To explore God Realization in our culture, first you have to surmount our deeply embedded ideas about “God”. For one, they’ll be the initial do believe/ don’t believe/ don’t know. As if deity has something to do with opinion.
Next there will be the belief set – from hard-line ‘God is dead’ to the fundamentalist believer. Again, no matter how hard we hold a position, belief is not reality. Just another concept. And then there’s the mixed bag of concepts we were raised on, like a grumpy old bearded man on a throne in the sky.
In spite of what you may hear from many a book or pulpit, all of this has little to do with God. It’s a little like suggesting a debate about reality will affect the chair you’re sitting on.
If we can put aside all that stuff for a moment, the next problem is how to describe it in a way that makes any sense to the mind.
In States of Consciousness, I describe a standard model for awakening. Self-Realization or Cosmic Consciousness (CC), followed by God Consciousness (GC) or Realization and then Unity (UC). The realizations I am That, Thou art That, all This is That. I’ve also explored earlier models of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and some similar ones like Genpo Roshi’s.
I’ve mentioned about how God Realization is more prone to occur after Unity in our mind-oriented western culture. This is because GC progresses through refinement of perception and feelings and development of the heart, something western culture does not support as well as some.
But defining GC has other issues with fixed definitions, unlike CC and Unity. For one, it has an overlapping progression. While GC cannot flower until after Self Realization, the process itself often begins long before awakening to Self. And it continues long after Unity dawns.
Also key, both Self Realization and Unity have distinct realizations. Both have various experiences that may arise in the leadup, then there is a distinct shift in being, then further development. For example, CC typically develops with periods of transcendental awareness or samadhi. Increasingly, that inner silence stays with us. This flowers into periods of witnessing, being detached from the body-mind. There is a distinct switch where we become Self. Then there is a progression in depth through peace, freedom, and bliss, maturing into sat chit ananda.
God Realization on the other hand is a continual progression that overlaps both the others. This is due to it’s nature. It develops with refinement of perception so we can experience finer and finer values of existence. Not only perceptual, it is also characterized by refinement of feelings and the awakening heart.
Some obvious steps:
– refined perception, unfolding mechanics of creation and being
– perception of doership, the devata
– seeing all beings in the Self
– perception of the finest relative, the aliveness or flow.
The first steps are the most likely to begin before awakening. We may remember past lives or see auras or begin to have cognitions. Once we’re established in silent being, the evolution accelerates and begins drawing things together.
But it’s important to recognize the maxim with awakening. Experiencing is not being. An experience of an awakening heart is not the same as being the divine flow in the heart. The above are stages towards, not being.
Even the direct experience of God is not GC. While this is certainly a significant experience in anyone’s life, GC is much more than this. Commentators suggest we may experience God in personal (in form, seen unique by each person) and impersonally (as formless Being).
Shankara describes 6 primary forms of God. Thus, we may experience God in many forms before we come to full realization.
Now, this may seem sacrilegious to some, but in essence, God Realization occurs when we Become God. Not an aspect of God or an experience of God but God in wholeness.
Of course, the big caveat here is that we have a human nervous system. No matter how refined and polished, we are only able to reflect some value of that wholeness. We experience being Thou/That/Being, but only to the extent of the capacity of our nervous system.
But that does not minimize the scale of becoming. Awakening the Body can give you some idea of this, where we have first experienced being all beings, then being the cosmic being, then transcending that into absolute being. We’re not talking about abstract ideas here but a directly experienced reality.
In the Bhagavad Gita (4:35) Krisna says “You will see all beings in yourself and also in Me.” In his commentary, Maharishi suggests that seeing all beings in the Self is the start of GC. Once all beings are seen in Self, then Self is seen in God. In it’s completeness, the realization absorbs even the sense of Self and the height of CC.
In Yogananda’s translation, “thou shalt behold the entire creation in thyself, and then in Me.” In discovering ourselves as the cosmic body, we find both all of creation and all beings within. That then dissolves into divinity.
Later, Maharishi speaks of God Realization rising to Godhead, then direct communion with God. This suggests he uses God Realization as a stage into God Consciousness, similar to how the realization of Self matures into full CC.
Because of the intimate nature of this process, we experience becoming God the personal. But if this is after the Unity switch, we know this is none other than God the impersonal (Brahman, Nirikar) as well. The difference is only in relationship to the One. Should Unity occur after GC, the impersonal connection may be made later in the merging of Oneness.
He also mentions every object in creation reflecting the light of God (sight) in terms of ones own Self, similar to the aliveness found right on the surface to the sense of touch.
The last verse of chapter 7 of the Gita, (7:30): “Those who know me together with the physical (adhibhuta), that which is within the celestial realm (adhidaiva), and that which is within the Yagya (adhiyagya), their minds united with the divine, remain conscious of Me even at the time of death.”
As you might imagine, relationships are changed dramatically by this process of refinement of feelings and perception and the awakening heart. Mates become objects to flow love to, for example. We no longer seek something from them but rather seek to give to and share.
At a certain point, the whole idea of “States” breaks down. The cosmic body illustrates this well. We could call this the upper reaches of CC, when we become physically cosmic, prior to dissolving into divinity. We could call this a key step in God realization as the Gita describes above. And we can also describe it as a stage in the development of Unity.
In other words, the states are not separate things but rather aspects of an over-arching unfoldment of awareness to its own nature.
As I mention above, this process does not end. Even the most highly evolved souls I’ve met over lifetimes speak of a continual development of feeling, perception, and unity. The scale is hard to comprehend, the changes beyond the minds experience to grasp.
But this is our birthright, the home we are all stepping towards. However wiggly our paths sometimes seem to be. 😉
Last Updated on May 2, 2017 by Davidya
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The 5 forms are known as the Pancha Devata.
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For clarity, Shankara described 6 “forms” – the formless and 5 (pancha) forms. These essentially embody fundamental principles of the divine.
They’re listed but may appear to various individuals somewhat uniquely due to personalization.
I came to frame God Realization a little differently later. Basically as the final Unification of Unity when we become one with the Divine. This opens the door to Brahman. In this context Realization means recognizing oneself as.
This had not unfolded at the time of this article.
Some don’t have this until even later.
I find when I feel love for a person it is not me loving them but God loving them in me. The same with compassion. It is as if I am sharing intimately in God’s feelings(?) for each person. If I ask Him to bless that person, My own feeling level is amped up as it were with a depth of holiness or heart melting, etc…very beautiful qualities in the heart. People tell me this sounds like God is out there but He is inside with me like a strong ocean current and I’m a lesser current in the same ocean. I’ve also had periods where it goes on in sleep…extreme love for God that wakes me up with tears of love in my eyes and melting heart. This has happened for over 30 years but only now is a shift occurring. Although my consciousness flowed out into the world long ago only now am I knowing it (?) as where I am. For some reason I’m needing to process this shift a lot through the senses, mind feeling of body awareness, intellect especially after waking up. I still sleep about 5 1/2 hours a night. Thanks for your clear posts.
Beautiful, David. Thanks for sharing. I had somewhat similar – what I now consider tastes of reality – until finally waking.
Yes, there are many levels of processing and of deepening. It’s a big shift in framing that flows out into all layers of experience.
I would not expect to need minimal sleep. This does arise for the occasional person but isn’t typical. Those living in the world continue with a body that has the same old needs. What changes is where we’re experiencing from.
One thing I haven’t heard people talk about… before this shift to being infinite consciousness, for several weeks I could feel some kind of a ground swell going on but I had no idea what it was: brain sensations like a restructuring for 16 days (not painful), the environment saying things to me, And my suddenly letting go of resistance to advice from awake friends..”They’re benevolent maybe I should listen, be more open”. And after nearly 50 years of meditation etc I said to my departed teacher, “It’s embarassing to be with you so long with great experiences and miss something basic..It’s actually shameful”. Did I really express that? YES.
One friend told me to stop jumping from one wave crest to another. One flashy experience to another. It’s just “simplest form of awareness.” Another said where are you located in your own experience?” I feel like the two of them hammered me into the truth with love.
Then I saw every point in my awareness as awake. the whole creation is an infinite number of awake points and it’s me, you, everyone.
Three months later I’m still processing but it’s changed a little from a sort of 3D infinity of eyes to a clear ocean of consciousness.
I always (as an adult anyway) had eternal being underlying the creation which floated like a boat on top. Subtle beings (angels, Hindu gods, greek gods, nature spirits, Tibetan Gurus, Jesus and Mary and the saints, the God of Israel, etc.) would emerge from this Universal Being not from the physical creation? Or so it seemed. I had these experiences daily awake and in sleep for decades. There was never a dull moment but something was missing.
For some reason I was the outside observer. When my friends shifted my attention to consciousness itself, I already knew I was that but didn’t know the extent of it. That seemed to precipitate the shift for me more than the Being ever did.
What I’m curious about is did they precipitate the shift or was the groundswell a tip off that they were just elements in what was unfolding anyway.
Can we help someone shift earlier? Or is the groundswell something most people have come on at the time of the shift? It preceded all the other elements and definitely caught my attention beforehand. One of these helpers had the same groundswell experience as she woke up.
(laughs) There is always some things we miss. I enjoy comparing notes as often they’ll point out something I’d missed. Humans are designed to know one thing at a time so it’s easy to miss stuff in infinity. 🙂
There is considerable variety in the approach and post-shift integration. With major changes, there is always some rewiring, perhaps relearning how to be in the world, and the body adjusting to what is now driving the bus. Broadly we could say adaptation.
It depends on what needs the upgrade and whats ahead of the curve. And where things are clear enough to shift.
I wouldn’t try to control your natural tendencies. But it is good to go for balance and grounding.
Yes, thats another way of describing consciousness aware of itself globally (ocean) and at every point (eyes). There can be places where we open out into new vistas, then settle back into what we can sustain. For example, Adyashanti had a lot of Unity elements with his first shift, then settled back into more typical Self Realization.
Subtle beings can be said to arise from universal Being but their appearance is an interactive dressing influenced by their intentions and our expectations. You can search personalization where I talk about this in more detail.
The primary shifts themselves can be said to be grace, an intention of the Divine. But those around us or circumstances can be catalysts for a letting go that precipitates the shift. For myself it was a word, spoken by an awake teacher. I heard the word differently and something let go. Then the shift could happen.
I’d call the groundswell flow. The movement of consciousness, directed by the Divine. Setting the stage as it where. The groundswell isn’t personal but a collective thing so it’s details may not be obvious.
It seems people have certain times when waking is optimal. If they’ve cultured the ground and allowed the flow to set the stage, then it can unfold.
Thanks for your comments, Davidya. An experienced viewpoint is greatly appreciated.
You’re very welcome.
I seem to have a new take on the celestial beings lately. Instead of name and form, now they are name form and energy. I couldn’t see how they were arising out of my own awareness before. They were inside me like furniture in a room.
Now I see they are like ocean currents..warm, cold, fast, slow. When I feel a new energy or change of energy in my awareness such as love, compassion even trepidation, it’s my own Self-awareness rising in a flavour. As it crests, I may see the form associated with it…and then of course the name…Mother Mary if it’s compassion I feel, for example. Or hindu and greek forms too. Sometimes Native American spirits.
They all arise out of the universal ocean of my own consciousness which is nothing but everyone’s consciousness. It’s so simple and yet revealing. My one consciousness is inside and outside. I’m (consciousness that is) totally free from everything but still experiencing it all. The whole universe is inside me and I’m omnipresent and infinite but surprisingly it’s not flashy just normal and has always been this way.
The most remarkable thing is that in the past when I had tastes of this, as the clarity or softness or power of the experience faded, I think I actually unknowingly chose to go back into my erroneous view of myself as the small self peering out to infinity.
I guess this was from habit. I did it almost automatically as like everyone, I had responsibilities, work, family etc and so I re-entered my old mode or view point. The infinity of my being never faded I just chose to think of myself as finite every time…until I didn’t.
Very nice, David.
I refer to the energy aspect as flow or Shakti, depending on if it’s more about movement or power.
Great observations. And yes, we have long habits that soften over time and with experience.
Funny how much can change over such shifts. Going from a struggling me to just enjoying the process and watching the players on the stage of this apparent life. Thanks for sharing.
Hi again davidya, things are changing again. After several years of I am infinite omnipresent consciousness with eyes open, last year I began to notice that the love I feel is also infinite and extends to the galaxies like my consciousness. It seems now that all feelings and thoughts are too, even quirky personal ones associated with my personality. It seems consequently that any new idea I might have is thus available to everyone as I seem to be the collective consciousness of the world too. Now the small self that I sought for so long to transcend is also infinite or at least not limited to my physical body. It’s a flavour that can’t be contained and also fills my infinite consciousness. I guess the body is next as I never find it without an environment so they must be one. Will wonders never cease. It’s really quite marvellous that we are all so magnificent, such incredible beings. Most recently I’m noticing that my crystal clear consciousness is densely packed with points. Each one is a twist of some sort where the potential for manifestation resides always and everywhere. What is this? I’ve never heard this discussed or I’ve misunderstood the description. These twists are somewhat familiar but I’ve only seen them one at a time while problem solving or fixing things when I ponder something transcend on it and a solution arises (dhyan, dharan, samadhi in activity). These have only arisen before when I put my attention on them. Now they are everywhere. Any insights?
Thanks for your ongoing input. David
Right, David. Gradually, everything is recognized as cosmic. Cosmic ego, mind, and body.
Yes, the point value. Each a (potential) point of experience and of expression. I talked about this some here:
Essentially, at the higher end, consciousness is aware both globally and at every point. The twist quality is that each point has its own emphasis of laws of nature and it’s own perspective. Further, as the point expresses, it can be seen to do so in a spiral of layers.
I looked at your links. That’s helpful. Thanks for posting all these descriptions. Apparently I wasn’t born with an operating manual.
The diagrams are fascinating. I’ve been having experiences of curvature of time for ten years or so. It seems to be folded ( curved on itself?) at certain times I can see through thin veils to past or possibly future times. I suspect it’s me I’m seeing in different circumstances. It’s like a snaking baggage check line at the airport where even though you are at the end, the person beside you on the other side of the rope could be twenty minutes ahead of you. These experiences where I see through veils of time seem to be hundreds of years apart but not thousands or anything and on this planet.
In some tangible experiential way time is all present now. My wife has seen this too and brilliantly pointed out that just as the people in these experiences are our visions, so too we are their visions of the future.
Anyway your drawings of consciousness curving brings this out. Thanks again for your great blog. I’ll search through some more for interesting and appropriate material.
Actually, David, we do come with an operating manual. We’ve just forgotten where it is with our dedication to the content of experiences. 🙂 All experiences come with the intelligence that created them. This comes online at some point.
Yes, the past and future are separate but also united with the present. Although it’s not a dimension like space, we can move through it easily and there are nodes (points again) that are common through various lives. Those points are simultaneous in their respective moments. They can go back many thousand years and are are not limited by space.
Also fascinating is there are a number of distinct ways to experience time. I explored the general ones here, although there is many variants.