There’s a Big Rule I’m going to break in this blog. It’s a good rule, but I have to break it anyway. The rule is: never claim to be enlightened. Here’s why it is a good rule: half the people who hear such a claim will think you are on an ego trip and just trying to create a following. The other half will put you up on a pedestal, and who wants that?
I am financially comfortable enough I don’t need a following to support me, and I would prefer my privacy.
However, I have been given a massive mission. I am to heal or help heal the wounds in the Heart of America. (I’ll go into this in detail in Post #3.)
I need your help to fulfill this mission. I’m not asking for money or devotion. I am asking you to heal your own heart, and to hold the intention for the healing of the wounds in the Heart of America. This is why I am telling you my experiences – so you can know what is possible for you in this process.
For this purpose, I invite you to seriously pursue either the Path of Consciousness or the Path of the Heart. It’s your choice, based on what is most natural for you.
I want you to have a picture, a vision of what is possible for you. There is the expansion of consciousness called Enlightenment, or the Illumination of the Heart. Along the way we can heal the wounds in the Heart of America together.
The background of shifting into Cosmic Consciousness
I was driving my car on I-80 in Iowa City when it happened. It was December 18 2000 about 4:20 pm. I know the time because the sun was still up, and the sun set at 4:38 on that glorious day when I first experienced Bliss as a full time reality.
I was whining to myself that I wasn’t enlightened after 27 years of very focused meditation and other spiritual practices. I started thinking about a story from the Ramayana – the great Vedic epic telling the story of Ram, his wife Sita, and the ten-headed Demon King Ravana.
At one point in the Ramayana, Ravana and his son invade Indraloka, the Heavenly abode of Indra. Ravana’s son Indrajit does the impossible: somehow he captures and imprisons Indra, the king of the Gods who represents Wholeness. Wholeness is impossibly imprisoned and confined. Of course this is a metaphor for the human condition – we are infinite spirit that is impossibly confined in a human body. This can’t possibly happen, but it does.
The gods who escape the attack rush to see Lord Brahma, the creator god. Lord Brahma agrees this situation cannot be, so he appears before Indrajit to negotiate the release of Indra. He offers the great boon of virtual invincibility in battle in exchange for Indra’s freedom. Indrajit accepts, and says “I will go release him now.” “There’s no need to do anything” Lord Brahma replies. “I put the thought into his mind that he is liberated, and now he is free.”
The Liberating Question
As I was whining about not being liberated or enlightened, I realized I was imprisoned by the thought that I was not enlightened. One of my prosperity teachers had always said “If you think you are not enlightened, just ask yourself if you could let go of that thought.”
So I asked myself if I could let go of the thought that I was not enlightened. I discovered I was ready to let go of that thought, and it left me.
Suddenly a vast Silence engulfed me. This blissful Silence stayed with me for nine years 24/7 until I shifted into Unity Consciousness in 2009. I’ll describe that in blog 8 on this track.
But this Silence … this was extraordinary. It was quite distinctive. The best analogy I have for it takes me back to a spy spoof television show in the mid 60’s. Perhaps you remember I Spy with agent Maxwell Smart and the beautiful agent 99? Whenever they wanted a private conversation they would sit down and a “Cone of Silence” would descend over them. That’s what it felt like. Seriously – the Silence was very, very loud.
Remember that I’m still driving on I-80 while all this is going on? It’s very strange.
When that Ocean of Silence descended, I could feel a Divine Presence. So I had a short conversation with what I will call Universal Awareness. Three questions came up, and three unique answers were given to me.
The first question I asked the Silence was: “Does this mean I am now free of my karma?” The answer was distinct: “Yes – it now belongs to Steven”.
That was a very unexpected answer, but it was true. During those 9 years I so identified with Silence that “Steven” just lived his life like a wave on the ocean. Steven still had thoughts and emotions (and issues!) but they were always on the surface of my life. I looked and acted like a normal person but inside who “I” was, was always blissful silence.
The second question that arose was: “Does this mean I am saved in the Christian sense?” The answer was almost humorous – “There is nothing to be saved. Who would save an old worn out coat?” Again this was a very satisfying answer, and not a thought I have ever had consciously.
The third question: “Am I as enlightened as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Amma and other great enlightened sages?” The answer was “Yes, but you do not have their power.” Great teachers like Maharishi and Amma have the power to inspire millions of people to join their missions, and also there are always hints and rumors of great miracles – of healings, of mastery over the elements, of impossible co-incidences, etc.
I knew I didn’t have that kind of power, but I then asked if I could let go of the thought that I didn’t have their power. Immediately I was taken deeper, deeper into an astounding depth of Silence I have never since experienced.
From this deepest Silence, I could see far off in the distance all the Angels, Devas, Elemental Beings, Cosmic Beings, gods, etc. There were very fine “strings” connecting me to these creative spiritual beings. Basically every spiritual being responsible for creation was emanating from me.
Way, way past these Beings I could see creation. Creation was so far away that it was really unimportant and insignificant to me. But from this experience of myself, I had complete power over creation. At that moment, I had the power of Maharishi and Amma.
Finally this greatest depth of Silence left me, and I returned to driving my car at 65 mph on I 80. I don’t know how long this experience took. I can’t imagine it lasted more than a minute or so, but internally my experience was unhurried and seemed to last for 5 to 10 minutes. I had all the time in the world during this experience.
This Silence is often called Pure Consciousness or Pure Awareness. It is the unchanging level of life, always present but not experienced in ordinary life.
In the world of Transcendental Meditation, Maharishi called this experience of 24/7 Silence “Cosmic Consciousness.” I was aware or conscious of the infinite, cosmic level of life as a full time living reality.
We are all aware of three states of consciousness: waking, sleeping, and dreaming. The TM technique takes us to a 4th state of consciousness called Pure Consciousness. In Sanskrit it is called Turiya, or the 4th state of consciousness. It underlies or is the backdrop to waking, sleeping, and dreaming. Most people are simply not aware of it.
As I experienced this Pure Consciousness more and more during meditation, my nervous system became habituated to this experience. When I finally asked the question about letting go of the belief that I wasn’t enlightened, my nervous system was ready to allow this witnessing quality 24/7.
Experiencing Pure Consciousness during sleep?
You might wonder how we can experience Pure Awareness while we sleep. It’s a very reasonable question. Most of us confuse awareness with thinking. If we are awake, we are thinking. This is the mistake Descartes made – “I think, therefore I am.” It should be “I am, therefore I can think.”
We all will eventually discover that awareness is independent of thinking and of the mind. In our ignorance we let our minds rule our lives, when Beingness or the Heart are far preferable rulers of our lives.
It’s not that my mind was awake while I was sleeping. The doors of perception were shut when I slept, but there was an inner wakefulness while I slept. Pure Awareness was aware of itself all night long.
The Three Week Honeymoon
This experience of Cosmic Consciousness was vast and obvious for about three weeks. Then it began to become my normal, habitual state of existence. The contrast with my old limited sense of self left. Doubt crept in – was it gone? Did I just have a short experience of it and now it is gone?
I was very fortunate. Every time I had a doubt I had a clear experience to dispel that doubt, and eventually my doubts just disappeared. Here’s an example:
My wife and I are in the habit of going to bed at the same time. We’ve done this for years and it’s hard to break this routine and go to sleep alone. So I was lying in bed waiting for her to finish in the bathroom. I had the thought “It would be nice for her to come to bed so I can fall asleep.”
I was wide awake inside. Eventually she came to bed and I murmured “Oh good, now I can go to sleep.” She replied “What are you talking about? You’ve been snoring loudly for 10 minutes at least.”
Well, there you have it. I snore when I sleep, even if I am awake inside. After this experience I just stopped doubting that I was in Cosmic Consciousness.
We are all equal
The funny thing is that we are all Cosmic Beings who are fully enlightened. Most people just aren’t aware of it. It’s like those pictures where first you see the silhouette of two faces, but if you look long enough you see a vase. Similarly, if you look long enough, you experience pure consciousness. It’s always there.
Here’s that experience:
In my town of Fairfield IA, the TM community built two big golden domes for group meditation. There’s a great power in meditating in a large group. One day while in Cosmic Consciousness, I was getting ready to meditate in the Golden dome with about 800 other men.
I looked around and saw these great men who were so committed to their spiritual growth also getting ready to meditate. I felt great love for them, and then a little tinge of pride came over me. I was in Cosmic Consciousness and most of them were not. Not very spiritual of me, right? Remember, all of Steven’s stuff was still there on the surface.
I closed my eyes and started to meditate. After about 10 minutes my eyes just popped open and I could “see” the Ocean of Pure Consciousness enveloping everyone in that golden dome. Like the colorless sap that permeates every part of a plant, there was a clear “liquid” permeating everyone and everything I could see.
Suddenly I just knew that everyone has the same support of Pure Consciousness that I had. They just couldn’t see it or feel it yet, but it was there for everyone. It guides our lives perfectly, even if we can’t see it happening.
With that, I gratefully closed my eyes and continued my meditation. My sense of “specialness” was gone.