AWAKENING TO YOUR MANIFEST SELF IS THE MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL AWAKENING EXPERIENCES, BUT IS NOT THE FINAL AWAKENING.
Awakening to your Manifest Self, your divine nature as Consciousness and the Life Force, liberates you from your culturally-imposed ignorance of being only a body/mind. It liberates you from mind because the body center from which you lived, your center of gravity in consciousness, changes from your head to your heart/gut. You become centered in your thorax, far “below” your mind, the head where your mind dwells, and the mind no longer captures you. The longer you remain in your heart, the more that mind becomes merely an accessory tool for doing things, and its non-goal directed chattering disappears in relevance. It becomes like the sounds of the news on a T.V. in the next room. Sometimes an item may grab your attention for a moment, but only for a moment, an hour or a day. No more.
I and Robert experienced it as an arising of a brilliant light thrusting upwards from my gut into my head and upwards into space. The brilliant white light was accompanied by a feeling of immense power and knowing within that light, and buried within that light was a being of light, the Life Force, Shakti, who appeared at once to be the divine ‘other’, but also one’s own divine self.
Nisargadatta had similar experiences which he wrote about in his first book, Self-Knowledge and Self-Realization.
After this awakening, you can experience yourself iin many ways: as an incarnation of the divine, as was Krishna; as a human with a divine consort; as just consciousness awareness, with your body and mind being objects witnessed within your totality of consciousness. That is you realize you are consciousness and not the body or mind, and consciousness also contains the world, which you are also.
Many, many paths fixate at this level. The work is to free, explore, and expand the energies, bliss, Kundalini, or Shakti, and the student becomes stuck here as a Kundalini or Chakra Master and guru.
In this place, emptiness is the canvas upon which the life force lives and works through you. Form and emptiness work together, each defining the other.
However, here lies a deep trap. The person believes they have transcended the human condition and the body level attachment of the ego, but in fact, they have only broken the key heart source of being human, being vulnerable, open to emotions, open to threads of love and loss, sorrow and joy, calling these, and all other emotions, as signs of non-awakening. These teachers and students are merely in denial of their humanity which they falsely believe they have transcended.
The last step, the one Robert and Nisargadatta taught in his latter life, is that of transcendence, realizing that consciousness and the life force itself are both not real, in the sense all these manifestations of life force and consciousness are limited in time, endurance, and are impermanent, but that there is something behind all of the manifestations that is aware of both the manifestations and their passing away, or objects, their arising and passing away, of emptiness and the disappearance or emptiness into nothingness.
Awareness can be aware of both existence and the disappearance of existence into nothingness, which is even the absence of emptiness, which is merely the container for objects, and is itself a super object, space and time, characteristics of the manifest world.
You yourself are always aware of this transcendent aspect of yourself when you are quite, without thought, aware of your body, mind, and world. At that moment, your center is the transcendent, but then you are not aware of the transcendent because you are the transcendent.
Dwelling quietly like this for a long, long time, will result in a true experience of the disappearance of the world and an introduction to true Nothingness as opposed to experiencing emptiness. The distinction between the manifest and unmanifest is totally known and you are free: free of your humanity, the world, yur body and consciousness; free from all.
This is the Advaita trajectory, and only a very few will ever cover this arc because of remaining attachments to body/world/habits/desires.
So, I advise people not to tread this path if they only desire Nirvana, detachment, the transcendent, because experiencing nothingness without having first experienced the divine within is a cold, dulling, and deadening path possibly leading to suicide or insanity, or deep sorrow of not having lived.
I recommend going through the self-realization of the manifest self first, and only then trying to pass beyond.
In any event, realization of the manifest self is the only step you really have any control over. After its realization, the “path” to the transcendent is more or less automatic; wisdom matures all by itself, spontaneously.
This first step, realization of the manifest self is attained primarily through self-inquiry defined as locating one’s I Am SENSATION, not the I-thought, or I Am thought. It is usually felt first as a presence, an energy or spark somewhere in the chest. Fining it and focusing on it, grows it. It expands and grows, and gradually becomes an awareness of one’s own presence, an energy body that permeates your physical body and extends into the world. Constant awareness of this presence within and without, one’s energy body, leads to realization of your Manifest Self, which is the only awakening you have any control over. After that, it is all in the hands of the Life Force and Consciousness, to make you, the Transcendent, aware of the totality of the Manifest world and the Unmanifest, the unborn realm of the Witness, which itself is unborn, with no characteristic such as space, time, extension, or form.
Only dwell on the sense of I Am. Such will reveal everything from your divine nature to your nature as Nothingness.