Transcript: A Conversation with Andrew Hewson and Davidya Buckland on Awakening

Andrew: Peace and love everyone. My name is Andrew Hewson. I’m a spiritual teacher. I’m here with my friend David Buckland. David is an author, a doctor [PhD], and a pioneer in the field of cognition and description as far as I’m concerned. He’s someone that I highly admire and deeply appreciate.

And we’re here today to discuss the initial shift in identity, that which is commonly spoken of as awakening. David is somewhat of an expert in this area. He’s seen many awakenings over the years. He’s written about it in detail in his book, Our Natural Potential.

I myself have witnessed this phenomena, known as awakening and we both describe it in a unique way. So today we’re going to be exploring what this shift in identity looks like and how it can show up and then also moving into a different stage or phase that can show up after this initial recognition of what reality is.

Thank you for being here with me, David.

David: Oh, you’re welcome. Thank you, Andrew.

Yeah, we have the general intention to discuss the stages in series. We had an earlier discussion, we went through the stages in a broad overview. And so now we’re gonna go back and cover them in a little more detail.

Yeah, I refer to them as stages of enlightenment and you refer to them as contextual modalities.

A: That’s correct, yes.

D: Each shift shifts are the context which we experience. It shifts our sense of self and our sense of the way we’re and the way we’re experiencing the world. It’s like where we’re experiencing from shifts. And so it changes the context, it changes our relationship with consciousness.

Now from what I’ve seen, there’s two primary aspects in this process. What’s known in Ayurveda as Atman and Sattva, kind of can be seen as the masculine and feminine, in certain ways, of the process.

The Atman side is the cosmic Self or consciousness and that shows up as the stages in consciousness itself as it’s changing its relationship with itself. And then there’s a primary quality of consciousness that determines the, some of the context in which that’s experienced. There’s a refinement, a quality of refinement of consciousness that takes place through the spiritual practices and process. And some will emphasize one side of this equation and some will emphasize the other.

I thought it would be advantageous though just to first talk about the approach, because a lot of people they confuse elements of the approach with the awakening and, awakening itself is used in a really broad kind of way to mean a number of things. You know, like for example, some people will consider themselves awake because they’re awake, they’re alert to the concepts of spiritual development, that they’re, they have a really good, they feel they have a really good grounding in the understanding side of it.

Another very common thing that can happen is people can have openings or experiences. It’s very common before the actual shift. And so there can be nice big openings but nothing that’s sustained, because experiences they come and go. But these shifts are actual changes in our sense of self as I I touched on earlier. And so, and certainly an experience can affect our sense of self.

A: Sure.

D: An actual shift is a permanent shift that’s in being. It’s not just an experience.

A: Yeah, that’s a–

D: Awakening.

A: I was just gonna say that’s a really important point you’re making about the term awakening because it’s been thrown around in so many different ways.

As of late, we see it used in reference to feeling that we know what’s going on behind the scenes. Sometimes certain human beings, if they’re involved in certain theories, sometimes called conspiracy theories, they would claim that they’re awake to what’s really going on. And then the term awakening is used to refer to something that really has nothing to do with what we’re talking about here.

It could also just refer to a basic personality change. I’ve heard people use it in terms of, well, I had my awakening and now I’m a different person. But the way in which we’re approaching it and speaking about it has to do with an actual fundamental shift in what reality is recognized to be. So, it’s a very important point that you’re making.

D: And it’s not a change in the person, it’s a transcendence of the person.

A: Exactly.

D: I’ll come back to that in a moment though. Because I wanted to go into a few more examples. That’s another good example you mentioned. Another one is what might be called mind awareness. The mind has a quality of awareness to it, and when people become conscious of that mind awareness, particularly if they’re using practices like versions of mindfulness, it can amplify the awareness of the mind and the strength of the mind, they can consider themselves, might call themselves awake. But mind awareness is still, there’s still a person, identified ego there. There’s still a person who’s considering themselves aware.

Now certainly these are, might be considered stages of awakening, having openings and becoming more conscious within. Those can be seen as steps in that process, but it’s not the same thing as the awakening we’re talking about. And then there’s this other one that can happen. Now sometimes people just simply wake up. There’s just like a distinctive shift and they’re there. And sometimes people kind of go in a few progressive steps, a series of sub-awakenings before the actual shift.

And one of them is known sometimes as a jiva awakening or, the jiva is kind of a word I equate with soul.

A: Soul awakening.

D: It’s kind of the point value of consciousness that it experiences through this body-mind and there’s a shift that can take place where the witnessing quality comes online. So it’s like, Instead of being a me who experiences themselves as a person who’s this body or this mind, there is a sense of being consciousness observing through the body and mind.

And the distinctive thing about this is it takes place 24/7. So even though we’re in deep sleep, for example, there’s still a quality of alertness that’s there. There’s still a continuity of sense of Self. So this can sometimes be considered an awakening, in a sense it is, in the broader sense of the word.

But what we’re talking about here is an even deeper shift, and that’s when that Atman, that quality of broad consciousness itself, wakes up to itself through the person. So we wake up From the person into being the cosmic Self, the Atman or universal consciousness.

A: Beautiful. Yeah, so it’s actually infinity that is recognizing itself.

D: Yeah, so it’s not the person that wakes up, it’s the infinity that wakes up through the person. And it’s a subtle difference, but it’s key.

A: Very key.

D: Yeah, yeah, and it’s interesting too because people, when people wake up, they can often be surprised at its normalcy because there’s, when you read these things like we’re talking about, about qualities of awakening, it can seem, you know, really exalted and unusual and so on like that, but it’s actually perfectly normal. It’s a normal stage of development. It’s just been a little bit more rare until more recently.

A: Yes.

D: And that’s changing now. And there’s several key qualities of the shift that take place when there’s a, when there’s a, when that shift in being takes place, the backlog of karma, the mountains of karma we have sitting there, are roasted. Those seeds of karma are all roasted with that shift.

But that doesn’t mean karma is over, because there’s still the sprouted seeds that are already active in this life. Those will still play out after awakening. But there isn’t that backlog anymore. And that brings a lot of clarity, because that backlog of karma has the effect of being kind of like a shadow or a fog in our inner experience.

A: Beautiful. One quick point about that is that in reference to the sprouted seeds or the karma that is already operative, a lot of it is going to be unconscious. So it doesn’t mean that, oh, I, you know, that which I know is there is the sprouted stuff. It includes a lot of things that we are not going to recognize or have recognized prior to the shift. It was laying on deep, deep, deep levels of sort of sediment within our experiencing.

D: Yeah, and then gradually as we go through this process and become more and more clear, those things become more conscious. And sometimes we’re then able to process them on their level, like just as energetic, you know, as a wave of emotion or as some fine experience or some value, some feeling value, and resolve them on that level. Because you can think of karma as incomplete experiences. Something that we didn’t complete for some reason, we were resisting or we weren’t able to process it at the time and we hadn’t come back to it yet. And so just being able to experience that.

But sometimes they’re in a deep enough shadow for the bigger ones that we still have to live them out in our, field of action and in our direct experiences. And this could be not just negative karma or you know difficult things, but can be positive things as well.

Another key about awakening is breaking that identification with the personal self. So there’s kind of some detail we can go into here a little bit. There’s kind of like what they call the asmita, which is the quality of possessiveness, the me-ness or my-ness, I guess you could say, that is deleted if it’s not already gone with the shift.

Then there’s the “I” sense, and that’s… well, there can actually be a sense of ego death – we’ll go into this a little more as we get along to it – with the awakening, but what it turns out is it’s actually identification with the ego that ends. There’s still a function of individuality that’s required to live in this body-mind. If there’s no sense of personal self, then we can’t differentiate between our body-mind and the stairs we have to walk down. We have to be able to function in the world, so there still needs to be a sense of this body-mind as distinct from the fork we’re trying to pick up.

So that quality is still there, it’s just seeing it as who we are. That’s what ends with the shift.

A: Yeah, beautiful. There’s, one of the ways that I tend to look at this is that the shift also can present a new sense of what I is. So in a way, the former sense of I is left behind and a new sense of I arises, but within that new sense of I, within that new sense of identity, there is still the intelligence of the processing centrality of the human ego that was there before.

And so that processing system continues to operate, but it’s now recognized to be a spontaneous flow of intelligence. So we’re not taking, the I sense is not reflected in that. So we’re not taking credit for what has really always been arising in and of itself.

D: Yes, that’s a very important point. And one of the things that the ego does when it’s identified is it makes a claim that these are my thoughts, these are my possessions, these are my emotions, I did this. And it’s really quite interesting actually, ’cause even in studies of brain physiology, they’ve found that there’s a reaction time, there’s a time between stimulus, the body reacting, and then the mind responding.

And it’s only when the mind responds that the ego can process it, ’cause the ego is kind of, on mind and intellect level. And so it’s taking a claim for having done something or made a decision after it’s already happened. And that’s even been recognized in the way that our physiology functions now in science. But this is something we realize directly when we wake up.

And it can sound a bit odd, but it’s actually quite, as I mentioned, quite natural and normal. So there’s that shift out of a sense of doership, that I am the doer, and we’re kind of this detached witnessing observer.

Now, some of that, as I mentioned, the witness can come online prior sometimes, but generally speaking, well, for most people, it tends to come online with the shift. And there’s that sense of being the watcher of our thoughts and actions.

A: Yes. Yeah.

D: It really depends. There’s kind of, uh, degrees of clarity of the shift. Like for some people, they’re just like clean, you know, the shift is very clear. The awakening is very, uh, clean and there’s no falling back.

A: Yes.

D: Or there’s very little falling back. there can be some initial, ’cause what happens is with awakening, we create this open space of consciousness. So anything that hasn’t been processed yet tends to rush forward to be seen. And there can be some, there can be a period of unpacking after the shift. And it becomes much, much easier when we’re not attached to what’s going on and trying to claim it as ourselves.

When we’re just observing, then we can just observe the process. we’re not as involved in it, so it becomes much easier.

A: Exactly.

D: But sometimes there’s a less distinctive shift. I’ve noticed it can be quite key that when the shift happens, and the shift itself is just a fraction of a second, there’s just this brief moment when the Self sees itself. And then, you know, it’s like a pop, click, you know, bang.


And often accompanying that can be a wave of purification. It’s quite common for people to have a wave of laughter or tears or both together. And if that doesn’t happen, quite often that means that purification has to happen afterwards over time, and the shift itself isn’t as clear.

A: I’ll make one point about that as well. Just to clarify for the viewers, when you describe that sort of click shift, that will be how many experience it, but sometimes it will be much quieter than that, almost like a block of ice melting or something sneaking. It’s a sneaky, it’s a very sneaky shift. And I’ve noticed a tendency in those that would consider themselves seekers or move to seek after awakening, to look for an event or look for a happening. And that can oftentimes be a great limitation to the actual naturalness of the unfoldment because it’s perceiving, it would take perhaps what you just said and then interpret it in terms of time and space and causation and things like that and not recognize that it is an expression of grace and it’s a natural flowering.

And it’s not an event in time because it’s really the end of the dominance of what appeared to be linear time in that sense.

D: Yes, I very much agree. That’s one thing that’s really important to understand about the shift too. We don’t wake up because of spiritual practices. And most of the time people don’t wake up during spiritual practices. What spiritual practices do is prepare the ground so that when grace happens, then we’re prepared. And it doesn’t come, it’s just a wave of opening and then falling back again. We’re able to sustain the shift, the potential. But yes, grace, essentially the hand of the Divine takes place out of space and time and all that kind of thing.

As you mentioned, it’s kind of like this moment of seeing. And sometimes, actually for quite a few people, ‘Cause nobody has any, typically has any experiential reference points for the shift. And so we can get a lot of concepts about what it’s supposed to look like, but the actual shift is something completely new.

You know, like when I first shifted, it was very clear and distinct, but I had no idea what it was. Even though I had years of studying this, it didn’t match any of my concepts about it, ’cause the concepts are never it, if it hasn’t been the experience. And then after about a day and a half, I realized what it was. It became clear what it was.

And then I basically had to throw out all my understanding of what the shift was about, and then bring it back again in this new context. Because now I was seeing that, oh, what my teacher said was accurate, but how I had interpreted it… yeah, the concepts I developed about it were not.

A: Beautiful, yes. When the shift unfolded here, there’s this deep sense of familiarity like you were referring to earlier, and I just sort of described it afterwards as feeling like I was a fish that was sort of flopping about on the shore and was just placed back in the water.

And really that was the nature of my whole apparent life. And it is just, it’s such a natural recognition and such a, and at homeness, you know, can be present in that.

D: Yeah, it’s interesting. Some teachers even say that we’re all already awake, even suggesting there’s nothing you need to do to awaken because you’re already there. In a sense this is true because we are already are that consciousness, we’re immersed in it, that global consciousness. But the key is recognizing that. If we haven’t recognized it, it’s just a concept.

A: Yeah and yes and thinking that we are awake or that we are awareness or that we are already enlightened doesn’t do us much good in actual practice. It doesn’t show up on the bottom line as a greater sense of freedom and harmony and peace and joy and all of these things that are innate to recognizing the truth of what we are.

D: Yeah, unfortunately thinking that we are already there can be a barrier to actually making the shift.

A: It can.

D: Because then we become identified with the concept of it and that can get in the way of the reality. And you also, you brought up a key point about the styles of shift.

A: Yes.

D: Because the shift itself is a shift in being. It’s not an experience. But it can come with experiences and purification, as I mentioned. And so some people have quite flashy shifts and some people it’s very, very ordinary. So much so that they’re surprised that, you know, how did I not get this after all these years of meditating? It’s so obvious, so simple. And it’s like pure simplicity, simpler than you can imagine in a real way, ’cause imagination, again, is another function of the mind.

A: Beautiful.

D: But I have noticed that there’s a tendency for several distinct styles of the experience of awakening, even though awakening itself isn’t an experience, how they relate to it. Like some can have a sense of ego death or ending and becoming the cosmic Self. So they shift from being a personal sense to a cosmic Self. But again, that sense of ego death, I had that experience. But I realized later that the sense of ego death was actually the death of the identification, not the ego itself. And another variation of that is the sense of ego death into a no-self. So instead of a cosmic self, it’s a no-self.

And this is actually the same thing, it’s just the way we’re relating to it is different. Perhaps they’re are in a Buddhist tradition that speaks, frames it in terms of no-self, and so they don’t talk about cosmic Self. Or perhaps there’s less refinement, and so there isn’t a recognition of the cosmic Self, so that space of consciousness that they step into is an emptiness rather than a fullness.

A: Yeah, that’s a beautiful point. And actually, there’s a style that isn’t uncommon where the shift is totally dominated by this emphasis on no person, no separate experiencer.

But actually, the way that it qualitatively shows up is that there isn’t any field recognition, not even background awareness recognition. So they still perceive that there’s a physical environment and that everything is material and made of blocky matter, but they just, the appearance is that there’s just no separate person inside of here that is operating the body. So this is a very sort sort of very, very initial with very little refinement style of shift.

There’s nothing wrong with it, but I’ve also seen it glorified and made into something that actually apparently trumps these more, uh, refined recognitions. Yeah. And this is a symptom of, you know, coming out of a, of a darker age and, and things along that line.

But it’s important to note that if there still seems to be, you know, we go far beyond just feeling like there’s physical matter that is scattered about and that there’s just not someone inside of the body.

D: Yeah, it’s an interesting process, there’s these variations, ’cause some things can sound very, very similar that are quite distinct. Some things can sound very different that are actually the same, like no-self versus Self, cosmic Self. And that’s one of the things that’s happened actually in a lot of Eastern spiritual philosophy has been applied incorrectly to the modern experience.

Like there are people who are taking Vedanta, end of the Veda, non-duality is a really common way it’s framed, and applying that to this initial shift. But as I mentioned, there’s that shift into being the observer separate from the thoughts and actions and there can be this sense of being separate from the world. There’s a distinct break. And in the traditional texts, they actually describe this as Dwaita, duality, because there’s a duality of an inner awake consciousness and the outer world.

A: Yes.

D: And so there’s a separation. But because the outer world may be seen as illusory, some people just write that off and consider that only this inner wholeness is real and that this is non-duality. But it’s not really non-duality. Non-duality usually comes later in the process and we’ll go into that more in another talk.

A: Yes, that’s a great point. So what you just described as far as that sort of the inner wakefulness and the recognition of oneself as the field of underlying awareness, that’s still much more sophisticated than the style that I described earlier. Not sophisticated in terms of superiority, but sophisticated in terms of its qualitative recognition and at least being a little bit closer to recognizing the reality of infinity, infinity recognizing itself.

The first style that I described is one that really doesn’t have too much to do with infinity. All it’s focused on is that there’s no separate individual inside of the body. And I wouldn’t even really consider it a shift in identity because there isn’t a new recognition or a fresh recognition of what the identity is.

D: Yeah and it can also lead to a really dry, flat kind of…

A: Super dry, yeah.

D: Because there’s no richness or fullness to it yet.

A: And then when the purification comes in that context, oftentimes it can be a little bit of a struggle because the tendency is to negate or to push away, a lot of that baggage that is coming up actually isn’t being given attention and resolved. So it’s even possible that some new karma is being created in that situation.

D: Yeah, and they’re getting in the way of the process that will help that
clarity come forward.

A: Exactly.

D: Yeah. Another style is when the sense of personal self seems to expand to become universal. So rather than a sense of break, the identification shift shifts from one to the other in a process that feels like an expansion. I haven’t seen too many cases of that but I have seen a few.

Another style is a devotional or a related surrender of the ego, style and there’s a perhaps a sense of yoking to God in that process. So there’s a awakening itself is a form of surrender in any case because we’re letting go of the ego identification and surrendering to that greater sense of Self. But some, Some people are on a more purely devotional path and so that’s that the the heart process is more dominant in their case. We’ll go into that a little bit more as we get to that part.

A: Yeah.

D: But that’s another possibility. And then the fifth kind is the kind that that you mentioned earlier where there’s just a really quiet, gradual shift, like a melting of the ice or an oozing, and where, the shift takes place.

And it’s interesting because when you are the Self and someone wakes up nearby you, it’s the same Self that’s waking up.

A: Yeah.

D: It’s like you experienced their awakening. However, what you experience is not necessarily what they experience. Cause if there’s more, a little more fog there or whatever, not quite as much clarity, then they may not clearly recognize it or they can see it but it’s not distinct enough and then the mind gets involved and doubt comes up. Because until that, there’s a series of things that have to be resolved until the mind stops trying to come back in and take control again. There’s a whole process involved with that.

A: That’s a beautiful point because it may burst some people’s bubble but there’s only one that that wakes up. There’s only one reality that realizes itself and it’s not our sense of personal individuality on that level.

D: Yes and you mentioned another type of awakening more recently that I haven’t seen yet. And that, see if I can describe it from my perspective, there’s consciousness is aware of itself globally.

And there’s basically an observer side, there’s the object side of experience, the world, and then there’s a process of experience between them.

Usually, people become conscious of the observer side first and they wake up through recognizing consciousness as the observer. But there is the potential to wake up to consciousness as kind of like the movie screen of the world.

A: Yes.

D: The backdrop. There’s this thing what they call chhandas in Sanskrit. It essentially means covering and the world has this quality of being a covering over consciousness. And so there has to be a great deal more clarity to be able to see through that. A lot more of the refinement process going on to be able to see through that and reach consciousness in the world.

Usually that takes place later in the process in what’s called the Unity stage, which we’ll go into in a later talk again. But there is certainly that potential.

A: Yes.

D: Would you say it’s typically a more devotional process?

A: I would say that that definitely is more supportive of that style of shift unfolding. It also ties into what I call transmutation, which is essentially the conversion or clearing of latent energetic condensation, you know, latent unresolved material. So in a path which has that transmutative, sort of alchemical foundation where there’s a lot of attention, attentive allowing taking place of things that were being repressed or suppressed, then it tends to support this style of shift and devotion also is a primary factor in this.

And when I describe the initial shift, I typically just look at it as either a masculine shift or a feminine shift. And as you said, the masculine side of things is, You and I use the words consciousness and awareness a little differently, but we’re talking about the same thing.

I just, I call the masculine side of things pure awareness. And that’s the silent seer, the silent, the pure field of silent seeing. That’s right here, seeing. The Shiva value, exactly.

So this, when that style of shift unfolds, that’s more kind of what we were talking about initially. And we see that initial duality that may appear between what you were talking about as the recognition of ourself as that pure silent seeing, and then perhaps seeing the world as illusory, or even in some cases, just still seeing an objective physical world, but we recognize that we’re the underlying awareness that is appearing as that. So objectivity hasn’t been resolved as of yet.

In the feminine style of shift, it’s very interesting, and I’m seeing this more and more, and it’s what unfolded here. The full vibrancy of this, almost like an aspect of the field, which could be visually described as something that is similar to heat rising off the top of a grill, yet all pervasive. It’s a clear, bright, vibrant field that has an aliveness to it, yes?

And this aspect begins to recognize itself and recognize itself as what at first appears to be the filler for what previously was perceived to be empty space. So the sense of empty space disappears.

And in a feminine style shift, what also often takes place is that there’s recognition of oneself in the dynamism. So perhaps I’ll give an example of my own, to see a flock of geese flying by, I saw that I was the flyingness of the geese flying by, or different things like this.

Now this was in the initial shift. What also can take place on the feminine side of things, which also takes place on the masculine, but it might just show up a little differently, is that with the disappearance of what was previously deemed to be space, there’s the disappearance of what before seemed to be distance.

And so in that full, vibrant, lively field that is recognizing itself, there’s this sort of seamless recognition that all of the apparent forms are distantly, distancelessly present in this fullness, that is realizing itself.

And, you know, it just depends on the degree of refinement, I would say, or on the degree of emphasis on that side, or just the sort of karmic potentiation of that. But it also tends to be a little bit more blissful. So we have on one side, the blissfulness, and we have the other side, the peacefulness.

So the masculine style shifts are characterized by a deep peace, a deep peace often. And on the feminine shifts that I’m seeing firsthand here, as of late blossoming forth more and more, there tends to be more of a blissful dynamism that is shining forth.

D: Well, that makes perfect sense because that liveliness is bliss.

A: It is bliss, yes, exactly.

D: So that’s alive. Whereas what tends to happen, what has historically happened a lot is that there’s that masculine style shift of the observer. And then there tends to be what Adyashanti called the honeymoon period, where we’re kind of enjoying some of the benefits for a short time. And then the mind tries to come back up again. Basically what’s unresolved is coming to the surface to be seen.

There’s various ways of talking about that. But there’s basically a bunch of unpacking takes place that can take place over, it really varies. I’ve seen, I’ve seen it take a few months, I’ve seen it take years.

A: Yes.

D: And sometimes what happens too, is people have further shifts, while they’re still processing the initial shift. And then there’s like, what, you know, whatever the further shifts trigger as well. So they kind of tends to be several things going on at once.

A: That’s a really interesting point. Actually, I described the shifts in what I call a five phase developmental process, just a way of kind of holding their unfoldment.

And the first is Recognition. And that’s where there’s that clear seeing of the field within itself.

The second is what I call Transcendence. This refers to the transcendence of the dominance of the previous sense of self. So if that was egoic dominance or feeling that we were a limited body-mind, then that sense of self is transcended. Then, or if it was, let’s say awareness and we’re moving into source recognition, then the sense of self as awareness is transcended after we’ve recognized that where the source has recognized itself.

So then the third is what I call Stabilization, which is, these are all sort of progressive nuanced processes, but anyways, it’s just for fun and also helpful in a certain context.

And then the fourth is what I refer to as Unification, which kind of ties into what you’re talking about here with the surfacing of all of that unresolved material that kind of bubbles up after we’ve had, there’s a stable recognition of ourself at a new level of context and seeing ourself in this new way.

And then the fifth phase is Integration, which is where that just clearly, more clearly reflects in the functioning of experiencing or the appearance of the body-mind. Now, what’s interesting-

D: When that phase, when the, well, it can happen, can be kind of like waves of purification with breaks in between and you know that, that first part is is typically around stillness and uh in, in silence and peace those kind of qualities of, of absolute consciousness and um when that, and that, that allows the the bliss to come forward, it’s a little above the consciousness but that, essentially lively consciousness has a quality of experience, you know, in the body as bliss.

A: Yes, in the body, yeah. So if someone’s in that, let’s say they’re in the unification phase, they can be in the unification phase of the first shift and have, they’ll already be starting the recognition transcendence phase of the next shift. So it’s a non-linear sort of intermingled thing.

It’s not as clear and clean and defined as some might read into it. So like you were saying just a moment ago that there’s cleaning up taking place from the first shift and then the next shift already starts to unfold. Yeah?

D: Yeah, it’s useful to note here too that with the Atman and Sattva I talked about at the very beginning, the masculine and feminine, this is spiritual development that carries forward from prior lives. So, you know, prior histories of spirituality or whatever. And so, when we’re born, we don’t all start at the same place. People will have different levels of each. You know, they could have spent a couple of lifetimes as a renunciate in a cave somewhere, really developing clarity of consciousness, but not have much refinement. Or they may have spent a lot of time developing refinement, but not have so much on the level of consciousness. So we kind of pick up where we left off.

I’ve also noticed that people tend to… some people come into this life and they start off pretty quickly. Like one of my teachers started witnessing at four years old. Whereas other people will kind of work through some karma first, and then at a certain point the spiritual thing will kick in. And then they’ll be, you know, so you see people kind of going along having a normal sort of life, a typical sort of life, and then suddenly they have a spiritual interest and a month later they’ve woken up. It’s just like click, click, click. The time comes and bang, it happens.

So there’s this huge variation in when the process becomes prominent in someone’s life. And somebody mentioned in an email to me yesterday that they didn’t kind of get involved in the spiritual path until they were in their 50s.

But, and whereas I’ll look at you, you started when you were much younger. But, you know, the flip side of that is I needed more work. So I needed more time to practice to get it rolling.

Yeah, another quality that comes online as the clarity dawns too, is that, or becomes more apparent, is with the intellect. Because when the ego is identified, the intellect associates itself with the mind. And the mind is kind of swept around by events and experiences and just kind of dances around so the intellect kind of gets…

and some people like scientists and so on train the intellect to be a little more reliable but after the shift the intellect comes to associate itself with that silent being, that inner being, which is timeless and eternal, so that the intellect becomes much more, what is called resolute in the old texts, it becomes much more stable. And that gives the ability to, really helps the refinement process and the ability to experience on much, much finer levels. Because there’s there’s a quality of stability in deep levels of experience in the refined levels of the senses. So the senses have been, for most people, are going out and identifying themselves with objects in the world. You know, with the spiritual practice we turn inner and then through refinement and the resolute intellect coming online we’re able to experience much finer details. I mean a lot of what we talk about may be completely foreign to a lot of people but at a certain point it becomes normal and obvious. It’s not…

A: Exactly yes

D: …wildly special.

A: I’ve been mentioning quite a bit lately how any time that a brother or sister receives the gift of this grace and a shift in identity, it’s really a joyous occasion for all of us and a reason to celebrate. Sometimes what can happen…

D: It’s the whole that’s waking up to itself.

A: The whole that’s waking up, exactly.

D: So it’s not a person that’s waking up, it’s…

A: You see sometimes a good bit of discouragement and comparison and things surrounding, you know, shifts in identity and perhaps I’ve been meditating for 50 years and this still hasn’t happened or this, you know, and that’s totally understandable. But it’s also so supportive for us to just tune into the underlying commitment to truth. That’s what the meditation was for, and that’s what we’re all here gathered together in. And if we look for similarities rather than differences, and tend towards the side of resonance rather than that which would attempt to serve some false sense of separation, then we’re aligning ourself more fully with the whole and that is ultimately what is supportive of these realizations.

D: Yeah it’s important to understand that the, in a sense, in the sense of the jiva or that aspect of our role in the whole, each of us is a specific perspective, a specific point and the point of there being all these different beings having experiences is to, to bring out all the detail, to have all these different perspectives of the one wholeness to fill it out. And so when we awaken as an, you know, apparent individual, where we’re contributing to that whole and the whole itself is becoming more awake in all the details.

And so we’re not going to have an awakening that’s the same as anybody else’s.

A: Yes.

D: And our purpose here is to have a distinct, is to have distinct experiences. There is a standard underlying process, but how we’re actually going to experience it and how we’re going to relate to it and stuff is going to vary a lot.

And so there’ll be teachers that we’ll resonate with a lot. And I mean, because you’ve had that kind of process, then people are going to be attracted to you, Who are going to have a similar process.

A: Exactly.

D: Yeah, but at the same time, one of the reasons I wrote the book is that there’s people that are in traditions and their unfolding is taking place in a way that’s different than that tradition describes. My own was as well. And you know, for example, I witnessed for over 30 years before I woke up. And one of the standard things in there is witnessing full time means you’re awake. But, that’s often true, but not always. There are several people who have been a witness for quite a long time before they woke up. So there was that partial stepping back, but still an identified ego. So consciousness had become awake, but not awake to itself.

A: Yes.

D: So it’s like a semi-awakening, but still identified, so it doesn’t really qualify in the same way.

Another thing that’s really useful to touch on is the Kundalini process. And the main thing to talk about there is that Kundalini isn’t causal. Kundalini is an energetic process to support embodying the awakening but it doesn’t cause the awakening, again as we mentioned earlier awakening comes from grace it doesn’t come from physiology and again if we’re preparing the physiology so it can it can integrate the grace when it arises. You know that’s to our benefit, but for the most part the Kundalini process, you know, from my perspective, well the tradition I’m in, their perspective is that the Kundalini process is just a natural part of the process and nothing needs to be done. It will just unfold as it does naturally. Correct.

A: And just like with awakening, everyone’s going to taste that subjectively in a different way. There’s no distinct way that that’s going to show up and for some it’ll be extremely quiet or it may not be registered at all.

D: One of the Kundalini traditions I studied a little bit talked about how mantra meditators tend not to notice much until the third eye comes online.

A: Beautiful.

D: And we start getting visual stuff. And it’s also useful to understand that there is, you know, the chakra system but the body also has tens of thousands of other channels and so it’s not like, it’s not just the chakras that have to open up, but the whole physiology gets a cleaning through this process.

A: Yes, yes. So let’s touch on that just for a second because there’s a lot of different things that can show up in reference to the body and in reference to different tensions clearing out of the body and sort of stored energies that are surfacing. And the understanding of allowing, which you’re always talking about on your blog and I’m always talking about, is such a powerful understanding, you know, when it comes to the whole unfoldment, not just the initial shift.

D: We’ve lived a lifetime of, you know, an identified ego making a claim for all this stuff and so the ego wants to feel in control. Even though it’s not, it wants to feel in control. Essentially, it’s like the ego has a useful function, but when there’s no perceived master, there’s no larger Self conscious, then it feels it needs to take over and become the alpha male or whatever. And unfortunately, that makes it a kind of lousy master.

So it’s a major improvement when we can step out from under that. But it can create a real habit, you know, because we’re constantly wanting to feel in control. So there’s this whole process of letting go, all these layers of, in the body and the emotions and the mind, and it’s like all this kind of layers of letting go of places where we’ve been trying to hold on.

And there’s this kind of the Yoga Sutra talks about it in two ways, that there’s the grasping of what we want and a resistance to what we don’t want. We’re not experiencing what’s arising in a neutral, innocent way. We’re trying to control and manage everything. And so it basically gets in the way of, the irony of it all is that nature wants to support, the whole world wants to support our process and back us up, but we’ve been getting in the way, causing, you know, the suffering essentially has come out of not understanding what’s taking place and getting in the way of the process. And so we’re fighting the world and suffering.

A: Yeah, beautiful point. One thing I will say about the grasping and rejecting is that it’s not a matter of that not initially arising because we have those conditioned tendencies that themselves are the grasping and rejecting.

But when seeing that there’s a grasping or seeing that there’s a rejecting, attentively allowing that, along with whatever appeared to be grasped at or rejected. So it becomes included in what is being allowed and released and let go of, as you were describing.

D: Very good point, yes. There’s a little art to that, that takes a little time to learn. I’ve kind of felt a slow learner on that one.

Yeah. It was advantageous that I practiced an effortless meditation because that taught me how to just allow that process. But it took me ages to realize that I wasn’t actually applying that in a broader sense and that I could actually do that with my day-to-day activity.

And it’s funny, you think that letting go of control is going to be this disaster in some way, and that’s the ego’s perspective. And yet when you step into it, honestly, it’s a beautiful thing. And yet, you know, one of the scary parts about it is because there’s all that shadow material in there, that it means going into the shadow and seeing those things that are unresolved. And that’s going to be a scary thing at first. But once you learn that process, it becomes so much simpler. It’s like you…

You can feel the impulse arising and you just sit back and it comes up like a wave, washes over you and it’s done. For the big ones, it could be like this huge weight is taken off. You’ve been carrying around all this time. It hasn’t been conscious, but it’s been there and it’s been like this filter on all our experiences.

We have our mind who’s interpreting everything that’s coming up, but there’s also this filtering layer of those unresolved experiences that kind of cramp the range.

So I guess when I was younger too, I had this understanding that I would have fewer emotions, kind of this neutral awakening that would mean this neutral experience of the world. But in fact, when you start to clear the deck and open things up that way, there’s more emotion and it’s much bigger and fuller because there isn’t any resistance to the experience. But that brings the richness to life.

And it’s not like you get overshadowed by it, though, because you become this established universal consciousness. But you’ve got this much bigger space in which to have experiences. They can be much fuller and richer and more profound.

A: Yeah, less restrictions surrounding those things.

D: Yes.

A: Yeah. There’s also the possibility that, you know, some will experience changes in sleep habits and the way in which sleep is experienced.

D: Yes.

A: In general, I know that you’ve, you wrote about that in your book and how, you know, that sort of 24/7 seeing comes online and we no longer feel like we are asleep in deep sleep anymore in the same way.

D: Yeah, that’s actually a good point too because that sense of witness when it first comes online it can be quite an odd experience and some people have find it a bit weird or even freaky. For example, you get occasionally someone who becomes conscious during deep sleep, but in deep sleep the body is asleep and can’t move, and the senses, if you’re fully in deep sleep, the senses are also offline. And so there’s no content of experience, there’s just consciousness itself. So it’s like, it’s, It’s very similar to deep samadhi or transcendence, that, you know, in a meditation practice where you go deep within and just everything’s very silent and there’s no thoughts and no activity, like that.

But, you know, you wake up and the body is asleep and you try and move the body, it’s not awake, it won’t move. And so people can find that a little freaky. But it’s asleep and it’s something we’ve done every night of our life. And so there’s a tendency to become a little bit wakeful in the sleep and then start thinking about the experience and the senses come online a little bit. But you’re not really deep sleeping anymore then.

Lucid dreaming is not quite the same thing as witnessing dreams. It’s somewhat similar. But again, I remember when I first started witnessing dreams, I started manipulating them. I was like, “Oh, I don’t want to dream about that. I’ll do this instead.” And, you know, dream about what I want to dream about, you know. And then after a short time, I realized I was just manipulating the process. I could just let it go.

A: Yeah. So there’s a little bit of egoic activity involved in that. That’s a little different from that just that pure changeless seeing and that sheet of awareness.

D: Yeah, eventually once you just let go of that whole process, and then, then it’s just, there’s just the presence that it becomes that sense of being conscious is 24/7.

A: Yes.

D: It’s not necessarily an experiencing, but it’s, it’s like there’s a continuity that’s there.

A: Exactly. Yeah. That’s, I was just going to go into that. There’s a, you know, what develops too, as the feminine comes online or just depends on the way that shift unfolds, but there’s a seamlessness in the, in sort of the dynamic intelligence that appears as the movements from waking to dreaming and deep sleep. And we just sort of tune into this seamlessness of the three states where they’re not really, the differentiation isn’t registered in the way that it was before when there was a sense of identification with being the waking content and so on and so forth.

Also, everyone can have different experiences or a different experience when it comes to the way in which sleep appears to change or even the quality of awakeness during deep sleep and dreaming. I get some questions about this oftentimes, like how, and I think I even asked you when I first emailed you some, couple of years ago, I said, “Do you still dream?” ‘Cause I would never hadn’t heard anybody talking about pure Divinity other than you.

So I was just, and you said, “Yeah, there’s still dreams. They’re just processing out experiences.” But if you look at some of the old texts, they talk about dreams disappearing and different kinds of things.

D: I think there is a point where you can get to where dreams may stop. But not being conscious of dreams, it’s not quite the same as no dreams.

A: Exactly, exactly.

D: Yeah, I did a… I went to a doctor for the first time in 10 years. This is some years ago now, but first time in a while and he made kind of a fuss and decided to do a whole bunch of testing.

And one of the things he did was put me through a sleep test, just to check out for sleep apnea. And it was quite interesting because, I mean, I didn’t have a good sleep because of wearing all this gear. ‘Cause they’re monitoring your breath, so you got this hose thing on your nose and there’s a thing for monitoring your blood pressure and you’re in response and whatever, I don’t know, a bunch of different things.

And it was interesting because one of the things that happens is transcending in sleep. Because sleep essentially can become like, almost like a nonstop meditation. And so one of the things that was going on there was, there was a whole lot of, One of the things with deep samadhi and meditation is the breath can stop.

And it kind of goes into a different, it doesn’t fully stop, it, We stop breathing in and out and the lungs can kind of go into this fine vibration. So it doesn’t require much oxygen to maintain the physiology when there’s no thoughts and no activity, just very, very still. And so there’s a whole lot of that.

And of course he’s testing for sleep apnea, which is, which is breath stoppage is one of the key things. Along with, with sleep apnea, breath stoppage comes with a starvation of oxygen because the, the breathing passage is blocked. And whereas with Samadhi, there’s no starvation of, of oxygen.

So we had this kind of debate about what was actually going on in my sleep
because of the, you know, cause there was breath stoppage and, Oh, I should, I should do more testing and, and do an overnight thing and, you know, and go to the lab for an overnight sleep. But it was a horrible sleep with all that gear on, so I didn’t wanna do more of that. I knew it was fine because there was no issues with oxygen. So it was just transcending.

A: Yeah, that’s an interesting subject, the breath post-shift and in higher stages even. I found that oftentimes the breath will just stop spontaneously even in the waking state. and also that there’s less of a need for oxygen and higher altitudes are easily sort of navigated in things or actually could even sort of qualitatively feel a little bit more comfortable or supportive in certain cases.

D: Yeah, I was gonna mention a story I have about that. I started having that happen after I started witnessing. And I remember one of my early girlfriends, she would entrain with me and then, you know, if I was sitting doing something quiet, my breath would stop. She started to feel like she couldn’t breathe and she jabbed me in the ribs. So it wasn’t conscious and I’m not holding the breath, It just pauses.

I wasn’t conscious this was going on, but I became much more conscious that it was getting… So I would catch it in the ribs.

A: Yeah, it seems that, you know, I guess from the ego’s perspective, these kinds of things might seem like, oh gosh, but it’s really, it’s so effortless and natural and spontaneous and it doesn’t feel unfamiliar, foreign, or scary in that way.

D: Right, it’s just that right at first it can be new, and it comes up if there’s no context. And this is why it’s valuable to have conversations like this. ‘Cause it’s coming, it does come up, and the mind doesn’t know what it is, then it can cause fear, even though the experience itself isn’t fearful.

A: Yeah, and that goes back to what you were saying, it was so relevant, just about the kind of sense of letting go of control in general, on how that ties into the initial shifts in the awakening. There’s so many sort of resistances and blockades that can be thrown up by that innocent survival-oriented intelligence, which is attempting to maintain a status that isn’t actually even there in the first place. So it presents all of these different possibilities of things that would go wrong, as you were saying, and fall apart or whatever if this sense of control wasn’t in place in the way that it seems to be.

And I’m so grateful for those that had the courage to say, “No, it’s not like that actually, it’s moving in the direction of greater harmony and greater flexibility and a greater level of intelligence and capacity to function dynamically in this experience. It’s not a removal of that. It doesn’t take away from our ability to be present and to make decisions.

And like you were saying before, that resolute intellect comes online and that can show up as a precision and a way of, you know, and a decisiveness, a way of spontaneously navigating the experience that doesn’t have anything to do with control.

We’re in tune with those laws of nature that you’re always talking about. And there’s a great degree of intelligent simplicity that is expressing itself.

D: Beautiful.

A: I know.

D: I was gonna say, there’s another detail here that we should cover that explains a little bit about some of the stuff we’ve touched on before. Consciousness itself has, in the Indian tradition, consciousness itself has three fundamental qualities.

They’re basically what’s called tamas, which is essentially inertia, rajas, which is fire, action, transformation, and sattva, which is purity or clarity.

So there’s this process of awakening in consciousness and the process of shifting from a Tamas-dominated physiology into a Sattva-dominated physiology through the process of transformation, through the process of Rajas.

And so one of the things, when Tamas Guna is dominant in our consciousness, then we experience the world as solid and real. That’s the prominent thing.

When Rajas becomes dominant, then we experience the world as illusory. And this is something that Shankara brought out, an ancient sage. And that’s quite prominent in non-duality circles and stuff, framing it that way. But that’s actually just, that’s a perception of the world. It’s not the fundamental nature of truth. It’s a phase of the process.

And then the third stage of that is when Sattva becomes more dominant. And then the world is seen as Lila, the divine play. And some clarity is required for the shift to take place.

But there is, I haven’t seen any myself, but I think I’ve seen some examples where someone who wakes up with Tamas dominant is less common, but there’s tend to be more rigidity and inflexibility, more fundamentalism, that kind of thing, whereas if Rajas is more dominant then there is that sense of world as illusion, the no self, emptiness kind of processes, a little more typical, there’s some variation in there.

Whereas when Sattva becomes dominant, then the refinement, it really supports the refinement process, that clarity, and we’re able to penetrate the covering, the veils, I call it, the fog and smoke and shadow whatever you want to call it, is clear enough that much more refined values can be experienced.

It’s kind of, they sometimes talk about it as polishing the stone. So this is key for the next stage to unfold.

What has been happening a lot in the West in recent times is there’s a lot of people who are having that initial awakening and later having their Unity shift with not too much of this next stage.

However, if there’s enough refinement going on, then there’s that, and healing, then there’s that potential for a stage that’s been called God Consciousness or Celestial Consciousness. So there’s the, there’s been that inner shift where we’re no longer the doer and yet the body still does. We still act. We still do things. It just takes care of itself like our breathing and heartbeat and so on like that. Things still just happen. And there’s still some, it’s not like there’s no more free will. there’s still, as humans, we still have enough consciousness to make choices about certain things, but just a lot, much more of our, our actions just become spontaneous. And also spontaneously correct.

Sometimes there can be like, Oh, it doesn’t seem like the right thing to do, or I don’t know if I want to do that, but it feels like it’s the right thing to do. And so you do it. And then you find out, okay, I can see why.

And so with refinement going on, there is a process where we unfold doership, like what’s actually causing things to happen, what’s actually acting through. And we actually can discover that our body, there’s what’s called devatta, the actual doers, the laws of nature is kind of a generic term I use also.

Essentially, the laws of nature can be perceived through two modes. One mode is the impersonal, which is through the intellect, where we view them as principles and laws of nature and functions in the environment. You know, science studies laws of nature and like that in that way.

But in the personal mode, which is more seen from the heart instead of the intellect, those laws of nature are personified. Now, the part that’s really important to understand about personification is it’s through the filter of the mind, essentially. And so our cultural expectations, things we read, tend to filter how we expect them.

A classic example would be angels. Beings on that level of functionality are essentially clouds of light that have intelligence and motivation. But in order to relate to them, we’re typically more likely to experience them as sort of having flowing robes and wings and, you know, so the classic Western interpretation of what angels are supposed to look like. In the East, also, you see a whole lot of iconography of what the gods are supposed to look like and so on and on. But you may experience it the same way as it’s been perceived because of your expectations or because of how they choose to present themselves.

The higher beings are able to have some control over their appearance or how they present themselves. And so there’s this thing I call personalization where we experience things through our expectations.

And so appearances are not reality. That’s the key thing to understand about these layers. There is an appearance and it’s a way to relate to and communicate with and work with or whatever the various principles and laws of nature. And this is a field that is extremely broad. I mean there are gazillions of different kinds of things. We couldn’t possibly get to know all this stuff in a human lifetime.

And so there’s a tendency for people to have natural inclinations. And so what we put our attention on grows. And so that arena is what tends to amplify more. Like Dorothy Rowe is a mutual friend who does energy healing. She’s put a lot of attention on certain levels of being. And so she’s very familiar with the substrata around the, what I would describe as the celestial and intellect levels, where there’s the fundamental templates of forms, and then there’s the structure, the geometrical structure, the otherwise fields and so on, and she works in that arena a lot, and so she’s very familiar with certain details there.

My attention has been more subtle than that for a long time, and so my experience is fuller and on the level of, you know, functioning, how creation works and so on like that. Less practical, but it does certainly help me understand the bigger picture more. So it varies a lot how that unfolds. Somebody else might be more oriented towards nature, and you get all these descriptions of elementals and sprites and various kinds of nature entities. So you’ll see, you know, in a bed of roses, there’ll be beings that take care of those roses, however. And they’ll be specific to that plant and so on. And of course, the work is proportional to the numbers.

So there’s this whole vast field of life that’s potentially available. We may have zero interest in that or even find it unpleasant. Myself, I ignore it most of the time because it’s just basically too much information. But it’s useful to be aware of. And I’m here in a physical body, so I have a physical life to lead. So I have to be practical about it.

And, you know, as some spiritual teachers consider it a hazardous area because you can get caught up in subtler levels and not live your life properly and become ungrounded and so on.

I can understand that in an ideal way that this would unfold after awakening, but it really varies. For some people, this kind of stuff starts unfolding long before they wake up. Some people it doesn’t start happening until much later. So that’s kind of talking about the refinement part. So it’s not just about being, but there’s also the layers I’ve referred to here and there, recognizing that creation has these layers. And it’s not just we have a mind and we have an intellect, but those are not just in our head. They’re universal layers of how consciousness becomes the world around us. And so those values become apparent to us.

And some people have a strong visual orientation and they’ll experience things visually more. Some will be more through feeling values and somatic through the body. Some people are more audio and so on. Each of us have different orientations. I tend to use visual words because I’m visual, but actually it’s the grossest of the three. So that’s kind of like one side of the process, is the refinement of the senses and mechanism.

And the other side of the process of this, the God Consciousness is the opening of the heart. And that’s fundamental. And like from a chakra perspective, there’s an initial rise prior to awakening where the heart chakra opens. And then there’s kind of like a higher octave. Anahata is the heart chakra, but there’s a higher octave referred to as Hridaya. It’s kind of like it’s in the same place, same space as the Anahata, but it’s a kind of higher octave heart. It’s a more universal value of the heart. So universal love and compassion and so on like that become possible.

And so it’s kind of like this, the feminine process is heart-based and about all those values between the surface and the silent consciousness. All the richness that’s in the middle. And so that’s where the fullness and richness and wholeness and so on come out of, is that opening up of those values. And as we talked about earlier, for some people, this is more prominent and it can actually lead to an awakening through the world.

A: One of the things I wanted to mention about when you were describing the process of refinement in reference to recognitions of various subtle beings and things like that is that I have seen that take place prior to a shift and it can be a distraction and get a little bit floaty and airy and wafting about with the breezes of whatever.

D: Yeah, the other issue is there are some beings around who are really happy to have your attention.

A: Exactly.

D: And so they’ll be manipulative and kind of, you know, I went through a little bit of phase when this first started opening up for me where I was entertaining them and started to sort of like ask them questions about my life. Like what should I do about this? What should I do about that?

They were more than happy to give me advice. But they didn’t have any wisdom. They were basically just kind of what I now call rabble. Because basically we all have a kind of a process. And after we pass away from being in a body, we move up to a more subtle level. And then we’re essentially assigned some role. Most people move on to that role and they might be a guide or helping with something here or there or whatever. But some people resist moving into their role and they’re just kind of hanging around. So then they basically become troublemakers, not in a negative, evil way or something like that, but just kind of looking to get attention. and that kind of thing.

And so I realized at a certain point that I needed to put that aside and stop paying attention to these guys. And then a little later when deeper forms started showing up, I was pretty reticent at first ’cause I’m reticent of that experience. That was good and I let it be established.

So from the personalization there, the key detail there is the feel. Not what appearance is, because some of these beings can take on fancy appearances and stuff and to be some really… The key is the feeling value. If they don’t feel good, then move away.

A: Even that, checking in on the feeling value, without that sort of stable backing of pure awareness it still can be subject to self-delusion or things like that.

D: It appeals to your wants.

A: Yeah, it’s like, oh yeah this feels good or whatever but there’s unconscious material that’s being processed out there. So what I’ve seen is that in cases where, I’ve been working with a case like this actually recently and there’s a movement to emphasize more of the masculine side of things to provide that and that’s what’s relevant for that point’s evolution if you will. And also it can be linked to certain grounding things like you know, keeping a daily planner and being more in the appearance of time and making sure that you’re, you know here taking steps in the, you know, the perceived physical dimension and those kinds of things. Otherwise it could it could just be another sort of distracting thing. Another possibility too that takes place actually is where there can be a subtle level of identification with the refined value of seeing different things and all that and it can actually become a multi-incarnational journey of getting sort of caught in that identification.

D: Yeah, that can be really difficult. It’s like a bit of a sinkhole. I’ve seen a couple of examples where people got so far into it, they basically isolated themselves and only took advice, only did anything, you know, according to what their, what their, you know, whatever told them. And it basically, can get into a completely unhealthy, you know, life, they’re not eating properly, they’re not sleeping properly, you know, just totally ungrounded. And they don’t know how to get out, you know, that it can become quite challenging to help someone out of that.

A: Yeah, this is where the foundational, just basic spiritual principles are so important because they allow their, you know, universal principles of spiritual truth allow for us to align with something that has a stability in and of itself. It’s already there. And being able to tune into that is so supportive.

One other thing, in reference to the GC or the God consciousness phase, I don’t typically talk about that, perhaps because I talk about the feminine and masculine styles of shift. And I think that the God consciousness tends to sort of fall into the feminine shift on some level, or it presents itself after the masculine shift as what I would refer to then as a conscious presence shift or a feminine aspect shift. And in terms of the opening of the heart and the flow of devotion, we can see that show up in an impersonal way that’s still very, very refined.

So even though someone may not be having recognitions of personified subtle form values of aspects of intelligence, there’s still this deep sense of loving flow and loving connection and a recognition of the sort of individualized intelligence that is appearing as each form.

And, but it may not show up as so personified for some. So I just wanted to throw that out there because it’s-

D: Yeah, it depends on how you relate to that too. I mean, here when that shift happened, the heart awakening was quite profound. And it was kind of like I had this giant fire hose blowing love out of my chest. And so even though I’m more to the intellect and not so much devotional, typically, I went through a very devotional period in there.

And for me, I needed an object of devotion, something to direct the love to. And they talk in the traditions about the love of God and your ideal form, whatever that is for you, and your sense of ideal, love of the guru, the teacher, or love of one’s mate or partner.

And it kind of varies where that flows to. But it’s, yeah, they call it the last upuguru. Yeah, it’s a beautiful phase. Yeah, quite profound. And of course, you’ve got those qualities of bliss coming out.

But then what happens is that in this process of unfolding after the God consciousness shift, there is an unfolding of what’s often called flow, where that inner silence starts to move, or there’s a sense of consciousness, instead of being this still backdrop, it starts to be recognized as moving in everything. Like, you look at an object and it has its form, but it can be seen through the layers, different layers, different things, but it can actually be seen as flowing consciousness.

It can mean having, but that’s a more subtle value, of course, but there’s kind of layers of perception, there’s not just the surface value.

Yeah, there’s another process too that’s really important to mention in here called Soma. Now Soma is really badly understood in the West. I remember going into a spiritual bookstore and they had this academic book that was about three inches thick, called Soma, with a picture of a hallucinogenic mushroom on the cover.

A: Oh yeah, that’s right, that’s what it is.

D: It’s been this interpretation that Soma is somehow a hallucinogen and that’s why that explains all these old texts of people having these fancy experiences.

A: Yeah.

D: It is all because they were on drugs, which is quite ridiculous. To the experience here, and this aligns with what the texts talk about, essentially there is this infinite ocean of what might be called raw Soma. It’s kind of like this ocean of the Divine Mother that’s present. We’re immersed in it. And there’s this point in the middle of the head there where, it’s like a gland that can draw in the soma and it’s filtered through down and then it there’s a little thing at the back of the upper back of the throat and it drips into the…

A: As you talk about that…

D: As I talk about it…

A: Every time it’s mentioned it’s like… So, but that’s also, we’re talking in terms of like some subtle physiology as well.

D: It’s not a physical thing.

A: There’s like a subtle structure that runs down back through and then comes out at the back of the throat there.

D: Yeah, and then we swallow it down into the digestion and then it’s distributed out to the various parts of the body and it feeds the laws of nature.

So it’s this, essentially there’s this raw soma available, but it’s not in a format that can be used by the subtle beings. And whereas our physiology, if it’s purified reasonably, well, to some degree anyways, It’s able to filter the Soma and create a refined form that can be used by the Goddesses.

Essentially it’s like feeding the Devas. And this has several effects.

For one, it dramatically accelerates the refinement process, the polishing. It helps with the purification as well. And it massively improves our nature support. It’s kind of like we’re giving, I don’t know, what’s a good example of some like energy drink to the, that’s a bad example. It’s not really healthy, but, but we’re, we’re basically upgrading the laws of nature that support our physiology and our life and so on like that.

And it also tends to attract laws of nature that are free agents, I guess you could say, that are able to move around. And so it really not only does, you know, stop, the falling away of resistance and grasping, really help our nature support, but then we start feeding them.

And when we, it basically comes from Samadhi, from touching into consciousness. And so when we’re meditating and we go into a deep meditation that produces Soma, but as the process evolves, we start producing it more and more. And after awakening, it becomes more, I don’t know if ongoing, but–

A: Regular.

D: Right, regular, yeah.

A: It’s also important to note too that, I know of many cases where there is somic conversion taking place, but they’re not aware of it as an explicit process. But if the feminine side of things is unfolding and we’re having recognitions of vibrant fullness and sort of flows within the field or, you know, subtle structures and aspects of creative intelligence, then we can sort of know that somic conversion is taking place.

There’s some degree of soma that is being filtered, as you were saying, through the body.

D: In the Rig Veda, the ninth mandala, the ninth book talks extensively about soma, the flow of soma through the filter and all this business. And it’s actually talking about human physiology. Now there are performances, yagyas that are done to stimulate that process, but that’s not the process itself. And there apparently is a rare plant in the Himalayas called the Soma plant that may help trigger it, I don’t know. But that’s not really what they’re mostly talking about.

It’s actually part of our own physiology and it requires a certain amount of healing and stuff so that the physiology can support it and it doesn’t just burn the soma.

But yes, if refinements taking place. Usually people notice the most common direct experience of it is a sweet taste in the mouth after meditating or during meditation or something like that.

A: Beautiful.

D: That’s what people, but not everybody notices that either.

A: Yeah.

D: You know, I’m not conscious of that entire process, but I’m conscious of pieces of it enough that I, you know, I can, I get what went on.

A: Yeah.

D: Again, it really varies what’s conscious and what’s not.

A: Exactly.

D: I can compare notes with people who have experienced other parts of the process.

A: Yeah. Yeah. That’s right. So sort of piece, piece things together in that way.

One thing, another thing that I’ll mention just as a possibility and a potentiality in this process of the God consciousness or that flow of devotional reverberation within the field. It can also be a part of the initial shift, meaning that it can start to shine forth pre-shift in identity and then carry through the shift. And then of course it can take place as the feminine shift can also take place post-masculine shift is another way, which that would be kind of like filling in the details on the canvas of the screen of the changeless awareness that has recognized itself.

There’s also another interesting phenomenon that I’m starting to witness and I feel that it will shine forth more as things are continuing to refine in our collective. And it has to do with this understanding that is present in some of the ancient texts, those that tend towards the devotional side of things called bhavas. And a bhava is basically a certain fine devotional mellow. It’s a fine devotional flavor, a flavor of love. And so there’s these different flavors of love not dissimilar to what you were describing in terms of you know God, the Guru, and the Apaguru I think is what you said.

D: Upa, yeah.

A: Upa Guru, okay thank you. And these are you know there’s different names for them. Madhurya Bhava is one where that flow of love actually is relating to Divinity as a lover. So we hear the term beloved used sometimes in this context. And what is interesting, what I’m seeing and what I’m sort of bringing forward is a non-dual understanding of this. Oftentimes it’s characterized in more of a dualistic way in reference to the sense of the jiva being in love with the divine and there being some relational aspect there. But actually the possibility and the potentiality is that this can show up in completely unified status as a lilic flow of devotional unfoldment of love within the play of the world and also in the… go ahead

D: oh, my teacher used to speak about it in terms of a full unification or retaining a small remains of ignorance so that there is a separation, so that the flow can, the love can flow. Although I don’t see that, well, it’s degrees of separation, the separation talking about is, you know.

A: It’s not, yeah, it’s not separation. I think that it’s more that there’s this, a playful dynamism that is sort of lively in that direction, but there’s no sense, it’s still, it’s still just Divinity that is sort of loving itself through its own flow of intelligence in that way.

And so there’s different ways in which this can show up. It could be loving, the loving Divinity, loving itself as a friend, as a lover, as different things. And I’ve tasted several of these myself subjectively.

One thing to recognize is that they are there within the realm of a transitory ecstasy. So it’s not a matter, it’s something that happens typically within the shift or it can happen prior to a shift, but it’s almost like a record that only has a certain note of music on it that goes around and then it plays and then it stops and then it goes around again and plays and stops. So it’s like a looping of a transitory devotional mellow, which is a spontaneous arising within the flows of conscious awareness, experiencing itself.

And there’s implications, or there’s also a whole field of possibility for this post-nothingness, which I’ll kind of, maybe I’ll touch on when we get to the pure Divinity phase. So there’s, you know, there’s GC, God consciousness in the way that you describe it, as it relates to this sort of initial unfoldment, But there’s also another possibility that comes a little bit later on.

D: So there’s two processes that run parallel through the stages.

A: Yeah.

D: Yeah. It’s a… and there can be some huge variation. I think it’s important though, to note that, I mean, the stage is called God Consciousness, it’s primarily about being coming conscious of the hand of God. Because for example we become conscious of the laws of nature and that might be you know through seeing them or just the sense of what’s acting through you. But that can come with a sense of that there being, there’s a kind of like an intelligence, that it’s a divine play, a lila, that there’s a lot, there’s a kind of a plan, so to speak, unfolding, a number of those elements. But it’s usually further along where God, there’s some form of God or some quality of God becomes part of the picture.

It depends. Sometimes it happens right away and sometimes God itself isn’t a part of the process until a little bit further along.

A: Sure, and I think, you know, the word, what we understand as being God sort of shifts as well as things…

D: Yeah, here we’re talking essentially about God in form.

A: In form.

D: God as part of the creation.

A: Yeah.

D: Talking about, you know, source Divinity, which is much deeper.

A: Much deeper. And that’s another important thing to touch on while we’re here and when we get to that talk, we’ll talk more about it. But the difference between recognizing the Divinity in the Self and the Self in Divinity. And that’s quite a big distinction.

But in reference to the hand of God, which is such a beautiful way of holding it and is really the way that it shows up for many, it still can be within the realm of a formless recognition of Divinity, but it has to do with the Divinity of conscious awareness, the Divinity of conscious awareness. So as the Self is recognizing itself and perhaps sort of surrendering into itself and loving itself in a richer way, then that, the Divinity of the formlessness of conscious awareness is being revealed. But it’s not, and that ties into what we were talking about in the different devata values and the different forms and the different, you know, recognizing personified values of different laws of nature and so on and so forth. But for many, I think the ones that I’ve seen, it is just kind of like a formless recognition of the Divinity of life, the hand, as you were saying, the hand of God, how things are perfectly placed and all fit together in a very, very intricate and beautiful way and those kinds of things.

D: Yes. I think it’s important too to to mention here, because we got the this, we’ve been, you know, I’ve used the God Word. Some people actually avoid, they talk about Celestial Consciousness or Divine Consciousness or something like that, to avoid the God Word because it has so many connotations for people. It certainly had for me as well. But the key to recognize here, we’re not talking about belief. This isn’t about whether we’re, you know, I believed in God or didn’t believe in God or whatever. That’s all in their field of mind.

What we’re talking about here is an unfolding experience.

A: Yes.

D: So we’re coming to the Divine in a direct way. And like I mentioned earlier, you know, after having that little experience with the beings, I was kind of reticent when higher forms of, basically, forms of God started to show up. And I didn’t, you know, I was kind of reticent to that because of my previous experience and so on like that.

So coming to the reality of it, you know, it unfolds in stages. We couldn’t possibly go straight to Divinity. We have to kind of, because it’s so much more refined than, and yet, you know, words of celestial perception is so much more refined than the average person’s experience.

So there’s a whole process for the unfolding of consciousness to itself and for that refinement to take place to more and more refined levels. And as I mentioned earlier on, you know, it depends on where we started as well.

Some of us come in with a lot of refined perception already present and some it takes a while to embody that.

And another point that’s important, as we talked about earlier, we can certainly unfold some of this stuff long prior, but until the awakening is present, we can’t really fully embody it, until Self-Realization, until we’ve had an awakening. Because you need that stable platform, because it’s such a fine, there’s such fine values, if the platform isn’t stable, they’re just lost in the movement of noise kind of thing.

So for it to really unfold as God Consciousness, I’m not, I mean, we can have some values of heart awakening, we can have a lot of refined perception, but for the really finer stuff and the true heart awakening happens after Self-Realization. That’s why my teacher said, you have to know the Self before you can know God.

A: Yes, yeah, that’s a beautiful point and I’ll just sort of come on the back end of that and say that when I’m referring to that devotional flow showing up pre-initial shift, it will always, in the way that I’m describing it, it will always be moving in the direction of a shift and be a part of the support of a shift and will characterize the way the shift unfolds, meaning that it’ll be a feminine style shift.

So it’s not that, “Oh, there’s some flowery things and some nice things that are kind of passing by and then, but we still feel stuck in separation or whatever.” No, it’s that the heart is expressing as an opening into a shift in identity.

And because our collective was at a certain point, I mean, even just 30 years ago, 20 years ago, some of this stuff wasn’t really relevant or wasn’t, you know, wouldn’t be something to bring up necessarily.

But now today, as we’re sitting here speaking, we’re in a whole different ballgame as far as styles of shifts and the way in which you can unfold.

D: And the whole business about pure Divinity and that kind of stuff, it was not on the table back then. And yet now I know a bunch of people who have had those shifts. Yeah, it’s a remarkable time we’re in.

And it’s a tricky thing, that early, in that approach, because we’re moving towards something we’ve never, you know, it’s not in our range of experience, in that, for awakening. We have no idea where we are, how we’re doing. And I get people asking me on a regular basis like, “So where am I?” and they send me a short email expecting me to…

A: I get that one too. Yeah, but that’s the thing. You can’t really tell from, I mean you can have symptoms but you can have symptoms for decades. Of course we’re in a time now where it’s not going to take so much time for a lot of people but you know there’s going to be more variations. But yeah it’s a tricky period to try… but it’s the mind trying to figure it out. The mind wants to control it and so the mind wants to know where it is so it can control it. But the mind doesn’t really actually want you to wake up.

Because it would lose control and that’s not what it wants. So there can be this dance in there. Like I remember at a certain point that I realized that the mind was using memories of spiritual experiences to pretend to be awake. And it was creating these conflicts between experiences of the Self and the ego, which was basically just ego fighting with itself as a distraction.

A: Yes.

D: And, I noticed like sometimes there’d be a falling back and, you know, but all of a sudden there would be a really intense itch in my leg, or there would be, some just random distraction just to bring the attention
away from it,

A: falling asleep. I’ve seen that one.

D: Yeah.

A: That happens quite a bit at our retreat.

D: Fatigue can be a stress too. But it was interesting to see the number of machinations that the ego went through to try and keep control. I basically wondered how in the heck I was ever going to wake up. But there was still the idea that I was going to wake up and I was going to do this.

But again, that’s the ego wanting to do and control. So it’s like this whole…

What happens has to happen is the Self just gets loud enough that it sees itself. And then it, and then it, uh, and then it happens. And again there’s a grace element there.

I have noticed though, one, one thing that’s quite important, Very few people wake up solo, just out of the blue. Yeah, certainly it does happen, but,

A: it’s rare.

D: Yeah. It’s much more rare. And, uh, what’s typically happens is somebody wakes up with a catalyst. And so the most typical catalyst is essentially going on a retreat or to a satsang or some similar event where you’re with the awake. This awakeness in them can stir the awakeness and increase the volume of the awakeness in you.

And yeah, I go on retreats regularly with a fellow who, Lorn Hoff, who has this real skill with increasing the intensity of the silent presence, the awakeness of consciousness in the room. He tries to have a majority of people on retreats awake too. And now they’re doing them online and it’s still quite effective. And so, he kind of cranks up the intensity.

And if people are ready to shift, they shift, and then he moderates it with flow.

Or if he’s trying to encourage flow, he brings the flow up to a greater and greater intensity for later stages, and then brings in the silence to stabilize that. And it’s beautiful to watch.

So that’s one of the reasons I’ve seen a lot of people shift.

A: That’s a very supportive approach, and Lorn and Lucia are some of the only ones that I know other than… here we call it leading, leading style of teaching where there’s a direct, the Self is speaking to itself in a certain resonance and that just reverberates and you know let’s take this talk for instance.

Right now we can just notice the silence that’s right here. Like David and Andrew have been talking about lots of things, but when there’s an allowing the silence to come into the foreground, this immeasurable hush can reveal itself.

D: Yes.

A: And then of course, that’s true for the fullness and the liveliness as well.

D: Yeah, because even though we’re talking about these ideas and concepts and so on, and ways of framing it, there’s still a conversation of the Self with itself taking place here.

A: Exactly.

D: And I’ve had several, from our previous conversations, I’ve had several people contact me and talk about the impact it had.

A: Oh yeah.

D: Nothing to do with the concepts.

A: Exactly, yeah, it’s just a powerful presence and, that takes place when those that are in this recognition come together. You know, the Self just relating to itself, engaging with itself, speaking to itself about itself.

D: Yeah. Yes, I have a lot less practice at doing it through speaking than you do. Mostly I’m doing it through writing.

A: That’s another beautiful way as well. Yeah,

D: It’s interesting. I’ve been surprised that some people felt it through just reading my work and the book and so on. Yeah, but there’s something, there’s also that thing we talked about at the beginning where there is that quality of us that actually is already awake. And so it can be stirred by hearing people who are awake speak.

A: Beautiful.

D: Or reading it or whatever, yeah, whatever it means.

A: Yeah, that’s right. We are the, we are knowledge itself and with a capital K. And just sort of remembering that which is already innately known on a non-conceptual level.

D: Yes, and it’s a fascinating process because just in the speaking, in the writing, the qualities come forward. So, the person might not know something, it can still come out in the words and in whatever way, and then there’s kind of like, “Oh, I didn’t know that, that’s interesting.” It just flows out because we come, when there isn’t the person trying to control everything. It takes some practice.

A: That makes a difference doesn’t it. Yeah.

All right well I feel like we’ve covered quite a bit. I’m just checking to see if there’s anything, It doesn’t feel like there’s anything that was left unsaid. So this is going to be, this is the first of this series of conversations.

David and I have had many other, or I think four other conversations where we talk about, you know, a wide variety of topics.

But this is the first of a series where we’re specifically addressing the different stages of the process of enlightenment, what I refer to as contextual modalities and what David refers to as stages of enlightenment.

And together we’re just contrasting and exploring the two perspectives and what has been seen and experientially recognized to be a part of this graceful process.

So we just acknowledge that grace and give all glory to pure Divinity. I thank you so much for being here, David.

D: All glory. Thank you.

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