The Fire Beyond Self-Realization
A transcribed and edited talk, given by David Spero on June 26, 2004
If you feel that the only actually, and fundamentally, real thing in the human being is pure consciousness or the Absolute, then the topics of bhakti, of love, and parabhakti, supreme devotion, are moot topics. They’re non-topics, or, in the very worst scenario, they are taboo.
Since I adore silent Transcendental Consciousness and the rapture of full feeling, I feel quite comfortable with either topic. They both climaxed in my experience, and I invite you into that same mysterious, adorational consciousness, adorational pure consciousness.
So if you feel then, that the actuality of consciousness, the fullness of it (the totally awakened state) contains both feeling and transcendence, then the imminent question is: what is feeling in a Self-realized life?
Last week we spoke of advaita Vedanta and how Self-realization – that is, the transformation of the subject into Consciousness, Being or the Absolute, permanently, is advaita Vedanta in its fullness. We spoke about that and the different aspects of that realization; all that remains true.
In advaita Vedantic purity the subject is Consciousness, forever and ever and ever. However, it is my experience that as one lives day by day in a Self-realized state, the sensation of being the Absolute Itself fades. It dissolves.
Believe me, it’s quite a flash when you come into that Absolute Awareness; that you are the Uncreated, or Unborn. It’s a flash which, when it goes on flashing, forever, is permanent. The echo of that initial flash keeps on coming back into your awareness forever and ever. Not that you literally keep flashing into It (which you may), but that the vasana, or deep, deep memory of It, remains. It remains in Its own unfathomable, secretive, nature.
It is a state of bewilderment, then, that engulfs the human being as the sensation of being the Absolute fades. One begins to become bewildered; it’s an “enlightened bewilderment.” After all, what could be said about becoming the Immortal and then forgetting that you are That! Strange. How can you forget something that’s not even in the mind? Yet, one finds that Consciousness – the impact of It in the mind, the residual effect that is left, the impression – fades. It dissolves and so one can move, at that point, into a ferocious kind of bewilderment, an angry, enlightened bewilderment. That sounds strange. I know I’m violating spiritual etiquette by putting those words together, but I’ve never been one to bow down before spiritual etiquette, and neither should you.
That bewilderment re-invites the emotions back into life. In Self-realization the emotions were transcended. In a sense, there was nothing you could really feel in that Self-realized state that could really make a significant impact, any significant impact in your Awareness. But once the Self “fades,” then the identification with the Absolute dissolves. By the way, it doesn’t dissolve existentially. I want to be very clear about this. It doesn’t dissolve in reality. Only the sensation, the experience of It fades. Okay? You’ve got it? Only the experience of It fades.
The emotions are then set free in that vast silence, where they panic – the feelings panic because the nature of feeling is to want an object. Feeling always wants an object. It’s its nature; it’s its beautiful, exquisite, relational nature. So it craves “the Other.” It craves, really, the Beloved, at that point, the forgotten Beloved Self. But if existentially you are nothing but the Self, what can the feelings really do? Where really can they go to find this “Other,” this Beloved?
The feelings begin to combust. It’s really the introduction to a maddening state. Have you ever been in love? I mean, have you ever really been taken with someone? You know what happens! You can’t get them out of your head. You can’t get them out of your mind. It’s just like the Absolute that you once experienced in nirvana and the processes leading up to nirvana – the whole process of glimpsing, re-glimpsing until you become the Glimpser. Now this whole thing gets re-enacted in the field of feeling. Feeling is craving the Supreme Beloved, the Adorable One. But, it’s already in a nondual state (that was achieved in Self-realization, right?). I’m going to keep going back and forth so you understand. I don’t want to lose you.
The emotions begin to heat up, profoundly. It’s a discomforting state of aggravated feeling. In fact, you could even say, that the essential aspects of every emotion are activated – anger, fear, sorrow – but in an illumined state.
The human being naturally begins to be turned on itself in a most enthralling manner. You’ve felt deep sexual passion, deep sexual desire? It’s like that. Only, where is it going to go? There’s no “other.” So the feelings begin to really feel themselves for the very first time.
You know, you’ve never been alive until you are Self-realized. You’ve been some kind of dead, robotic automaton walking around and functioning. You’ve been a completely conditioned mass of reflexes: memory, experience, desire; fear, anger, pain. That’s what you are prior to Self-realization. Self-realization dissolves all that, reveals your true identity as perfect consciousness – and therefore you’ve attained Knowledge. You are That. Aham Brahasmi. I am the Absolute.
So what’s happening in this state when feeling is awoken in Consciousness? The body-mind goes up into flame. It starts to incinerate. And as I said, you’ve never felt before. You’ve never felt before. You never really quite felt before Self-realization, you went numb during Self-realization, so this is the first time you’ve ever felt. Do you see where this is going?
So feeling…, it’s as if a little baby is given a toy. The child is insane with this toy. The child goes mad in its own joy. It’s never felt a thing, ever.
The human body-mind in ignorance has not felt one thing. Everything has been in the conditioned. Then you hit the unconditioned and there’s no feeling and now the incineration begins to happen, which is the mad search for feeling, for the nature of feeling, for the object of feeling, for the subject of feeling – for the subject, the object, and the process of feeling become spontaneously activated in nirvana, in Self-realization. See, we’re going beyond Self-realization now. And so the body-mind begins to incinerate, the mind incinerates, the emotions incinerate. Everything goes up into this heated Self-embrace.
It may actually take the form of seeking for what you believe to be an outer “other.” You may think you’re looking for someone “out there” or something “out there,” someplace “out there” – something you really want to touch with your whole being, something that you’re hungry for, ravenous, consumed in a desire to feel and taste and sense.
You see, there’s no intellectualization going on about this when you’re in this state. This is not something you’re rationalizing. You’re not saying: “well, I’m Self-realized and therefore I’m resurrected in feeling now….” You are desperate. And, the various spiritual insanities become born in this stage, this stage that not every Enlightened Being enters into.
Beyond that aggravated feeling is consummate Unity where Self and world are one. And every aspect of your human subjective functioning – emoting, thinking, feeling, sensing – all the different senses, all of them arise in Consciousness, all of them function in Consciousness – with Consciousness having permeated right to the surface of every finite aspect of the human being. So, you see, that feeling creates a massive climax, a massive orgasm in Consciousness.
It could take many years to go through this if you are even invited into this arena. You can’t produce it deliberately. It’s an inborn hunger that you either have or you don’t have.
Some beings will become very “comfortable” in Self-realization. They could even spend several births in the state of Self-realization, dozens of births in the state of Self-realization. Some could spend dozens of births in this state of intoxication with feeling. And then others can take higher state… different …I don’t like that word “higher” but… – qualitatively different states of awakening even beyond this devotional rapture.
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa depicted some of these aberrated, psycho-pathological states of God-intoxication, either exemplifying his total union with God, Self, and world, or experiencing the “junction point” between Self-realization and God-intoxication, when these states of enamored feeling are just beginning. Either way we don’t know. It’s said somewhere that he began to identify with the Monkey-God Hanumann to such an extent that would go around naked jumping from tree to tree on his ashram grounds, he’d be peeing from this high trees; and there are other less tame stories about some of the things he did.
So you get a glimpse of something beyond the Glimpser, beyond Self-realization – something else is going on. When the Divine comes down totally into the nervous system – and it has abducted that nervous system, you know? You don’t like words like abduction, invasion, violation…sorry…that’s what happens in these more ecstatic states.
I haven’t spoken about the Kundalini-shakti and Its role in all of this. It’s a whole other topic. But you can just say that the Shakti is, as Current, activated after Self-realization – perhaps before Self-realization, through Self-realization, and after Self-realization – in these intoxicated moods. But that Current gives a blissful feeling of being gripped by the Divine, the feeling of being made love to by the Divine. It intensifies this devotional rapture – this devotional relationship with Being – and then takes one beyond it. After the flash of Self and world as one in Divine Unity then even that fades. Any experience will fade, the impressions of it. But the residues of all those states of consciousness will stay with you, the essence of them, the livingness of them.
So later on you have sahaja samadhi which is absolute relaxation in Consciousness Itself from the depths of pure consciousness all the way to the surface of the body, through the body and to everything and everyone that sees that body or touches it, or is in the vicinity of it. That is sahaja samadhi. That’s the natural state because it has been released of all the different major fluctuations of consciousness. All of that was enlightenment before that and did contain tremendous truths – even Truth.
Sahaja, as if, just relaxes in the Bliss of It All, which is both felling and silence and what is beyond them. It is love and detachment and what is beyond them. One lives in this innocence of sweet unknowingness, of Divine Unknowingness.
But in sahaja samadhi you live naturally. If you want to eat, you eat. There’s no more austerity, unless you enjoy that. There’s nothing to do except to enjoy. You are the Enjoyer. You enjoy everything. There’s no more philosophizing about inner and outer and transcendence and immanence, God and karma. There’s no more talk about that. You’re released of it all. It has released you, it has finally let go of you.
And then there are states beyond sahaja samadhi. It depends of what you’ve been born with, what you have acquired through incarnations, previous awakenings, what kind of spiritual practices you’ve done in previous births, the type of practices, the meeting with Avatars, receiving the transmission of Avatars and Maha-Avatars and all of that.
You can’t imagine the scope of what it all means. No one can. I’m just sharing some thoughts with you, that’s all. All of this is just talk, really. It’s just killing the time. It’s enjoyment. I like to talk (laughter). I’m not out to impress anyone. I don’t care what anyone thinks about what I say. It’s just what comes out.
- Accepting Awakening
- Awakened Heart Consciousness
- Beyond Silence and Feeling
- Bliss Food
- Entering the Zone of Divine Grace
- Feeling Everything
- Gone Beyond
- Initiation and the Nature of the Absolute
- On Meditation
- On Self-Realization and Advaita Vedanta
- Pathless Path
- President Must Answer to Downing Street Memo
- Reincarnation As Organic Metaphor, an Essay
- Reverberations Within the Void
- Self-Realization and Heart Awakening
- The Blissful Destruction of Non-Duality
- The Fire Beyond Self-Realization
- The Heart’s Orbit
- The Ocean of Liberated Bliss
- The Real Thing
- You’ll be Confounded, not Awakened