After Awakening or Cosmic Consciousness, there arises a sense of descent of the divine or spirit in reverse of the rise felt prior. In Emptiness Dancing, Adyashanti talks of the “head, heart, and gut”. This is what I jokingly called the 3 Am-Egos. What also might be called the 3 levels of identity. Clearing these corresponds to each approach of the 3 stages of enlightenment.
There is also a 4th stage, the root. I discussed this in Point Value. When the divine has descended to the root, spirit begins to be lived and experienced in form, in the formerly outer world. Enlightenment can then be much more fully and richly expressed. We might call this Embodiment. Adyashanti calls it Autonomy. Embodiment is what differentiates an awake person from the birth of a master.
There is another way of seeing these 4 stages. They occur after the release of what might be called the 4 Grips.
1) the first grip is the letting go of the concept of a me. What is often called ego. Then we shift into Self or Atman. This shift is known as awakening or Cosmic Consciousness.
2) the second grip is in letting go of the crust on the heart and the emotional energy feeders of ego above. This opens us to the divine heart and the flow of life & Love. This leads to more refinement and eventual God Realization.
3) the third grip is the core fear that leads to the gut sense of an individual I or identity. This fear is usually unrecognized until close to the shift yet it has cast a shadow over our lives for millennia. It has fed the emotions and concept of ego above. It also gives us the sense of an inside and outside and thus gross duality. When this grip falls, the identity and our whole sense of reality falls, leading to the intellect recognizing Unity. (see Mahavakyas)
The above grips are temporarily relaxed to a degree in the rising cycles of time. But only in enlightenment do we lose them for good. (see also the past)
4) the fourth grip is profoundly subtle. It is the grip of ignorance, for want of a better word. The Sanskrit term Lesha Avidya or faint remains of ignorance comes to mind. Just like when you squeeze something it twists, this grip pulls the end of the sutra or thread that connects us with the divine back slightly so it doesn’t rest in the root chakra. This creates a subtle sense of duality that sustains the subject-object relationship and prevents the experience of wholeness, what is known as Brahman.
In the past, I’ve touched on the 10 stages of unity, said to be mirrored in the 10 mandalas of the Rk Veda. The 10th mandala or stage is Brahman. Brahman Consciousness is no longer a state or stage of consciousness but is rather consciousness itself; wholeness itself. We could say the 4th stage is stageless.
This is obviously the true Vedanta or end of the Veda. Thus it is true Advaita or non-duality. Until the 4th grip is released, there is still the subtle duality in our every experience of Self and the world so true non-duality has not yet arisen. Just as the inner unity of Self Realization leads into the outer unity of Unity Consciousness, so too does Unity become a full unification in Brahman. But an inner unity of Self Realization under 2 layers of duality is hardly non-duality.
Words really fail when you try to describe something without a subject-object relationship. Basic grammar requires it. This is beyond the object being known to be nothing but subject. I hope to find further inspiration on the subject as time goes on.
Of course, as I wrote earlier today: remember there is no process in awakening. (laughs)
Last Updated on July 16, 2017 by Davidya
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Hi Davidya, thank you for your extensive blog. I am appreciating so much of what you share here, as well as the feeling generated from what is behind the words. It has a calming and grounding presence.
Do you have any suggestions to help with the releasing the third grip? I’m experiencing intense levels of fear, at times terror, in the solar plexus. I worked with a healer and it revealed itself to be the terror of not existing, the belief that I would “come undone”. The healer counselled me that while this is true from one perspective, it is simply the ego’s fear and something is beyond, etc. Things have been processing gradually but the fear reared up big-time again today, triggered by another fear in my root, where a lot has been processing lately as well.
Perhaps I just need to find someone else to work with 1:1 to help with the letting go, but if you have any words of wisdom to share, I would much appreciate it. Thank you.
It’s much like any other energetic release. We just have to allow it to arise and complete. The difference is these are key ones around identification. For some people they blow off like any other. For others, there’s a little more drama.
The gut in particular is the fire chakra and home of the protectors of our sense of personal existence. Ego feels it like a last stand and as a terror to be annihilated. But really, all that’s released is the identification and self-limitations built from that.
This is generally beyond most healers experience. It’s something we just have to face ourselves. But like the monster under the bed, the biggest is the fear of facing it, not the identification.
Here, when this barbecue took place (it can have that sense of being roasted), there was an end to the sense of a separate inside and outside. They became one. For a short while, personal pronouns stopped making sense until things integrated more. Adyashanti described a couple of weeks of fear but usually it clears faster than that. The comment below has a link to a discussion on the topic and Susanne’s description of her experience.
There is never a loss with this stuff, except for constraints. Trust the process and you’ll be fine. And further liberated.
Worth noting as an addendum. When I wrote this, I correlated the grips with the stages: CC, GC, Unity, Brahman. However, I’ve since found this is an ideal but they often take place later, like the heart opening after Brahman. Or in Susanne’s case, the third with the Brahman shift (link below). This is because purification and embodiment can lag openings.
Hi David, wow. A lot of digesting going on here. Thank you so much for your response, it immediately connected with me on a subtle level (the fear has released now) and things are making more sense as well.
For quite some time I’ve had trouble understanding where I was at. So much has been falling away and my mind has been questioning aspects of that, particularly the way my experience has become much more dry. I could see that the falling away of spiritual ego and identification with ‘higher’ states was a good thing, but I couldn’t understand the shift out of Unity itself. That, I doubted. Also as I know there is much greater refinement possible than what I experienced (but maybe that continues at a later stage). Your map is very helpful and I especially appreciate the way you correlate the stages to the body.
I’ve been listening to Susanne-Marie speak about her shift from Unity to No-Self and funnily enough, I have been experiencing a seemingly impossible dilemma to what she describes. It feels like the hardest decision of my life and I have no idea to make it. There’s seemingly no middle ground, no way out. Not acting is also acting. Sometimes I think I’ve decided and feel peace about it, and soon after I shift to the other side again. Throughout this, I’ve been hearing the words, “Nothing to do, nowhere to be”. I wasn’t sure what to do with that advice! The emotional charge has dissipated now, but something else is still in the way of acting.
I now realise that the fear of annihilation did get processed (which resulted in my solar plexus temporarily opening into flow and noticing a spinning wheel there for the first time), but whatever is holding on feels like another part of that grip. That healer, who was also a teacher of mine, speaks of the need to release both the fear of death and the fear of living. Tbh the fear of living hadn’t really resonated too deeply with me, but I wonder if something like that is going on. The ego drivers to ‘do’ seem to have pretty much fallen away, as well as the fear of death part, but my ego still has the ability to put the brakes on. I can see the humour in the situation!
Thanks again. Your reply was so very helpful. If you have any further words to share, I would love to hear them.
One of the characteristics of Unity can be almost constant change in our sense of reality. I used to joke “whats real today?” Whatever is experienced is processed into what the Brahma Sutra calls the aggregate. Add in the purification and it can be unclear.
With the Brahman (no-Self) shift, there can be a dry spell. What had been has fallen away but it can take time for what is here to become clearer. It’s not a something. It doesn’t play by the old rules. The refinement has to go quite a bit deeper. There can be old “shoulds” and “musts” that obscure direction. But more to the point, various qualities of subtle duality like conscious and not conscious, being and not being, this choice or that, have to collapse into totality. So yeah, no middle ground. Just true nonduality.
Other than that core grip, there can be all sorts of secondary things. I’ve been surprised just how many layers of that there is. And they are often hidden until we come near the end of completing them.
We can also say that what drives the bus changes. So there is nothing to be done. And then when it’s time, it simply happens. For example, you can plan to clean the bathroom but nothing is there to act. And so it sits until one day, it suddenly happens with peak efficiency. Of course, there is more significant examples and we can see the profound orchestration. Like a blog post is delayed completion, then is posted on just the day someone needed to hear the message.
A big part of it is just living life and learning how to be with it. Then it becomes an art piece we’re helping perform.
While our personal motivators fall away, we learn to step into, and hear the call of, the cosmic flow. And still more deeply, the Divine. We become a vehicle for higher flows, the more we get out of the way. And what needs to be done is done.
Yes, our personal perspective is so limited by comparison. We remain a fool, yet can be a vehicle for profundity beyond imagination.
One thing I’ll add. Part of the trouble is, I don’t know who or what to surrender to anymore… This shift seems to be affecting both my inner guide and my sense of God/the Divine. How does one surrender when there isn’t a relationship? Does that become irrelevant in Brahman and post-Brahman?
(laughs) Yes, good point. When there is no “other”, no duality, what is there to surrender to? The sense of God prior was relative to consciousness and duality.
Now, we become aware of fine unexpressed qualities within Brahman, that which gives rise to consciousness, for example. And pure power.
Here’s me talking about pure Divinity before it had unfolded here, from that perspective:
There is still the letting go of old contractions, of dualities. But it’s not a surrender to something until pure Divinity comes online. This is so dramatically more than anything touched on prior as it’s no longer limited by consciousness. It can take some time though.
Thank you, Davidya. So much wisdom and clarity, in both what and how you share. You have given me some excellent pointers. I won’t respond to the details of your replies as it feels that would be adding unnecessary words! I feel grateful and in quiet awe, thank you.
You’re welcome, Charlotte. Just sharing what has been seen here and in others.