Unit VIII. Visnu Vakta
2. The Great Passageway
3. Mind as Mirror/Emptiness
7. Implications for Practice
Materials needed: Journal
The Biology of Transcendence Pt. II
The Experience of No-self
The Cloud of Unknowing
Essence of the Heart Sutra
The Power of Now
Light and Ecstasy (optional)
The Great Passageway
Essence of the Heart Sutra
Light and Ecstasy
Divine Light Invocation
“To be, or not to be: that is the question;
Whether ‘t is nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep --
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to; ‘t is a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d; to die; to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream; ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause; There’s the respcet
That makes calamity of so long life... – Hamlet
Beyond the Supreme Bindu is another kind of life that is totally different
from what we have become used to. Once we cross this threshold, there
is no longer any choice because we will then belong to the Divine One, and
our will becomes Divine Will. So at this point, the moment of our last
choice, we must choose between union or identity with the Absolute.
Union is the goal of Kundalini Yoga and most other religious traditions.
That was so in Christianity until fairly recently. God is seen as the
Beloved, and one wishes to be enfolded in Its loving arms. In union,
we still have two entities. One is the Divine One; the other is the
petitioner, the seeker, who wants to be loved or cared for or protected by
a Greater Being.
Identity, on the other hand, is the goal of Raja Yoga and many other mystical
traditions. In this conception, we lose all trappings of individuality
and merge with the Divine One in whom we live and love and have our being.
To achieve this state, one must be able to perceive oneself as, literally,
God on earth. This approach says that God wished to be known, so He
created the world (a Sufi mystical idea) and that everything in creation
is an extension of the Divine Being – a projection, if you like. Jesus
taught that he came to show us how to be God in the world. And this
is true of all the great arhats.
Visnu Vakta means “the mouth of Visnu. You will recall that
Visnu is the Hindu god of preservation in the trinity. So this means
that all things are absorbed into Visnu, the cause who is SatCitAnanda.
The gross was absorbed into the subtle as we worked through the chakras.
Now, in the Sahasrara Padma, the subtle is absorbed into the causal.
In other words, matter dissolves into mind, and then mind into consciousness.
Now it is time to dissolve individual consciousness into the One Great, Cosmic
Consciousness as we prepare to exit the Sahasrara Padma. Here, we dissolve
the causal bodies (consciousnesses) into the Primordial Cause which is called
Mahabindu. Then the Mahabindu is absorbed in
Citatma which is Brahma as Cit (Primordial Consciousness). This leaves
only the One. From the standpoint of the individual, this means to
realize that the little mind (Citta) is the discriminator and to absorb it
into its Witness (Atma, or the Supreme One).
Facing the choice to take this final step, we are at the point of Dissolution.
“Breaking through” is a term used by Govinda (1982) to refer to “the act
of breaking through the confines of ego into the universal state of
the all-comprising essentiality (Vajrasattva)” (p, 198). Here are annihilated
the “I” and all ideas of selfhood, separateness, intellectual and rational
thought. What is left is intuition or intuitive knowledge and spontaneous
feeling. Buddhists see enlightenment from two different perspectives.
The first is a final, static condition of ultimate perfection, rest and harmony
rather like Woodroffe’s description of Shiva. The second is dynamic
and is represented by the blood-drinking, terrifying deities that reflect
the fears inherent in breaking through and the courage needed to persist
in the face of those fears.
Breaking through is an
ecstatic thrust, all bonds, all worldly fetters, all prejudices and illusions are
destroyed, all conventional
concepts are swept away, all craving and clinging
is cut off at the
root, past and future are extinguished, the power of karma is
broken, and the
Great Void is experienced as the eternal present and ultimate
Reality and Suchness. (Govinda, 1982, p. 201)
It involves a “leap over the chasm that yawns between our intellectual surface-consciousness
and the intuitive, supra-personal depth-consciousness (p. 201). [Note:
more information about these two systems can be found in Pearce (2004).]
The tool that is offered by the wrathful deities and symbolized by the blood
is the knowledge principle. Here we are referring to prajna or wisdom
or direct knowledge that is afforded us by our intuition. The starting
point is the cognizing consciousness represented by the solar principle.
If I read this correctly, we are talking about the Universal Mind that is
associated with Higher Consciousness. It is one of the two parts of
the Supreme Bindu. We tune into this with our intuition.
The Supreme Knowledge-Holder is called the Lord of Dance because he
is Lord of all that moves, the element of motion and the vehicle of Life,
creative sound and spiritual unfoldment. Note that here we have the
second part of the Supreme Bindu: Life. The Knowledge-holding deities
are the last step before Breaking Through. So we have Mind and Life
as our elemental tools for transformation into the Absolute.
Roberts (1985) covers much of the same ground in her account of the endpoint.
She tells us that we must expect to lose our sense of self or self-consciousness,
our intellect or reflexive mind, and our affective system.
Exercise: Breaking Through
In The Experience of No-self (Roberts, 1985), read the Introduction
and chapters 1-3 and see if her experience resonates with you.
What does she mean by the “silence?” What insight did she have about
God? What happened when the self disappeared? What is the Great
Flow? What was the Seeing? What was the “gathering of intensity”
she experienced in the mountains and how would you react to it?
Secure a copy of The Cloud of Unknowing (Progoff, 1981) and begin to read it also. Compare the author’s descriptions with those of Roberts.
The Great Passageway
In time I came to the edge of the void. It was as if I stood on the
brink of a bottomless chasm looking down into utter darkness. And I
knew I had to jump. But I could not move. In my terror, I sought
Michael, my guardian angel. He told me to sit on the threshold until
I was ready and not to force myself.
When I examined my fears, I found that I was afraid there would be no light,
that I would be unconscious in the dark forever after death. And that
scared me too because I had never before been afraid of death. But
I had expected it to be a return to Love and Light. Now this experience
seemed to challenge that illusion. By this time, I was absorbed in
asamprajnata samadhi during meditation in which my experience was of complete
nothingness. I would sit for an hour and know nothing during that time
as if I were completely unconscious. It felt like deep sleep, but instead
of the usual 90 minute interval of sleep which included dreaming, I would
come to myself on the minute of the time I had allotted myself as if some
inner clock had sounded the “all-clear.” No one that I knew could
explain to me what was happening.
So I went looking for an explanation in books, my usual resource, and was
able to identify the chasm as the Void. This is the emptiness of space
before time and life and mind. It is the endless, open space out of
which everything created arises. It seemed analogous to the “Field”
that spaciousness which contains the universe and which is, still, full of
movement and activity. I thought it worth trying to maintain my consciousness
as I descended into the blackness of samadhi. What occurred was I could
detect something huge moving in that vast space. It had no physical
qualities but there was a felt sense of enormity. There is a background
“hum” in the universe of about 7 hertz that does not come from any known
astral bodies. Perhaps it was this “hum.”
Some writers called it black space. Others called it radiant darkness
or dark light. So, when I ran across these discussions, I figured that
the reason I experienced darkness was because the light frequencies were
too high for my human perceptual ability. That meant I would need to
raise my own bodily and mental frequencies if I wanted to see it.
While all this was going on, I was studying the Sahasrara Padma and dissolution.
I discovered that total absorption means a loss of all the parameters of
being in the world. If I went far enough, it meant loss of life and
mind because they are defined by form and maya. I faced the end
of differentiation and separation and objectification as they were stages
of creation. There would be a loss of power consciousness and the mental
activities associated with that. A sense of union would also go as
the circumference of the Supreme Bindu dissolved. It meant that the
Void was the ultimate destination.
At this point, I had what could be described as a breakthrough.
As I was sitting at my computer working, I suddenly realized that my consciousness
was the God within, or rather that my consciousness is God’s consciousness.
This meant that God is living my life and the lives of everyone else on earth,
and that perhaps that was the whole purpose of creation. It could mean
that we are all part of a process of universal evolution in which human beings
are not yet fully formed or completed. This would certainly explain the variations
in development of awareness that we see all around us. Then maybe instead
of our being cells in the body of God as Swami Radha suggested, we are working,
creative thoughts in the mind of God, and maybe the "Field" is the mind of
the Creator. It follows that, because we are each a part of that
whole, there is no room for critical judgment of others or ourselves.
It was not long after this that I recognized that what was true for
consciousness was probably also true of mind, that my mind was a facet of
the Universal Mind, intimately connected with it and able to tune into it.
This, I discovered, could be accomplished through judicious and careful use
of intuition. There was intuitive guidance, of which I had been aware
for many years, which would warn me of impending danger or answer questions
I had. But this new insight proved to be a valuable tool for developing
this guidebook. When I got stuck, I could study and “program” my little
mind to be receptive. Then, at an opportune moment, usually when drifting
off to sleep, I could pose the question again, and an instant answer would
come that solved all the mysteries of that particular issue. The answer,
then, had to be translated into a form that could be communicated to others.
This is similar to a process developed by Margharita Laski and explained
in The Biology of Transcendence (Pearce, 2004, pp. 187-8). I had used a variant of it in college when it was term paper time.
After these two insights, I found that my fears had mostly disappeared.
I was not going to lose my mind. And my identity was Divine rather
than self-conscious. So I am not going to be unconscious in the dark.
It has to be said that no two people are going to have the same experience traveling through the passageway. The Cloud of Unknowing
describes one, Roberts (1985) and Ruiz (transl. Nelson, 1997) tell about
others. Swami Radha used to say that adequate preparation, meaning purification,
eases the transitions. So, perhaps the trauma Roberts suffered came
partly from lack of experiential knowledge on the part of her human guides.
Associated with the increasing information about spiritual emergency, her
experience suggests that we need to take a closer look at people who are
institutionalized because of loss of ego structures. The current psychological
zeitgeist defines lack of ego as psychotic and lack of boundaries as borderline.
So it might be prudent to be careful with whom you share your experiences
of these uncommon domains.
Exercise: The Great Passageway
Begin reading Beyond Fear by San Miguel Ruiz (Nelson, 1997).
Pay particular attention to the passage through the snake and compare it
to Robert’s transitions. What do they have in common, and what do they
say about the passageway?
Mind as Mirror/Emptiness
In many places, we have said that the mind serves as a mirror. Seen
as the circumference of the Supreme Bindu, it marks the boundary between
existence as life and the void. On one side is emptiness and on the
other is form. Tibetan Buddhism honors this dichotomy with its own
Mirrors reflect light as well as the images that are caught in the light.
So if a mental mirror is turned toward creation, it will reflect the forms
of which creation is made. One the other hand, if it is turned toward
the void, it will reflect emptiness. We already know of the mind’s
penchant for projection which is a reflection of something in me from someone
else which I can then perceive “objectively.” So let us assume that
consciousness is the source of “light” and mind is the mirror. We can
use attention to direct the mind in any direction and to focus on something
we wish to examine. So, if I think about the world, that is what I
will perceive. And, if I cease to think, the void is what I will perceive.
The implication for practice is that if we want to exit the mind, we need
to re-enter the reflection. Or, to put it another way, we need to go
into the light; or raise our level of consciousness. Alternatively,
we can learn how to focus the mind’s lenses to vary our experience.
Begin to read The Essence of the Heart Sutra by the Dalai Lama (Gyatso,
2005). This is the quintessential work on the nature of emptiness.
So, as you read, try to formulate a working definition of emptiness for yourself.
What is the form and emptiness interaction? How does that relate to
mind as mirror and what are the implications for practice? Can you
find any common ground with Almaas’ (1986) discussion of the Void?
In what ways are they talking about the same experiences?
Earlier, I mentioned feeling terror at the edge of the abyss.
And we talked about the Breaking Through experience. Contemplation
of the Void may cause a kind of fear that is worse than what we ordinarily
experience because we are confronting a loss of who we think we are.
The ego, personality and intellect have been developed over the entire life
span and our very idea of who we are depends upon constant reinforcement
of our self-perceptions. This is the job of the mind, so when the mind
is silenced, we literally disappear. If you have done enough meditation,
you will have experienced this. However, we come out of meditation and
“normal” life continues with our self intact. We may even have met
our Witness Self. Or we may have spent time getting acquainted with
our souls. The existence of the Void suggests to us that all that is
going to be lost forever if not now, at least when we die. So we repress
and defend against any conscious awareness of that possibility, in order
to function in the world.
Our first experience with the confrontation of loss of self comes at around
5 years of age when the ego reaches a level of maturity at which it can perceive
the threat of engulfment by the dynamic ground as Washburn (1995) calls it.
The ego’s response is to generate repression of the overwhelming force of
the Divine One, so it can establish itself in a position of control over
the organism. It sets boundaries to delineate who we are. It
creates an ego-identity that is coherent and stable, and it sets up a sense
of individuality that separates us from every other person on earth.
And then it proceeds to defend that position to the death. Fear of
engulfment is a fear of loss of the separate self, and it is a powerful motivator.
Only a long period of self-examination can enable us to relax that vigilance,
tune in to our personal essence and tolerate loss of boundaries.
A corollary fear is that of annihilation which means not only loss of life,
but loss of personal essence, individuality, soul, consciousness, mind and
existence itself. In other words, not being. Part of this is
fear of loss of mind and/or insanity. For me, this was a huge obstacle.
I just could not confront not being able to know: who I am, where I am, what
is happening, etc. We are able to perceive ourselves on many different
levels: physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual, etc. and there
is a comforting thread of existence running through all these attitudes and
qualities that stays the same no matter upon what part of ourselves we focus
attention. It is the loss of that thread of continuity we dread losing.
Death of God
We also fear that there may not be a Divine Being who created everything
and who cares for us. All of the images of heaven and a deity full
of light and love reflect our need to return to the Source of our existence
and being. However, confronting the void raises a question: Is there
really a God? Or, if there is a God, does He really care about us?
Or, if He cares about us, why does He allow so much pain and suffering? Or
She? Unable to answer some of these questions satisfactorily, many
people stop believing in a Divine Being.
Standing at the edge of the abyss, one thing becomes clearly apparent: I
have to do this alone. No one can help me. The scriptures say
that the last steps must be taken alone. So it is essential that we
come to terms with our basic aloneness. I am not talking about loneliness.
We all need company from time to time. This is an elemental solitude,
a space in which there is no other person or soul. There is no union,
no light, no love, nor any other feeling except that of existential helplessness.
It puts us in touch with our actual lack of control over what happens to
A deep sense of grief and sorrow comes over us at the potential loss of our
lives. It may feel like terminal hopelessness, as if nothing we have
done had any purpose. We wonder what was the point of incarnation at
all. We grieve the loss of our family and friends as well as lost opportunities
because we recognize that there is no going back to the way things were before
this moment. Whatever happens, we will never be the same person again.
Our relationships, if they survive, will necessarily be different because
we shall be different.
Loss of Consciousness
We have mentioned this, but it goes to the marrow at this point. If
we lose consciousness, there can be no awareness of anything at all, nothing
happening, no one, no place, just the void in its limitless expanse.
It threatens not being, non-existence; that engulfment and annihilation mentioned
above. And this seems to be what must be tested in order to continue
Exercise: Essence of the Heart Sutra
Continue reading The Essence of the Heart Sutra by the Dalai Lama
(Gyatso, 2005). What are the four seals of existence? What is
the basic wisdom of the Prajnaparamita of which the Heart Sutra is the core?
How does the Buddhist concept of emptiness speak to our fears? And
what is the distinction between self and no-self?
Continue reading Beyond Fear by Don Miguel Ruiz (Nelson, 1997).
What is his explanation for the fear we experience at the threshold of transformation?
Compare his ideas about evil and the parasite with Pearce’s (2004) “Anatomy
of Evil” in Part II of The Biology of Transcendence. How
do the four masteries help us to go back Home? Compare Ruiz’s ideas
about emotions to Robert’s report of loss of the entire affective system.
Does shifting the Assemblage Point resemble any of Robert’s experiences in
developing silent mind? How does controlling the dream speak to our
It is important to realize that what is at stake here is not physical existence
though that has its own level of importance. What is being tested is
whether we are able to sacrifice our very perceived existence in order to
become more conscious of our identity with the Whole. It is a crisis
of consciousness. Can I become aware of More? Is it worth the
sacrifice of my ego, personality, intellect and soul? Can I deliberately
step into the mouth of God? Can I risk assimilation?
No-self is not God; rather, it is the gap between
self and God, and the gateway to what is not only beyond the self, but beyond
no-self as well. – Roberts, 1985, p. 95
Vis a vis annihilation, let us look at no-self, what it would be like to
not exist in the manner to which we have become accustomed. What is
it like to be nothing, to have no ego, no personality, no thinking mind,
no affective system, no center, as Roberts (1985) describes it? And
is that a useful question, or are we merely discussing what we are conscious
of? If there is no self, who is conscious or who can be conscious?
Buddhists declare there is no self, there is only consciousness. Consciousness
just is. All of the characteristics mentioned above as being in jeopardy
are only mental creations. And, in fact, if we had a powerful enough
microscope with which to examine ourselves and the world, it would all disappear
into quarks and particles: positive and negative bits of energy. So
we only exist by virtue of some organizing principle that arranges these
particles into some kind of temporary order. Objectively speaking,
we do not exist as solid, or even mental, objects. So maybe there is
something to this idea of emptiness with vibration of which Light, Love and
Life are only curious variations.
Here, I think, is where we come to the edge of the abyss which could be redefined
as the brink of unknowing. We really do not know how the system
works in spite of all the research. Yet, still, we feel there is something
there, there is a tenacious order in what we can perceive out there and within
ourselves. And, although there is constant change, it is orderly and
We feel our existence. It is not any of the definitions we have reviewed
but beyond them. Still, we are here, present. We are presences
that can relate to each other and, hopefully, to a creator. We also
feel the presence of an Other, a stable, higher-order Being whom we would
like to know better and be able to trust. So, intuitively, we decline
the concept of no-self in favor of Beingness or the Absolute, the Divine
One, Universal Reality or some such entity who is more powerful than ourselves.
What we cannot deny, apparently, is the need to traverse the terrain of no-self
in order to make direct contact with this higher power.
What Is is not the personal god experienced in union or unity, but the space
beyond that contains it and us. We can project that What Is must
be conscious and intelligent since It created consciousness and intelligent
human beings – relatively speaking, of course. As Swami Radha said,
“the Power that has created the eye can see” (Radha, 1978, p. 131).
Interestingly, Roberts (1985) calls It the “Eye” in one of her initial encounters
with It. She also describes vibratory feeling tones in experiences
that terrified her enroute to that discovery. In the end, what she
discovers can only be called “What Is” because It cannot be known by our
minds or consciousnesses but only through absorption in or identification
with It. The prerequisite for that is no-self.
However, it seems to me that no-self need not mean absolute destruction of
our habitual self-perceptions, but rather an expansion of identity, a kind
of reversal in self-definition in order to see ourselves as the Divine One
trying to lead individual lives within a whole new set of parameters in a
world that is really only dancing ions; cf. Shiva as Lord of the Dance.
The familiar assets of life are still there along with the usual habits of
mind and behavior when we choose to engage them. But we are now privy
to a whole new zeitgeist of experience, the door to which is expanded consciousness
and a new tuning knob on the mental satelite dish.
Thus, there would seem to be an unlimited opportunity and depth for
exploration in this new dimension that is limited only by our willingness
Exercise: What Is
Read chapter 6 and the rest of Part I in The Experience of No-self.
What was the smile? And how would it relate to the triad of knowing,
seeing, and doing? What is “What Is” and how can it be known?
What is the silent mind and how does it differ from the ordinary everyday
mind? Compare silent mind with silent knowledge in Ruiz’s Beyond Fear
(Nelson, 1999). What happened to Robert’s body? her memory?
Under what circumstances can truth reveal itself? Outline the summary
pages, and add your own comments and experiences to them. Pay particular
attention to the section on Silent Mind. Make a list of the characteristics
of “silent mind” and notice what distinguishes it from “blank mind.”
How do these relate to no-self? Compare “What Is” with “Beingness as
explained in The Power of Now (Tolle, 1999)
Resurrection means to “rise again” though not always from the dead though
that is the usual association we may make. It can also mean to bring
back from a lost place or to revive. The term is used here to indicate
the end of the passageway or transition through the mouth of Visnu.
It can be defined as Self-liberation or just Liberation. Sometimes
it is called Self-Realization which means that we finally recognize our divinity
and identity with the Divine One. Pearce (2004) calls it a “fall into
grace.” Norbu (1996) calls it “Rig Pa” which means the “intuitive and
direct knowledge of the primordial condition, maintained as a living presence”
(p. 136). Jesus’ resurrection has the same meaning: that we have come
through the shadow of death, analogous to the passageway, and survived on
a higher plane of existence. It differs from ascension in that the
individual is still in a body and able to function in the world. However,
there has also been a change in appearance of the physical body. It
is now full of light.
When the bodymind is purified to a certain point at which the veils of conditioning
are largely removed, it is possible for the soul’s natural light to become
noticeable. This may be experienced as a shiny countenance or may actually
be seen as light emanating from the body or as an aura around the head or
body. In addition, the person may also become able to detect light
in other people who may not be as far along developmentally as well as in
those who are. We may also begin to be able to detect light in the
environment where there was apparently none before such as around trees,
mountains and bodies of water. Or we may begin to be able to see the
colors in other people’s auras. Everyone has a light body, and it radiates.
Being able to see it may be why this stage of development is called enlightenment.
I remember one night when I was living at the Ashram seeing my own light.
I had gone to bed, the lights were out and it was fully dark. I looked
down and could see light flowing out of my hands and fingers. At other
times, I could see the light flowing out of other people especially Swami
Radha. On one occasion when she was giving a talk on love, the whole
room filled up with golden light. Once, I was attending a weekend retreat
with Pir Vilayat Khan at The Abode of the Message. His light and that
which he created in the group was astounding! He had the ability to
enable others to see the natural radiation in all of nature and in each other.
Light is one of the manifestations of Sambhogakaya. There are three:
1) light as the visible aspect of energy before assuming any form,
2) sound perceived as mantra, and 3) rays which manifest all the forms and
colors of the mandala of the divinity. The “Great Transference into the Body
of Light” is a transmission that “involves the transference or reabsorption,
without a physical death, of the material body into the luminous essence
of the elements, in the course of which realization the physical body disappears
from the sight of ordinary beings” (Norbu,1996, p. 61). If this is
not experienced during life, it can be after death.
Exercise: Light and Ecstasy
Secure a copy of Light and Ecstasy by Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan (1998)
if you do not already have one and enjoy his accounts of experiences with
light. The book was published by the Sufi Order International and would probably
be available through their website.
Practice: Divine Light Invocation
See Appendix A.
Under the circumstances we have been describing, one can feel very fragile
and alone. The new experiences, if shared with others who are not at
a similar stage of development, can result in rejection or avoidance because
they are so much like psychopathology. Therefore, it is important to
seek out a group or community of like-minded souls with whom you can share
your journey. Monasteries, convents and ashrams were set up for the
purpose of providing shelter and support to disciples of the master who founded
the community. Many, if not most, people who live in those places
for a while tend to stay there and give service to others who come for teaching
If such a community life is not practical for you, there is a possibility
for meeting compatible friends at workshops and trainings that are given
at various places. These can be spiritual communities as described
above or just conference centers who specialize in spiritual training such
as Omega Institute, The Abode of the Message, and Kripalu. Most of
these places have websites and you could find them by searching for “spiritual
communities.” Many of the conference centers offer certificates and
in-service credits in the areas of training.
It is now possible to study spiritual development for an advanced degree
at various institutes and universities that have been accredited for that
purpose. The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology has a complete program
up through the PhD level. Naropa University also awards advanced degrees
including one in Contemplative Psychotherapy. The California Institute
of Integral Studies and the John F. Kennedy Institute in California offer
advanced degrees. And many other univer-sities offer programs in transpersonal
studies while not yet specializing in them.
If you feel drawn to do intensive inner work with the guidance of a teacher,
I suggest the Diamond Heart work or Sufi Retreats. The teaching I received
at the Ashram was this kind of self-examination. It is life-changing!
On the inner planes, you may seek out the guidance of either Spirit or your
guardian angel through meditation. Over time, a dialogue can develop
during which you may ask questions and be instructed.
Your own Higher Self or Witness Self is also a support since It does not
respond to events in the world with emotionality but is an objective observer.
It can be a very valuable resource when you are trying to discriminate
among projections: yours and those of others. It also serves as a stable
“ground” since it does not change in the face of outside stimulation.
Your soul, too, is a guide since it knows where it is going and what your
life is meant to achieve. Its feedback comes to you as the finer feelings.
It may be blocked in its self-expression by the ego who can be threatened
by its proclivities. In fact, an ego-soul conflict or confrontation
is not at all unusual. In our culture, the soul is usually the loser
in any such contest.
In the end, Liberation is Self-Liberation because only you are privy to your
inner workings. And, at the higher levels, as we have said before,
one must proceed alone on the causal plane.
Implications for Practice
In this section, I want to do two things: review the dissolution process
and suggest some practices. The Visnu Vakta is the threshold of dissolution,
so it is here that we need to investigate what it requires.
The Dissolution Process
You will remember that the dissolution process is a reversal of the whole
creative action. And we have been systematically retracing those steps
throughout this entire guidebook. So let me review in summary what
we have learned. Then we will see what implications that has for the
return journey. A pattern does emerge from the confusion.
Please turn to or print out Tables 8-10.
Note that these symbols do not match exactly what we have been using, but
they give a better sense of the action. Table 8. Creation shows the progession
of consciousness development on the causal plane. The essential process
is a distillation of what happens at each level.
Now look what happens when we reverse the process to examine dissolution.
Read up the right column for the essential process of that realm. Each
lower one gets dissolved into the next highest one. Now, please look at Table
9 for some implications for practice. You may find it helpful to print the tables out for ease in processing.
[Note: The dotted lines with arrows should be seen as zigzagging all the
way down the chart such that the Nature at one level becomes the Essence
at the next level down. Then the horizontal dotted lines with arrows
indicate the triads. The vertical arrows indicate the creative progression
shown on Table 8. for comparison]
You will remember Norbu’s (1996, p. 53) description of the three aspects
of the void or the three primordial wisdoms: Essence, Energy and Nature.
Essence is the base or pure condition and the basis of all manifestations
in the universe. This is analogous to Presence or that which takes
the initiative. Energy is the process of manifestation or projection
of the original qualities of the essence, i.e., the light of the primordial
state. This is the movement aspect of the triad. Nature is the
more concrete manifestation of the primordial state in all its aspects, or
we could think of it as the result of the creative movements of the initiator.
Norbu goes on to say that these three characteristics of the void correspond
in the path to three aspects of the nature of the mind: presence, movement
and calm states. Finally Norbu compares these three dimensions as fruits
of realization: Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya respectively.
[Note that the base, path and fruit are another similar and relevant triad.]
In the individual, these three aspects take the forms of mind, voice and
body which may give you a more grounded point of departure.
Now, the leap I am going to take is to suggest that these three forms or
aspects of the void provide the working formula for creation and dissolution.
We have seen their pervasiveness throughout this series of guidebooks, so
it is apparent that they are critical forms. If you will examine Table
9. Creation Triads, you will find the causal planes again along with
the triad that seems most logical to carry out each level of activity.
You will notice that the “Essence” and the “Nature” columns contain the same
concepts juxtaposed to show a continuity of the movement which is found in
the “Energy/Movement” column. What this means is that the Nature or
manifestation of one plane becomes the Essence of the succeeding one.
Therefore, each level becomes more dense or differentiated as we go down
the scale until physical forms finally appear. [I have not shown all
the arrows of direction in the Tables but you may visualize them as
a series of “Zs” rather than the simple vertical dimension in my diagram.]
Note: Nature does mean manifestation, but, in this case, we must think of
it as increasing levels of differentiation in the realm of consciousness
because in the causal plane everything that happens is occurring only in
consciousness, not in the physical or mental worlds. We could rework
the table to indicate more concrete effects in the Nature category such as Vision producing Light and Love or
Unity becoming Mind and Life. This would not be wrong, but it would
not show the process quite as clearly.
If you look at Table 10. Dissolution, you will see that the only change is
in the direction of the arrows and the type of Energy or Movement.
The parentheses indicate the Creation, Energy Movement in the creative direction.
But here we are not creating the world, we are making it disappear.
So the movement must be the opposite of the creative actions. Here
is where we may find more implications for practice. Some ideas follow.
Notice that you may enter the chart at any point depending upon your own
level of development. However, you are urged to make sure that you
have done the preliminary work before continuing on. If the foundation
is not secure, the whole edifice will tumble. So let us see if there
is any useful material here.
The following ideas are based on the interactions between the causal plane
and the associated triads of each one. I suggest you take each
plane as a practice over a period of time to give you a chance to apply the
processes to your own development. You might want to sit with the main
idea first, then journal your reactions. After that, sit with the questions
and/or make up your own. Then journal your thoughts about them.
Finally, it helps to write a self-reflective paper about the whole process
and what you learned from it. Remember that the act of writing bridges
the two hemispheres, and it also enables the left hemisphere to share in
the direct knowledge of the right one.
1. A-Ka-Tha. Here all creation is destroyed in consciousness
which means we are not aware of it at all as in samadhi. Only the potential
form is left. But we can come back to it when we disengage from meditation.
That is the condition of asamprajnata samadhi. For reflection, you
might look at the forms of your external and internal life. Externally,
that could mean what roles you play, what kind of job do you have, with whom
are you in relationship, etc. Internally, you could look at your inner
life. What are your hopes and dreams? Your fears? Your
thoughts, and how well can you control them? How is your health?
2. Kamakala. Here form decomposes into its essence, archetype
or tattva. There is still a pattern present. You might learn
to perceive the essence of things around you. For example, what exactly
is the essence of trees, i.e., what is treeness? Look for archetypal
patterns. What are the underlying unities? Think about will/feeling,
knowing and doing: each by itself, then each separately. And
what do they have in common that makes them essences? On the personal
level, ask yourself what you do best, who you really are, what makes you
unique. What is your essence? What is the gift with which you
came into a body? Look at the patterns behind the forms you worked
with at the A-Ka-Tha level. Do you see any archetypes? Are you
an ingenue, a wise old lady, a priest, an introvert, or what archetype(s)
do you follow? Jung’s (Keirsey & Bates, 1978) typology could be
used as a step toward identifying personal archetypes.
3. Mahanada. This is where intentional vibration stops.
So the essences of things must be withdrawn into mere intention or will.
You might look at the triadic pattern itself. Ask, how do triads emerge
from intention? Examine the triadic process and relate it to your life.
What do feeling, knowing and doing mean to you: separately and together?
Are they in balance? If not, what needs to happen? Try to withdraw
the knowing and doing of your life into will, then into finer feelings such
as love. Can you subject your ego’s will to Divine Will? How
can you surrender your individual will to Spiritual Will? With respect to
intention, what do you intend to create? You could ask what is the purpose
of your life, for what reason did you incarnate? Stilling the vibrations
of consciousness would mean to quiet the mind and bring silence and solitude
into our lives. Can you spend a day or more in silence without talking?
Do you allow yourself the solitude you need to avoid stress and to restore
4. Vyapika. Here, intention or will is internalized into the
original vision or “seeing.” Can you visualize the purpose of your
life as your soul might have conceived it before you were born? Since
Light is one of the outcomes of this level of creation, you might try to
dissolve the will or your intentions in Light. Use the Divine Light
Invocation to do this. Focus will on the One. Seek Divine Will
and delete self-will. Iccha means “desire” which translates into either
will or feeling. So you could try to shift attention from wanting to pure
energy. Instead of thinking about what you want, ask what God wants
from your life. You could ask, how do I see my life? How
does the Divine One see my life? What are my future options?
Do you have access to your intuitive mind? If so, for what do you use
it? Since this is the level of radiation, you might ask what kind of
energy do you radiate as you go about your daily life. And, since one
of the products is bliss, can you see love in all beings? If not, what
are the obstacles to that? And, since light symbolizes the truth, are
you always honest? What are the important truths for your life?
5. Samana. Here vision must be consolidated into duality.
You will recall that the particular duality is mind and life. So we
could bring the Light of Vyapika to both the Mind and to Life. To do
that, focus Light on your projections. Bring Light to mind. Dissolve
small mind in Universal Mind. Focus attention on Life as a whole.
Forget small self and absorb it in Life as a whole: how could you give your
life in service to the One, for instance? What is the relationship
between mind and life, and how do they interact? What do you think
about life? How have your thoughts created the life you now have? What
is your life about? What do you focus attention on? How does
your life influence your thoughts? your mind? For what purposes do
you use your mind and life? What are the interactions between light,
life and love in your life?
6. Unmani. At this point, all activities, perceptions and movements
are collected into unity. Mind and Life become inseparable.
You need to learn how to withdraw all of your projections into Consciousness.
That means you become aware of all projections and differentiations: withdraw
all separateness into Unity. Dissolve the mind and your life into Consciousness.
This means that you give your conscious awareness the power over all aspects
of your mind and life, not that you are going to die. Ask
yourself, what is your relationship, if you have one, with the Creator?
Are all parts of yourself in harmony and balance? What is the role
of your Witness Self and are you in touch with it? What do you know
about your soul, and what do you think and feel about it? Are your
ego and soul in conflict or have they resolved their issues? How are
mind and life alike?
7. Void. This is the final step into Dharma Megha Samadhi.
Liberation. All perceptions, relationships and identifications disappear
into Cosmic Consciousness. Consciousness is the primal force.
If you let it guide your life, there is no end to the possibilities for growth
and bliss. So what restricts or intimidates your consciousness? What
experience, if any, have you had of Cosmic Consciousness? What veils
over it are still present and what do you plan to do about them?
In summary, transcendence or dissolution may consist of combining Energy
and Nature to achieve Essence. Then finding the quality of the next
highest level into which to absorb this triad. To do this, we need
to withdraw projections as follows:
1. Manifested universe into the essence of form and will.
2. All of our feeling, knowing and doing into Spiritual Will toward intention.
3. Intention, vibration and Spiritual Will into vision of the Divine One or into Light.
4. Vision of the Divine One, seeing, insight and intuition into Light, Life and Love.
5. Light, Life and Love into absorption/contemplation.
6. Separation and aloneness, differentiation/projection
and dualism into Unity Consciousness or Union with the Divine One.
7. Unity consciousness into Cosmic Consciousness.
Eight Rungs of Yoga
There is yet another set of practices that are most likely meant just for
the seven planes of the causal plane. The Eight Rungs of Yoga, you
will recall, is a series of Yogic practices that gradually take you to samadhi.
A quick summary of these practices can be found in the Ashtanga Yoga Primer
by Baba Hari Dass (1981) if it is still in print. Raja Yoga by Swami
Vivekananda (1976) or the Taimni (1975) book explain the larger picture.
Let us see how they might fit.
1. A-Ka-Tha triangle. The first practices are the yamas and niyamas
that are the observances and abstinences. We met those in Book
I, and you can find the details there. As a reminder, they are used
primarily to purify and clarify the ego and personality. So they would
speak directly to your daily life in all its aspects.
2. Kamakala. Hatha Yoga comes next, and you might find it difficult
to imagine how that would relate to the tattvas or archetypes. The
main purpose of Hatha Yoga is to bring the mind and body together through
focusing on the breath while holding a posture. These practices
will eventually put you in touch with your essence since they involve prana
directly via the breath.
3. Mahanada. Pranayama is next. It relates to intention
and will because it will put you in touch with your vital power. We
use the breath and our life’s vitality to carry out our intentions or to
manifest our wills. Breath and prana are the power behind all we can
4. Vyapika. Pratyahara is the practice that helps us to close
down our sensory mechanisms in order to join the inner life. So it enables
us to focus attention on intuition and our spiritual energies. When
we do this, we can experience SatCitAnanda. Over time, pratyahara will
put you in touch with the Divine Light.
5. Samana. Concentration speaks directly to Samana since it narrows
the field of attention to oneself and the object of focus. So concentration
is a tool to focus the mind which is one of the pair in this place.
It could also be used to focus one’s life when appropriate. Usually
the object of the focus is the Divine One, in which case, we would
be talking about devotion, Bhakti Yoga or worship.
6. Unmani. Meditation enables us to become one with the object of concentration.
So, it would seem, it can bring us into direct contact with the Divine One
also known as Citatma or Brahman or God.
7. Void. Contemplation, also called samadhi, is the practice
that eventually results in experience of the void or identity with the One.
“Samadhi is the Void itself” (Woodroffe, 1978, p. 468).
For more details and information about how the Eight Rungs of Yoga accomplish
these goals, please see The Patanjali Sutras. I think The Science of
Yoga by Taimni (1975) is the most lucid translation and commentary.
Most of these will simply be a continuation of what has gone before.
The real work is suggested by Table 10. Dissolution Triads. But the
following may offer some support for those processes.
Meditation is the basic practice.
Contemplation: See The Cloud of Unknowing for new ideas on how to do this.
Cultivate Virtues. These are not new either but bear repeating since
they are germane to what is happening at this level. For an extensive
list of spiritual virtues, see al-Asmā’ul-Husnā: The 99 Beautiful Names of
Allah by Muhaiyadeen (1997) or the qualities being developed in The Pearl
Beyond Price by Almaas (1990) or the Holy Ideas in Facets of Unity also by
Almaas (2002) which you may already have in your collection. You can
make your own list, of course.
Patience is a must because the process takes time and cannot be rushed.
In addition, the process is being supervised by a higher power and, therefore,
is not under our control. You can practice patience everywhere, while
standing in line for instance or waiting for a special phone call or when
your children or spouse are being difficult.
Humility is essential for the same reasons. Ego is being put out of
business and may be expected to resist vehemently. Humility is one
way to train it. My practice is to try not to talk about what I know.
It could be interesting to try to give some service without anyone else knowing
Silence is another discipline that is much needed in our society. Because
so many of us are extraverts, talk has become a medium of contact whether
it is conveying any important information or not. To not talk, opens
up other avenues of communication some of which are quite delightful.
Silence also gives you exquisite insights into your own mind.
Trust may be the most difficult achievement because the Power working here
is not embodied, and we must have faith that what is happening is benevolent.
If you are a member of the older generation, you may have had traumatic experiences
with lack of trust and/or bonding as an infant which will make this issue
Acceptance of What Is must occur because there is no alternative. Any
resistance just makes the passage more difficult and painful. This
is our surrender practice again. When you catch yourself resisting
doing something or listening to someone else’s advice or you feel critical
or judgmental, use that insight to discover what obstacles get in the way
of your ability to surrender.
Surrender mind because it gets in the way. Here we are talking about
the small mind that becomes an obstacle. The silent mind is a different
entity. Also no-self requires the surrender of mind.
These come from Kundalini Vidya by Harrigan (2002). The Shuddha beha purifies the physical
system. The Pranava beha improves brain function. And Jnana beha
refines higher intelligence. There are other very beneficial practices
in Harrigan’s book, but you may find them yourself, so I will not outline
them here. See also Kundalini: Yoga for the West by Swami Radha (1978)
which organizes practices to align with the chakra system.
Here we come to the end of the Visnu Vakta discussion and are prepared for
the Candra Mandala. We have looked at the void as emptiness and darkness
as well as the Great Passageway between our causal body and the final outcome.
There are fears of non-existence to be overcome as well as a transition through
no-self in order to come to What Is. At the end of the passage, transfiguration
may occur which is a revelation of the Light within. Implications for
practice include an understanding of the dissolution process and its relationships
to the triads.
In Unit IX. Candra mandala, we will look at the endpoint where we achieve
eternal existence, cosmic consciousness and Light. This is complete
Liberation and includes cessation of suffering.
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