In the past, I’ve written about styles of awakening or Self Realization. There can, for example, be a quiet, gradual shift or a sudden, high contrast change. The roughest style is an ego collapse such as Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie went through.
With a decent spiritual practice that connects you with source and cleanses the layers between, you’re far more likely to have something in the smoother part of the spectrum. A distinctive shift can help with initial doubts but mature seekers may have a very gentle shift.
In an ideal path, the stage after awakening is to open the “high heart.” This stage is God Consciousness (GC) and is a little less common in the west. Many have very protected hearts so they pass by this stage, perhaps until later.
God Consciousness is dominated by refined perception and an awakening heart. Here, we’re not talking about anahata, the heart chakra. That opens (theoretically) during the earlier rise of Kundalini Shakti before awakening. When Shakti rises to the crown and joins Shiva, the support is there for the awakening. (Though this is not the causal process. Awakening happens from much deeper than energy.)
After awakening, the two then descend together to the heart, gut and root: GC, Unity, and Brahman. This higher octave heart is called hridaya. The heart area often has a dark energetic crust to protect it. But after we’re grounded in Being, we can shed the crust and open the heart to Divine love and compassion.
This can be quite profound, to say the least. Just as bliss can amp up exponentially, so too can love.
However, like awakening, there can also be a shattering. Life circumstances like loss or death can cause our heart to break open. If we’re mature enough on the journey, this painful process can be healed without closing up again. If we’re not yet awake, it will be deeply challenging, especially in our culture. But this can lead to profound growth.
The ideal path is a wonderful thing but we’re each distinctive combinations of emphasis that can make some things more prominent and other things more muted. This is in our nature and is thus reflected in our unfolding. And that’s just fine.
Enlightenment is all about living in the space we’ve been given.