also involves a deepening
in self-understanding and self-transcendence
since it is the unconscious activity
that is keeping one locked into
one's currently limited
sense of Reality
view of Reality being presented here implies that what we must "find" is even
now the case. In fact, it is always already the case. But we are not currently
aware of it. In order to become aware of it, we need not go anywhere else. We
don't have to wait until after death. It is, rather, a process of becoming more
sensitive, more aware now. God is Real, God is present right now, in this moment
and every moment; and in every moment, we are not truly separate from God. But
we are genuinely suffering a sense of separation
(from God, from everyone, and from everything) that is our own doing. If this
act of separation could be understood and undone, we would be able to be directly
aware of (and ultimately identified with) God right now. It is as though we are
closing our eyes, and making all kinds of poor judgments about what to do with
our lives (including walking off cliffs), without being in a position to be fully
aware of what we are doing. In such a situation, clearly, our highest priority
is to open our eyes!
In addition, we are constantly and actively being acculturated out of the direct
experience of God, because everything is reinforcing the view that "separate self"
is factual and fixed, and nothing is reinforcing the view that "separate self"
is an activity that produces suffering unnecessarily and which can be transcended.
described the Great Realizations that one proceeds through on the way to the Full
or Perfect Realization as permanent shifts in our identity. Because sense of self
or identity is created by our unconscious activity of self-contraction, these
Realizations necessarily also correspond to increases in understanding and progress
in transcending the self-contraction.
first understand and transcend our own primal, separative activity as it manifests
in that fraction of Reality that is our current Realization: the material sphere.
mastered our self-contracting activity on this level, thereby allowing our body-mind
to be fully absorbed in God, the Spiritual Reality becomes apparent. It is something
like Maslow's "hierarchy
of needs", where he suggests that, generally speaking, our needs manifest
themselves in hierarchical fashion. For example, "physiological needs" such as
air, food, and water, generally command one's attention and energy when they are
not met, and generally must be cared for, before one gives much attention to "love,
affection and belongingness needs". In this same kind of manner, the physical
level of existence must be brought into equilibrium and rested in God (as God
is manifest at that level), before the next "level" of Reality makes Itself known
in any kind of stable way.
once the Spiritual has been Realized as one's stable, primary Reality, one must
then learn the same mastery of the self-contraction as it manifests on this
level. As long as there is still a "me" and an "other" (whether "me" is body,
spirit, or Consciousness), self-contraction the activity of separateness
is still being engaged, and must be understood and transcended at the level
in which it is still evidently manifesting.
the final mastery of this act of self-contraction at its most profound and primal
depth occurs in the identification with Consciousness itself, still
separate from manifest existence. When that most primal gesture of
self-contraction is understood and transcended, God is Most Perfectly Realized.
The paradoxical state of Most Perfect Happiness, in which there is no "Me" (even
a Divine "Me") over and against an "other" (even the entire universe) is an Indivisible
Unity that is impossible to imagine from our current viewpoint
of being identified with a separate physical body. But that state of Most Perfect
Non-Separation is the final and Most Perfect Fruit in this process of self-understanding
and self-transcendence. It is in this sense that Socrates' famous dictum, "Know
thy self", has ultimate import.