The Layers

The Layers

Recently, friends have been corresponding about “the mystery”. Can reality be known or is it destined to remain something of a mystery, greater than self-knowledge? My position is that we can know it when we are it. As we unfold who we are, we can unfold all the knowledge that comes with that.

Taking a Unity perspective, all form arises in the self-referral dynamics of consciousness. If an experience is taking place, even of an emptiness, it is taking place in consciousness.

By this I don’t mean because we’re conscious we can have an experience of an “outside” world. I mean that both the subject of experience (observer) and the object of experience (form) are arising in consciousness through its self-interacting dynamics. The Unified Field of physics is the inside surface of self-aware consciousness. The process of intention and attention draws form into being. Form never exists outside of consciousness.

We may then raise “if a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?” The issue with this line of thinking is the assumption that consciousness is local and confined to humans. Does the lack of humans mean bears and bees don’t get to hear it? Consciousness is vastly greater than a human brain. Forms arise in the whole and are shared.

To show the scale of it, we can talk about the layers of creation. Creation is nested in layers, one within the other. Consciousness becomes self-aware both globally and at all points within itself. We could say that consciousness looking in on itself creates a boundary condition and perceptual division but there is no actual division or separation. It is simply a condition of self-directed attention, just like when we read this screen, we’re not noticing the floor behind us.

The distinction of self observing within a boundary condition creates space, which may be infinite (infinities within infinities). The process of experience creates time. How we experience time thus varies by our relationship with the process of experience.

These layers somewhat align with the Koshas. The layers are expressed and recede in vast cycles of time described in the Vedas. Their calculation is based on multiplying up from more basic units like solar years, but as I noted in The Yugas, a calculation error crept in. Almost all sources are 360x too big (mistakenly converted to Devic scale) and most don’t go above the lifespan of Brahma, from which the lifespan of the universe is calculated. I’ve not found equivalent terminology in western traditions, so I use the Vedic words. Because nested space arises in consciousness, each layer includes the quality of time and that value of a life-cycle. Nested time means cycles within cycles.

The first layer arises when consciousness first becomes globally self-aware, when the liveliness stirs alertness and flows, curving back on itself to become self-aware. We might call this Atman (first kosha) or its lively surface divine mind. Godhead. Divine Mother. Holy Father.

From an impulse or thought within divine mind, creations (Genesis) arise. Some creations are very simple, some very complex. Ours is of the second.

The second layer is our creation nested within divine mind. We could call this the Shiva value which lasts for a Shiva lifespan (1/1,000 of the divine mother). This layer is what I call Cosmic on this blog. Narayana, the first born (the son), arises within creation. That leads to the cosmic body that contains and patterns all bodies.

The next layer is the Vishnu (a lifespan 1/1,000 of Shiva) layer, the sustainer and field of dharma. This is a stage within creation. It doesn’t have as distinct a boundary within creation but is a distinct stage of expression and of discovery. (we usually discover these layers in the opposite sequence, progressively larger)

Both together are Chittamaya Kosha.

The next layer is the Brahma (a lifespan 1/1,000 of Vishnu) or “creator” level. Many distinct universes arise here, each in their own nested space of self-aware consciousness. This is as far up the ladder many describe. This is the field of what I call Universal mind, the lively field who’s interactions are the 3 gunas. All experienced forms and phenomena of the world have their origins here. It is thus often called causal. This is Anandamaya kosha (the bliss body). Everything on this level is shared, in common. It is the home of Hiranya Garbha (the golden egg, seed form of the universe). It is also where the 7 chakras are first inserted which express later as our personal chakras in the Prana kosha.

How the universe expresses is then described several ways, depending on perspective. There is the rest of the mentioned koshas or sheaths. Some experience the 5 elements spiraling into form. Various philosophies describe it with various details.

Each form arises in nested consciousness. This is why, for example, we experience having a local mind with personal thoughts. And yet, there is a shared reality we experience relatively but commonly because our local awareness also exists within a larger awareness. We also share most laws of nature as they function on more universal levels.

This is the dynamics of local awareness – not separate from the whole, but nested in it like a bubble in soda.

This is also why Einstein’s space-time curvature works to describe the mass of objects. What is curving (back on itself) is consciousness. The resulting space reflects that.

Curving back on myself, I create again and again… — Krishna, in the Bhagavad Gita

Forms we would call living have the energy structure of chakras to allow prana (chi, life) to move through the form and give it life. How expressed the chakras are varies widely, even within one type of life-form. (somewhat like most all life has a DNA blueprint for protein synthesis)

Creation is a very complex place. I’m sure there are a number of other ways this process could be described. But the basics are simple and repeat themselves, one within the other like a Russian doll. We’re the little one in the middle.

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  1. gayanee

    David, When Brahman knows itself, does that knowing trickle down and perceived through our intellect and in all the layers all the way to the body? And what you call “the absolute body” is when Brahman is known through the body? Thanks for the new articles.
    I never agreed with the the “unknowable mystery’ concept. I also never agreed with only humans with complex nerve system can be enlightened or that the source needs us(humans) to know itself. Other than Kiran and you I haven’t come across any that speak to this. I am still in the process of pulling the deep knowing with in into more manifest levels here. Your writings and our correspondences are I guess one way of this manifesting. I am grateful! 🙂

  2. gayanee

    Brahman knows itself as Brahman. And the world is Brahman! Yes of course!duh! Speaking from this perspective, since it’s still unfolding here I guess that’s why the ‘when’ was used! Thanks 🙂

    “I would not say that source “needs” us to know itself but I experience that we exist for that function.”
    This is still not completely resonating here. In a way I know there’s only one function ever, to know thyself! So in that sense yes!

    Thanks for the reminder to hold ideas loosely! All stories and ideas are appreciated but not held on to too tightly. 🙂 good night!

  3. There are of course various ways of seeing this. Some describe everything as an expression of love, which is also true. But it doesn’t address the intellects question of why? Also, the perspective changes in different stages so this isn’t a universal one. In Brahman the question is somewhat meaningless.

  4. Hi Gayanee
    Brahman knows itself as Brahman. And Brahman knows itself through the world, which is also Brahman.

    But that does tend to unfold over time, so the depth of recognition increases until even the body is known as That.

    The absolute body is a term I picked up many years ago. I don’t use the term much yet as I have not had the chance to go back and see how it was described to ensure I’m using it the way it has been meant. I suspect it is a reference to pre-cosmic, aka body as Brahman.

    Absolute is a term I used for the unchanging that was behind the relative. This is an aspect of the duality one discovers in spiritual practice that becomes lived in Self Realization. But in Unity, the absolute and relative are joined so it becomes a less useful word. Yet clearly, a term like “absolute body” is further long.

    I would not say that source “needs” us to know itself but I experience that we exist for that function. Same with flowers and eagles. Creation is not human-centric but there are some pretty illustrious ones.

    Yes – I find that others descriptions help see things more fully and may give language for what has none. Just be sure to hold ideas loosely so they don’t become barriers to more.

  5. zen pig

    I don’t know that much about Hindu spirituality, but what struck me a couple of years ago, was an event that was very much like the movie “close encounters of the third kind”. don’t know if you ever saw that move, but there is a part where the star, Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss), is pulled to make this “hill” our of everything from dirt from his flower garden, to mash potatoes. it is something that calls to him from within.

    This is kind of what happened to me a few years ago. my wife painted the bathroom with a very random design using a natural sponge, and dabbing the paint all over. very cool looking.

    I was in this room one day, and started to see images of different faces. (not like seeing “real” entities, but just the design looked like pictures of faces)

    In modern phycology this is called the “rorschach test”, where our minds are suppose to create images from random designs. but these images looked so well done, and I knew they were random, that I had to get a light pencil and draw or trace them out. I made up my mind to only trace what I really saw, and not try to tie anything together to make it “look more real” so to speak.

    so now, our bathroom has over 60 images of different humans/animals/life forms, and each one, looks very real. got to say, I have no artistic talent at all, I just traced only what I saw. and I have no clue why I was drawn to do this, (sorry for the pun) LOL

    then one day, a while back I hit me. this is what consciousness/god/life/Tao/universe does. the emptiness, which is also the well of all things, is this deep empty well of potential. and this so-called “knowing” draws up all the infinite life forms from this well of potential. once I saw this, most of the drawings stopped. I only do it now on rare occasions, when I get the itch, or have had a couple of beers!

    this is as close as I could come to understanding this well of emptiness that is the source of all creation. don’t know if there is anything to this. not some kind of traditional Satori, or flash in insight, but more of a coming together of mind, and a “ah ha” moment. cheers. zp

  6. Hi ZP
    Curious how insights arise.
    There is also an element that psychology describes as archetypes. We learn to make sense of the world by seeing patterns. If you consider what physics has discovered about the world and compare it to how we perceive it, there’s a lot of pattern-building going on. Overlays we might say.

    To be clear, my references are from Vedic philosophy. This well predates the generic name “Hindu” that the British gave the later various religious sects of India. I know little of that myself.

    It’s a terminology I use as it covers what I experience.

  7. Blanche

    Hi, David –
    You write that “The distinction of self observing within a boundary condition creates space.” What is the relationship between self-observing and the state of witness? Does it mean that consciousness-aware-of-itself requires space? And as the space is nestled, does this mean that the consciousness becomes aware of itself at each layer? Is this the mechanism underlying the stages of consciousness? However, when this happens, when the consciousness becomes aware at each layer,  the space dissolves – the Ultimate Reality is beyond space and time. You point to a significant shift from consciousness-aware-of-itself to Brahman. This brings again the conclusion that the witness disappears at Brahman stage. As you said somewhere else, Brahman can be known only by Brahman. The only way to know Brahman is by embodying It.
    Your writing acts here as a decanter of the experience, increasing clarity over time. Have you thought about collecting your essays in a book?

    1. Hi Blanche
      I write about all of these topics on other posts, many of which are linked in the article. The “self-aware” link, or example illustrates this.

      When awareness becomes aware of itself, it creates a subtle space between the observer side and the observed side of itself. This is the space into which creation arises. It isn’t “required”, it’s an effect.

      And yes, space is nested. Keep in mind that everything arises in the self-interacting dynamics of consciousness so every object can be described as arising in a bubble of awareness. So awareness within awareness within awareness, space within space within space.

      What I’m describing here is the foundation of all experience. It’s not necessary to understand this. I describe it as it helps give words or open doors for those for whom it is unfolding – as you mention.

      Witnessing is an effect of a stage of development as we grow into the larger perspective.

      Witnessing is stepping back out of an identified me into the observer quality. We are aware we are aware but awareness may not yet have woken to itself. I talk about some distinctions here.

      No, the layers are not related to the stages of awakening. The stages are about shifts in our relationship with consciousness itself – as the observer, as the observed (Unity) also, and so on.

      The layers become conscious as we clear the fog and refine the vessel. Then we gradually become aware of how the world arises, etc. How this unfolds depends on personal orientation, dominant laws, and so forth. Some don’t care about it, some go into it in great detail.

      Yes, reality is beyond space and time. Creation is simply a side-effect of much deeper processes.

      I would not say the witness disappears with Brahman as we’re still a person experiencing an apparent world. What does change (again) is our relationship to it. We know the witness as an aspect of creation and thus it has a more illusory nature. The world is not here and yet here it is.

      The curious thing though is that this apparent paradox is only in a mind. It is not a paradox to Brahman.

      And yes, I am writing a book – mainly on the stages. I have outlines for several others too. The challenge is that what is known keeps evolving, as another post to come will illustrate. 🙂

    1. Hi Guru
      The observer aspect of consciousness is usually first experienced as the witness. The observed side as the world, what we experience. Thats why its called that.
      Unity stage is when Observer and Observed are recognized to be one thing. This is a change in our relationship with them, not in them.
      The process of observing is the mechanics of how the world appearance comes to be, how we experience everything. That becomes known through refinement of perception and more fully in advanced Unity stage.

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