I’ve written a number of articles on the development of Unity Consciousness. In essence, the outer world of experience is united with the inner world of being. There is no longer an “inside” and “outside”. Put another way, the seer or experiencer is united with the seen or objects of experience. Only seeing remains. All becomes one, directly and intimately.
(see States of Consciousness for context)
The Veda of Unity vaguely describes the 10 stages of Unity. These correspond to the 10 mandalas (books) of the Rk Veda. If you look closely, you’ll note they also align with Atman, the 8 prakritis (5 elements, mind, intellect, & ego), and Brahman. Subjectively, certain stages will be more prominent or obvious than others.
Of course, the unfoldment of Unity is a nonlinear process of “experience and become” where all aspects of experience, memory, and all of space and time are united in one wholeness. At its completion, “Even the farthest reaches of the galactic universe which we can’t see are still concretely cognized and appreciated as an expression of the Self.” (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi) Makes sense if you are the universe or that which contains the universe.
It is in this range when the Cosmic body and body as devata become apparent. We become aware of the cosmic nature of our seeming individual body. Not just the Self within is cosmic but even our physiology. Our finger is a city of light beings, managing the biological functions of that digit for all physical beings, concurrently. As you can imagine, it’s quite a different way of seeing life.
The entire unfolding process, from CC/Self realization to Unity is a development of Atman, the cosmic Self. But then, a surprising thing happens. (yet again) With the dissolution of the “faintest remains of difference“, we begin to transcend the Self. Soon, we find ourselves beyond all of the former notions of fundamental reality. We are beyond consciousness, creation, Self, existence, divinity, absolute, all space and time; including eternity and Now, everything. We are stepping into Brahman.
This next stage is known as Brahman Consciousness (BC) but is not a stage of development of consciousness or Self like prior stages as we’re transcending them. It is a natural progression from Unity. However, even someone in Unity cannot comprehend it, it’s that big a shift. Any attempt you make to conceptualize this will be a farce. The point of this article is to support people on the journey, not make goofy concepts.
Describing Brahman is like describing the Tao. If it can be named, it is not the Tao. There are no words to describe what is beyond existence, beyond creation, beyond all form. But please, don’t confuse this with the silence of deep meditation or Self Realization. While this is Brahman, it is only the very surface. To know totality, you have to plumb its depths.
This has been a rare stage of development; to be able to reach this within a human life has been uncommon until recently. In the last century, the seat of the Shankaracharya of the North of India had sat vacant for nearly 150 years as no one was qualified. Few translations of old texts on the subject will have the slightest clue. The Brahma Sutras, for example, cover the stitching together of Unity. Most translations read like a convoluted argument rather than a list of the recognitions of the intellect, stitching together oneness.
The BC shift seems to occur in 2 major stages:
During the approach, we may notice we contain all creation and the Self rather than being it. Like the person may seem off in the distance after the CC shift.
Stage 1: In the first stage, we transcend all the development of Atman and the fullness and intimacy of unity. We find ourselves as nothing. This is not a nothing in the usual sense of the word. It is totality. A nothing more than everything.
It is neither full nor empty, neither exists nor doesn’t. It is beyond all such polarities. This can be a dry period with the intimacy and bliss of unity falling away. One person described it like pulling the plug on the fullness of Atman. It is giving up your prior enlightenment. It is once again returning to kindergarten.
In some ways, it’s analogous to the CC shift. In that process, some people experience losing the ego and becoming the no-self or emptiness. While they are then unbounded, free and peaceful, until the bliss kicks in it can be rather dry. The world is illusion and thus can have little meaning. Similarly, when Atman falls away with all its fullness and qualities, we can experience a dry period. We have gone beyond everything and found nothing. The world never was. All knowledge (Veda) is found to be cosmic memory.
Stage 2: In the second stage, we slip a step deeper and fall into a new intensity. Given the above, you can appreciate it’s very difficult to describe. Beyond the beyond? This is known as the Great Awakening. We become the causeless cause and now understand the origin of alertness and liveliness that lead to awareness and the creation we once knew.
The distinctive “quality” of the experience is that there is no creation and never was. Nothing has ever happened. There is no Maya or Lila. There is simply non-moving “flow” within That that gives the appearance of what we experience. Watching bees on a cluster of flowers, it is more like a fluid, like the surface of a large quiet body of water in motion but not going anywhere. The white light that once surrounded life is now all there is.
This profound recognition of reality in a new fundamental way brings with it an intensity of… happiness and bliss are not suitable words. Even the raptures described elsewhere here do not meet it. We have surrendered the bliss of all life for a satisfaction even more profound.
With time in this stage, the body is said to become very refined and capable of things we would have previously considered miraculous. The more overt physical abilities mentioned in the Yoga Sutras, for example. Shiva and Shakti together have come to ground to embody the awakening. Typically, we would then experience a final rise or decent to a location that would best support our role in the world thereafter, be it world teacher or shoe salesperson.
I have feedback from just a few people so little more can be said for now. But it’s an amazing sign that Joe and Jill Householder can enjoy it now.