There’s said to be an intellectual battle that goes on among adherents in enlightenment circles that see two schools – a “gradual” and a “sudden.” Of course the debate is probably not a valid one because enlightenment is both gradual and sudden.
A monk might meditate gradually for twenty years before having a sudden experience of enlightenment. The only exceptions might be those seekers who did much work in previous lifetimes and suddenly awoke without preparation in this one and Sri Ramana Maharshi would be an excellent example of this type of individual.
While Adyashanti cannot be construed here as recognizing that all enlightenment has a gradual and a sudden component, he does recognize that some people awaken gradually and some suddenly.
“There are viewpoints that awakening is sudden and total, and there are schools of gradual awakening. In my experience, both occur. For some people the awakening out of their personal identity is going to happen all at once and instantly.
“For others, it sort of creeps up on them until at some point they notice they are no longer exclusively identified with their ‘me-ness,’ their personality. It can really run the gamut on how the awakening displays itself.” (1)
I say as an aside that Ascension experiences are also said to run the gamut.
Even Sri Ramana himself acknowledged that sahaja samadhi is gradually acquired as the result of long practice:
“By repeated practice one can become accustomed to turning inwards and finding the Self. One must always and constantly make an effort, until one has permanently realized. Once the effort ceases, the state becomes natural and the Supreme takes possession of the person with an unbroken current. Until it has become permanently natural and your habitual state, know that you have not realized the Self, only glimpsed it.” (2)
But the acquisition of sahaja samadhi itself is sudden. It occurs when the heart opens permanently, as Sri Ramana describes here:
“[The] Heart [hridayam] is the seat of Jnanam [wisdom] as well as of the granthi (knot of ignorance). It is represented in the physical body by a hole smaller than the smallest pin-point, which is always shut. When the mind drops down in Kevalya Nirvikalpa [Samadhi], it opens but shuts again after it. When Sahaja [Nirvikalpa Samadhi] is attained it opens for good.” (3)
I imported the notion into Ascension circles and characterized Matthew’s approach as gradual and Archangel Michael’s and SaLuSa’s as sudden. In doing so I acknowledge that Archangel Michael himself never acknowledged his approach as sudden. When I tried to pin him down he chided me:
Archangel Michael: But I can hear your anxiety and your fear and your desire to pin me down.
Now, have you ever really tried to pin down an archangel?
SB: No! Never! [laughing]
AAM: But I love to tease you. (4)
I chided him as well by appending Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem, The Man Watching, about wrestling with an angel, to the bottom of that transcript. Rather than reproduce it here, I add it again to the end of this article, because I love it so much. (5)
I remember feeling chagrined that he did not want to be pinned down into a definite statement about 21/12/12. Why was he hedging? Well, of course, now I know. That date was never the end-all and be-all. And he even stated that at the time:
“There is an influx of supreme energy that will light and ignite your planet during this period. Now, it began on 12/12 and it is growing. So what you are saying is, ‘Will we get the full fireworks display on December 21st, 2012?’ And I say, yes, there will be fireworks, and they will continue through the rest of the year. This is a-building.” (6)
Yes, we got the full burst of light energy and, yes, some people did feel a difference, and many did not, and, yes, it continues to build. And in fact now he has said that it will continue for a few more months so that many more humans, who need that amount of time, can ascend.
But Archangel Michael was espousing a gradual view even then, with sudden bursts of energy, and I was not seeing it. The final mass Ascension will be sudden, if I understand him correctly, but this part of the process is gradual.
Actually I vaguely saw that gradual view then, but could not understand it or get its full significance. I knew he was hedging but did not know why. And then again I don’t know if even now I fully understand it. I most probably don’t.
In the growth movement it’s said that being wrong is like death to the ego. But you also recall in the Light Stewards’ documents that we’ve asked for people to call themselves when they’re mistaken, rather than waiting for others to call them. Things work better when people call themselves rather than needing to be ferreted out.
I don’t mind being wrong. And I don’t mind calling myself. I was mistaken in my appraisal of Archangel Michael’s viewpoint. And I very well may be mistaken in the future. I see now that I undoubtedly don’t have the range of vision to appreciate the whole plan as he does.
Why would I? It would be utterly amazing if I did and utterly unrealistic of me to think that I would or could.
My view was unnuanced. It wasn’t large enough to take in what the truth actually was, not like I know that much of it now. Probably it will always remain unnuanced, viewed from an archangel’s vantage point.
I don’t mind “being defeated, decisively by greater and greater beings.” (Rilke.) But I do want to acknowledge my mistake. And I am chastened from my attempt to capture an archangel’s knowledge in simple terms.
Do I know why he waited till after 21/12/12 to give us more details of this process? No, I don’t. And I can’t just ring him up and ask him this additional question. So it’ll have to wait along with many other questions.
Instead Archangel Michael has said that we are at the midpoint. But before I reproduce that discussion please keep in mind that some people are not at the midpoint but at the endpoint. Ascension times vary for individuals. AAM is talking about the collective as a whole. Here is that conversation.
S: Has Ascension happened or are we working towards Ascension?
AAM: You are in the middle of Ascension.
S: Now how would you describe the beginning and how would you describe the middle and how would you describe the end?
AAM: I would describe the beginning over a year ago as we began these conversations, as people began the clearing, as they were riding the troughs and the waves. That was the beginning of this journey. The middle has been the opening of what you think of in human dates as 11/11/12 – 21/12/12. This is the middle. It is the opening of the floodgates.
And you are being flooded. That is why you are feeling so much. The end is the when the full restoration, the complete restoration and the jubilation, the full restoration of vision and the knowing of your interdimensional self is fully there. Now it is already there for some of you. It is coming by degrees. (7)
(Continued in Part 2.)