Consciousness, the basis for our being aware of the world and the Universe, has many levels. These levels are characterized by different intensities of awareness. At a certain level, such as that in the animal, the intensity is not as much as in man. Among the animals themselves, there are various degrees of awareness. That is how the chimpanzee is able to respond better in terms of memory and interpretation than most other animals. The higher level of awareness in man has helped him understand nature’s ways, harness nature’s energies to his advantage and protect himself against many destructive forces. However, as of now, the awareness in the common man has not evolved on this planet sufficiently to transcend the ego. That is how ego plays a dominant role currently, even in the field of religion.
An exception to this scenario is the state of Enlightenment in which awareness attains its fullness and the evolution of consciousness reaches its culmination. That state has been named variously as Satori, Liberation, Nirvana, Advaita and so on. Satori is a Zen Buddhist term. Advaita is a Sanskrit word that describes the state as an expansive consciousness in which the oneness of all is experienced. However, the atmosphere is not yet strong enough for the general order of things to be governed by deepening awareness and its holistic content. As of now, ideas of individual salvation and personal aggrandizement govern the human psychology.
Deep interest in understanding the vaster consciousness augments a spiritual journey that enriches our life to the point of being in affectionate communion with everyone and everything on this planet. Our daily chores, official work and items of responsibility – all of them get loving attention. However, just like playing the violin cannot be perfected in a day, the art of understanding the expansive consciousness also needs sustained interest and patience.
People who show interest in the direction of what lies beyond the apparent bring in a natural austerity in their lives. It chimes in with the love with which they attend to the daily matters. Then, strangely, circumstances in life shape towards supporting one’s movement towards the vaster consciousness. Troubling circumstances begin to ease off. One releases oneself from self-centered activities, be it in the name of social fame or religion. Attention moves towards non-sectarian spirituality. In this connection, the following rendering by one who experienced the NDE is relevant (IANDS Newsletter, Vol. 31, No. 1):
“My journey made sense, and a lightness of being began to grace my soul. I was truly home, safe on shore, warmed and nurtured in the Light. Opening up to the experience has heightened my awareness of the many gifts I was given during my visit to the other side, including a keen sensitivity to sound and light, deep understanding, compassion, intuition, and insights to help others on their journey. I possess a comforting lack of fear of the ending of life, a dedicated belief in the afterlife and all the peace and love we have to look forward to. There will be freedom from this physical temple we are temporarily bound by, and a final merging with the Light in all its beauty, silence and wisdom.”
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