The structure of consciousness is like “Chinese boxes,” smaller ones inside larger ones, in regress, for several levels of decreasing density and increasing dimension & life force. Each next-larger box contains all the boxes smaller than itself.
In addition, the smallest box of consciousness is the most dense. This is the body and the somatic correlates of the personality, the stuff we call “character structure.” “Mind” is less dense than, and contains the physical body and psychosoma. “Collective mind” contains all individuated minds and also permeates all of them, right down into the psychosoma — and acts upon them.
Each next-larger box also completely permeates all the smaller, denser boxes, and acts upon them, influencing how they express, but beyond the level of Mind, these realms are wholly impersonal, formless, and boundless, beyond time/space, and basically not affected by anything happening at the denser levels even though totally interpenetrating and existentiating/precipitating them.
All of us exist in and AS all of the boxes all the time; we’re just mostly unconscious of the larger ones because the smaller ones are very, very dense. So when an authentic breakthrough in awareness is made to a larger box, it’s not dissociative, because that level contains all the denser levels within it, including the body, as part of its totality. You’re not “going anywhere” that is separate from here.
But the sensate, felt-identity inherent to the larger levels also perceives the denser levels as being much more constrained, containing much-less life force, and basically just less fundamental because of their more-transitory nature.
The feeling of opening awareness to the formless levels is often, “YES, this who I truly am, and who I have always really been!” It is intrinsically, profoundly meaningful — not as a reaction-against or an avoidance-of our messy humanity, but just by itself. It feels like the “coming home” that we’ve always longed-for but was somehow always unreachable or ‘way-too-brief.
There’s a feeling of limitless freedom and of deep, deep peace, often with a soft, melting gratitude and compassion for how the insults and wounds of human life let to this moment, how the contents of the different boxes were orchestrated in the soul’s symphony.
Transits like this have to happen many times, in different sectors of the personality, for the breakthroughs to become integrated into life and the felt-identity. Once is not enough, but once is often enough that one can’t-not-know what happened — and enough to totally upset the applecart of one’s life.
The revelation of one’s deeper identity as being inherently pure, sinless, and fundamentally untouched by the events of “the story” can be deeply and profoundly healing. At a certain point, the fear of death dissipates because one knows, beyond the shadow of doubt, that something more deeply-real about oneself persists after the body can no longer hold the soul in connection with physicality. This also marks the healing of the “abandonment wound” because one is never more than a breath or two from enfoldment in a boundlessly-cherishing and wholly trustworthy Presence.
And these repeated transits exert a gradually erosive effect on the character armor through both the shift in felt-identity and on the subtle energy underpinning it. The shift in felt-identity to the larger spheres of one’s being also give the trust-in-the-process and the place on which to “stand” from which to make the necessary deep dives into one’s personal hell and meet its demons.
And yeah, when most people “meditate” or do mantra, they aren’t doing this. That’s partly from ineffective teaching/mentoring (including not having a teacher), and there ARE a lot people of trying to escape themselves instead of completing themselves, of doing a self-hypnosis technique and calling it “meditation,” or just making entertaining pictures in their heads. Many are deeply wounded and do need a body-centric psychotherapy to release enough of the noise and chaos in the nervous-system so that they can do truly transformational spiritual practice that includes grounding and integration.
There’s also a distinction to be made between the established, tested ancient traditions and the New Age nonsense having its antecedent in early 20th-Century Western occultism. The ancient traditions have time-tested practices and trained teachers who know how exactly how the practices work, whereas the New Age stuff has little real substance and the teachers are mostly self-appointed.
The problem I see with many accidentally-enlightened teachers is that they are each creating their approach on-the-fly, and making mistakes that they would not be making had they been mentored by — and accountable to — elders in a developed and tested tradition that has already encountered pretty-much all the problems and developed solutions for them. They are teaching what they know from what worked for them, and missing the mark with students who are not like them.
Some people just don’t have the capacity — or the courage born of necessity — to do the deep dive into their personal darkness and let the encounter transform them in unforeseen/uncontrollable ways.
So they remain at the surface of their experience, maybe engaging performative spiritual or psychological work, but never letting it shatter them in the way that frees them from their egoic homeostasis.
And that freedom only comes with shattering.
I honestly do not know what the active factor is — except that there are just some people who long for the truth more than they desire comfort or reassurance.
The notion of Twin Flames is all over the psychic/occult landscape, the idea that there is somehow one soul manifesting in two bodies. There are hours of videos devoted to the idea, and why a Twin “runs” and how they can be brought back.
But the notion is founded on a limited premise: That the two are somehow meant to be together. And that’s not necessarily the case.
If there really IS such a thing, if the two of you are one soul in two bodies, you are never truly separate in the first place. Not in the reality of the Soul.
Twin Flames meet in physicality to catalyze certain things in each other, and when that purpose is fulfilled, you separate so that the process can complete and your egos not become dependent on each other and arrest the process.
The resonance between the two of you is deeply compelling, but it’s so that you come to know more-fully who you really are and to complete yourself, not that you are destined to be together in bliss and complete each other in co-dependence.
How you deal with being alone and waiting is a great recipe for your growth or for your suffering, and regardless of some psychic reader telling you that your Twin’s relationship with someone-else is somehow wrong, your Twin has their own work to do that is being catalyzed by that relationship — and free will is a thing and there is no guarantee that your personalities will be compatible if your Twin exits that relationship.
And interference in the free will of another human being through psychic power is spiritually unlawful, so don’t even think about trying to use the “Law of Attraction” or some-such to get your Twin back. If you’re even tempted to use it, it is all-the-more necessary for your Twin to have “run,” so that you can grow up.
So attend to the work of completing yourself within yourself, of developing an authentic autonomy so that you have a happiness that truly belongs to you.
We’re often told that, “if it was meant to be,” that things will work out.
I don’t know about what’s “meant to be,” because the universe has great randomness — elsewise there would be neither free will nor creativity — and its only movement seems to be toward evolution in the sense of greater complexity and greater self-awareness.
So our part in that is less about “what’s meant to be” as it is making something beautiful out of what we’re handed. Things will still work out.
I’m seriously not “wise.”
Standing on the pier of what I know, I can get around it mostly without tripping over the cleats or just the planks, and without getting huge splinters in my feet.
But I’m at the end of the pier looking at the ocean and sky of what I do not know… and I know that what I see in the shallows of the ocean and what of the sky reflected in the water is shallow seeing and distorted reflection, and that ocean and sky act upon me in unforeseeable ways.
There are two ways of learning humility.
One is opening in total awe and joy to the speechless beauty, aliveness, and perfection of it all.
The other: Our knees hit the floor in abject surrender, our world having collapsed and we realize that we control absolutely nothing.
That is “I am nothing.” The other is “I am everything.”
The Universe doesn’t care which one it takes to awaken you from the trance of yourself. If you won’t do the work of learning to trust and let go of your illusory control and steer by the Boundless, you will go under the cosmic abalone-hammer to soften you up, as a natural consequence of your obstinacy.
Most of us choose that because we actually fear to truly surrender to awe and beauty unless it’s in manageable amounts. We want to have choice and that is precisely how we limit ourselves to the stale banality of our comfort zone.
By cultivating fearlessness, we can truly understand darkness and its necessary place in our unfoldment, and not give it power that it does not truly have.
What is wounded and unhealed in us is projected into the Unknown, and so we relegate the unknown to the realm of darkness instead of the realm of light and of possibility. We then may attempt to use the practices of light and radiance to try to escape the darkness instead of illuminating it, un-patterning and claiming the potentials therein — especially the potentials we all have to inflict hurt.
All of us have experiences and memories of being wounded by the exercise of arbitrary force (counterfeit power) to suppress and control, and the unconscious belief is that in incubating guilt and fear of misusing our own power, we will not therefore be like those who wounded us. Perhaps that is what led many of us to a path of “love, harmony, and beauty.”
But actually, the opposite is true: By harboring guilt and fear, we empower the darkness instead of containing and finally mastering it, and thereby increase the likelihood that we will misuse it — against ourselves, if nothing else.
Our practices with light and radiance have to be integrated in a very physical and sensate way, with the very flesh itself. Work with the aura or an awareness of the planes of light is not enough, because this integration requires working with energy as well as attunement, and energy work exposes the contractions that are the somato-psychic “countenances” of our fear of darkness.
Related to fearlessness is a basic trust of the larger process, a relationship of a certain essential ease in the world, a friendliness and at-home-ness with our human incarnation — a sense that, regardless of how tough things get, they are workable and we are not irrevocably alienated from our soul’s purpose.
Many, perhaps most, of us do not arrive at adult-hood with this intact, but it is nevertheless our divine inheritance and can be reclaimed through spiritual practice and the movement of grace. This is less a psychological problem than a spiritual quality that manifests in the psyche, and without that breakthrough to that of our own being that transcends time, space, and our history, we can chip away at this for decades.
Psychology understands the person as being the product of biology and the forces that shape the personality, with “spirituality” taking place inside the body, mind, and to an extend a person’s social sphere.
Mysticism understand the person as being a concretization of a movement of a Beingness transcending time, space, and form (including the “Archetypes”). This formless/boundless Beingness is actually the creative matrix of all time/space/form and can be communed-with in direct experience. This movement isn’t just “alive,” it is the very life itself, and is continually existentiating and acting-upon the person to carry-out a purpose that is mostly beyond comprehension but is totally trustworthy.
The spiritual adepts are consciously surrendered to this movement, letting it have its way with them. Most people unconsciously resist it until they are checkmate by a life crisis or the rare gratuitous breakthrough of Spirit that perforates their egoic compensatory structure, exposing it as the “Rube Goldberg” that it is.
sultan, saint, pickpocket —
love has everyone by the ear, dragging us to God by secret ways.
Spiritual practice is often treated as a kind of “psychotherapy renamed,” a self-improvement add-on to an existing identity. This impression is partly from psychotherapists appropriating and technique-ifying traditional practices, deforming them into the “Procrustes’ bed” of a psychodynamic view. Just as often, unready and self-appointed teachers who cannot draw upon pure Presence in a transmissible way find that psychodynamic techniques are more accessible both for themselves and their audience. This has led to a commoditizing and dumbing-down of “mindfulness,” traditional teaching stories, and the poetry of historical masters such as Rumi.
The actual overlap between spiritual practice and psychotherapy is really only about 15% — with the bulk of spiritual practice inexpressible to those who have not had certain supra-egoic or supra-conscious experience. Psychodynamic insight is not the same as spiritual realization — though it is most desirable & necessary, especially in our time — nor is spiritual perception reached through psychodynamic processes, because the identification with our psychological processes is one of the things standing in the way of authentic inner freedom.
Integration doesn’t happen from inside fragmentation, but only when one can step outside the fragmented pieces into a larger sphere of awareness in which the fragmentation is a subset. Then you have some perspective and some leverage. While
And when that breakthrough comes, it comes not as an intuition or concept but as an uprooting of one’s very identity — and it changes literally everything.
It has taken me many years to disentangle:
My body’s need for affirming touch (& skin-to-skin contact)
my body’s need for sexual release
my nervous-system’s & subtle-bodies’ need for energetic polarization/charge-and-discharge
my ego’s need for validation
my mind’s need for a certain kind of stimulation
my heart’s need for authentic connection
my soul’s need to be Truly Seen
— and sex is the only socially-prescribed channel for males to get all these things. No wonder so many men have bad boundaries and hit on women who are just showing them some basic human friendliness. We’re starved, and it makes us crazy.
My body’s need for affirming touch (& skin-to-skin contact)
This is a basic need and it’s hardwired into our nervous system. For those who would like an extremely cogent and well-written discussion of this, I recommend Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin by Ashley Montagu.
My body’s need for sexual release
We differ in this as individuals, and it may vary throughout our lives. What’s needed is to know thyself, and do appropriate self-care.
My nervous-system’s & subtle-bodies’ need for energetic polarization, charge-and-discharge
Related to the above, but not the same — or perhaps the same at a non-physical level. Wilhelm Reich et al. have done some useful work in this regard, as well as the Taoist sages and the Indian tantrikas.
My ego’s need for validation
This has been one of the toughest nuts to crack for me, and it contaminates all the others. Nevertheless, it’s a need — until it’s not. The task is to train the ego, not to try to suppress or kill it, as if you could suppress or kill it anyway.
And part of what makes it so difficult is that it’s a counterfeit of something fundamental in the fabric of awareness itself, the longing of the universe to know itself and which is indelibly imprinted in the substance of the soul.
The actuality is that the ego (the “constructed,” defended, compensatory self) has no authentic experience of its own; it can only appropriate and counterfeit the body’s, heart’s, and soul’s experience, so it is always unfulfilled despite the successful meeting of its needs, and most of us are trying to live through a very wounded and even traumatized ego, one cut off from essential nourishment by the myriad ways we try to protect ourselves from further wounding and the desolation of a false identity.
As we clear-away the trauma and expose the raw wounding beneath the defenses, the possibility is there for the “holes” to fill from the boundlessness of our deep essential substance and for the counterfeits to become transmuted to their authentic countenances. The ego thereby begins to relax and become a devoted servant instead of a capricious master.
My mind’s need for a certain kind of stimulation
I’ve been in sexually-satisfying relationships with partners with whom I did not share a mental/intellectual fit, but we still had fun outside the bedroom… but in retrospect, these were more in the nature of sexual friendships and not partnerships because the mental “fit” wasn’t there. Perhaps that’s the reason we’re no longer together.
My heart’s need for authentic connection
Again, a basic need. Humans are social animals from before birth, and even the sannyasins, rishis, & monks have friends and confidants. This may just be a different level of the body’s need for touch.
My soul’s need to be Truly Seen
This is the hardest for any human being to engage, the need to be seen in a real way, the need for our inherent worth to be mirrored to us and recognized so that we, ourselves, can recognize it.
This is the reality behind the ego’s counterfeit of needing a validation that it can never truly receive, from a universe that does not exist in the way the ego perceives it to exist — and which we cannot truly receive except from those rare beings who are spiritually awake and who See from the perspective of that Reality. We try in vain to get it from our politics, from our beliefs, from our contrived public image, from our circle of friends, and we do get it in dribs & drabs from very small children — and the occasional lover when both are completely unveiled and transparent for a few instants in lovemaking, which only makes the whole conundrum more convoluted and ultimately frustrating because we know that fulfillment “is there somewhere” and we look for it in all the wrong places.