A few people have mentioned having transformational moments and so it may be a good time to discuss the subject. I don’t know if transformational moments will become more common as we go forward. I suspect they will.
A transformational moment is a discontinuity in experience which sees us break through into a higher level of consciousness and then return again after a passage of minutes, hours, or even days. It’s discontinuous in the sense that one minute we are here, the next minute there, and there is nothing that tells us how we covered the distance.
The longest a transformational experience has lasted for me has been three days. The shortest would be probably twenty minutes or so.
A transformational moment is not enlightenment but a simple expansion of knowing and experiencing, in which we feel a heightened sense of wellbeing, greater confidence, courage, invigoration, etc.
It leaves us when it does and we resume life at the level we’re accustomed to. Some transformational moments come because of a heightened experience of life during an emergency; others from deep sharing, communicating a huge withhold, telling the truth profoundly, etc. Some may be an encouragement (I don’t know) from our spirit or angel guides. Others may be the result of starting a new spiritual practice which causes a sudden or rapid release of tension, ignorance, etc.
A transformational moment will close down of its own volition or it may leave when we tell a lie, play small, commit a wrongful act, big or little, etc.
It may also leave if we fall into wishing it would stay. The persona trying to exert control over the consciousness will often speed the departure of a transformational state.
What may prolong it are the following:
- Telling the truth. The truth sets us free; a lie binds us. The truth releases us from tension and stress and it’s this sudden release from tension or stress that we may experience as a heightening of consciousness.
- Sharing a withhold. Holding onto something produces stress and stress retards consciousness. Awareness varies inversely with tension in the body. The more we withhold, the more we stress ourselves, the lower our state of awareness. The more we share, the less stress we hold, the higher our awareness.
- Observing a barrier, resistance, or upset. Werner Erhard used to speak about holding an upset like a brick in our lap. Observing the upset will bring release from it. Projecting it simply energizes it and causes it to persist. Resisting it will also cause it to persist. If we observe the upset until it lifts, chances are we’ve taken a step towards completing it. Observing it implies being with it, being present to it, breathing through it.
- Restoring integrity, apologizing, forgiving. Forgiving someone or asking for forgiveness releases tension, which liberates awareness.
- Being responsible for something, owning it. Representing ourselves as victims produces drama. If the drama itself is not a lie, the exaggeration of emotion probably is. Either way, drama increases tension and tension lowers awareness. Owning something, taking responsibility for it reduces drama, increases relaxation, and increases awareness. Related to being responsible is facing something in ourselves that we’ve been unwilling to acknowledge.
- Taking a stand, committing ourselves, making a promise. Taking a stand is an act of emergence. It calls up strength and courage, which invite a breakthrough in consciousness of oneself. Anything that requires one to stand forth – whether committing oneself or making a promise – will reinforce the sense of who one is. Taking a stand is a way of breaking through something, which liberates consciousness.
- Making a difference. Doing something that changes the balance of things for the better in the world or sees significantly to the wellbeing of another will enhance consciousness. The bigger the difference made, it seems, the bigger the impact on consciousness.
- Allowing something, granting it beingness. To move from resistance to acceptance liberates awareness. Resistance requires tension and tension lowers awareness. To grant something the right to be which we’ve previously resisted or rejected releases our fixated attention and allows awareness to expand. Werner used to define love as allowing someone to be just the way they are and just the way they’re not.
- Getting off it, letting it go. If all else fails, simply get off it. Drop the issue. Let it go. Let it go because your state of consciousness depends on it. Nothing is worth staying “on about it” forever.
Why do these things work the way they do? I’ve looked at that question for a long time and where I’m at with it at this moment – my most mature opinion, as Sri Ramakrishna would say – is that it reflects the way God designed life.
The purpose of life is for God to meet God in a moment of enlightenment. God is the Truth. Therefore it would make sense that the truth would set us free, right? I could work my way through the other matters as well and I think each one could be analyzed in much the same way. They all promote Self-realization and God is that Self.
So these practices can assist us to maintain a high state of awareness or to remain in one if we find ourselves in it. If we lose it and want to know why, it may work to review these points and see where we went off track.
A transformational moment is a peak experience. I would not call it enlightenment myself. But then I’ve had no experience of enlightenment in this lifetime.
My understanding is that, not only are all transformational moments transient, but so also are all experiences of enlightenment until one reaches a stage known as “sahaja nirviklapa samadhi.” (1) Examples of people who have attained that stage are Adyashanti (I think) and Ramana Maharshi (I’m quite sure).
What characterizes sahaja is that the heart opens and remains open. “Sahaja” is permanent. It isn’t until we experience sahaja that we escape from the wheel of birth and rebirth. (2)
Most enlightened masters have experienced Brahamjnana or God realization. That level of enlightenment occurs when the kundalini reaches the seventh or crown chakra. Under that condition, the heart opens but closes again.
It only remains open when the kundalini reaches the spiritual heart (the hridayam, and not the heart chakra). Masters who have experienced Brahmajnana and gone no further are said to be “halfway up the mountain.”
If one of us experiences enlightenment, it is most likely to be spiritual awakening (Hindu term) or stream-entering (Buddhist term), which occurs when the kundalini rises to the fourth or heart chakra. As I said above, this is a temporary state so don’t be disappointed if and when you lose it.
Finally, enlightenment is virtually endless. There are infinite levels of enlightenment past Sahaja. At Sahaja,we escape the reincarnational wheel but not the need to continue to spiritually evolve.
Enlightenment goes on a vast distance past that point. Consider that there are nine orders of angels, each attaining new enlightenments. Consider as well that the Seraphim stand in the face of God. Even they have not merged with God so more enlightenment awaits them as well.
(1) For more on this level of enlightenment, go to http://www.angelfire.com/space2/light11/fdl/e1.html and search on “sahaja.”
(2) Sri Ramana:
“[The I-I Consciousness] is a prelude to [Self-Realization]: when it becomes permanent (Sahaja), it is Self-Realization, Liberation.” (Ramana Maharshi, Cohen, S.S., Guru Ramana. Memories and Notes. 6th edition. Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasramam, 1993, 83. Hereafter GR.)
“Sahaja is also Nirvikalpa. You are probably meaning Kevala [sic] Nirvikalpa, which is temporary, while the Samadhi lasts. The Sahaja Nirvikalpa is permanent and in it lies liberation from rebirths.” (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 88.)
“Sahaja is the original state so that sadhana amounts to the removal of obstacles for the realization of this abiding truth.” (Ramana Maharshi in Brunton, Paul, and Munagala Venkataramaiah. Conscious Immortality. Conversations with Sri Ramana Maharshi. Rev. ed. 1996, n.p.)