An Exploration of Consciousness Part 1

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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. .