We need to understand that enlightenment is not only a shift in perception and consciousness. It is an existential metamorphosis at all levels, which radically transforms the vibration of our energy system and the delicate balance of various elements in our brain and the subtle bodies. A sudden and complete enlightenment that skips all the intermediate steps would undoubtedly lead to a mental and emotional collapse, if not the physical death. Such a radical transformation as enlightenment requires adequate time for the body and mind to adapt to the dramatic change of energy and identity. – Anadi
I used to think of the spiritual journey into higher consciousness as a process in which your point of view changes in a very powerful way, such that you see everything through new eyes. From there, you feel a lot better than you used to–you feel good all the time–and you share that with others.
This is not totally misleading, and yet, an unexamined part of this concept is the disembodied nature of it; and what goes along with that idea of disembodiment, is making the spiritual process less radical and less connected to the Earthy parts of us than it actually is.
The research of Francesca McCartney, the Dharma talks of Reggie Ray, and Pamela Kribbe’s channelings of Jeshua all point, from different angles, to the deeply embodied nature of spiritual evolution. McCartney, a life-long scholar of kundalini energy and kundalini awakening, argues that the kundalini energy is stored in the cells of our body, programmed by DNA, before it amasses at the base of the spine and travels up the spine affecting the chakras and their associated organ systems. Reggie Ray, another scholar but also a meditation master in the Mahamudra tradition, insists on the hugely important but overlooked role of the soma in the Buddha’s teachings, and teaches meditative practice that is deeply somatic and connected to the Earth. Finally, Jeshua, through the medium of Pamela Kribbe, transmits the idea that rather than retreat to the higher chakras (5-7), inner work must go down to the lower chakras (1-3; the sacral, navel, and solar plexus chakras) for the deepest transformation to occur.
Spiritual evolution is, from these points of view, a very embodied and grounded thing, in terms of practice and inner work. But even beyond that, testimonies suggest that in undergoing the process the body changes in deep structural ways. The brain re-structures; the nervous system unravels out of overstimulation. In Dzogchen, too, there is the idea of an advanced practitioner’s body transforming into the Sambhogakaya light body at a certain stage.
So this process of evolution not only creates great change at the psychological and emotional levels, but the body too, is inextricably part of the unfolding. Additionally, shifts happen within the energetic body and on the soul and consciousness levels. We are thus transforming on all levels.
. . . The remainder of this article will present an outline of the different dimensions of our individuated being (a single body-mind with localized consciousness), and how these dimensions may change in this process. It is not exhaustive of all our dimensions, and it does not include the “world of relationship,” but it’s still useful, or better yet, provocative. A more comprehensive discussion of this outline could, I think, run on to book length (which is why I am leaving it as just an outline). But I hope that by listing these phenomena, with sources, the reader will be encouraged to draw their own conclusions about what this could mean for undergoing a spiritual journey. At the very least, our conception of what is possible may be expanded.
Sometimes just acknowledging that something is possible can be… life-changing.
- Physical body becomes a “light body.” (Source: Jasmuheen)
- Illnesses manifest to purge energies and deepen the process. (Jeshua)
- Dietary, sleep, and sexual habits change at the level of need and desire, often towards a more vegan diet, less sleep needed, and less sexual desire but more pleasant sexual experiences. (See Letting Go by David Hawkins)
- Visual field widens. (Adyashanti, The End of Your World)
- Two brain hemispheres find a new balance and harmony. (Matt Kahn interview series: “Now is the time.”) Adyashanti has also talked about a feeling of structural changes happening within the brain, after awakening.
- The changes that meditation causes in the brain are now well known in neuroscience.
- See also Jill Bolte Taylor’s talk “My Stoke of Insight” and Sam Harris’ argument in Waking Up that the self is an illusory construction of the left hemisphere.
- The nervous system unravels out of a state of overstimulation that began, for everyone, in childhood. (Matt Kahn, Whatever Arises Love That)
- Detachment or dis-identification from belief system. (many sources)
- Great shift in perception from ego to egolessness: “death” of identification with ego. From me-consciousness to we-consciousness. (many sources)
- Shift to silent mind. Thought processes decrease greatly in quantity. (Eckhart Tolle put the figure at 80% for himself.)
- Habits of craving and aversion give way to equanimity of mind. (Buddhist meditation teachings)
- Fragmented aspects of oneself re-align or integrate with Self or central consciousness. (Theories of IFS therapy (intro), Teal Swan, Matt Kahn (integration teachings))
- “Inspired thinking” arises from a deeper source within consciousness. (Adyashanti, Falling into Grace)
- Judgmental mind to non-judgmental mind. (many sources)
- Fear as the predominating “state” of the ego gives way to love, kindness, and compassion which arise from true nature. (many sources)
- Repression of emotional states is replaced by acceptance. (many sources)
- Increased quantity of “high vibration” emotional states–peace, love, joy, happiness, acceptance, willingness–and less of the “low vibration” states like guilt, shame, apathy, fear, anger. (See “Map of Consciousness” of David Hawkins)
- Unconscious fear of emotions is replaced by conscious intimacy with emotions. (Robert Augustus Masters, Emotional Intimacy)
- Overall shift from mind- (or conditioning-) generated emotions to more authentic emotions based in natural responses and direct perception. (I believe Adyashanti puts the mind-based emotions figure at 90% of all emotions, in Falling into Grace.)
- Kundalini energy amasses at the base of the spine and rises up through the energy channel near the spine. (Research of Francesca McCartney)
- Seven basic chakras open, and their associated abilities come online. For example: clairvoyant and clairsentient abilities associated with the 6th/7th chakras. (many sources)
- Auric field expands. (Marie Manuchehri said in a recent talk that one’s auric field may extend 3 city blocks, at most.)
- The individual being’s vibration rises. (many sources)
- Mind and heart become one integrated consciousness. (Matt Kahn, Whatever arises Love That)
Soul, Consciousness, Spirit
- Neurotic personality becomes “sane” and reveals its unique gifts. (Russ Hudson and Enneagram teachings concerning the “Enneagram of the virtues.”)
- Realization of enlightenment. (many sources)
- Personal will of the individual being is surrendered to divine will, which seems to coincide with the transition from ego-based to heart-based consciousness. (Adyashanti’s talks, Matt Kahn’s talks (“surrender to love”))
- Individual being comes “into alignment” with Spirit. (many sources)
- Consciousness awakens! (many sources)
May these ideas inspire new realizations, explorations, and expansions of consciousness on your journey. We are all meant to live in the happiness and joy that is our inheritance and true nature.