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.