As life brings itself more into awareness, shedding beliefs and assumptions and revealing to itself what’s here, it seems to often go through certain phases. Many have outlined these, including Evelyn Underhill and Ken Wilber, and I am by no means an expert on these maps and models. (In any case, life is kind enough to show up outside of and independent of any maps, reminding us they are imagined.)
What I know from my own experience, and have heard from others, is a simple shift from (a) knowing to being, and from (b) love and insight supported by certain states to independent of states.
From knowing to being
During the initial opening in my teens, there was a clear recognition that everything – with no exception – is God. God – life, reality – woke up to itself out of the dream of being identified as a human being. The sense of I did return to some extent, and the identification with/as this I also returned to some extent, although even here there was a recognition that all is God or Spirit. Then, there was (is!) a dark night which invited remaining beliefs to wear out and be seen through, and these tend to be quite primal and deep seated beliefs with a strong emotional component. The shift to being what was initially seen involves a deep healing at a human level, a clearing up of these primal beliefs and their emotional components, and alignment of more of the human self with reality, with what was initially seen.This is an ongoing process, and I assume it will continue as long as there is a human self here.
From supported by states to independent of states
Initially, love and insight was supported by certain states. There was a very strong experience and feeling of love – for everyone and everything. And there was a clarity which allowed for a great deal of insights, typically mirroring what I later read by Taoists, Buddhists and mystics from Islam and Christianity. These states were so strong it seemed “I” couldn’t fall out of love or this clarity. Then, during the dark night, these states did shift – as life always does. They went away in my experience, and there was an invitation to see my remaining beliefs about these states and reality. There were a few basic sets of beliefs here for me: (a) I lost something wonderful. I made a mistake. I lost my course. I got off track. I am a disappointment to God. (b) Awakening has to do with these states of love and clarity. (c) There is an I here this is happening to. (Although this was seen through initially, there was still a more deep seated belief in an I here and this one had/has a quite strong emotional component.) Another invitation is to recognize this love and clarity in any situation and state. This is the next phase. Can I recognize anyone and anything as the Divine, just as it is, independent of particular states? Can I notice this clarity – specifically that it’s all the Divine, the play of life – no matter what’s here, independent of particular states?