The Range

First a brief review of the natural ranges of each level of experience, the koshas or energy bodies:
a) physical, etheric
b) energy, emotional
c) mental, sensory
d) intellect, Buddhi, intuition, fine feelings
e) bliss, celestial, causal
f) qualified or moving consciousness, flow, the “gap”
g) atman or cosmic Self, sat, pure consciousness

Understanding the function and dynamics of each level is useful due to the fundamental principles in play:

1) Itself or Denser:
Each layer or kosha recognizes what it contains and what is more expressed. For example, mind can recognize its thoughts and incoming sensory information. And if we’re not resisting, our emotions and physical sensations. If it’s clear, mind can also reflect on itself.

But that mind meaning is not the experience itself. It is a memory with mind-attached meta-data giving it categories, meaning, etc.

Similarly, the emotional body can experience emotions and recognize physical sensations.

Consciousness can recognize itself (awakening) and all experiences (content). Brahman knows Brahman, beyond the koshas. ParaBrahman knows ParaBrahman.

This principle also means mind can’t know what is beyond itself. It can’t see consciousness, for example. Only consciousness can see itself.

2) Use the Right Level:
Mind cannot experience emotions. It can recognize and label them, but it can’t fully experience them. You need the emotional body to process emotions and the physical body to experience physical sensations. If you try to resolve emotions with the mind, it doesn’t work.

Mind also can’t see ego as ego is an effect of the more-subtle intellect. Ego uses this position to stay in control. But consciousness, being beyond the intellect, can see the ego.

This points to the next principle:

3) Beyond can see All:
Mind can see its content and may reflect on itself. But it’s viewing from within itself. To see mind as a whole, we have to go beyond it. To see the whole house, go outside. The Intellect can discriminate the whole of mind. Consciousness even more so.

Consciousness recognizing the ego from beyond it allows us to see through the egos control. This opens the door to awakening, when consciousness sees itself.

Emotions are primarily experienced by the emotional body, but the mind can get a bigger picture. We just have to be careful not to use the mind in place of experiencing emotions.

After we have subtle experiences with content, they settle into the grosser levels. Then mind can digest them and give words and meaning. Emotions are felt.

Just remember that the mind’s memory of an experience and the stories and meaning it attaches are not the same as the experience itself. It’s just an impression. Mind is a useful tool, but it’s not reality.

Similarly, consciousness isn’t known completely until we step outside of it into Brahman.

These principles can help us understand what is doing the experiencing and from where. We usually focus our attention on an object. If we’re in the emotions, we’re in the emotional body. If we’re lost in thoughts, the mental body. If we stub our toe, the physical body. We shift from layer to layer with our attention all the time.

Being clear on what floor we’re on helps us get to the right office.
Davidya

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20 Responses to The Range

  1. Lewis Oakwood says:

    Hi David,

    ‘Consciousness isn’t known completely until we step outside of it into Brahman.’

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    How is Consciousness distinguished from Brahman?

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    I mean, consciousness seeing itself, ok, I get that, but, how can we be sure when Brahman is seeing Consciousness?

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    Do you mean once Consciousness sees itself, that is in effect, now Brahman?

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    And, beyond Brahman!

    *

    • Davidya says:

      Hi Lewis
      Consciousness is alive and alert whereas Brahman is an absence. It’s beyond “emptiness” as even that has a sense of space.
      .
      Consciousness recognizing itself is more awake consciousness. Brahman is beyond all that. It is beyond even consciousness arising, yet is inclusive of everything too. Consciousness recognizing all of itself can set the stage for the Brahman shift, but again, Brahman is beyond the dynamics of consciousness.
      .
      You don’t have to worry about missing it though. The Brahman shift is known as the “Great Awakening.” (Brahman means the great) It’s essentially a waking up from all prior enlightenment. It’s a massive shift. The Vedas indicate some choose not to make this shift.
      .
      Brahman stage isn’t a bad thing though. It’s a greater than. And it’s the required platform for coming to pure Divinity. And it brings an integration of all prior stages as a concurrent reality.
      .
      Its also not something the mind can grok as it’s nothing like we’ve ever experienced in thousands of lifetimes. I talk about it because there are people for whom this is unfolding. It can be disconcerting if infinite eternal reality vanishes. 🙂

      • Lewis Oakwood says:

        Hi David,

        Thank you.

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        ‘Brahman is beyond the dynamics of consciousness.’ & ‘It can be disconcerting if infinite eternal reality vanishes.’

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        Just saying:-could a child growing-grow, experience (many times) Brahman and beyond, and not thinking anything of it, it moves into the background? I mean, take, for example, those dreams we have as children, where we experience a whole lifetime within the duration of a few minutes, and in the morning not dwelling much upon it, we go off to school, etc.

        *

        Also, when we know the universe(s) (including time and space) has already been and gone, and that which is before it and after, is of the deepest familiarity, and because of its regularity of occurrence, it wouldn’t be seen as ‘disconcerting’, simply, quite normal.

        *

        ‘Brahman is beyond all that…yet is inclusive of everything too.’ We drink water from a glass, and when there isn’t any water left in the glass we say, it’s all gone, (the glass is empty) yet the water and the image of the glass ‘remain’ within us.

        *

        • Davidya says:

          Hi Lewis
          Because Brahman is beyond the dynamics of consciousness, it is not experienced. It is known only by itself. And that has a subtlety that usually needs to be developed.
          .
          What you describe does arise with children around consciousness and subtle perception sometimes though. And then the karma kicks in and the ego becomes more entrenched.
          .
          And yes, when we know what is eternal, the coming and going carries less weight.
          .
          Right – every experience comes and goes and yet many leave an impression that carries forward. We just have to remember the impression (memory) isn’t the experience. 🙂

          • Lewis Oakwood says:

            Thank you, David. Where does Awareness figure in all this?

            • Davidya says:

              I use awareness and consciousness as roughly equivalent. Awareness is broader, consciousness more specific or directed.

              • Lewis Oakwood says:

                So, what about those that say we are Awareness, it begins and ends there, nowhere else to go from there. No talk of Brahman or Parabrahman. In their terminology, are Awareness and Parabrahman the same.

                • Davidya says:

                  Sure, thats the reality in some stages. And when you are it, it certainly seems like thats all there is. Just like when you experience yourself as a body or a mind, thats all that seems real.
                  .
                  Some are not aware there is more. Some traditions don’t recognize more. It’s one of the reasons i favour the Vedic tradition and certain understandings thereof. It’s a more complete picture of human potential. And of reality.
                  .
                  Some teachers make the assumption Self Realization is the single, complete enlightenment. And if that’s true, then everything prior sages have said must apply to this. Thus, nonduality is applied to it, Brahman is applied to it, and so forth.
                  .
                  And they can say the world is unreal so can be ignored leaving only one thing. And they quote the Upanishads recognition that Atman is Brahman, equating them to be the same thing. Etc.
                  .
                  Knowing there is more can keep the process going. Thinking you’re done is never a good idea. 🙂

  2. Guru says:

    For me you are rishi. you are the gift of nature to seekers of truth. I always wonder how with limited experience and spiritual knowledge, some gurus are so popular. you can train them. we are blessed to have access to you. I salute you for noble work coming through you.

    • Davidya says:

      Thanks, Guru, but this isn’t about someone named David. This is about getting out of the way and allowing the deeper flows to reveal themselves, through the natural tendencies of this body-mind. We all have such gifts and they reveal themselves more and more as we do the same.
      .
      Each us of us have our own purpose. Some are here as teachers, others messengers, others seers or healers or space-holders. Some to reach the masses, others a niche.
      .
      Such dharma also tends to arise when needed by the collective. Some come to it early, some are late bloomers. Many ears require many voices. 🙂

  3. Eric says:

    Hi Davidya,

    “ego is an effect of the more subtle intellect. Ego uses this position to stay in control”. Can you please clarify how an effect can be a controlling mechanism and what is the approach best suited to “going outside the house” and residing there as well.

    • Davidya says:

      Hi Eric
      Everything we experience is an effect of the dynamics of consciousness. The distinction of self from other is pretty fundamental to our sense of being, developing as we separate from mother (although elements carry from prior incarnations).
      .
      This is further built as we grow up. Ideally, we’d continue and outgrow the localized me just as we outgrow some other childhood framing. But in our current culture, the me-sense instead becomes more entrenched.
      .
      There are the subtle self-concepts and stories that constantly run, the unresolved desires energizing them, and the core sense of identity behind that. It’s a pretty massive self-construct.
      .
      Without a sense of our larger Self, ego feels it needs to take charge and control things.
      .
      The best way to get outside the house is in going beyond mind and emotions through transcendence, what has also been called samadhi or turiya. This helps us become familiar with our larger self, loosening the grip of the ego until we make the shift to the larger self-sense.
      .
      I have recommendations in the Practices section of the Recommended tab on that.

  4. Eli says:

    “For example, mind can recognize its thoughts and incoming sensory information. And if we’re not resisting, our emotions and physical sensations.”

    “Similarly, the emotional body can experience emotions and recognize physical sensations.”

    The way those are stated is super useful for distinctly looking from each statements’ respective kosha, and so getting a really good experiential hit of the kosha as distinct. Would you give some additional more exhaustive descriptions in a similar vein for each of the other koshas, please? E.g. what other phenomena does the intellect kosha contain, and thus can have “experience” of? What other phenomena does the causal contain, and does it too have pathologies like with the mind *failing* to recognize emotions or physical sensations when “we’re resisting”? Etc.

    “Emotions are primarily experienced by the emotional body, but the mind can get a bigger picture. We just have to be careful not to use the mind in place of experiencing emotions.”

    “Just remember that the mind’s memory of an experience and the stories and meaning it attaches are not the same as the experience itself. It’s just an impression. Mind is a useful tool, but it’s not reality.”

    It occurs to me that the above two statements relate to something you’ve said about -bear with me i’m gonna butcher this- how we can have the experience of another or know another persons experience but that we always do so from our own point of view. That would seem to be true of the koshas; that they can’t truly *be* the ones they contain below them. Something like… ‘Intellect can discriminate the whole of the mind, but just remember that the intellects distinctions of minds characteristics…’

    I’m having several insights collide here. Are you smelling what i’ve stepped in?

    • Davidya says:

      Thanks, Eli
      It’s worth noting the layers are more like a rainbow than floors in a tall building. There are distinctions but they transition rather than having distinct boundaries and we can subjectively note higher mind and lower mind, higher emotions, and lower ones. Etc.
      .
      That said, at some point, it is red and not orange. If you use red in place of orange, you get red.
      .
      I describe the koshas in more detail here:
      https://davidya.ca/2014/03/28/the-energy-bodies/
      .
      Note that articles have various links to related topics. There is also a Glossary and Key Posts tabs up top.
      .
      The Kosha article does describe primary qualities of each – the intellect being the home of the intuition and fine feelings, for example. This article also explores mind vs intellect:
      https://davidya.ca/2020/02/22/mind-and-intellect/
      Also on Mind substructures:
      https://davidya.ca/2019/11/09/what-is-mind-2/
      .
      I’ve discussed issues on various articles. Generally, the mind, emotions, and body are where we store “stress” and unresolved experiences aka karma. However, there can be distortions in the structure in the more subtle intellect level. But this gets quite abstract.
      .
      I would not say the causal and intellect levels have any pathology – just some errors can creep into the program so to speak. They have templates on those levels that can be restored with awareness.
      .
      If I take your comments accurately, yes, we each subjectively experience the layers a bit differently for various reasons. Broad variations tend to be less the higher the perspective. But there is still considerable difference in refinement, etc.
      .
      The koshas are like Russian dolls, one within the other. So in that sense the larger ones contain the smaller, denser ones. But yes, one level of functioning cannot “be” another. You have to shift to that level of functioning. For example, in a dream (mind) you can change your appearance in a moment. Not so easy to do that physically.
      .
      Hope that covered it. 🙂

  5. Guru says:

    Attention gets directed by vasanas and this happens unconsciously. After self realization, can we place attention at object at will?

    • Davidya says:

      Hi Guru
      Yes. After Self Realization, our vasanas tend to be much more obvious. This makes them easier to clear. But karma still comes with a shadow effect, hiding some of it.
      .
      Self Realization requires enough clearing to see through but it doesn’t mean all clear. It varies widely how much is clear and how much sattva has developed. Some are very clear, some much less so. The work continues.
      .
      I’ve been surprised to see a few people awaken. i didn’t think they’d be ready. And indeed, although they were able to sustain the shift, their issues were now very much in their face and a rough time ensued until they worked through it.
      .
      Adyashanti has described anywhere from 6 months to a decade to fully establish the first shift. Some go on to further shifts quickly, meaning yet more to catch up on. But in time living life, it all comes out in the wash… 🙂
      .
      We’re now seeing this taking place in the collective, globally. A group purification. How ready are we?

  6. Guru says:

    Thanks for insight. Beliefs we hold in head, grievances in heart block awakening in head and heart. what blocks gut from awakening there? My friend says these 3 centres get awakening in any order. Intellect oriented goes for jnana path. Devotion oriented gets heart awakening. I wonder, can we deliberately work on a centre? May be it happens by it self. You are the one whom I look up to, for answers. Thank you.

    • Davidya says:

      Hi Guru
      It’s not quite that tidy. And generally, we’re not conscious of most blockages so we can’t work on them on a personal level. We can only work on what arises in our awareness.
      .
      But not to worry, theres an intelligence to that and its all happening in a larger context.
      .
      Our path determines which is dominant, but this is distinct from the stages. Someone can be a devotee in any stage.
      .
      However, we all go through all of these “paths” – the heart opening in God Consciousness triggers a devotional period even in non-devotees. The intellect is key for Unity. Karma is key for awakening. The dominant path is like a flavour on top of this.
      .
      The chakras can open at different times but the higher awakenings happen in a sequence. (rise and descent are different) There is considerable subjective variation but one is needed for the next. For example, until Self Realization (head), there isn’t the stable platform for a safe heart opening. As the saying goes, Self Realization is required for God Realization.
      .
      The gut is related to our core sense of identity and control. This is generally too subtle to recognize until the higher heart opens.
      .
      There are some practices, particularly in kundalini traditions, that focus on opening centers. But in my tradition, that is not recommended. And in my experience, such practices can lead to a much rougher process because we’re bringing large nuts to the surface prematurely, rather than letting them arise naturally and in the right time. There is also the hazard of frying nadis by opening prematurely.
      .
      There is no need to look up. We’re all on the same bus. 🙂

  7. Guru says:

    Thanks. you are objective towards these paths as you have gone through them, guided by intelligence. Please bear with my questions. you are right let us not accelerate these stages. As you say we will not come on the way.. My pranamas to you.

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