Here, “I” is perceived to be merely a story or multiple sets of stories that involve memories, ideals, patterns of living, beliefs about oneself, and oneself embedded in culture and society. When these stories are seen as empty beliefs, concepts, one suddenly “becomes” the containing space of all inner and outer objects.
In this state the phenomenal universe, including the body/mind, is seen as a continuous, unbounded oneness, with the body/mind embedded in an empty matrix of space. I, emptiness, and the world are one. They are not separate.
However, this is kindergarten realization, only a first step.
Later, by looking into the inner/outer void one can discover two different selves totally unrelated to the “I” that was destroyed above.
Within that oneness, the emptiness of the body/mind, one can still feel a sense of self, or I-ness. True, the identification with the stories disappears, but the I-sense remains as a highway to “other” areas of Consciousness that are currently out of our current awareness. Awareness needs to become more subtle to perceive the I-sense, especially after the apparent discovery that the “I”—as inner object, is unreal.
One thinks one has destroyed the I and there is nothing more to do, but if “you” continue to peer into that inner emptiness, especially in the area around one’s subjective awareness of one’s own heart, once again you begin to feel the energy of the Self, both of the subtle body energy of the body/mind mechanism, but also the divine aspect of Self, first seen as God or Goddess.
The first awakening is only about destroying the power of concepts, ideas and words in your life. The second awakening will be of Self-Realization and a reentry into the world as both the Self-of-All, and the individual awareness arising from the body/mind complex, or individualized self.
The first awakening of no-I, no-self, can take two paths: One leads to an identification with the absolute, the mystery knower of all, and even beyond the knower; or it can take the path towards self-realization, and a reentry into the relative world of phenomena.
The Self is traditionally of a two-fold nature: the unmanifest mystery, the noumena, or the Absolute, which is the knowingness; and the manifest Self of the divine and individual aliveness and energy of the body/mind.
When, post awakening, the individual experiences that he or she CAN continue to progress in spirituality, and he or she becomes aware of the energy of the self within, as he or she abides in that energy, that feeling of being existent and alive, loving it, feeling it, accepting it, that essence grows and becomes a very solid sense of presence that infuses and pervades one’s felt body mind, almost like the Holy Spirit. Eventually, the aspirant identifies with this sense of presence as self again as opposed to his or her body.
I Am becomes this sense of presence.
Continuing on in this manner, the OverSelf, or the divine Self, Turiya, Satchitananda, the lovebliss body is recognized as one’s own, and that which energizes the smaller self of the body/mind.
When this Self is realized, either gradually or suddenly, and the connection between the body/mind sense of presence, and the divine Self is totally accepted, then one has entered into the beginning of real enlightenment. The gradual unfolding of the unity of God and individual is part of the final phase of full awakening.