I talk a lot about the 2 primary aspects of awakening – Consciousness unfolding to itself and sattva or clarity. But what is it that becomes more clear?
I sometimes talk about clarity in terms of the awakening heart and refined perception. But these result from clarity in consciousness on the corresponding layers of being. So we have consciousness as awakening and clarity.
To explain the distinction we can think of consciousness awakening to itself as shifting our relationship with consciousness. We become it (awakening), recognize it in the objects of perception (Unity), and then go beyond it in Brahman.
Awakening takes a degree of clarity, which varies quite a bit for people, but the refined values of the stages need quite a bit more.
This clarity results from what we might call polishing the mirror, the vehicle of knowing. At this point, we’re soothing and smoothing the dynamics and flow of awareness. We can look at the Yoga Sutra, for example:
Yoga is the complete settling of the activity of the mind.
Then the observer is established in his own nature.
As Mind is an effect of consciousness, settled mind means settled, clear awareness and being settled in our own nature as awareness. This allows awakening.
But to gain refined perception, that same settledness is needed through other layers of experience – emotions, senses, intellect… then consciousness is free of fog and clear to perceive much more refined values. Then the mechanics of consciousness become apparent and the hand of the divine.
To use an analogy, we might think in terms of an ocean. The average person experiences mostly the wind and storms on the surface. As we settle more into the ocean itself, the storms calm and the opportunity to awaken arises. But to reflect the sun well, the ocean has to calm on all levels, not just the surface.
If someone moves into stages in consciousness with less clarity, they will talk of emptiness, world as illusion, detachment, and so forth. They may be more inclined not to move further or to go into a drier form of Unity.
When the refinement of clarity arises, much subtler nuances become apparent. We’ll talk of fullness, world as divine play, intimacy, the light of life and of consciousness, and so forth. They’ll be much more inclined to experience the refined stages of God Consciousness, Refined Unity, and the layers of Brahman.
But there are all kinds of variation in what is clear and what not. Not to mention the various styles of experiencing it.
At deeper levels, clarity allows the unfolding of Refined Brahman and ParaBrahman. Then we can’t say it is consciousness that is becoming more clear but rather the vessel of knowing.