The path of awakening can be summarized in two basic movements: ascending or expanding consciousness, and then subsequently, or perhaps simultaneously, descension and radiation of consciousness. The ascending part of awakening is concerned with rediscovering or remembering one’s true Self, which is consciousness. That path may last days, weeks, months, years, decades, lifetimes; and so, too, for the descending or radiation phase of awakening.
I want to remind you that the truth of which I am speaking is paradoxical and beyond any kind of categorization, including mine. But for the sake of communicating something about the nature of awakening, I’m going to speak as though it’s true. We’re inhabiting a fiction, but it’s one that we willingly participate in, and one that can be highly beneficial for everyone, regardless of what your state of consciousness is.
As I was saying, the ascending, or expanding consciousness mode includes all the different forms of meditation. Meditations such as: shabd meditation or transcendental meditation, which have to do with experiencing more refined aspects of the hearing sense. There are visualization meditations, such as what the Tibetans teach. There is Kundalini yoga and pranayamic techniques, which concern themselves with stimulating an internal current that then rises internally until it reaches the top of the head, in which full expansion takes place. And there are many other forms of meditation that I’m not mentioning. Some would have to do with the Zen tradition, the Chinese Taoist tradition, the Christian mystic tradition, etcetera, etcetera. The Egyptian forms of meditation and initiation that existed long ago, the Hopi Indian meditations, etc. It’s an endless list.
The descending form of meditations are less common and they are more an aftereffect of having already ascended. The descending mode has to do with the spontaneous manifestation of realization that occurs after the expansion level has taken place. So, when the expansion level has [occurred] totally, we can say we’re in Self-realization, moksha. Some Indians call it mukta. Mukta and moksha are very similar: freedom, liberation. The Buddhists might call it anatman, the realization of the no-self, the non-self; or shunyata, the realization of emptiness. All of these terms go to describe the most fundamental and basic occurrence in consciousness after meditation has had a profound effect, has had the most profound effect. One would enjoy various states of witnessing, a consciousness of being the observer to experience.
After this most basic mode comes into being, the descending form of expression will spontaneously begin to manifest, which is the radiation of consciousness out of one or several areas of the body-mind, or psyche, or directly out of the soul itself. At that point, one could say one is then an instrument of the divine. You cannot be an instrument of the divine until you become the divine, until you become so familiar with the divine that its simple expression is spontaneously offered, without any calculation on your part.
This descending mode includes the experience of devotion. By the way, descending does not mean lower, it’s just a polarity. It’s not an expression of judgment at all. Devotion is an aspect of realization, which then permeates the environment; it becomes the object of one’s actions. So, the purpose of action in the state of devotion, in that descending mode, would be to transform the environment with that Self-realization principle, to communicate Self-realization in the field of action. You see, Self-realization is an abstract state, it has no concreteness to it, so there’s no way to express it from within itself, other than to just be it. But once you enter into devotional activity, you can begin to express, so to speak, Self-realization. You can begin to offer it, express it. There’s a great feeling of gratefulness and appreciation that permeates this particular descending form of divine expression. One is really inundated in the feeling of gratitude. It’s most powerful. Just to talk about it, I feel the power of it.
So, first one has attained everything in one’s Self through expanding into the divine, and it’s as if one then gives it away completely in devotion. There can be a cataclysmic awakening about the nature of the state in which both of these movements take place. An even higher dimension than ascension and descension, where they both become pranically balanced. The prana becomes extremely refined and it begins to hold together the ascending and descending movements of awakening, holds them into a greater synthetic reality. And that’s a kind of unity in which the Self, within Self-realization, is also perceived outside of one’s Self. You see, in Self-realization there’s the insistence that, “I am the Absolute.” In the field of devotional awakening there’s this feeling like, “You are everything; you are the Absolute.” And in this third mode, it’s neither me nor you; there’s a kind of subtle vibration that holds them together in unity. .
That experience can be just called a Unified State of Wholeness.
Beyond that, there is sahaja samadhi or as I like to call it, Amrita sahaja samadhi, which means, the Nectarous Relaxation as Pure Consciousness — not even as in Pure Consciousness, but just as Pure Consciousness: Relaxation as Consciousness Itself with that sweet, love-quality intact.
If you don’t go through Devotion and you get through into the state of sahaja samadhi, sometime, through Grace, it will be a dry state. It will be a dry sahaja samadhi. It will be loveless. If you go through Meditation and then Devotion, then Unity, then you get into this nectarous, this sweet, this inebriated sahaja samadhi, where even the emotional nature has taken on this Transmission.
Beyond sahaja samadhi it’s very difficult to talk about. It has to do with the Divine Mother. It has to do with Devi: the Consciousness of the Feminine Principle in which everything is experienced in this womb-like innocence, including one’s own Self, just a vibrant womb of Healing and Spiritual Transmission.
So, those are some of the states of consciousness that one will go through on the spiritual path. You may ask, “Well, you don’t say anything definite, what is the time frame in these different states of consciousness?” Well, you can’t answer that. You have to acknowledge factors, such as what the nature of the birth was in a particular individual’s case, how highly evolved they were born into, which state they were born into. You have to analyze things like the type of conditioning that existed in the situation that they were born in, how much pain they took on and how much they’d have to release in that lifetime. There are many factors, which take us beyond logic and reason in this field.
Each person has a great sense of uniqueness about them. You never know when your breakthrough’s going to occur anyway. You may think you can analyze it and say, “Oh yeah, I was from a pretty bad household, and there was alcoholism, and there was this, and there was that, and there was this form of abuse and therefore I’m taking on all this weight, all this burden, and of course my sadhana is going to take longer than the person next door….” But you have no right to assume that. You can’t assume anything except your own fervor of practice. That’s enough. That’s enough to wrap yourself in. Don’t worry about how long it’s going to take to become enlightened. It’s not for “you” anyway. Enlightenment is not for an individual, it’s not for the person or the persona; it’s for Consciousness Itself. And when Consciousness Itself really becomes inebriated on the experience of awakening, It vanishes into thin air — because It’s not existent in the way that experience is existent or matter is existent. It’s elusive, subtle, intangible. It’s beyond the functioning of the intellect.
And so each person has a great journey to travel, a journey which will not be replicated in anyone else. So, when you become enlightened, it’s not the Buddha becoming enlightened again. It’s not Krishna remembering His Divinity again. It’s a whole new expression of that Reality. You’ll see, you have to go beyond all conditioning, even the conditioning of spiritual traditions, even the conditioning of your best friend who’s awakened. You can’t hold on to anything, with certainty. You can, but it’s illusory.
When you fall in love, and you love someone, you never think, “When am I going to get to the highest pinnacle of love?” Love is present at the very beginning; that’s what brings you together. So, in the same way, sadhana or spiritual practices are a form of lovemaking. You’re making love to your Self. And when you make love to your Self, you don’t think, “When is it going to culminate?” You don’t care! You’re enjoying it. You’re enraptured by what you’re doing. You’re enraptured by every moment that you’re given.
This goal-seeking mind that wants to attain and hold onto even “states of consciousness” has to dissipate. It will be dissolved by the very spiritual practices you perform, if you perform them in love and innocence. If you have a child-like simplicity in your life, a child-like attitude, which is full of spontaneous innocence, then you’ll go a long way, without even knowing you’ve gone anywhere.
And the person who becomes the teacher is actually the best student. The person who teaches actually wants to be a student forever, if they’re a real teacher. When they’ve been given this job of teaching, they feel like they’ve been cursed.
You know, you get into this very high, Awakened-State and the only thing you want to do is use the functioning of your intelligence to know everything in the Divine. There’s an increased power of comprehension that accompanies awakening. It’s like looking out of a magnifying glass all the time. Everything you look at becomes larger than life, it becomes 3-D, it becomes expanded in your consciousness. So, there’s a great ecstasy, even about knowing simple things. If you’re an enlightened biologist you start looking at molecules and you get blissed-out into the field of jnana yoga. (laughter) You think I’m kidding! I can read a poem a hundred times and never get tired of it — it’s very strange. The poem may be only ten lines, but I can read it in so many ways. I can look at it from so many angles that it starts to become like an inebriating experience — and I’m not on any kind of drug, I can assure you. I’m not even drinking caffeine. You could say, “Well he had twelve cups of coffee in the morning and he’s way out there, “no — maybe a few B vitamins or something….
This atmosphere that we create here is something unique each time. For those of you who’ve come again and again and again, you know that we start off in a particular place, whatever that place happens to be. We may not even give it a label. And then through feeling together: you feeling me, me feeling you, me feeling my words as I speak, you feeling the message behind the words as it relates to your life, there’s a subtle and expansive movement in consciousness that happens. It’s spontaneous. I call it “Spontaneous Heart Awakening.” It includes ascending meditation (believe it or not), it includes descending meditation, it includes devotion, it includes unity of subject and object then it goes on to include sahaja samadhi and the actual divine Mother consciousness itself.
You may say, “How can you say that? That sounds so presumptuous.” I say it just because it’s my direct experience. I say it because it happens. It’s unpremeditated, unrehearsed. It’s really an exploration of consciousness. We are exploring consciousness together in an innocent and non-pretentious way. You can feel the movement of the Kundalini-shakti here, this up-and-down moving current. It’s a bodily vitality, or you can call it the “life current,” this spiritual current or currents, that flow through the human nervous system. It is an awakened atmosphere. Who’s awakened? Consciousness is awakened, not “me,” consciousness is awake. Consciousness is as natural as nature, natural as the wind or the movement of the sun. Only in many beings it’s not awakened. Here, somehow, through grace it manifests, that’s all we know. No one can take credit for it. It’s not some kind of attainment; it’s a gift. It’s a precious gift of the heart.
So, we’re moving deeply into That now, with no effort. We’re moving in it, we’re swimming in it, we’re feeling it. Each person is left undisturbed and protected in their integrity and in their innocence here. There’s no lifestyle that goes along with this gift. There’s no way of life you have to live to keep this gift, to hold on to it. Will some of you lose it? Yes, but who cares? Remember, it’s not your possession anyway. Let it flow through you. Be reminded of something when it’s flowing through you and then just let everything go. Go on living as before. If it’s real, if it’s something real, it’ll stay with you in spite of the fact that you forget it. It’ll remember you.
There’s a kind of arrogance with “being the doer” all the time. We think we have to do everything. But when it comes to spiritual awakening it’s just the opposite, it’s about no-doing. It’s about learning how to listen. Naturally, when you listen, the mind becomes silent, it falls silent. In that silence, if there is a spiritual transmission, you will receive, automatically.
Perhaps some of the spiritual concepts you’ve inherited will not work in this room. I can tell you that none of them will work, because we’re not functioning in a conceptual framework, at least when I’m doing this Yoga with you like this; it’s not conceptual. If you do certain types of yogas, meditations, techniques, practices, then continue to do them even after you leave if you want to. Or don’t do them, I don’t know what’s good for you. You’ve got to find out.
There are the words and then there is That which is beyond the words. Drink That without inhibition. No one’s watching you. It’s not like you’re taking a shower here and you have to worry about who may be peeking. It’s deeper than body scrubs. [Laughter] There is a naked feeling when you become vulnerable, when you become silent, when you become innocent. That you begin to open in all the different centers, your head begins to open in consciousness. Your head empties out its thoughts, its incessant thought processes, and there’s a feeling of, ooh, this is very vulnerable, this is very, very exquisitely vulnerable. That’s exactly the atmosphere that I want you to feel.
Like, we don’t look at each other, we look into each other, we look through each other. This is the kind of atmosphere the Buddha taught in. That atmosphere is actually your own inner Self. That whole field of innocence and vulnerability is actually what you are. So, we must be very delicate with each other, even after this sitting together; respect that people could be going through huge transformations within an hour.
It’s very sublime, very silent. If you ask a question, see if you sense it coming out of that silence, if you can’t, ignore it. You may say, “Well if you’re in that silence, what question could there be?” Sometimes there are questions that would come up.
It’s most important to just let yourself go into meditation. Just find that thread, that magic thread that goes into the invisible, and just sense the connection between you and the thread.