Last month, Lori Ann Lothian posted an article about her awakening process. In it she described how she recently woke up, then realized she had lost her prior awakening during a 2-year series of difficult events. She’d been living in a kind of dream or memory of being awake but didn’t realize it until she’d woken up again.
As is typical of Lori, it is an open, honest, and direct sharing. I agree that some spiritual teachers who consider themselves enlightened have fallen into a similar boat. For example, having to come back to Self to refresh it is not it. Witnessing alone is also not it.
However, she also suggests talk of deepening or further stages is incorrect. Yet her own shift would not have been lost through life events had she gone deeper. Not that this was a personal choice – this is simply how her unfolding is blossoming.
I agree the first shift is like a switch, on or off. Some make the shift more softly, but there is a key shift in the sense of self. That shift is followed by a great deal of unpacking, integration, and embodiment. This leads to deepening plus further switches possible.
Those further shifts don’t take place unless the first is deep enough to support them. Many have not gone further than the first switch and therein lies the hazard.
You see, the ego has a three-fold structure. Seeing through the stories of a me is just the first stage. If we don’t deepen into it and clear out the emotional drivers, they can revive the ego again. Especially if someone goes through a hastier period in life such as Lori described. Or they find themselves in positions of power or other triggers to draw out their unresolved dynamics.
Deeper still is what I call the core identity. Susanne Marie called it the existential identity. It’s a deep grip in the gut that doesn’t normally become conscious until around the second switch (Unity) but sometimes not until later still. Susanne cleared hers with the third switch.
Adyashanti refers to these 3 levels as “head, heart, gut.” They’re also called the mahamarmas. Unless you clear all 3, there is the potential for the me-self to be revived. And even if that is complete, there can still be old contractions that give us trouble.
As long as we’re human, we can expect some variability. The Vedas call it the remains of ignorance, like a film of butter on your hands after you’ve handled it. Recognizing this means we’re less likely to stay in a delusion for long. Here is where relationships and peers can be valuable for calling us on or mirroring our junk.
Update: In Lori’s article, I’ve realized her debate was more “stages to awakening” vs the single switch of an actual shift. Some people do talk about stages in the approach to the shift but there is considerable variation in that. I agree the actual shift itself is the important part and is a single click. Everything before that is setting the stage.