Realization also involves a deepening
in self-understanding and self-transcendence
since it is the unconscious activity of self-contraction
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
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.