Watching a friend approach a stage shift, it reminded me of something that may not be obvious to observers.
Each of the primary stages is an exponential shift from what was before.
With the first shift, commonly called Self Realization or Cosmic Consciousness, we shift from being a local me to being cosmic in consciousness. The observer has woken to itself. This is a big shift even if it’s subtle.
There is typically a brief moment of letting go that detaches us from the ego. We retain a sense of localness but as a focus rather than a sense of who we are.
This shift is very normal and ordinary. If there isn’t some existing understanding, we may not recognize it. And yet, if we have concepts of it, these always fail. The shift is far beyond any idea.
The shift is both normal and extraordinary; it changes nothing yet it changes everything.
With the Unity shift, we wake up the observed. The observer recognizes it is also the screen on which all experiences take place. The two unite, leaving only experiences in consciousness. Put another way, the observer recognizes it is everything else.
The letting go for Unity is much larger. We’re letting go of our separateness. This leads to a profound intimacy with everything as everything is mySelf.
The Unity shift is also a common point for the core identity to be seen and resolved but I’ve since found this can happen later.
And yet, the Unity shift is just the beginning of the Unity process. I’ve explored this in various ways, such as The Stages of Unity, but there is a progressive unification of everything that arises in experience and all the layers of experience.
Over time, all the layers between consciousness and the surface shift cosmic. All is recognized to be in and of consciousness.
With the Brahman stage, we go beyond consciousness and our cosmic nature into the formless totality beyond every thing, including the knower and known. This shift is called the Great Awakening. We can say it is an awakening from all prior enlightenment. We let go of the process of experience itself.
With ParaBrahman, we go beyond the beyond (Brahman) and find the source of the source (consciousness) in Pure Divinity.
As Lorne Hoff describes it, this process is a movement towards perpetual surrender. From a moment letting go to falling deeper and deeper into source.
Each of these shifts is a change in our sense of self and the world, a change in our reality. The further along, the deeper and more inclusive you get, and the bigger the shift. And yet each shift is experienced as normal.