The previously described spiritual journey which was like going up and down a mountain is my own journey. Since everyone’s path is unique, your journey is probably different. But yet, there are certainly some aspects of the journey which are common for most travelers on that path. But what are these? Here, I attempt to describe this journey in the most general terms.
Coming into alignment
Imagine Source as an octopus with millions of arms. At the end of each arm, a string is attached with more or less slack. The string represents our connection to the divine. At the end of each string, there is a little puppet which represents our individual selves.
When there is a lot of slack in the string, then the little puppet has a lot of free will and does not feel the will of Source easily.
As the spiritual journey progresses, the little puppet wakes up to a pull from within, the pull from Source. The string becomes shorter and shorter.
When the string is fairly short, exercising free will becomes more and more difficult.
When the string length is down to zero, then there is no more free will, but always movement in alignment with divine will. In the literature, this has been termed the unitive state or human adulthood.
So, basically, the journey is about coming from ignorance of Source and free will to being in alignment with Source. (Credit for the metaphor of strings with less and less slack goes to one of the Raj channelings by Paul Tuttle).
The permanent falling away of the sense of a separate self
But coming into alignment with divine will is not the end of the journey. Eventually, the sense of a separate self falls away. We are not the separate person experiencing something out there. But as the outside reacts more and more to the inside (our thoughts and emotions) , the distinction between outside and inside fades. We come to see that we are the bubble of experience.
There is the drawing Inner Perspective by Ernst Mach which I want use to illustrate this.
In the picture, we see the room through Ernst Mach’s eyes. One can see part of his left eyebrow, nose, his hands, the rest of his body, and then the rest of the room.
This is similar to what we experience very day. In the 3d world, there is always a bubble of experience or a bubble of incoming physical sensations where our body is on one side of the bubble (and labeled as ‘me’), and the rest of the world on the other side of the bubble (and labeled as ‘not me’).
But what if inside and outside or ‘me’ and ‘not me’ cannot be so clearly distinguished? What if my intent and my thoughts can not only raise my arm but what if they can also influence the weather and summon useful things (like trashbags, for example)? And what if the time gap between the thought and its manifestation in the seemingly outer world gets smaller and smaller? Wouldn’t then our assumption about our reality break down that there is such a clear divide between what is ‘me’ and what is ‘not me’ ?
If the new me is much bigger than the older version of the little me, then what is it?
Out-of-body traveler Jurgen Ziewe described in his books and youtube videos that in the higher realms of consciousness the experience is one of being connected to the content of the bubble of experience.
I think that during the spiritual journey we will come to see ourselves as the entire bubble of experience. Or as Adyashanti once put it along these lines: The normal person looks into the mirror and says ‘That’s me.’ The enlightened one looks at the wall and says ‘That’s me’. (quoted from memory). ( but compare to Adyashanti’s awakening experience : https://realization.org/p/adyashanti/my-awakening.html)
I personally haven’t experienced this permanent shifting of the sense of self. So, what I wrote here is taken from the experience of others who have experienced enlightenment (like Bernadette Roberts, Suzanne Segal, and Adyashanti). But I had a short flash-insight about it where I felt like my consciousness was an inflated balloon skin and everything which appeared in my bubble of consciousness felt like it was painted on the skin of the balloon. It did not last long. But it changed my understanding of what I am in relation to the seemingly separate world out there.
Coming into alignment and the experience of crisis, breakdown, and breakthrough
The above description of the journey (separateness –> coming into alignment –> falling away of the sense of a separate self) is from a bird’s-eye view.
But what does it feel like from the human perspective? What happens in concrete terms for the little human self? And how does it feel for the person?
Well, for the human part (the little puppet on the end of the string), in the most general terms, the shortening of the string is experienced as a process of change. Something was there before, and then it falls away and is not there anymore. Instead, something new arrives. This can be a voluntary process or an involuntary one. The involuntary process probably feels more traumatic. During the process, on one hand, there is the challenge is to cope with the loss of what once was. And on the other hand, there is the challenge to welcome the new and to find and then follow the direction given by the current in the new phase of life.
Now, this sounds like any process of transformation, crisis, breakdown, breakthrough (here, I am thinking of events in life like burnout, job loss, divorce, illness, death of a loved one, midlife crisis). But if there has been an awakening to the spiritual dimension of life, then the new direction is hopefully not just another adventure in free will, but an alignment with the divine will of Source. For me, it felt like a journey of willfully going about my own goals in life to willingly complying with what spirit wanted me to do. From willfulness to willingness.
But there are several aspects of this journey which I think are probably relevant for most travelers on this path and at which we can look with a magnifying glass. That is what I want to discuss in the next posts on this blog.