In his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi describes the stages of Cosmic Consciousness, God Consciousness (GC), and Unity in God Consciousness. In the early 70’s he added Unity Consciousness to the line-up. By the mid-80’s he stopped talking about “higher states” and only talked about Brahman.
For a long while I equated “Unity in GC” with Unity itself. However, I later realized it was more about what I call Refined Unity. This is the God Consciousness stage continuing into the Unity stage.
What this term likely speaks to is the way the process unfolded for him. If there is a strong GC stage, there will be a strong Refined Unity stage. It’s a continuation of GC, but now in the new context of Unity. If the Unity shift itself is clear and brief, the return to a process dominated by refinement will be quick. Hence, Unity in God Consciousness.
For others, the Unity shift itself can dominate for longer. This depends on things like what it kicks up, how clear the shift is, and so forth.
For those who had little GC, there won’t be a Refined Unity process until GC comes on-line.
Sometimes, a heart opening starts the refinement process. And sometimes, the refinement process brings the heart opening.
The refinement process can also begin before, even long before, Cosmic Consciousness (Self Realization, awakening) but the heart opening from the post-awakening descent won’t happen until after the awakening is established. It’s awakening that brings the solid ground on which fine feelings can be supported and the heart crust can be released.
If someone is having refined perception prior to awakening, it’s good to have an effortless meditation practice. This will bring them beyond the mind, emotions, and experiences. That helps ground and be less attached to these perceptions. Attachment to experiences is a barrier to awakening.
Someone who witnesses prior to Cosmic Consciousness is more likely to have refined perception develop, depending on circumstances. That is helpful with clarity of the process but isn’t as grounded as a full awakening. There is also an ego still inclined to get attached to experiences though less so.
A decent, balanced practice that helps heal and improve clarity will make a big difference in supporting unfolding clarity and refinement. But remember that such development is cumulative. If we didn’t come in with much, it won’t show up as quickly. But whatever we build now will benefit us for a long time to come.