Layers of Bliss

Layers of Bliss

Meditation by Raghunth Mohanan
Meditation by Raghunth Mohanan

In recent correspondence, we explored bliss. A perspective came out I thought was worth sharing.

Various experiences may trigger bliss early on: awe, giving, doing good, leading from other emotions like gratitude, and so forth.

The most reliable way, though, is through an effortless meditation. Transcending takes us down into pure consciousness. On the way, we pass through the bliss body and thus experience a wave of happiness on the way in or out.

During our regular practice, this may be quite occasional, as unresolved mental and emotional baggage can fog the windows of perception. They put a “blanket” over more refined levels.

The bliss body is a subjective name for what’s also called the causal or celestial. It’s the field of first becoming, a lively ocean. We can experience that lively becoming as bliss, vibration, or sound.

Settling into pure consciousness (samadhi) also gives an opportunity for the body-mind to heal. Gradually, healing increases clarity and allows the bliss body to be experienced.

When we’re established in Self Realization, not only are we established in the Self, but also in the bliss. Thus, it’s described as satchitananda, absolute bliss consciousness. The upper 3 koshas dominate, rather than the body, mind, and emotions. However, this doesn’t mean bliss is “loud” all the time. It becomes an ongoing quality of life, sometimes foreground, sometimes quietly in the background.

Bliss isn’t just a quality of the bliss body, though. Creation itself is nested, layers within layers. Each space (layer) has a lively inner surface that we can experience as bliss.

As we go deeper into reality, we discover qualities of the Divine prior to consciousness. Three key ones are alertness, liveliness, and intelligence. Those combine to create self-aware consciousness. We can experience that quality of liveliness on any level as bliss.

So bliss isn’t just a quality of the bliss body. Touching a leaf or a lover can be blissful. Any form of perception enlivens qualities, making them blissful. This is a key quality of the Refined stages, beginning with God Consciousness.

As we settle deeper and deeper into who we are, our attention stirs our very being and the level of bliss steps up exponentially. This can create very strong or even rapturous experiences.

And yet, the physiology adapts very quickly. What was intense becomes the new normal. Blasting becomes a steady pleasantness. A quiet joy becomes a backdrop to whatever is being experienced on the surface. We can forget that this quiet joy would be overwhelming in the not so distant past.

Just as in meditation, bliss can be clear or foggy. Noticed, or a bit lost. There are darker emotions like anger and grief that coexist with bliss. It’s strongly affected by our degree of refinement. It can come well before or well after awakening. So bliss can’t be used as a yardstick for awakening. It is a good sign of becoming well-established later, though.

Finally, life is literally bliss. The lively flow of our life force (prana) can be experiences as bliss.

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  1. Harrison Snow

    Thanks David. There is the “bliss body” which is in my experience is an aspect of Self realization and small self forgetfulness while the “pain body” is the opposite aspect. I notice a lot of both day to day. Ironically some say that pain can lead us to the place that transcends it or in unity even embraces the pain as it’s all bliss. Any thoughts about its all bliss, even the pain, no matter what body is showing up? No resistance, surrender, and agreeing to what is, may all be part of this. The no-self has no preferences. Thanks!

    1. Hi Harrison
      I wouldn’t say the “pain body” is the opposite, except subjectively. It’s more the traumatized and identified emotional body. As we heal our history, it stops being painful and the bliss body can shine through.

      Yes, bliss is that liveliness of being which is what leads to all expression, including the experience of pain. So yes, we can all experience that everything we perceive is made of bliss, even pain.

      We can also experience pain and bliss at the same time as they operate on different levels. Like we can have thoughts and emotions at the same time.

      Note the distinction between pain and suffering. Pain is a signal that something is wrong. If we stop resisting it, the signal gets through and the pain will ease off. Suffering, on the other hand, is relieved by softening identification and similarly learning not to resist whatever is arising in experience.

      When experiences of all types are allowed to just flow through, life becomes much more enjoyable and nature is able to support us better.

      We can still very much experience things as pleasant and unpleasant. But if we’re established in the observer (presence), those qualities just flow on by. They don’t hang around or dominate.

  2. Cynthia

    Hello David,
    Your reply to Harrison nailed it for me.
    I entertained the notion that something was wrong because of pain .
    (Like) : how can I experience this intense bliss/ samadhi all the time and still have pain?
    Waiting for it to go away or subside.
    Your answer to Harrison was the answer to a long resistance.

    Thank you

  3. Reggie

    I’ve noticed in my daily practice of deep meditation alongside daily life that the bliss is always there even in the midst of great turmoil. Recently I’ve been dealing with taking care of my parents who both have cognitive issues, my dad more so than my mom. It’s been a wild ride and the bliss is there along with the pain and everything else. The deep silence and ease often overshadows or tones down the grief and sadness. It reminds me of Shakespeare when he says parting is such sweet sorrow.

  4. Olli

    Great post. Recently, thanks to using Malikas sound with effortless meditation, I suddenly felt that there was enough purification to relax into the flow of life. Those are the words I used to describe the experience to myself. At first I felt this almost as waves running through my body, or maybe a flow or a current. But it feels like it originates outside the body and is actually always surrounding it. Once the resistance was gone from my system, I could relax into it. And what it brought with it was the experience of bliss.
    Based on my explanation, would you say that this is yet an experience of the bliss body? It’s not something that feels like it originates from inside the body but rather is always surrounding and permeating it.

    Thanks again!


    1. Hi Olli
      Right – on that level, the body itself is flow, immersed in an ocean of flow.
      The flow itself is subjectively experienced as universal love. The liveliness in the flow as bliss.

      This can develop until everything is seen as flow, continually arising to sustain the appearance.

      Keep in mind that each of the sheathes is larger than the last. The physical body is the smallest. The rest extend progressively larger, though their size varies a bit by how expansive we feel, etc.

      Thus, relative to our usual experience, the bliss body will give a sense of surrounding and permeating us. So yes, could be the bliss body or a little more subtle as a quality of the flow.

      Don’t try to hold on to any flavour of this. Allow it to come and go. For example, we don’t feel immersed in bliss when we are it. Or some purification will create shadows over it. But we can be confident it’s always there for us to settle into again.

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