Updated: Feb 26, 2022
I like to say to people that you're better off having the realization first and then trying to understand it on an intellectual level because trying to understand it first it just becomes a block for a lot of people, you have a concept in your mind and you have this idea of what it's going to be like and then if and when it does happen for you then you're like well it has not happened the way I read about it happening for someone else and it's different and therefore you kind of discredit your own realization. "Oh well it's not the way I read about it by this person in their book" therefore mine must not be a real realization that's not the case.
I know in the zoom meetings we like to talk about the higher states of awakening a lot, I know a lot of people are really interested in these states, but in all honesty what they should really be concentrating on is the very first shift, what is the self? Where did it come from? Where is it located? How do I access it? How do I stay in it? That's what we should really be exploring. But I know all the other states are fun to talk about and they sound very exotic and exciting and people want to talk about them and hear all about them. One should have obviously some knowledge about this shift but not get caught up in it completely.
Each person's awakening is unique to them, your body mind, and nervous system are different. Everything is different from one person to the next person. It can't be the same awakening or experienced the exact same way, there are definite shifts and similarities that everyone can agree on, "yes that makes sense to me I can sense the self" that self is the substratum of all awakenings, there is self realization, the self realizes itself. Then everything else is very subjective to each individual and how they experience it and describe it.
A lot of people read books about spiritual awakening and they have a picture of Echart and how self-realization was for him, they then think when it happens for them it should be the way he experienced it, 'I should be sitting on a on a bench for a year drooling on myself not knowing my own name' but it's not like that, it was just like that for him because it was such a dramatic shift, going from manic depressive to to self-realization in one click.
A lot of Eckhart's teaching is just practicing the power of now, it's not self-realization, it's witnessing! Witnessing is not the same as self-realization, you can't teach self-realization to someone but you can teach presence and witnessing. This is practicing the power of now. I do feel that Eckhart's teachings are very good for the average person looking to have more presence in their life, to help to come out of having an overactive mind, anxiety, stress. Anyone can practice the power of now, you just become aware of your thoughts, you just start to watch them and become conscious of all of your actions, then all of a sudden gaps start to open up between the train of thoughts and presence starts to come in, that's practicing the power of now.
There is a definite shift from ignorance to self-realization, and in that shift the awareness becomes aware of itself, it's not the intellect realizing that it's the awareness it's the awareness waking up to the reality of itself, there's a difference. It's not witnessing and it's not the intellect realizing that it has this presence, the intellect can think okay I sense this awareness I am that awareness but that's not self-realization that's your intellect having a sense of that the self. Self-Realization is when the witness collapses, the witness collapses and it turns around and looks back in on itself it wakes up to itself and that happens in a snap, its something that happens in one click and that's it there's no going back once it takes place.
The next phase known as God Consciousness is where that self then starts to look outwards and it starts to see itself outside in reality, it's a kind of an opening up and closing down, it is not a permanent shift and it's usually more in the heart vs the intellect, so it's like oh i am the sunset, the awareness looks outward and its gets a sense that its the sunset but it's felt in the heart, whereas unity consciousness the next phase is an awakening through the intellect. Unity is basically what happens when the self and what's outside of itself, the feeling of separation disappears and it all just becomes one. The witness and the witnessed become one, but it's a realization through the intellect, 'I am one with everything I am one with my surroundings, I am in unity'
The person doesn't become enlightened, that's the main thing you need to understand, you don't get enlightenment. At your core there's this sort of cave we'll call it, it's pure awareness, it's presence, it's peace, it's unbounded, it doesn't die, it was never born and that's what you are at your core. At the nucleus of your very being you are this self or soul and on the outside is the being, with its mind with its intellect with its body and freewill okay and basically what self-realization is that soul awakens to the reality of itself it's not you that's having the realization of it, that's just your intellect reading about it and having a concept an idea. The soul or the self wakes up to itself, its becomes self aware. The being then shifts from being identified as the body / mind / ego / emotions, to that eternal self awake at the core. The being can then retreat into that self at any moment, it's always present even during sleep. The ego and the emotions do not disappear with this shift, they are still there wrapped up in human conditioning.
Self inquiry can be a great way to really turn the attention around and let the awareness look inwards. Our senses go outwards during the day, we like nice things, we want nice things like cake, we want to listen to nice music, everything is going outwards, the senses want to eat up everything nice. When you do self-inquiry that focuses your attention back on itself and basically that's where you want to bring your attention, you're trying to sense that self at the core of what you are. In the beginning there's ignorance, there's identification with the body with the mind. You are a person that exists within the world and you have consciousness because of your brain and if your brain dies consciousness dies, that's not true, okay so that's literally most people on the planet that believe this. When one starts to meditate and practice self enquiry, witnessing starts to emerge. You start practicing this sort of sensing into that place and it comes to the foreground and it kind of looks in on your life, gaps start to come in between the thoughts and the mind starts to quiet down and this presence starts to come forward and you can sense that and you can feel it and it feels really nice and it feels peaceful but that's not self-realization either that's just witnessing. So in self-realization the witness collapses, it stops witnessing outward and it turns around and witnesses itself, it basically goes from looking in on you to turning around and looking back in on itself and then it realizes itself and that's what self-realization is. The person doesn't realize the self, the self realizes itself it awakens to the reality of itself.
There's lots of people who read books or watch YouTube talks on self-realization and they have an intellectual understanding of what that is but that's not it, that's not self-realization that's your intellect learning about it and the intellect can be really clever and it can learn all this non-dual terminology and words that describe the self, but that's not it.
The soul at the core is just peace, it's awareness, it's just potential, it's not doing anything it's just awake to itself, it has nothing to do with the intellect or with the mind. Basically what happens every time you die right the soul lives on and the intellect and the personality crumble and each time you come back in you get a new body and personality but the soul and the quality of your consciousness stays with you every time. So basically the soul is just presence, awareness and that's what you are at the core and for it to be realized something has to click to make it aware of itself, one of the best methods to create this click is self enquiry.
I don't buy into the idea that there is an end game with enlightenment, there's always more, there's no end to enlightenment, you don't just merge back into the mind of God and stay there for eternity. I'm not saying that's not possible, I'm just saying most people who start to awaken and start to go through all the different levels of consciousness and awakening they keep reincarnating they keep coming back even if it's just to help others. Consciousness needs to keep evolving, to keep itself moving into new states and possibilities, we are its parts, it uses us to keep evolving, we are the parts that keep it moving forward. So if it needs to keep evolving then basically what use are we to it if we just merge back in with it.
So basically at the core is the self, the self is static, the self or soul is wrapped in the being but the being is the dynamic aspect, it's the part of you that is the interactive player, it has freewill, it evolves, it's the intelligence that's maneuvering around in the game. Whereas the soul stays the same, the soul doesn't evolve, it's static but it is eternal, it was never born, it will never die, it's the unchanging part of you. The soul is a droplet from the Brahman which is primordial consciousness that is outside of creation, at your core you are a part of that Brahman, from this primordial consciousness evolved the Supreme Being or God. This aspect of consciousness is all knowing, pure intelligence, pure love. It's not a person as such, it's more a vast ocean of glistening bliss and aliveness, sian blue in colour.
It descends down into creation and is veiled by maya, it falls asleep as it enters creation and starts to dream itself into the character, it believes it is you and gets hypnotised by the outward world. But it is also this outward world that it is perceiving. At your core you are both this Supreme Being and the Brahman combined.
This is my direct experience. I have entered the brahman and merged with it and I've also entered the mind of god and merged with it, so i've experienced both, I have become both aspects, then that's what you are. There's a part of me here in creation and there's a part of me that's merged in Brahman, I am the brahman, so it's like it feels like i'm here in creation and i'm outside of creation in this primordial consciousness, I know that everything exists within what I am. The Supreme being then descends down into my being and co-inhabits this form for the purpose of manifestation, it brings with it these divine forces to help change mankind. This intelligence can descend down and look out from my eyes and it can witness itself in everything.
So the self is awareness, it's stillness there's no love in it there's no bliss in it, the bliss is in the being bliss is in God all the love is in God we are both, we are both the self and we are God wrapped in one.