Stages of Refinement

Stages of Refinement

Readers of this blog know I talk about the refinement process in parallel to the awakening and unfolding of consciousness to itself.

Our first order is the transformation of tamas guna (inertia) into sattva (clarity, purity) through rajas (fire). We experience this process in various ways described with words like purification, release of stress, kriya, physical sensations, releasing, refinement, relaxing, and so forth. The net result is increased clarity, refined perception, and the awakening heart.

I’ve mentioned before how when tamas is dominant, we experience the physical world as real and the subtle as unreal. When rajas becomes dominant, we experience the world as illusory and are more prone to fire-related experiences like anger and frustration. We also experience a lot of transformations and change, inner and/or outer. With sattva dominant, we experience the world as a divine play and discover some of our subtle reality. We feel a much smoother, richer sense of the world. I went into this more here.

It’s useful to note that different areas of our energy system and life will have different degrees of clarity. You’ll be able to get a sense of that by what is clear and where perception is easy and where it’s not. Also by areas of life that are smooth and clear.

I’ve also noted that development of atman (consciousness) and sattva are both cumulative and passed forward from lifetime to lifetime. We pick up where we left off.

But all of this is refinement of qualities of expression and our physiology. There is a whole other order of refinement – that of consciousness itself. As I’ve noted before, in the mechanics of consciousness, there is a 3-part dynamic – observer, process of observation, and object of observation. In the Vedic literature, these are called rishi, devata and chhandas.

We can say that the chhandas value of consciousness leads to the tamas value of energy, and so forth.

This becomes very apparent as our nature as consciousness unfolds for us. In Unity stage, the subject and object are recognized as one and unite, leaving only the devata value, the experiencing, the creating.

[Updated the next section for clarity]
However, due to a long history of experiencing objects, even when we recognize them as myself, there is still that covering value of chhandas that remains. This must be seen through for Brahman to be recognized beyond consciousness.

In Brahman, even the devata value unites. As a result, Brahman is at first recognized as a nothing beyond consciousness. But as Brahman is lived, the habits of consciousness dissolve allowing the holiness in Brahman to become known. Then naturally, further resistances dissolve and the pure divinity of Brahman known as Parabrahman can unfold.

Also prominent is a much deeper level of flow, the devata value. As the devata value gives rise to the appearance of the world, it doesn’t end. What dissolves is the weight and covering qualities of experience in chhandas.

Note that this is even in dissolving the chhandas that gives solidity to the body. Even the physiology becomes increasingly fluid. And that makes a great deal more sense of some of the siddhi (abilities) described in the Yoga Sutra and various other old stories of saints and sages. When the body itself catches up to being an appearance, then said appearance is entirely flexible.

This also illustrates how the refinement process continues long after the stages in consciousness have completed.

Last Updated on June 16, 2016 by

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  1. In response to an offline question, a point was raised I thought useful to share.

    We could say tamas makes the world a covering and seeming real where chhandas makes experiences (content) behave as a covering and real. A stage more subtle.

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