We can also view the awakening process as the gradual removal of coverings or veils. While there can be various specific hindrances to deeper sensing like the noise of unresolved emotions, there are 2 broad categories of coverings.
The first is known as tamas, the guna or quality of inertia. When prominent, it gives the world a sense of solidity and reality and leads us to become identified with it. I am this body and these are my possessions and my thoughts, etc.
That leads to a tendency to try hold on to or control experiences and to resist what we don’t want. (those tendencies are naturally there but identifying amplifies them)
We can talk about clearing emotions, resolving trauma, removing Stuff, and so forth. But you’ll note all of these are objects of experience. When tamas is resolved into sattva, we see those same things as fluid expressions of the divine. They’re not “mine” nor do they have much “weight”. But we can still become attached to this style of the world.
Thus the inner work also needs to be resolving attachments. This combination leads to the dropping of the veils of the world. And that leads to the fullest value of awakening.
There are many who have woken up to their nature beyond ego but have not yet discovered the dynamics of how That comes to be this. The divine is largely unknown and may even be rejected.
Much deeper than the dynamics of the 3 gunas is another value of covering. In the dynamics of consciousness, there is subject, process of experience, and object. All are aspects of consciousness interacting with itself. We can think of consciousness being like a movie screen on which the appearance of the world is projected.
The appearance value is known as chhandas and it has the effect of being a covering of consciousness. We experience what is appearing in consciousness rather than consciousness itself. We see the film but not the screen behind it.
It also keeps us in the dynamics of consciousness rather than seeing what is beyond it. To come to pure divinity, we have to cross the post-consciousness no-self nothingness of Brahman. (not to be confused with a no-self emptiness of awakening)
Where in the first stage, the expressions of the divine were masked, in the second the covering masks pure divinity.
Just as we first recognize the Self (Atman) before we recognize the expressions of the divine, so too we recognize Brahman before we recognize divinity itself. Pure divinity is more subtle than consciousness and thus much more than all expressions and the world. Even when we have recognized ourselves as everything, including all expressions of the divine, we have still not come to the divine itself.
And yet, it is our very life.
Last Updated on June 16, 2016 by
Well said, David (once again) 🙂
Yes, in a culture predicated on instant gratification, even after an initial awakening, it takes a little knowledge to not grab hold of this, or a subsequent stage and proclaim to oneself, “this is it!”. As you mention, all of the machinery of what is seen and how, and by whom, continues to refine, now having a focus, the awakened Self. Any attempt at eliciting a full picture of consciousness, though, becomes a burden prior to Brahman.
The glories of the Self and its full unfoldment do indeed serve as a mask for what lies beyond. Until our individual consciousness can grow into, and surmount the transcendental states, the higher states, in all their fullness, the mask remains. Even Unity must become exhausted in its quest for fullness. Even Sattva in its Supreme radiance must too be transcended for the mask to dissolve, and finally the Self, who’s gifts and universal light have brought untold treasures to us, must too be transcended.
Of course similar (times a factor of say a thousand) to the clarity and efficiency brought about by the emergence of the Self, so are the treasures within Brahman well worth the journey of transcending the Self.
Beautifully put, Jim.
I have a quote from the Isha Upanishad in the footer below. Gold is the colour of sattva, so the line bears witness to your middle paragraph.
But its also the colour of awake consciousness (hence golden halos), so it takes on a still deeper meaning than I originally knew. 🙂