I ask my students to practice loving, accepting “abidance” into one’s sense of I Am, often first grasped as energy in one’s chest, in the area of the heart. Finding it, concentrating on it, wondering about its nature and how it arose, then lovingly abiding in the I Am sense will lead eventually to Self-Realization.
Self-Realization is a discovery outside of the mind and thinking about who you are.
It is not a transcendental experience outside of Consciousness, but a recognition by Consciousness of its own nature within the confines of an embodied being—you.
Self-Realization is simultaneously an experience and an understanding, both of which are difficult to describe because any words used are words of the world and worldly experience, and thus when heard, will convey different meanings to the Self-Realized, and to the non-Realized.
Yet, somehow I am required to point towards that state/knowledge of Realization even if just to give the seeker encouragement that there is more to an awakened Consciousness than to one that has not awakened.
One of the first realizations that flow from Self-Realization is that you are not your physical body. Instead, you are no thing, you are Consciousness itself which contains everything but is not a thing itself.
Your first identification after rejecting your body as the totality of you, is recognizing yourself as a Subtle Body, an envelope of energetic presence that arises from long-term meditation on the I-Am sensation. This subtle body is the energetic “presence” through which all of the individual’s energies flow as healing energies, bliss, ecstasies, heat phenomena, vibrations and internal sensations of all sorts. It permeates the entire physical body and extends into the physical world as an “energetic body.”
The Subtle Body is the home of all imaginations and imaging, thoughts and mind, memories and all emotions. The Subtle Body can affect the physical body and vice-versa, but really is a whole different level of existence. It is also home to the experience of emptiness or the various Voids of the Buddhists.
I will not say much about the next level, the Causal Body, except that it is the place of awareness without self-awareness. You are aware, but not aware of the world, or even aware that you are aware. There is no self-awareness, and no world-awareness. It is pure awareness with no object or self-awareness of being aware.
The deepest level of Consciousness is a “state” wherein you are aware that you exist, that you are consciousness, and you rest in light and bliss. Your “nature” at this level of experience is of being light, energy, and bliss. This state is always present permeating the gross and Subtle bodies, in the waking state, in dream and in deep sleep. It is always here, but you need to experience it in exclusivity of other states in order to recognize and hold onto it while in the gross, Subtle, or Causal bodies.
Not everyone will experience these four bodies or any such progression. There are other paths to several different sorts of Self-Realization. This is a guide to the kind of Self-Realization of which I speak, as sentience embodied in an individual existence with divine roots.
Many people complain that by providing such a model, I doom students to a fixed path. I have not found this to be the case. I have found that those not suited for this path, drift away to someone else teaching experiences and a path they better understand. This is a very subtle path not given much to simplification. Everything I say, everything, is not Truth, but a pointer to different kinds of spiritual experiences and interpretations.
As another pointer, I’ll state what I experience now, which is more or less my prevailing experience.
I do not NEED to look within, because always part of my attention is fixed inwards towards the Subtle, Causal and Turiya “bodies,” which are really just aspects of an embodied Consciousness. But if I do, when I look “within,” I “see” and “feel” a vast emptiness, an illuminated inner world of vast spaciousness that extends inwards and backwards into a background of ecstatic bliss. When I feel this bliss, I find it extends everywhere inside and outside, but “vibrates” and deeply affects the area near my physical heart, but it is not in the physical heart, but the sense of presence that penetrates my physical heart.
The more I fix on that bliss, the more it grabs me and the more powerful it feels. That bliss then flows outwards through my hands and head into the world, and downwards into my legs and feet into the ground.
In the background, as I “feel” and “see” deep inside, I see a wall of light, bright white light, which when I focus on it becomes pure ecstasy. My presence and body becomes gripped in an ecstatic embrace and I can hardly move for fear of ending that state.
Washing through me during all of this is the knowledge that I am home. This is me, ecstatic Consciousness as a localized sentient being. This is what I am: Consciousness, existence, bliss. Everything else is secondary to this primary experience and recognition. There is complete delight in one’s own self experience.
There is much more than this, but I thought it enough to describe this base state without going into more nuances, such as the interplay between the “divine” and the individual, the descent of grace, and love as the key to Self-Realization.