Funny how ideas sneak up on you. How the grander picture often emerges in increments.
For example, I’ve long known of higher states of consciousness. More recently, I’ve shown a more complete model, like this:
1 – Cosmic Consciousness (CC) or Self Realization
1a – Refined CC or God Consciousness
2 – Unity Consciousness (UC), Oneness or non-duality
2a – Refined Unity and God Realization
3 – Brahman or Beyond Consciousness
3a – Refined Brahman
3b – Parabrahman or Wholeness
I’ve also spoken about the Shiva and Shakti dynamic in kundalini – Shakti, the feminine, rising to join Shiva, the masculine*.
I’ve written on the 2 sides to the awakening process that we carry forward from past lives – Atman and Sattva, consciousness and refinement.
Finally, it dawned on me that the above model is dominated by the observer, Shiva, consciousness:
1 – Cosmic Consciousness (CC)
2 – Unity Consciousness (UC)
3 – Brahman or Beyond Consciousness
In this context, refinement is secondary, a support process dependent on the main process. This is the path of Shiva.
However, there are paths that emphasize the heart, healing and refinement. For example, kundalini traditions often measure development in terms of Shakti and chakra opening.
I ran into an Ascension teaching recently that describes 7 initiations, measured by the degree of chakra vibrancy and radiance (vs dross) and balance. Some of the associated experiences were similar to those on a consciousness-based process but from a different context. You can’t do a one-to-one between the models but there is an apparent interrelationship with the list at the top.
This is also quite distinct from a kundalini tradition that measures by open chakras and caps – distance vs degree.
If we wanted to give a stages count to a process like Kundalini Vidya, there would be breaking the 3 caps, the crown/bindu, descent to the heart, gut, and root, then the final rise = 8. Of course different individuals would tend to emphasize different things subjectively.
However, I’ve noted before that there are 3 branches of kundalini traditions which correlate the stages of consciousness with the kundalini progress differently from each other. I’ve explored that as a reflection of the variable Shiva-Shakti dynamic – where do they meet? But the various Shakti-oriented models here don’t even measure the same things. This suggests a single model inclusive of both may be elusive.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was a Bhakti but emphasized the Shiva model of his tradition. He used the analogy of Capture the Fort. Rather than going after the silver mines and diamond mines and gold mines – capture the fort and you gain them all. For him, consciousness was the key and meditation the way to pure consciousness.
The hazard of following the Shakti course is of course getting lost in the mines. I’ve also seen how a kundalini path can be much rougher. On the other hand, there’s a pretty strong meme these days that focuses on the fort but ignores the mines as illusion.
Shiva alone is dry and flat. Shakti alone is not founded in the unchanging. The ideal of course is both together. Dipping into consciousness, grounding in the world, and cleansing the vehicle.
UPDATE: It’s worth noting that while the stages of the development in consciousness are limited in number, the potential of refinement and opening to new knowledge is essentially unlimited. Thus, at a certain point in all paths, the feminine becomes the focus.
*Note – this is not male and female in terms of sexual gender but rather duality in the dynamic of consciousness, of the observer and observed from which all creation arises. That becomes expressed as gender within creation.