you can get in that state and it can be an overwhelming experience. But the point is to kick the person out of that cave.”
Satan isn’t a Zen term, so I would be interested in knowing what the actual term is, but it illustrates the point if a little bit dramatically.
“In Liberation you are in that state which is prior to any causation… Actions simply happen. From the outside, such actions may be viewed as loving, kind, and wise, but to the liberated one, all happens spontaneously and free of any motive. Actions arise out of the most natural, primordial state.”
I found this offered some further insight. You?
(It should be noted that I usually use the terms personal and impersonal to refer to perceptive modes, particularly around God.)