As we grow spiritually, there are several processes underway.
One is the removal of veils on consciousness. This is the process of purification of the means of experiencing.
In Sanskrit this masking is known as Chhandas, covering. Curving back on itself repeatedly, consciousness can become so concentrated, it becomes dense and gains a surface appearance. We may then confuse this appearance with reality, especially if we become identified with it.
Yet once we directly experience what is behind our experiences, we start to see through the veils. Often the shadows originate in some misunderstanding about the world. This causes us to fear or resist or grasp at what is coming up in life. And that gets in the way of smooth flow.
When we gain a better understanding, we begin to soften those shadows. When the direct experience arises, the light shines through.
Another process is that of refining. I used to think consciousness refined but consciousness itself is globally aware and requires no purification or refinement. It’s when we get caught up in the detail and resist life that we jangle the physiology and create discord. This distorts our vehicle of perception and takes a whole range of life off-line and out of our perception.
But when stillness becomes established within, the layers of our physiology settle and the mirror is as-if polished. The physiology produces more soma which nourishes the means of perception. Then more refined values become clear and our experience gains a richness beyond our prior imagination.
A key point is that it is the process of experience itself that is purifying and refining. It is in the interaction or relationship of consciousness with itself that discord arises.
We might point to the refinement of the physiology and suggest this is the refinement of the experiencer. But the experiencer is just a witness. The physiology is a vehicle of experiencing and is thus a vehicle for the process of experience and perception. Put another way, it is a vehicle for the doers or devata, a community of laws of nature interacting. If we bring balance and nourish the community, it flourishes.
In some ways, we can describe the unfolding of the stages in consciousness as the removal of major veils. And we can describe the Refined stages as major shifts in refinement in those stages.
As refinement develops, there are three primary perspectives of the world around us. It is one reality, seen various ways.
In the first of three perspectives, we see the world around us as solid and real. This perspective is dominant in the world today and indicates dominant tamas guna or inertia.
In the second perspective, the world takes on a quality of illusion. It seems ephemeral and unreal to various degrees. Only the inner reality seems real. This is the effect of the rising fires of transformation, rajas.
And in the third perspective, sattva becomes dominant and the world becomes Lila, the play of the Divine. we do not see the appearance of the world as real in itself but as an effect of underlying flows of life, consciousness, and Divinity.
All of these are perspectives in consciousness, in the dominant quality of our ability to experience. We could say the quality of the mechanism or means of experience.
As we shift beyond consciousness into Brahman, creation itself gets a new perspective. It is seen as uncreated, never having been produced in the first place. And yet here it is in our experience, filtered through the mechanism above. We can come to see creation as consciousness attempting to imitate what I described as a “brief musing” in the mind of God. Consciousness is seen to be mimicking the Divine.
But as we refine still further, a yet deeper perspective of Divinity can unfold. We can discover that this “brief musing” is a song. The Divine Mother sings a short song, shorter than a verse. And yet that song is so packed with profundity, the wave form can be stretched out across the vast space of infinite consciousness in ever-unfolding detail.
Consciousness responds to this song like Kirtan, a call and response, in devotional song to the voice of the Divine. Then creation is known as a vast celebration, a flow of love and bliss. It is imbibed with intelligence beyond comprehension, all contained in a simple song of love.