I have another hypothesis, that Ascension is identical to a moment of complete egolessness.
I’m not saying that the ego does not return. But for a time – a moment or longer – the ego is utterly transcended and falls completely silent.
At that moment, I hypothesize, the heart opens fully and permanently. That is Ascension.
When the ego returns, as it will, Sri Ramakrishna advises making it our servant rather than, in its own estimation, our master.
“The ego does not vanish altogether. The man coming down from [Sahaja] samadhi [or Ascension] perceives that it is Brahman [God] that has become the ego, the universe, and all living beings. This is known as vijnana [literally perfect wisdom, Sahaja Samadhi, or Ascension].” (1)
“It is impossible to get rid of the ego. Therefore it should be made to feel that it is the devotee of God, His servant.” (2)
In what way is the ego the barrier to enlightenment? I’ve already said that the vasanas are the major barrier to enlightenment. (3)
The ego is a construction of the mind called forth by the strong desires inherent in our vasanas. If we have a “want,” an “I” arises to fill it. That “I” is the ego. An Indian mystic used to say that “I want” is the problem. I agree.
Strong desires for the good and pleasurable are still vasanas but, according to Sri Ramana, they don’t impede Ascension (or what he called Sahaja) if enjoyed without attachment. (4)
I suspect therefore that much work on vasanas will one day lead to an apprehension of the ego itself, the operator behind the vasanas, the “I” serving my upsets, my addictions, and my concerns for survival.
(1) Paramahansa Ramakrishna in Swami Nikhilananda, trans., The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1978; c1942, 104. Hereafter PR in GSR.
(2) PR in GSR, 788.
(3) “The term “vasana” is used by Advaita Vedantists (or non-dualists) to describe the primary obstacle to enlightenment….
“A vasana is usually considered to be a behavior pattern formed in early-childhood, based on a traumatic incident, complete with decisions and reactions, which persists through time, sleeps, and is awakened by a triggering event. It exists as a disturbing wave in the mind, preventing the stillness of mind which is considered to be a prerequisite for enlightenment.” (Steve Beckow, “Processing a Vasana of Strong Attack – Part ½,” at https://goldenageofgaia.com/ascension/preparing-for-ascension/processing-a-vasana-of-strong-attack-part-12/.)
(4) “Vasanas which do not obstruct Self-Realization remain [after Self-Realization]. In Yoga Vasistha two classes of vasanas are distinguished: those of enjoyment and those of bondage. The former remain even after Mukti [liberation from 3D or Ascension] is attained, but the latter are destroyed by it. Attachment is the cause of binding vasanas, but enjoyment without attachment does not bind and continues even in Sahaja [i.e., Ascension].” (Ramana Maharshi in S.S. Cohen, Guru Ramana. Memories and Notes. 6th edition. Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasramam, 1993, 89.)