Ramon: I consider Anadi (Master Aziz) one of the most advanced teachers I have run across within the non-dual Advaita tradition (I also highly respect my own spiritual teacher, David Spero -- www.davidspero.org -- who lives in a permanent state of sahaja samadhi on the Divine Mother's lap (the bhakti path). Anadi lives in India, and many of his writings are available again on his new website: http://www.anaditeaching.com/index.htm. Occasionally he offers retreats in Israel, Japan and Ireland for meditation intensives. His books are listed on Amazon.
For a compendium of Anadi's other writings click here.
Although many traditions and schools of enlightenment have attempted to draw objective maps of awakening, from our standpoint these maps do not reflect a true model of wholeness, for they fail to accurately describe the stages of our evolution into the inner state, the awakening of the soul, and the soul's multidimensional movement into the beyond. Most available teachings not only lead to a partial realization at best, but create imbalance by stressing particular aspects of evolution while ignoring others. Certain schools point to an awakening in which only one aspect of the inner state is embodied, while others overlook the realization of the soul and focus exclusively on transcendence. Some even misconstrue abidance in the inner state or the realization of one of many mystical states for enlightenment. But perhaps the most misguided of all are those that suggest that everyone is already enlightened.
Incomplete teachings can seriously limit or even cripple our spiritual vision, for without a holistic and complete map of awakening that clearly reflects the fundamental laws of human evolution, a seeker has little chance of finding his way towards the fulfillment of his ultimate potential. Because they are generally so vague and one-dimensional, traditional descriptions of the awakening process do not offer us the precise conceptual tools we need to understand our internal evolution. The plane of enlightenment is so vast and intricate that unless a new, higher level of detail is brought to bear into its description, it will never be seen for what it truly is, a relevant and tangible reality directly connected to the natural growth towards wholeness.
Although the terms 'enlightenment' and 'awakening' are often used interchangeably, it is important to note that they do not signify the same level of spiritual attainment. When we refer to an enlightened state, we point to self-realization - transcendence and the actualization of wholeness. 'Awakening', on the other hand, indicates a singular expansion beyond the mind within the total course of one's evolution. To have arrived at one of the many states beyond the mind is far from enlightenment in the ultimate sense of the word. It is only by traversing various dimensions of awakening that one finally arrives at complete, multidimensional enlightenment.
One must also be clear that after experiencing an awakening to one of the various states beyond the mind, there is a need to stabilize and then integrate the state that one has shifted to. Seldom, if ever, does sudden awakening result in a lasting inner realization. Unless the state we have awakened is stabilized, its fluctuations prevent it from becoming a permanent foundation of our existence. Once stabilized, the state must also be integrated so that it can reach its final depth and purity, and become energetically and existentially attuned to the body, mind and various other aspects of our whole being. The map presented below is a condensed description of the awakening process that is explicated extensively further in the teaching. Although the various states of realization do not always manifest in exactly the same sequence, the model presented here provides the necessary guidance needed to grasp the fundamental laws of the awakening process.
1. The State of Presence
The realization of the state of presence, or consciousness without content, is the foundation of our awakening, for without it, there is no way to rise above the mind and become truly whole. The state of presence is the center of the soul's intelligence and the true nature of awareness. Until we regain the essence of I am in the mind we are imprisoned in a shell of personality, with no solid existence, no center of identity, no soul. Only by awakening pure awareness can we break through our false personality and meet ourselves beyond the mental dimension, putting an end to the ignominy of forgetfulness.
Because few teachers and seekers are able to pinpoint the exact energetic location of pure awareness, it is often confused with the experience of being, or an overall sense of presence. It is essential to understand that the correct realization of the state of presence is experienced exclusively in the headspace. The state is initially recognized as the sense of I am in the area of the middle of the head with the eyes closed, and towards the depths of the head with the eyes open. As it matures, the state naturally expands into the entire headspace and around it.
The state of presence is awakened through self-enquiry or initiation from a spiritual guide, and then stabilized through the practice of self-remembrance, which eventually yields an unbroken continuity of pure awareness. The awakening of awareness is of immense significance, for it represents the soul's entry into to the realm of pure subjectivity, which frees her to begin the process of extricating her existence from the collective state of unconsciousness.
Awareness alone cannot enter the inner realm unless it becomes absorbed in the stillness of being, the energetic dimension of the vertical reality through which the soul abides in the isness of totality. Being is that which allows us to rest in existence - the intermediary space that links consciousness with the source and maintains the gravitational equilibrium between creation and the original void. It is only through being that the depth of reality can be divulged to our consciousness.
Being is the impersonal ground of the beyond, the true foundation of meditation. The surrender of the soul to the now opens the door to being, which is felt all over the body as an energetic expansion with its main energy flowing downwards. The primary means to reach and deepen the experience of being is the practice of meditation in the mode of 'non-doing', or 'just sitting', which opens us to the gravity of the now so that the energy of the soul can be absorbed into a state of repose. This practice can be supported by belly breathing, which balances our energy and assists the sense of I am to descend towards the unmanifested.
Although it anchors us in the now, the experience of being does not have the quality of complete, unconditional rest prior to the realization of the absolute.
3. The Absolute State
In the profound realization of the absolute, the soul transcends the fluctuations in her experience of being and moves into a state of unbroken rest. In the pure rest of the absolute the complete motionlessness of being reflects the perfection of universal stillness. The absolute state represents our union with the unborn, uncreated source. It is the ground of oneness through which we reach unconditional absorption in the beyond.
In the absolute, one experiences unity with reality only within the being aspect of I am; the mind and the consciousness of the soul have not yet merged with the source.
4. The Heart
The heart belongs to the realm of the beloved, love and grace. No one can reach completion without actualizing its essence. The opening of the spiritual heart is necessary to become whole, but impossible before we have first solidified our identity beyond the mind and become absorbed in the source. Paths that limit their view of spirituality to love and devotion cannot serve as a bridge to reality unless they are grounded in awareness and being. Without the foundation of the inner state, the heart has no reality apart from emotions. In order to open us to the dimension of the soul and the divine, the heart must be met beyond emotion in a space of clarity and stillness.
The initial phase of our journey into the heart's essence is its energetic opening, which brings us closer to the experience of oneness with creation. The complete enlightenment of the heart requires the purification of one's intention and the realization of the soul.
5. Transparent Me
The awakening of the soul begins in the heart, but its further deepening occurs through the realization of transparent me, a holistic experience of unity with existence reached through expansion into the whole of oneself. The state of transparent me represents our true awakening to the pure subjective existence of the soul. It is a fusion of our existence with the inner state, coupled with the embracement of our complete identity.
6. The State Beyond Polarities
The state beyond polarities is the first step of transcendence. It is the meeting of oneness and non-separation - the heart and the absolute - that manifests when our consciousness enters the realm of surrender. Through a radical integration of awareness, heart and being in which all the three aspects of I am merge into a single state, one moves beyond the polarities of inner and outer, here and now. By the power of this unification, a deeper surrender and absorption in the beyond takes place.
The state beyond polarities is a transitional state between presence and absence. One has stepped into the beyond, but not yet moved fully to the 'other side'.
7. The Transcendental State
In her first entry into the absolute, the soul reaches unconditional absorption in the beyond through the gateway of being. Her consciousness, however, still remains outside of the absolute. The transcendental state can be seen as the second entry into the absolute, for here the consciousness of the soul, her I am in the mind, shifts into the dimension of absence. The mind, the ego and the sense of separate identity are uprooted so that the soul, as pure me, can move freely into the divine realm.
There is still a long journey between the initial shift to the transcendental state and its complete realization. The shift into the realm of absence is not transcendence itself - it is merely the initiation of the complex process of ego dissolution through which the soul gradually renounces her human personality and surrenders her existence to the beyond. In order to reach transcendence, the soul must fully extract her true identity from the construct of subconscious me. Only then does she have enough force to cross over with her whole existence into the realm of absence to re-embody her original state.
The transcendental state is the ultimate frontier of our human expansion into the inner plane - the final portal through which we pass to liberation. Yet, as mere abidance here can divert us from our ultimate goal, it can also be seen as last barrier. In the transcendental state, the soul reaches her deepest absorption in the beyond, but the human is still bound to the earth; he maintains his grip on the soul, blocking her complete release from the dimension of forgetfulness.
8. Samadhi: The State of Surrender
Prior to realizing the true goal of the transcendental state, liberation, the relative me of the soul has not yet been merged, and continues to exist as a separate entity within our consciousness. To fully embody the transcendental state, one has to reach the supreme state of surrender, samadhi. The state of surrender transcends all states, as here not only awareness, but our very me, becomes absorbed in the realm of absence. Samadhi is a unity of being and non-being, the consciousness of the now and the void of the beyond, I am and the absolute. It is an exalted union of the two polarized aspects of soul-realization - complete awakening and ultimate surrender. Culminating the process of the soul's gradual re-absorption into reality is the unconditional fusion of her me with the heart of the beloved. Samadhi is the true foundation of our liberation from separate consciousness, the ground of our dissolution into the source of creation.
Liberation is the ultimate fruit of samadhi: the very merging of the personality with the soul, the total dissolution of the I-construct in the mind. Far more than the attainment of another, deeper energetic state, it is our radical transcendence of illusion and the end of incarnations - the state of no-return. Liberation is the end of the process of the soul's transcendence, for here she fully exits the plane of the forgotten self at last. Emancipated from her human identity and earthly consciousness, the soul returns to the abode of universal intelligence and, from the depths of original absence, reclaims the light of her primordial presence.
Evolution into Wholeness - The Complete Human Being
The map of awakening we have described applies strictly to the internal evolution of the soul. The purpose of evolution, however, is not only to reach self-realization, but to become whole, which includes completion in the human dimension as well. The spiritual path should not be seen as an escape from the difficulties of human life, but a journey towards wholeness. It is only by becoming a real and fully conscious human being that we can face and transform all earthly challenges. The way to wholeness involves the completion of many aspects of our human existence: purification of the subconscious mind, emotional healing, psychological maturation, the development of a harmonious connection with the world, the fulfillment of core desires and the ending of karma.
Purification and healing are essential in order to release the burden of the past, and accompany the entire course of our inner awakening. These extremely delicate processes cannot be completed by willpower alone; for true purification and healing to take place, one has to be in touch with the light of the soul and open to the dimension of grace. Only the creator of the soul can fully transform and ultimately remove the many layers of subconscious tendencies, blocked energies and emotional wounds that exist within us. Still, each soul does have the capacity to develop ways to deal with those areas of her existence that are incomplete. She must take responsibility for her own growth, facing with courage and wisdom all the suppressed, unconscious and immature areas of both her internal and external reality. By exercising her free will and cultivating qualities that reflect a dignity of intelligence, true sincerity, purity of intention and honesty, she prepares the ground to receive assistance from the beyond.
As the weight of the past gradually lifts and we continue to evolve through further life experiences, the soul gathers enough internal space for her intelligence and emotional body to reach the necessary degree of maturity and fulfillment in the human dimension for true opening to the beyond to occur. To arrive at this relative psychological completion is imperative for any seeker on the path. Only when freed from her human identity and the pull of earthly existence can the soul fully expand into her true potential and become her eternal self once again.
The psychological evolution of the human and the internal evolution of the soul are mutually supporting along the path. To reach psychological completion as a human, one must awaken the states beyond the mind and the soul, and for the soul to expand into the beyond, one must reach a deep sense of completion as a human being living on earth. Only a human who is over and done with the earthly dimension is ready to experience the freedom of the soul - and only when the soul is free can she embody an awakened human existence.