Transcript: Our Natural Potential talk by David Buckland at SAND2015

Rick Archer: So, I’d like to introduce my friend David.

David lives on Vancouver Island in Canada and I got to know him better and better over the last several years.

He has been tremendously helpful to the batgap.com website.

He’s a very technical guy and he’s been able to fix all sorts of things and create all sorts of things for the site that I wouldn’t have been able to figure out.

So I really appreciate that.

But in this context, it’s more relevant to mention his deep spiritual realization and also his extensive knowledge.

He has a blog called Davidya.ca.

And it’s sort of a play on words because “Davidya” means “knowledge” and his name is David, so it’s “Davidya.”

And it’s one of the kind of blogs that I actually read regularly, in detail, every time he posts something, because I always learn something new.

So, I won’t take up any more of his time, and I’ll just turn it over to David. Thank you.


David: I’m taking the opposite approach from Rick. [his talk, prior to mine, where he had a script.]

I like to organize things and I’m analytical. But in this case, I was called to just go with the flow here.

So I’m going to be talking about stages of development in consciousness or states of enlightenment, you may call it.

There are some people who consider talk of stages to be delusional, that there is only one awakening for example or that concepts of stages are a barrier to living them. And actually that’s true. Any concepts we hold as the truth without experience is not founded in reality. It’s just concepts and so we don’t want to be identifying with the concepts, but at the same time, those concepts are like a map for the road.

And do you deny a person the map for their journey because they might get caught by the map or confuse the map with the road.

It depends on the approach you want to take. In my case, I work on the map.

And there’s three reasons for that.

One, again, is people are on a journey.

They want to understand how things are unfolding.

And in a broader sense, that might be outside the teaching that they’ve been involved in.

They may experience it subjectively quite differently than that teaching, or they may be outside of any tradition.

Another reason is if we want to do scientific research on this thing, we need to have an actual working framework so we can put things in context.

Otherwise, it’s kind of blobbing things together that don’t belong together, or things that seem the same but aren’t.

For example, at one stage, it’s not uncommon to experience the world as illusory.

At another stage, it’s not uncommon to see the world as never happened in the first place.

Those sound kind of similar, but they’re actually totally different and several stages apart.

And where, on the other hand, you hear somebody describing an ego death into no self and someone else describing their ego expanding to become cosmic, they’re actually describing the same process, just differently, subjectively.

So this is where having an appropriate framework is really valuable. And finally, just putting text in context. So for example, you read the Upanishads or the Gita or something like that, and you read different things.

You hear this teacher saying this thing or this teacher saying that thing, much as I examples I already gave, and they sound like completely contradictory things.

And it’s not actually that they’re contradicting necessarily, they’re actually quite possibly talking of a different stage.

So understanding the different stages allows you to put the old text in some kind of context.

First though, I’m going to spend a couple of minutes to put the larger perspective in context and talk about childhood development, to put our own development already in some kind of context, so then we understand what I’m talking about better afterwards.

So this first stage, I’m going to be using the Alexander model here, but there’s also the example, if you’re familiar from psychology, I have the example of the Piaget stage.

And on the far right is what’s called the kosha, which is means sheath in Sanskrit, and it’s the Vedic idea of the layers of our being, physical and so on.

You’ll see how that unfolds.

So the first stage that unfolds when we’re born, between that first couple of years, is we’re focused on the body, basically.

In Anna “kosha”, means “food body,” literally.

And we’re focused on learning to walk and talk and make sense of our environment.

The second stage, from two to seven years, that often starts with terrible twos.

We move into our emotional body and it becomes the dominant area of development.

We’re experiencing emotions in a much fuller way and desires, the “I want” thing.

You know, you see the kid in the grocery store, “I want, I want.”

And they have to have it, whatever they see, because that’s really dominant in their perception.

And that’s… and energy healing circles and that kind of stuff, they refer to that as the energy body.

Some people will say astral or something like that, and prana, you’ve probably heard of prana, or chi, that’s the prana body.

The koshas, the chakras and that kind of stuff function, the surface level of that is the prana body.

The next level of development happens when kids start school, they move into the mind, the brain shifts into more of a beta [EEG] format.

Now in the first two stages, one of the interesting things that’s going on too is what’s called synaptic exuberance.

The brain is making massive connections. It’s just like an information dump. It’s just taking all the information it can.

But what starts to happen now in this stage is that those connections are pruned.

The connections that are used regularly are reinforced, laminated it’s called.

They’re insulated with a layer of fat, and so it makes them faster and more efficient.

But those connections that aren’t reinforced, aren’t used, fall away.

And that’s one of the reasons, for example, we start to forget what happened before we were five or six years old.

The memories are actually still there, it’s just that we no longer have an easy connection to them.

And then in the next stage of development through the teen years, mainly, the intellect comes online, the forebrain, they call it the executive functions, the higher thought and so on, and it has the corresponding kosha as well.

And then we have the feelings and intuition that develop and so on, and then the individual ego, and so on.

But what actually happens in here a lot is that most people stall out somewhere in their development in the mind or intellect level.

The… What’s the name here?

Oh yeah, Lovinger’s ego development refers to self-protective, conformist or self-aware stages.

And you meet people all the time that operate from that a lot.

And that’s basically somewhere in this range, they become identified and they stall out.

So they don’t reach what Maslow called self-actualization.

They don’t get down into these stages particularly.

There’s some development that happens, but it never becomes fully expressed.

And there’s two reasons for that.

First one, we don’t know who we are.

We’re not experiencing pure consciousness or the being inside.

And secondly, unprocessed experiences or traumas and things like that, things we’re resisting, people will often detach from their emotions because they have an unresolved garbage in there.

And so what that basically does is identify us with those higher levels and cause the fog that blocks the deeper levels. Down at the bottom there on the right, you can see Ananda,

which means bliss. In other words, what that means is we have a bliss body all the time with us, but because of that noise and those other bodies, the noise and fog, however you want to describe that, it’s not available to us. But as we develop spiritually, those values become clearer and then that becomes available to us and then we have happiness for no reason in the background.

So the main solution then is two things.

Essentially, becoming aware of who we are, and purifying our physiology, healing, however you want to look at it.

And the primary way I would suggest this takes place is by this.

There’s a few different names.

There’s over a dozen different kinds of names for this.

Samadhi comes from yoga.

Another word for this is just pure consciousness, the experience of just being within or simply the I am conscious without content.

Turiya is a Sanskrit word more from the Upanishads that literally means the fourth.

To put this in context, we all experience every day waking, dreaming, and sleeping.

But there’s a fourth state of consciousness that science has been exploring that has a distinct physiology and Samadhi or Turiya, that stage.

And in that, again, it’s a pure consciousness state.

We have a deep restful state. At the same time, the mind is alert. And we have this inner clarity without content.

Presence is another word.

So by culturing that, using techniques that culture that, then we’re able to bring in these two aspects, Atman and Sattva, otherwise known as consciousness and clarity.

Now, here I’d like to mention a little bit about Ayurveda.

There is what’s known as the six bhavas in Ayurveda.

Bhava in this case means house.

So it’s basically the six areas of life.

And the idea from Ayurveda, is the Vedic science of health and medicine.

And in the first three are the areas of life we bring forward from our family bloodline, from mother and father and so on.

The other three are what we bring forward from prior lifetimes. And the key part there is Atman and Sattva. In other words, they’re cumulative. Our spiritual development in prior lifetimes is brought forward into this lifetime.

And this is one of the reasons you see people who have sudden spiritual awakenings with no apparent practice or background, or you have people who have a lot of subtle perceptions of seeing angels or have energy healing abilities that spontaneously arise.

These are from the two aspects.

And the ideal path, of course, is one that develops both.

And we’ll see why in a moment when I get into our next part, into the core of the talk itself.

This is known…

Stages of enlightenment are being referred to as trans or post-personal stages of development because we’re transcending the ego and developing in consciousness itself.

Yesterday, we were at Sofia University nearby Palo Alto doing a large panel discussion that Rick hosted, and that university specializes in trans-personal psychology.

So there’s basically, in this context, there’s stages in consciousness and stages in clarity.

They’re a little bit blended together in some systems.

Like you may have heard of the seven states of consciousness model that was taught in TM circles or some other kinds of things like that.

This separates out those states of consciousness, waking, dreaming, sleeping, from stages of development.

But it also is enhanced.

This comes out of the Yoga Vasishtha, which is the core teaching out of the center of the Ramayana.

That’s a text from some 7,000 years ago.

Again, a discourse between a sage and an awakening avatar.

So the first stage, most of you will be familiar with in some way, is known as Self-Realization or Cosmic Consciousness.

And this is when we wake up from the ego self, the individuality, into our cosmic nature.

We shift from being the self, or the me-self, the small self, to the large Self.

There’s a number of ways people talk about this.

Buddhists tend to frame it more as the shift into no-self, as in the not-me, whereas in the Vedic side they talk about Atman, or consciousness.

We recognize our Self as consciousness.

Now this isn’t something that happens to the person.

We actually wake up From the person.

So no one actually ever gets enlightened.

We actually transcend being the person.

I mean, we still have the person, and some people talk about this in a more monkish denial, renunciate kind of approach, but most of us are householders, and in that experience, we still have a person.

Everybody you see, the greatest sages, they all had a personality, preferences. There’s still a person there.

It’s just there’s no longer the centre. It’s just an aspect of themselves.

Like they’ve got fingers and toes and a person.
and it’s no longer who they are, who they are is expressing
through them.

So that’s the primary stage and the most important one.

We’re at a non-duality conference and there’s a lot of people that refer to Self-Realization as non-duality.

And one of the ways that’s experienced is that the outer world is an illusion, and so it’s irrelevant, and I have my experience in this inner unity.

But if there’s a separate thing, even if it’s illusory, it’s still separate.

There’s a duality there. It’s not oneness.

So it’s important to understand this a little better from that context.

Especially if you want to understand what non-duality is, you have to see where this goes.

The second stage is when we recognize that same Self within, in the world.

In other words, we see the world is myself.

We recognize that, and that’s where you get into the, Rick mentioned the Upanishadic saying,

“I am that, thou art that, all this is that, thou alone is.”

So in other words, I am that, and all this is that, are both true.

So we’re…

And this is really quite literal.

The Unity process tends to take place in a series of stages, because there’s a progression of essentially experiencing and becoming what we experience, we recognize we are, and it becomes part of ourselves.

And so this progression that happens through the layers of experience, and then out into the layers of memory and time, and layers of how that develops, and until you have this increasingly larger wholeness or completeness, all of which is myself.

And so including what Rick referred to, including all of the universe and then all of creation, which includes all the universes, it all is part of myself.

And that’s directly experienced.

And it’s also on a very literal surface level as well.

For example, if you…

In the senses, if I touch an object, I experience the object.

I experience feeling the object.

But as I am the object as well, I experience being touched at the same time, simultaneously.

So as you might gather from that, it’s an extremely intimate experience because you are everything.

And it’s a bit of a whole talk just on the one thing.

But the next stage is what’s known as Brahman, or Beyond consciousness.

And in this stage, what happens is that, through this progression, over time, with Unity, we reach a place where consciousness has become aware of itself, both globally and at every point within itself.

There’s this accumulation, it’s created this wholeness, this a complete recognition of consciousness.

And what can happen then is consciousness can recognize all of itself and then it no longer needs to look in on itself.

It knows all of itself.

And so then it can turn and look beyond itself.

And then consciousness…

And then from a Unity perspective, consciousness is eternal, unchanging, infinite.

But what you discover with the Brahman shift is that it’s actually another kosha.

it’s another layer, and there actually is an origin to consciousness within Brahman.

And so Brahman is the knower of Brahman, whereas in Unity, consciousness is the knower of itself.

In the Brahman shift, Brahman becomes the knower of itself.

And there’s no…

You know, we can describe them in a way that the dynamics of consciousness.

In Self-Realization, we become the knower, the observer.

In Unity consciousness, we become the observed as well, both, they collapse together and it leaves only experiencing, the process of experience, the devata value. And then in Brahman, that too is merged. So the actual, the fully non-dual state is Brahman, because even in Unity there is a subtle duality of conscious and non-conscious, of being and non-being.

It’s very, very subtle, but in Brahman that is resolved as well.

Now this is a fairly typical process we’re looking at stages in development of consciousness.

And quite common in the West with dominant minds, less heart development.

And some people see that as The process.

But in actual fact, there’s this whole other side of it, that we culture that satva, that clarity more, along with consciousness, along with that process, then it unfolds a whole
different set.

Rick made some references to that.

The first stage of that is known as Refined Cosmic consciousness or God consciousness, because in that first stage, we become aware that we are not the doer, we are the observer of the person doing.

We kind of take a step back into this witness or observer mode and see the body and the body is doing and all this thing going on, but we’re not doing it anymore.

We’re the non-doer, we’re the observer.

So what then is doing?

And that’s what unfolds in refined Cosmic consciousness.

You become aware of those laws of nature, the mechanics of nature, and what’s actually causing the body to function the way it does, and all the intelligence that’s inside the body and inside objects around us in the world.

And the key aspect of the stages of clarity is refinement of perception and the awakening heart.

So in some traditions, they refer to these as the masculine and feminine aspects of development, the absolute and the relative sides.

And the fullness of the process is in both.

So it’s also known as Shiva and Shakti.

So this is the Shakti process now, and…

Okay, next stage, is Refined Unity.

Now, one of the interesting things about this process too is that with the stages in consciousness,

they begin with a realization, a recognition, and they’re shifting our sense of who we are, shifting being.

And this completely changes our perspective of ourselves and of the world.

So each of them begins with this distinctive realization.

And then in the refined stages though, it’s a slightly different process that’s interweaved with it.

And rather than starting with a realization and then maturing, it’s a progressive process that peaks with God Realization, where we actually, in high Unity, where we actually become the

Now, that’s a whole process we can go through. There’s a choice that takes place in there as to how your relationship with the divine shifts.

But it’s quite a profound process.

Now, for some people who have been leaning heavily on the Shiva side, on development of consciousness, There isn’t a lot of this going on.

And so it’s not until later on that stuff starts to show up.

Other people, the stages of clarity begin before the first awakening, so people start to become aware of subtle aspects and the nature of divinity and intelligence in the world.

There’s a real range in how that shows up.

And also because this is expressed, it’s much more personalized.

Because we’re talking about subtle levels, if you think of the earlier slide of childhood development, we’re talking about mind and intellect levels, that the intelligence that exists on that level is made of mind stuff, essentially.

And so it can be whatever it wishes to be in terms of appearance.

So you classically see angels drawn, portrayed with big wings, for example, and flowing robes.

This is what’s called personalization.

Our culture, our expectations, and the intelligence’s desire to appear a certain way is how they appear.

But what they actually are is underlying that.

So the appearance is the appearance. It’s not the reality.

The reality is what’s underneath that.

So essentially an angel experienced purely would essentially be a cloud of intelligence.

But because it’s much easier to relate to a form, people will personalize it, they’ll experience it in the way they expect, or they’ll present it in a way that might be expected.

So it’s an important understanding of that process because it gets really confusing when people get into, “No, no, this angel looks like this.”


“No, no, there isn’t those kind of angels, there’s this kind of angels,” and all that kind of stuff.

It’s an incredibly vast field and it depends on what people are specifically aware of and the dynamics and the relationship to it as well.

Some people are much more in the intellect.

They don’t get into the personalization.

They stay with the impersonal process and so they don’t experience laws of nature as beings.

That’s not where they want to go.

They just stay with the principles.

They just learn the understanding and processes that take place.

And then there’s other people who quite commonly will experience it in various kinds of forms.

Then you’ve got the refined Brahman where that process continues.

But at each time what happens is all of this, when you shift from… into Unity, all of the process that took place in here goes away. It’s gone.

And then it gradually comes back into the new context.

Because this is a complete change in a sense of self and being, and so there’s a process for that to become established and a process for this to come back into that new context.

Because these are quite distinctive.

Brahman is known in the Vedic text as the Great Awakening.

It’s considered the largest shift of all of them, and they’re actually progressing to the greater.

a bunch of stages to fully develop, and this one is even bigger.

And so essentially, you develop this place.

If you’re taking this full path, you come down to here, and there’s this whole rich thing where you have this intimate relationship with the environment, everything you look at, if you choose to observe it that way, you see the flow of consciousness within it, you see the flow of life and how it operates, plus the physical form.

It’s all there available to you, just kind of… It’s like shifting focus, what you’re looking at. But then you come… And there’s profound intimacy with all those things, because they’re on myself.

But then in this stage [Brahman], it’s gone. You dump it all. And now it’s a more impersonal kind of stage where, I mentioned earlier, in the beginning, where not that the world is illusion, but it was never created in the first place.

And it’s like there’s an appearance here, but it’s like it’s a brief thought in the mind of the divine, but it actually was never created, it never unfolded.

It’s just like this idea. Everything we experience is just this really simple idea.

This doesn’t mean it’s illusory, it just means it’s not what it appears to be, in the sense that we understand it.

The final level is what’s called Parabrahman.

I don’t know if anybody talks about that stuff at this point.

Part of the working on this model for me has been speaking with many dozens of people who have shifts, or I’ve actually been present for several dozen people who have gone through
these stages.

While they were actually having the shift, and then also I’ve talked to many people afterwards, or read accounts and that kind of stuff.

And it layers into this nicely.

And it’s…

So there’s a lot of detail that expands out from this.

For example, with the first shift, Self-Realization, there’s five different ways that people experience it subjectively that can sound quite distinctive.

For example, there is a sense of shifting from the ego self into the cosmic self, into Atman, into consciousness.

And that shift out of the ego can be experienced as an ego death or just an ego surrender. It kind of depends on how that process goes.

There’s also the sense of shift from a “me” self into a “no” self, into a nothing or an emptiness.

Where the first is more for shifting into a fullness, the other one is shifting into more of an emptiness. Primarily because there’s less of clarity.

So it’s more flat and simple.

A third style is where the person experiences their me, ego sense, expanding to become cosmic.

And again, these are just variations in subjective experience.

Then there is the devotional surrender.

All of these require a surrender of the self in some way, but it happens when, not because we do something, because self wakes up to itself here.

The cosmic self wakes up to itself through this apparent form,
and that allows the awakening to take place, and so the ego falls away as a result of that.

So it’s not something we control or do, it happens through grace, through Brahman.

And the final type is what’s been jokingly called the “ozer,” and this is somebody who gradually, gradually shifts, and the shift happens, but it’s kind of quiet and uncertain.

And gradually, gradually, over time, it gets to more clarity.

And at a certain point, it’s just like, OK, this has never gone away. It’s here. I have the symptoms.

One other thing I should mention, though, there is occasionally a variation on that that gets confused a little bit sometimes.

One of the characteristics I mentioned on the first stage there of self-realization is the witness, shifting into the observer mode. That can actually happen before self-realization.

There is a stage where people can shift into the witness mode, but not become self-realized. It’s an energetic structure.

I won’t go into the whole dynamics of that. But there’s an energetic structure that supports that.

But essentially, development reaches a certain point, and pauses just before awakening, so that the physiology can clean itself out more, so the clarity can increase before the actual awakening takes place.

Let’s see what else I have to cover on here.

Oh, yes, another one that’s really useful to understand.

There’s a number of factors that affect the way this is experienced, but one of the interesting ones is the dominant guna.

Guna is a word from the Vedas that refers… kind of like means quality, but essentially the idea is that all, everything we experience around us in the world is composed of the interplay of three fundamental qualities.

Sattva, rajas, and tamas.

Sattva, the stages of clarity, is a reference to that.

Tamas basically is what we call inertia in the West.
Rajas is like action, fire, transformation.
And sattva is purity or clarity.

And essentially, if a person has dominant tamas when they have an awakening, It’s not as common, simply because there’s less clarity, but it can happen. There tends to be more rigidity and intolerance, fundamentalism about their shift, and this, my experience is the experience, and that kind of approach.

Then you get the rajas dominance, where the world is experienced as an illusion. So that’s an effect of the transformation from inertia into sattva.

And then the final stage is Sattva, and that’s when the world shifts into Lila, the Divine Play.

So, the key point there is this idea of world as illusion being related to Self-Realization.

It’s actually related to the guna development. It’s actually related to the other side, the stage of clarity, and how far along that process is. And it’s different from Self-Realization.

It’s not about the stage of consciousness. It’s about this parallel stage taking place that informs how that subjective experience is happening.

And each of these stages also, of course, has their maturities.

Rick mentioned satchitananda, absolute bliss consciousness,

That’s self-realization when it’s fully matured.

Quite often what happens with initial self-realization is there’s the liberation, a sense of boundlessness, the inner peace that comes along,

But the bliss may not come right away because there’s still more clarity needed. There’s still a fog in the physiology
so over time as the physiology is cleaned up and that,

Then the bliss can shine through from the bliss body I mentioned prior.

ParaBrahman is kind of like that for Brahman. It’s like the ultimate but it gets so ridiculous to try and describe it
because it’s so like the you know,

the Tao that can be described as not the Tao.

It actually gets worse and worse that way.

But particularly in Brahman, because you’re now functioning beyond consciousness, as I mentioned.

It’s then in this place where it’s really fundamental, and from an experiential aspect it can be extremely abstract at first.

That state itself is quite commonly experienced in two stages.

First, there’s the experience of that shift out of Unity.

So the first part of the shift is the loss of that intimacy and oneness.

And then the second part is when we recognize what’s here instead, a deeper settling into it.

So it’s a big one.

It’s interesting how a friend of mine was quite devastated by that shift when it happened.

Whereas for some other people it’s just kind of like you can fall into a flat period after this great richness.

But again, these are parallel processes, so sometimes what happens is this [refinement] begins in here or even down in here.

So another important point here is that these stages are stages of development in consciousness.

We go beyond consciousness here.

So the stages of development of consciousness, the Atman side of development, is the end of that process.

That is when it actually completes.

However, the stages of clarity and refinement are essentially indefinite.

If you just look at something like the Yoga Sutra, the third book, and the kind of abilities that are said to flower, or the potential you see in any number of different stages and stuff like that and what they’ve discovered over time.

It’s quite clear that it can take essentially hundreds of years for that to develop in our current time.

So it essentially becomes an indefinite process.

Another interesting thing I wanted to note about this stage too, I mentioned before about the awakening heart.

There is, of course, we have our physical heart, and you’ve probably all heard of the heart chakra, anahata.

But there’s also this other level of the heart called hridaya,
which is in the same physical position as the heart chakra,
but it’s at a higher level, a higher kosha.

And so it’s what awakens with God consciousness when that comes around.

And then it’s basically- we’ve become like a divine hose.

It’s like this outpouring of love through the- it becomes a channel for the divine to flow out into the world.

So I just kind of skipped around on a few of the details in there.

But I think I’ve covered all the main points I wanted to mention.

There’s certainly lots of other details.

And I’m working on a book that goes into a lot more detail
on some of these variations, and how intense the energy is,
how much purification is going on, whether there’s more flash
going on with this process or not, and so on.

But does anybody have any questions?


Question: I know what you said at the beginning about the truth and the non-truth, this is a linear description, but I wondered if you, in your book, if you’re going to talk about correlating this with the 49 level of human ? application?

David: No, I’m not as familiar with some of the other traditions.

My main study, I have a graduate degree in Vedic science,
so that’s kind of my main meaning, the framework I’ve used.

It’s one of the few traditions that actually covers this whole territory.

A lot of them only cover parts of it, but there are certainly other ones that go on.

From my own perspective, I view the kundalini process as a supporting process to embody it, but not causal.

It’s the consciousness itself that is what structures the process.

So you can certainly do techniques to help culture Kundalini, but that is not going to actually create the circumstance.

It’s just going to help…

It’s going to help with the clarity side, so that when this side develops, it will be smoother and clearer.

So that’s one of the things…

I mean, some people have this idea that, “I’ll wait until I’m enlightened, and then I’ll solve all my problems.”

But actually, that’s not how it works.

Because what’s here doesn’t go away.

It’s the same, you still have the same life, you’re still the same person with their strengths and weaknesses.

Now the context is different.

So yeah, it’s a part of the process.

I didn’t go into it too much, but it’s a part of the process, particularly related to the refined stages.

But you have to be a little careful with this too.

Some techniques try to push kundalini and it’s kind of like an
effort to try and make it happen and that’s a little bit hazardous because you can fry your energy physiology doing that.

Rick: I was thinking we should both sit there and people can direct questions to either of us because we said we were going to do that at 12:30. [joins me]

Sure, do you want to use this mic?

Oh yeah, I’ll use the yellow one, you have that one.

Here’s a chip for you.

I don’t know if I want to sit down, because people can’t see me.

Oh, you might as well turn the projector off.

Okay, yeah, sorry.

Yeah, and that’s my website.

Turn the projector off.

Oh, careful.

How does that happen?

We can just stand to the sides.

That’s fine, we can sit here.

So, direct your questions to either David or me.


So, David, I’d go back to Aisha’s question, which is, I think it would be useful if you compared those maps.

If you look at Buddhism, there’s the Brahma-Viharas, and there’s the development approach, and the Parmitas, the six Parmitas.

And the maps are really very different than this map.

And there are places where they overlap, but there are places…

What I’m trying to say in a nice way is there are blind spots in this map, from my perspective, rather than those other maps.

David: What I’m looking at here, just to understand, what I was looking at with this map is the underlying process.

There is huge variation in the subjectivity and the emphasis of the different traditions and different subjective processes we’ll experience.

There is a…

Yeah, I mean, this is just in the variations on the energy experience, for example, whether it’s mild, medium, or intense.

Some people are very aware of a Kundalini process they have to place.

Some people are not aware of a Kundalini process they can place,
until the lights come on and you get up to the sixth chakra.

And some people are waiting for a Kundalini awakening when it actually happened in their past life.

And they don’t need to do it again. So they don’t have a… they won’t need to do a Kundalini awakening in this lifetime.

So it’s kind of a vast diversity in the process.

I would love to compare more, but I don’t want to just sort of take an article online and list them and sort of say, “Oh yeah, this is this, this is that.” That’s not the level of expertise I have.

I have consulted with several teachers about the process, though it wasn’t part of my early tradition.

And I wanted to understand that better.

And so I do have an understanding of the various traditions there and how in context in which they fit here.

But yes, there’s a number of others that do.

And you’ve got to be careful not to try and shoehorn in things
that aren’t quite the same.

That’s right.

Rick: They said that they’d like us to do this without the amplification because the audio guys need to shut that down.

So people could move up toward the front, they want to keep it dialoging and asking questions and just sit here and talk to you.

Yeah, yeah.

Question: I’m a little bit confused about if everything is consciousness, how can we go beyond consciousness in your life?

And then, like, there’s a second part of my question.

Could you describe me your friend there who, I guess, was disappointed with that stage or something,

I’m thinking, well, you might be right.

David: No, no, they’re only disappointed for the first couple of weeks.


Question: Disappointed there, you’ve gone beyond ego.

Well, it’s not– you’ve gone beyond ego, but the ego doesn’t go away.

It’s just it’s not who you are anymore.

So that function is still there.

And then actually, there’s some–

my experience has been that people actually become more distinct, more unique in their expression, because all of the sort of supposed do’s and shoulds and musts fall away over time.
and you’re that much more unique person.

I mean, there’s a lot of really monkish kind of teachings that are floating around these days in the West, this denial of the ego, but that’s a renunciate approach. It’s not a householder’s approach.

And the ego doesn’t, there can be an experience. I mean, for myself, there was an experience of ego death, but what I realized over time was that what actually happened was the ego identification collapsed,

And there was a whole bunch of story and blah, blah around it
that kind of shattered. I described it as shrapnel falling away.

But yeah, but actually, the person was still there. It’s just the person.

It’s still that person there that has preferences and so on.

And the Brahman thing, as I mentioned, She found the shift itself into Brahman devastating, but it was just the loss of the Unity.

But a couple of weeks later, after that settled out, she then was able to see what was there already, what’s there now. And it’s actually even better.

And that’s why it’s called the Great Awakening.

It’s an even bigger thing. So yeah, it’s a good thing.
It’s just might be a bumpier transition.

Is that a good way–

Question: But it’s beyond consciousness?


That’s the part that confuses me.

Yeah, because it knows itself.

David: Now, the thing about everything being consciousness,

that’s a reality in Unity.

In Self-Realization, we experience ourselves as consciousness, but the world out there is illusion, or it’s whatever.

It depends on how that’s being experienced.

It might be expressed as divine. We don’t recognize it as consciousness, unless we know it as consciousness.

We might have a concept that it’s consciousness, too.

But the actual direct experience of that happens in Unity when we recognize that the self is behind everything we experience as well.

It’s all happening within consciousness.

And then in Brahman we go beyond that too, and we just become the knower of Brahman.

It gets mostly abstract in trying to describe it, because it’s none of what was there before, but it’s also all of it simultaneously.

So you’re both in ignorance, in Self-Realization, in Unity, and in Brahman simultaneously.

It’s all true at the same time. It’s kind of this collapse of all the paradoxes.

Rick: It takes a while to get used to this sort of way of thinking because many people have this sort of black-white on-off concept of awakening and they’re not used to sort of parsing out all these strata and gradations and stages of its development, you know, figure out whether you’re awakening or not.

But you’re kind of like, you know, trying to define all these subtle…

David: Well, yeah, it’s like I talked about earlier with the map, because when you get to a place where this is unfolding for you, then the idea that there is an awakening and you realize the Self and that’s…

I mean, that is the end of the seeker.

There can be a really strong sense of being done.

And that’s where we develop, but it’s just…

It’s not the whole picture.

And there’s actually in the Seventh Mandala of the Rig Veda, the sage Vasishtha, I mentioned briefly earlier, he mentions the importance of desiring Unity.

And what I would add to that is the point of knowing it’s there, because you’re not going to desire it unless you know it’s there.

And in some of the modern dialogue, that whole conversation is missing.

But there is people who are having this process a lot out there, and they’re looking for places where they can find this information, because it’s not widely available yet.

Anybody else?

The book is written, it’s now in the editing stage. Which always takes a little time. The books been going on for awhile.

One of the challenges is I’ve been growing and changing so the completeness of the picture is growing and changing. And so… I started with a much larger project that turned into this massive 400 page thing and I realized that was a mistake and I broke it up into smaller pieces.

And then it’s like, “Well, that part isn’t quite clear yet.

I’m not quite ready for that part, but what can I write about now that I have the fuller picture?”

And so essentially the book is on this stuff in a lot more detail.

But it’s not all the detail you need necessarily, unless you’re in the middle of the process.

The main thing you need is the overall picture, just to understand that there is this process of unfolding and those two parallel processes. And this is like, you know, from before, I think I may have forgotten to mention in that first slide, one of the points I wanted to make about that with childhood development was, if you look at the chart, you see it’s progressively inward development.

we go progressively inward and then if you add Turiya or Samadhi, consciousness to that formula, then that continues and that consciousness starts to unfold to itself and you get into the transpersonal stages.

It’s a natural progression.

Rick: I think Alex had a question.

Question: I got a bunch.

Rick: Somebody over there, I just saw a flutter of a hand.

Yeah, Andy.

Question: You mentioned that the Kundalini Yoga could help with the clarity aspect of the structure there.

Is there anything that can help with the consciousness development aspect?

David: Well, the key was consciousness development.

Question: It’s a spontaneous thing, there’s no control you have over it.

David: Oh yeah, we don’t have control over the awakening, but you have control over the preparation.

So the ground is prepared there.

So that second slide after childhood development where I talked about Turiya, Samadhi, that’s the key.

And from my own perspective, an effortless meditation is the key because that gives you a reliable Samadhi experience every meditation pretty much.

And so it cultures that and over time, they’ve done a lot of longitudinal studies on this kind of stuff, and over time people start carrying the consciousness in as little as three or four months.

It starts to develop slowly but clearly.

And in that process, because you get this really deep rest and the body settles quite deeply down, the purification will happen spontaneously. Just like when we rest at night, the body is able to release, process its day and release some of the backlog.

In a samadhi, a deeply settled meditation, we’re much more deeply rested, so it allows a deeper level of purification to take place.

Now, quite often, I would say, you know, some of the teachings,
you know, they sort of say, “Oh, my meditation, that’s all you need for enlightenment,”

but most people need some supplementary help.

I mean, my experience, I don’t have any experience with Kundalini Yoga, so I can’t say that that’s the way to use,
but I can say that you do want to do probably some supplemental energy healing of some kind with somebody who’s decent.

It’s not, I mean, this kind of thing where they’re kind of, oh, you know, move your energy around a little bit or put some light in where it’s a bit shadowed.

That’s very primitive.

There are people around that are much more effective.

Kristin Kirk, one of the people speaking here, would be one example of that.

So it’s a matter of supplementing.

And the thing is-

Rick: He said, Kristin Kirk, she’ll be speaking at 2 in one of these rooms around here.

David: So one of the, one of the, she doesn’t have this framework at all by the way.

I’m just mentioning her because she has that skill set.

Um, I lost where I’m going with that.

But yeah, it’s this thing, it’s just that balance, culturing the masculine and the feminine.

Not putting all this emphasis on trying to get out of the world, but that culturing of the quality of life is going to improve your day-to-day life as well in the process. It’s not just about goal, some thing out there, it’s about your life right now.

And so if you’re culturing, you know, your physiology for a better experience of a process with the actual shift, you’re also improving your quality of life in the process now. And so that’s where it’s a…

both are useful.

Question: I’m still trying to frame your approach to this book and your work in this area.

So a few questions came up, did you look at other traditions?

Because of course, immediately I’m thinking of Daniel P. Brown, 30 years ago, his map was 18 stages and he overlapped a number of traditions, looked at them, so…

David: Yeah, there’s a number of synthesizers.

Mine is based on the Yoga Vasishtha from long ago, and I separated out the consciousness and sattva side to make that clearer.

So this is like a thing that was developed 7,000 years ago, and it’s stood the test of time.

And like I mentioned, the dozens of people that I’ve worked with and their actual experience of what’s happening and unfolding.

Now there’s a lot of subjective variation.

Some people have a much drier, simpler unfolding. They speak quite simply about the process.

Some people there’s this whole richness and they’re like, like Kirstin, she’ll probably make reference to beings, she’s consciously aware of all those koshas and all the beings that live on all those koshas and works with them all in her healing process.

So it’s a totally different reality from what a lot of people have yet.

But because consciousness is growing, it rises.

It’s the one consciousness, it’s rising group consciousness.

So it’s rising everybody up as more and more people become enlightened.

And it’s really started to accelerate in the last decade or so.

A lot more people are having those awakening experiences.

But it’s also, one of the things it’s doing is it’s an inside out process.

So it’s pushing stuff that hasn’t been resolved to the surface.

So there’s a lot of noise going on on the surface right now.

If you look at world events going on, what you see is circumstances arise to push different kinds of rights into people’s awareness, different kinds of conflicts and unresolved things.

And of course, it depends on how people respond to that.

Some people get into big conflicts and battles, and they’re fighting that change.

But if you understand that this is a process of revealing and of purifying on the global stage, then you can see that it’s the one consciousness that’s doing the same thing as you as an individual in your spiritual practice.

The whole world is going through this spiritual practice process, through an awakening, however you want to frame that.

And so there is this purification process taking place as well as the deepening simultaneously.

But because a lot of people aren’t conscious of that process, some people are fighting it and making it worse, but also just they’re not understanding what’s going on, and so it creates more discomfort and so on, and they’re not cooperating with the process.

Question: So the second part of my question…

I’m completely finished with my question.

Oh, yeah, sorry.



So you mentioned either Susan Crook-Greuter or Loevinger, one or the other.

Loevinger, yeah.

I’m familiar with them.

And so do you have any interest to, since the whole world now is involved, we have this level of communication, to really kind of move this beyond a particular wisdom tradition in terms of language?

David: Oh yeah, well I use the Vedic terminology because it’s there.

As I mentioned, some terminologies don’t have the language for this stuff.

I haven’t come… like I use the term “beyond consciousness”, that’s not the traditional thing.

But it was not the perspective that was taught in my tradition of what Brahman is.

But that’s what it actually is, and it’s a way to think about it in English in a much more sensible way.


So, yeah, I have been moving more and more out of that, but it’s still… there is still language there.

We don’t have an English word for “sattva.”

There is.

I use “clarity,” but it’s not quite the right word.

Because you start thinking, am I pure? I know I’m not pure enough for this.

But it’s not that kind of superficial, what you ate for breakfast or whatever. It’s a much deeper kind of clarity,
and one that has been developing for many lifetimes.

You wouldn’t be here if this hadn’t been going on.

This would hold no interest whatsoever. It would be meaningless.

Thank you.


Question: How does one reconcile the uncomfortable feeling when the Kundalini is awakened?

David: Well, I’m not a Kundalini expert by any means. I understand the process.

But for me it wasn’t, it was a very, I basically was unaware of it until the lights came on.

So, but I have a past life history with practice.

And so for me it was, it happened to be smooth.

There are traditions that are very helpful with that.

Kundalini Vidya, if you’re familiar with them,

kundalinicare.com I think it is.

Joan Harrigan was one of Rick’s previous interviews.

Rick: Joan Harrigan, I did an interview with her a couple months ago on BatGap.

She has a really excellent book she’s written.

She’s both a PhD and the current lineage holder of the tradition, and she understands the process.

I mean, I don’t…

My approach to what I talked about with samadhi is different from hers, because she does have that kundalini leaning.

But in terms of a spiritual emergency or a difficult kundalini process, they can certainly help with that, because typically there will be some pranayama or some asana that will
help smooth out a process.

It could be difficult for people, though.

It depends on how it shows up.

It depends on what kind of blocks are there that have to be pushed through.

How willingly you participate in the process.

Because sometimes we give ourselves more problems than is necessary.


Question: I’m trying to think of how to word this.

I came from upstairs to make your talk and I’m wondering how off base some of the questions also going on here you think might be.

In other words, it seems like they’re looking to math and observation and measurements and theories to define consciousness.

And you’re sort of mapping the awareness of awareness itself, which makes a lot more sense for me.

I don’t know…

David: Well, there is a real strong cultural bias towards what’s known as materialism.

Like this whole effort to explain consciousness by brain function.

And yes, our state of consciousness, waking, dreaming and sleeping, and Samadhi as well, are all functional.

There’s physical correlates in how that process works.

But aside from things like when I talked about synaptic exuberance and the change in the way the brain is growing, that doesn’t have a real direct bearing on whether we’re a teenager or we experience the world as an adult.

That process of consciousness and energy is further along.

And because of that materialist bias, there’s no acknowledgement of that.

It’s, you know, what was her name? Neuroscientist who had the stroke, Jill Bolte Taylor. Really interesting experience, but she completely misunderstood it because she took a completely brain-based, like the cause of the experience,

I mean, certainly the stroke created the circumstances for that to happen, but it wasn’t the direct cause. It’s not because the stroke caused the consciousness to change. It was that it allowed the consciousness to come through. Yeah, you mentioned… Rick mentioned in his talk about a childhood fever and then having experience through that that allowed that to take place.

Peak performance, seeing a beautiful sunrise or whatever also influences it, that kind of thing.

Question: Sexuality, drugs.

David: It’s also actually worth noting, people think of this as a really difficult kind of process that’s impossible, but when you change states of consciousness from waking to sleep,
sleep to dream, that kind of stuff, we actually go into a neutral gear each time, very briefly, but we actually step into consciousness itself each time we change states of consciousness.

And when our mind falls asleep in deep sleep, our ego goes to sleep too.

So, like, we lose our ego every night. We touch consciousness multiple times every day.

And even just in a moment where we’re just, like, exhausted or we have a revelatory experience or something, just an openness, there’s going to be some quietness there, there can be a wave of peace, a wave of happiness, that kind of stuff. Just these little brief moments come all the way through.

The reason we need techniques is simply to help culture that, to culture the ground to make it more available. And then we can just be happy for no reason.

But actually, one interesting thing to mention, that’s kind of interesting, the bliss is also not something that just turns on. There’s a section in the Upanishads, I can’t remember
which went off the top of my head, but they talk about the 10 stages of bliss.

It actually steps up, and each of them is 100 times the previous.

So it’s exponential, and it’s…

So it’s kind of funny because what can happen in a process is when something clears in the clarity process, so something opens up, and the bliss comes online, it can come online like gangbusters, like a blast.

It’s a joke that you hope it doesn’t happen in public.

Because it’s like you just rendered a blubbering idiot laughing and crying and everything all at once.

But then what’s really interesting about that also is that within an hour or so, it’s normal.

You adapt because it’s part of who you are and part of what’s there.

The physiology gets kind of like poo! and then it kind of settles right in. and then it becomes the new normal.

And of course there’s certainly the variation, you get really tired or troubled or whatever is going on in your life.

It can become more background or more foreground, whatever, but it still becomes part of who you are, there all the time.

Question: I have a question about the breath, when the breath stops. Could you talk about that?

David: Sure. In Samadhi, when we go into a deep place of there not being any content in consciousness, we’re just in consciousness itself, just sitting there, we’re alert, but there’s no thinking going on, and the body is settled, in a very deep state of rest, then there’s no longer a need for breath.

So the breath will spontaneously stop.

But it’s interesting, as it goes longer and clearer, and it gets clearer, you’ll notice that actually the lungs change mode and they kind of go into this vibration.

And so they just kind of very quietly vibrate, which is synced to the pranava, if you’re familiar with that, the fine vibration that’s from which creation arises. The “om” is called the pranava mantra, but actually that’s another thing that’s screwed up. It’s not actually “om,” it’s “aum,”

A-U-M, is the pranava. And the letter that’s used, commonly the symbol used actually even in the the Science & Nonduality logo is actually a “UM”

They’ve used the Hindi letter instead of a Sanskrit letter so it’s kind of one of those really messed up kinds of things and it’s important because that’s the purity of…

sorry, I don’t have the…

Question: Your thoughts on psychedelic awakenings and have you studied people that have gone through that process and how that relates to everything that you’ve talked about in the talk?

David: No, I haven’t studied the process but I am certainly aware of people who, where that’s been a part of their process.

I know one person who woke up during an LSD trip, but it took them 10 years before they were clear.

I know several people whose lives were destroyed by a bad trip.

So it’s, from my perspective, it’s playing with fire.

It’s an attempt to get something quick or speed up the process,

But that clarity process I was talking about, what drugs do is actually they fog up the physiology.

They actually go backwards.

So you may have some really cool experiences.

There may be some nice openings, but the consequence is you decrease the clarity.

And so you then need more to get a similar experience.

And it’s a kind of progressive thing that’s actually taking you away from what I was talking about with that.

So that’s not a path I would recommend.

In the Yoga tradition, Patanjali speaks of different ways of development.

And he mentions that herbs and things could be used to create abilities and have experiences and stuff, but doesn’t recommend that process.

He recommended what’s called sanyama, which is a combination of being in samadhi and at the same time being able to have a clear thought and intention.

So then basically it’s a simple, the third book in the Yoga Sutra is basically this list of formulas.

If you’re able to sit in Samadhi clearly and then introduce a thought of a specific kind, then you have that effect.

And so then you can know knowledge of the movement of the stars, past lives, whatever.

Most of that stuff though tends to develop spontaneously.

Thank you.

David: Okay, I think we’re [done], yeah, thank you.

Sorry, can I get a quick one?


A quick one?

Yeah, sure.

Question: So you mentioned this kind of effortless meditation,
and good practice, and also possibly some energy clearing,
and other tangential support.


What else do you recommend?

Well, that’s the primary stuff, and living a reasonable lifestyle.

I mean, of course, we all want to have a good time and have some chocolate here and there.

But, you know, just a reasonable, you know, moderation is one of the principles in yoga.

You know, not extreme.

And not, you know, doing things that are going to stress you out, you know, create greater fog.

You know, that’s something I mentioned earlier.

Yeah, effortless meditation.

You know, things like TM is an example, Chopra’s technique is also effortless. Those kinds of things.

It depends on what resonates for you, what feels right for you.

But they can be very effective.

But it’s also one of those things where you have to be careful, if you’ve been a long term meditator, sometimes you can fall into ruts with it, and not quite doing the practice right, you kind of drift into, you know, habits of daydreaming or whatever like that, and then you’re not really culturing it.

You want to make sure you’re doing the practice correctly, and so you’re culturing that clarity and so on.

Thank you very much.



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