I’ve spoken before about some of the variations around the initial spiritual awakening of Self Realization. For some, there can be experiences as if a shift has happened but no actual shift. A taste as it were. There can be the actual shift that then gets over-shadowed for a time – what Adyashanti called non-abiding. And there can be a true, clear, abiding shift.
But that isn’t the end of the story of liberation, in spite of how some speak of it. Until our energetic (karma) baggage is resolved, there can still be unresolved drives that have the potential to bring us back into further lifetimes.
Because of this, some frame enlightenment in terms of sat chit ananda – established bliss-consciousness, or nirvana. Bliss has a lovely way of resolving what has been unmet.
Given some examples of people who had had a spiritual awakening but were not yet up to this standard, it seems such a definition of Enlightenment was a post-awakening stage. And in fact, this is the more common trajectory.
However, because it is energy-based, it is reading the effects rather than the actual causal shift. In my specific case, I began witnessing full-time many years prior to waking. Consciousness was awake inside long prior to the key shift. That created an environment that helped with clearing and balancing prior to the shift. And it meant the shift itself was very clear.
But it highlights a key distinction that needs to be made.
No matter how clear we are energetically, if there isn’t that shift in consciousness and resulting change of identity, stable enlightenment cannot flower and the experience can falter under life challenges. It becomes an “as if” state.
Inversely, no matter how distinct a shift in consciousness is noticed, if there isn’t that clearing process taking place, progress will stall and the liberation will be incomplete.
Permanent and complete liberation that will hold up even through death requires both.
I was reminded of this by the example of the last Satya period. The last golden age arose when enough people on the planet where fully enlightened. This raised the group consciousness enough that over time, almost everyone lived a life “as-if” enlightened. Group consciousness became very clear, supported by the very awake consciousness. However, over thousands of years, we got a little sloppy and the number who were actually enlightened slowly went down.
At a certain point, group consciousness drops below the threshold and the cycle of ages begins its downward progression. The masses slip out of their “as if” state.
Having a clear, balanced energy physiology is a wonderful way to enjoy a high quality of life. Far higher than the average person today. But if we want to build a platform for a permanent shift, there needs to be that inner shift in consciousness itself – or whatever word we may want to use to describe it – spirit, Self, being, etc. And that clearing process to resolve our history.
The required shift in identity doesn’t have to be an end to personal identity. As I write about elsewhere, there can be a sense of loss of personal identity with the shift but generally, it’s later found that it was the attachment that ended, not the identity itself. We come to recognize both the cosmic and the personal, then later the cosmic as personal (and vice versa). We still need a sense of self to function in the world, most particularly as householders.
Enlightenment is becoming our universal nature, unlimited by personal constraints but flowing through them. The personal isn’t lost, it’s just put into a new perspective. Some non-supportive aspects may fall away, but our laws of nature continue.
Without that key shift – which may be very obvious or quiet – the ground of being isn’t there. Without that stability, the clarity can be lost again.
There are a lot of myths around enlightenment. It’s important to understand that it’s now more than possible to become enlightened as a householder – without spending years in India or similar. But awakening is still fundamentally a shift in our relationship with consciousness. That then becomes the stable platform on which we can unfold in ways we never imagined – in the world.
As I have often said, the ideal here is a balance of growth in consciousness and refinement and unfolding the heart, then embodying both. That leads to the greatest completeness.