There is a richness in how awareness functions, and there are many aspects and gradations to awakenings. Here is a very incomplete and unsystematic list…
Awareness awakens to identification with a small self, and functions dualisticly. This is what we see in most (higher) animals and most humans today. We are (blindly) caught up in the habitual process and reactions of the small self. We are at the mercy of the habitual patterns of emotions/thoughts/behaviors triggered by specific situations. The world is experienced as fragmented and there is a sense of clear separation between the two poles of each polarity. From this comes fear, sense of homelessness, accumulation, power-over etc. (basically most of what we see in the world today).
- Awakening to nature of mind
Awareness awakens to its own nature – awareness empty of any characteristics. This is the “I” that (apparently) goes on even when this self has died. Here, we can allow the experiences of the small self to unfold within awareness, without automatically fuelling them or trying to push them away. There is more of a sense of overview, freedom and choice.
- Awakening to transdual view
This comes out of the awakening to the nature of mind. When awareness rests in its own nature – of clear space and awareness – it finds a new “ground” outside the world of phenomena. From here, it views all phenomena – the inner and outer world – as a seamless fluid whole. This opens up for natural and effortless joy and compassion, indepedent on any particular external/internal situation. Awareness begins to function more transdually, and there is a sense of fullness and richness.
- Awakening to Big Mind
This comes out of the two previous awakenings, and is a fuller awakening into a transdual view. Awareness awakens to itself as that which embraces the absolute and the relative, the nature of mind and all phenomena. There are many gradations here, from a mild “feeling” of being Big Mind functioning through the small self to a full blown direct experience.
- Cosmic Consciousness
This is a full-blown Big Mind experience, where the Universe and all of Existence is experienced as consciousness, and I am that consciousness. In my experience, there is an experience of very high energies at this level. And there are gradations within this as well.
This is a re-awakening to the human levels of our Existence. From identifying with the nature of mind and then Big Mind, we rehumanize – we become more fully human. The attachment to “enlightenment” is dropped, and we embrace and are more comfortable with all levels of the holarchy. The mind is now free to function in any way on both transpersonal and personal levels. In the Big Mind process, this is called the integrated free functioning self.