In our fourth conversation, Andrew Hewson and I touched on stages of unfolding Divinity but didn’t detail the process. I thought a list of possible steps of unfolding Divinity in our awareness would be useful.
A Few Notes
If we have an unsettled mind and emotions, it’s very difficult to sustain finer perceptions. The waves are too choppy to see into the water. As we settle through spiritual practice and emotional healing, the veils become progressively more transparent.
This process often starts with experiences that come and go, but when established, become ongoing realities that can be accessed most any time.
This doesn’t require personal perfection, just enough clarity and a willingness to experience what is here, the good and the more difficult.
There is considerable variation in sequence and appreciation. It depends on what arenas we refine, where we give our attention, and the balance of our natural laws.
I’m not discussing imagination, hallucinations, or beliefs. These are direct experiences that arise when we prepare our vehicle of experience. They bring a profound understanding of the nature and purpose of life.
It’s important to distinguish between source and mind-made stuff, often called astral. Divinely driven experiences can gain form and meaning through the fields of the mind, but they have a deeper origin. Astral beings are of mixed nature, much like humans and can be misleading. Divine beings are aware of their Divine source and purpose, so they’re not driven by their ego. They don’t mislead.
Always remember that you have a human body to live a human life. The point here is filling out your experience of reality. It is not to escape your humanity or avoid your life, however appealing that may seem. If you try to avoid life, nature may bring harsh experiences to ground you. Or the experiences fade.
Divinity is different in different stages of development. The God of belief is not the God intuited from refined perception. And that is not the God we experience directly and develop a relationship with and ultimately merge with. And that is not pure Divinity.
Readers of this blog know I distinguish between Atman and Sattva, between stages in consciousness and stages in refinement of the qualities of consciousness. While intertwined, they’re driven by different processes. The first begins with a realization and shift in being, then matures. The second is driven by refinement and leads to climactic realizations. This article is primarily about the second.
If the second is not being developed, little of that process will unfold and there will be a drier, flatter form of enlightenment.
What I describe are an important part of a full unfolding, but they are a side-effect of the process. Chasing these experiences is a distraction that can lead to new concepts, resistance, and blind alleys.
First, let’s explore some common ways we first experience refinement.
Recognizing the hand of Nature
One of the first ways many have perceptions is with the Clairs or subtle senses. This is having sensory experiences of pre-physical things like energy. It varies widely how and what unfolds. This arena is larger than the physical world.
I’m visual so tend to use visual words, but refined perception isn’t limited to sight. Experiencing may include sounds, feelings, smells, tastes, and knowings.
Those with a strong intellect may make logical inferences of profound intelligence running the world. This may arise from recognizing the precise formulae required for our universe to even exist. Or the constant input of order required to sustain and evolve the universe in the face of laws like entropy. Stop adding order and everything dissolves to dust.
Gradually, the koshas or sheaths become apparent: the energy or emotional body, the mental body, subtle geometry and structure, perhaps even the finest relative or celestial.
Also related, we may start experiencing the laws of nature or devas doing the doing, managing the growth of plants, the elements of nature, and so forth.
If there is some sense of separation or detachment from the ego-sense, we may recognize that life is being done, like our breathing. We can let go of the ego’s story of being the doer.
Recognizing the hand of God
We may have some early experiences of Divine influence or miracles. This is more than synchronicity, like seeing everything align for a specific outcome or the stage set for an unfolding.
A more advanced form of experiencing life as being done is what I call flow. This happens through our life, our body, and the surrounding objects. But it’s most obvious in the body where we feel powerful flows of energy. Unlike purification (kriyas) that can be sudden, flow comes with grace. There can be related spontaneous movements, asana, and mudras expressed through this body, not by it.
Similar to the above, we can experience the laws of nature creating and supporting the world around us.
Ditto for experiencing aspects of the mechanics of the world becoming, that it’s created intentionally and/or that it’s recreated in every moment.
We can interpret all of these experiences in various ways. There are many descriptions of such experiences, what they learned, and models of life that resulted. They can also be doubted and dismissed, discouraging their development.
Once we’re Self Realized and the intellect becomes resolute, perception becomes deeper and more consistent. This helps stabilize the experiences until subtle arenas become available to us at any time. It also reduces the tendency to get caught up in such experiences from ego identification. Or deluded by appeals to our unmet needs.
Besides settling the vehicle, we clear the fog through resolving incomplete experiences (often emotional).
We also gradually upgrade the qualities of the physiology from inertia (tamas) to clarity (sattva) via the fires of transformation (rajas).
As the shadows clear and clarity dawns, we further polish our vehicle by simply experiencing those fine values. They awaken in our experience and bring their qualities to us.
A key process in both refinement and upgrading our support of nature is soma. Soma is a fine substance that exists in a raw form as a white ocean at the top of creation. We’re immersed in it. Nature can’t make use of it in that form though. Through samadhi, a refining human physiology can “flow soma through the filter” in the brain where it drips down into the back of the throat and is swallowed. Our digestion then distributes it around the body.
This speeds up refinement and sattva, supports and enhances our laws of nature, and attracts new laws to bring us new capacities and support.
This is also pointing to how our body is cosmic, the body of all bodies. I’ll come back to this shortly.
With deeper refined perception, we come to recognize not just the hand of God but God directly.
While we can experience forms of God prior, God Consciousness stage and a direct personal relationship with God isn’t considered possible until Self Realization is established. When we know who are, we can know God.
This leads to a personal relationship with our highest ideal, the Ishta Devata or chosen form of God. While your Moon’s birth sign or family or spiritual tradition may prescribe your Ishta, I’d leave open what unfolds. God will show up how God shows up, in a form most suitable for you.
As noted, you may experience various embodiments of God or qualities of Divinity prior to your Ishta. For example, in my case I experienced variations of the pancha devata or five primary forms in the Vedic tradition (one was a Western form of that primary quality). Each showed up to guide me to the next deeper layer of creation. Much later, I came to my Ishta.
The Personal God
With the awakening heart (Hridaya) above, a profound flow of love begins. That Ishta or ideal form of God we most relate to may be where we direct that flow of love. Or we may direct it to our guru or upaguru, our mate. There are many possibilities that may arise. Ramana famously directed it to a mountain.
In any case, a direct relationship with God develops as a form of surrender or folding back upon itself.
The Inner Guru
Around or after the Unity shift, the resolute intellect broadens into the entire field of experience and knowledge unfolds much more easily. We gain what has been called the inner guru.
Even more deeply, in Refined Unity, we become the intelligence aspect within the process of experience, also called the devata value. This means experiences will come with their own understanding, to the degree this is clear.
The Cosmic Body
Gradually, during the unfolding, we may begin to recognize our human body is not just a local physical form with some auras.
There is Aham Vishvam, the recognition that this body is also the body of the universe. We recognize I am and contain our universe. (Not as a concept but a lived recognition.)
Then Devo Hum, the recognition that this body is the devata body, the body of all the devata (points of intelligent light) that manage all bodies in our universe in all time simultaneously.
And then, typically in Refined Unity, we become aware that our body is cosmic, Aham Shrivir. Our body is the body of all bodies. This relates to the experience described in the Bhagavad Gita, chapter 11, although in that case, Krishna is showing the cosmic rather than Arjuna yet recognizing he is that.
A specific form of experience may unfold where the entire nature of an object is experienced all at once. I call this a cognition. Not everyone will cognize and those that do will have different levels of cognition. The highest are those who inscribe consciousness with a new recognition that evolves creation. These seers are named within the Veda they will cognize so are born for the job. The next level are those who revive a prior cognition in a different age. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi said that not everyone can cognize but everyone can realize.
Alternatively, we see through the Chhandas or screen of consciousness. The weight of the world thins and consciousness itself becomes transparent.
In some similar way, consciousness can now step back and look upon its whole. We recognize infinite consciousness is also a sheath. This can set the stage for the Brahman shift.
The Brahman shift is a transcending of consciousness, so it’s also transcending our experience and relationship with God.
Sometimes, this shift unfolds as a dry period, beyond God and all the flavours of consciousness. Then, as Brahman stage refines, new values unfold.
Gradually over time, the refinement moves forward right onto the surface of the body. It becomes more fluid. I imagine it dissolves back, element by element, if we can live long enough. This will be easier in a higher age.
Through cognition above, we can awaken slumbering laws of nature. They then integrate with existing laws in creation, upgrading the world and helping evolve the whole.
In Refined Brahman stage, we become aware of unexpressed qualities of Divinity such as the aspects that give rise to consciousness: alertness, liveliness, and intelligence. They are in Brahman, but not of it. Alertness allows Brahman to know itself, for example, but it doesn’t express into consciousness in itself.
Pure Divinity / ParaBrahman
We don’t come to pure Divinity until we’ve seen through the covering of the world, the covering of creation, of consciousness, and of Brahman. Divinity is profoundly subtle and yet all powerful.
I’ve been shown that ParaBrahman unfolds in 7 stages. These stages are stages of embodying each of the fundamental qualities of Divinity (love, power, etc.). And these stages have some correspondence with the chakra system.
In that unfolding, we recognize Divinity in what had been the background of creation.
As we embody pure Divinity more and more in the physiology, we immerse the laws of nature (devas) of the body. This can cause them to awaken spiritually. However, this can also trigger considerable purification, much as it often does when we initially awaken.
I’m sure there is much more that could be added. In a sense, pure Divinity is the beginning of unfolding Divinity, just as pure Consciousness (samadhi) is the starting point of enlightenment.