“If we have the good fortune of interacting with wise and skilled teachers who have both a strong, compassionate, ethical foundation as well as non-dual insight, we notice that they seem to know what is best for everyone involved, from a universal perspective that is unconditionally loving and impartial. Although it is tempting to assign their abilities to non-dual insight alone, this is usually not the case. Opening to our true nature doesn’t necessarily make us more loving, compassionate, polite, or caring of others. This is because of our prarabdha karma.
“…prarabdha karma is the consequence of our past actions that we must live through. It is what makes us become “set in our ways,” and continues even after Self-realization. If we haven’t learned the skills of living in harmony with others, we can unintentionally and unnecessarily continue to cause harm through our words and actions. Our internal state of freedom can remain separate and dissonant from our external behavior.
“This is why Self-realization is not a static state or the end of the journey. Awakening is a process that continues to deepen and stabilize over months, years, and decades, giving us the opportunity to continue to hone our insight. In every moment and every experience, we have a choice to become more nonviolent and more truthful, cling less to our habitual patterns, surrender more to the Divine, remain vigilant and persevere on this journey, remain cognizant of our true nature of wholeness, remain free from the bonds of language, and open to the bliss of the here and now. Non-dual insight combined with the cultivation of these values catapults us from mundane existence to that of extraordinary beauty in our ordinary lives.”
– Kavitha Chinnaiyan, Shakti Rising p.225
This is somewhat related to the process of embodiment I mentioned here. This also relates to another discussion she has about Guna Predominance. I’ve written before how we tend to have one of the gunas more predominant. This has a significant impact on our experience of life and of awakening.
Kavitha mentions this in Tantra, describing the three stages of tamas, rajas and sattva like this:
Pashu: “When tamas [inertia] is predominant in our psyche, we are heavily identified as the body-mind, and linearity of thought is our default mode of living and operating in the world.” Some practices I describe on this blog, like noticing and going into your feelings, can be less productive then. If identification is tight, we’ll be oblivious or if we notice grasping and contractions, we may be prone to amplify or reinforce them rather than resolve them. Transformative energy and presence are too low.
Techniques like effortless mediation and healing help shift the guna and build presence. If someone can’t meditate, the Vedas suggest they perform right action such as service.
Vira: This is when Rajas (fire) is dominant, although I’d clarify rising Rajas or rajas as transformation. Rajas is fire and burns inertia but it can also burn clarity if we’re descending into anger and such. With rising transformative energy, we’re able to see what arises as it arises (to whatever degree) and begin to resolve rather than reinforce. We gradually gain enough detachment to see our inner dynamics and karma and can begin to wind them down rather than up.
As we peel off the upper layers, the deeper hidden attachments can be seen and resolved too. This is sometimes likened to peeling the layers of an onion. With clearing, nadis (energy channels) open up bringing beauty and bliss on-line.
Kavitha observes that thoughts become less linear and more “circular”, arising and subsiding in the now. Like passing traffic rather than important notifications.
This trend leads to less tendency to create new karma or reinvest in the old. With good spiritual practices, this transformation can begin prior to awakening but often continues well after, as noted above.
Divya: As the aversions and attachments are roasted, we’re left with clarity or Sattva dominant. This allows the sattva side of the Stages of Development to unfold, including refined perception, soma, the awakening heart, and the Divine.
PS: It’s worth noting that we can awaken in any of these stages. Vira is the most common and Pashu the least but they each have characteristic styles. I explore that here.