There’s part of me that feels abashed that my mind is so taken up with the inward right now, when the chaos (needed to reveal the darkness to the world) is happening around us.
But strangely enough (well, not so strange, really) I feel my attention riveted on “eternal verities.” (1)
I sense that, just as the Federation of Light said, we’ll look back on these days with fondness and longing. When the light is established on Earth, our work will begin in earnest.
So I feel engaged when I say I’d like to look at the most basic of things.
If we look at higher states of enlightenment, for instance, we can discern a great deal about the basic direction life – and evolution – moves in.
A much higher state of enlightenment than we’re in at the moment is called, by Vedantists, “Nirvikalpa Samadhi.” Sri Aurobindo tells us:
“‘Nirvikalpa Samadhi” properly means a complete trance in which there is no thought or movement of consciousness or awareness of either inward or outward things.” (2)
We first experience this state when the kundalini reaches the Seventh Chakra. Shiva has met Shakti in the Crown Chakra and separation has now ended. Unitive consciousness is won, if only temporarily.
Let’s look closer at this statement: “Complete trance.” “No thought of movement of consciousness or awareness of either inward or outward things.”
So no movement of consciousness of any kind – not an “I,” not something thought of as an “I,” no awareness of an “I” at all or any other object of consciousness.
Sri Ramakrishna helps us with understanding this state.
“[Modification of the mind depends] on the awareness of ‘I,’ ‘I.’ If the consciousness of ‘I’ vanishes or is stopped altogether for some time, there can be no modification in the mind.” (3)
It’s stopped altogether by the rising of the kundalini. And it results in the cessation of the movement of the mind, for the time one is in the nirvikalpa state.
But Ascension itself is also called “Nirvikalpa Samadhi” – Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
“Sahaja” refers to the natural state. Now the state of unitive consciousness is permanent and the heart is fully opened. Shankara describes the person in this liberated and ascended state of consciousness:
“For him, the sorrows of this world are over. Though he possesses a finite body, he remains united with the Infinite. His heart knows no anxiety.” (4)
“This world” is the 3rd/4th Dimension where birth, death, and rebirth exist. In the higher realms, they don’t exist.
“His heart knows no anxiety.” Anxiety is swept from us by the love that exists in the higher realms, both the inner tsunami of love and the Ocean of Love to which it leads.
Why I draw attention to this is for us to notice the direction that life and evolution move in – from anxiety to no anxiety, from bondage to liberation, from birth and death to immortality.
It also moves from no-self-consciousness to self-consciousness to Self-Consciousness to No-Self-Consciousness.
We end up in a state Franklin Merrell Wolff called “consciousness without an object.” (5) Bernadette Roberts called it a state of “No Self.” (6) We are One with the Divine and no trace of individuality remains.
From sorrow to happiness, from lack to abundance – this is the direction that life moves in.
Whatever names we use, we can see several movements.
One is from activity to stillness.
Another is from sound to silence.
And a third is from awareness of self to awareness of Self to no awareness of anything as being outside of oneself.
Why look at this? Well, so that we can sharpen our discernment by knowing the direction where life is taking us.
I don’t mean the different directions life may go in in our everyday reality.
I mean the direction one discerns when one – in imagination – flips through the twelve dimensions of spiritual development like a deck of cards.
Life and spiritual evolution move from sound to silence, from action to stillness, and from awareness of all that is not the Self to awareness of the Self to no awareness of anything separate – including a Self.
When we learn something, we can’t unlearn it. When I became aware of the direction life moves in, it reoriented and reorganized my value system, almost in the background.
One’s life can remould itself simply by being aware of where life is headed.
(1) I’m interpreting it that I’m being directed.
(2) Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga. Three vols. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1971, 741.
(3) Sri Ramakrishna in Swami Saradananda. Sri Ramakrishna, the Great Master. Madras, Sri Ramakrishna Math, 2 vols, 1979-83, 439.
(4) Shankara citied in Alistair Shearer, trans. Effortless Being. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. London, etc.: Unwin, 1982, 64.
(5) Franklin Merell-Wolff, Philosophy of Consciousness without an Object. Reflections on the Nature of Transcendental Consciousness. New York: Julian Press, 1973.
(6) Bernadette Roberts, Path to No-Self. Boston and London: Shamballa, 1985.
Bernadette Roberts, “The Path to No-Self” in Stephan Bodian, ed. Timeless Visions, Healing Voices. Freedom, CA: Crossing Press, 1991.
Bernadette Roberts, The Experience of No-Self. A Contemplative Journey. Boston and London: Shamballa, 1985.