I usually don’t go around looking at people’s auras, mainly because it doesn’t serve any obvious purpose. If I need to sense something health-related, a more direct energetic sensing (not using the eyes) is often more effective, precise, and can be done at any distance.
The exception for me is spiritual teachers. When I am in the same physical space as a spiritual teacher, I often check their aura to see how awake their system is.
A BRIEF BACKGROUND
During the initial awakening phase in my mid-teens, I discovered I could see auras.
One summer day, I sat under a beautiful birch tree reading a book. I looked up, and noticed a light around the leaves. I assumed it was an optical illusion.
In the following days, weeks, and months, I noticed this light around more and more beings and things. It was more simple and closer to inanimate objects. A little more alive and extending a little further out around plants. A bit more around non-human species. And it was a bit different again around humans, and somewhat different for each person.
A few years later, I got to check my seeing with someone else (BH) who could see auras. We sat in the main train station in Oslo, picked out people, looked at their auras, and compared what we saw. In each case, what we saw was the same. (With the exception that she also saw colors and I tend to see awakeness/light.)
AWAKENING REFLECTED IN THE AURA
How is awakening reflected in the aura?
It’s always difficult to describe something visual with words.
If there isn’t much awakening in the system, the aura is mostly visible relatively closer to the body and around the head, and it’s alive and complex but not so bright or conscious of itself.
If there is some awakening, the aura is a bit lighter and more conscious of itself further away from the body.
If there is a “normal” level of awakening, it’s bright, relatively high frequency, conscious of itself throughout, and appears to extend out indefinitely into all of existence.
The few times I have seen spiritual teachers beyond an “average” level of awakening, the aura is high frequency and very subtle, goes indefinitely out into existence, the aura is awake to itself throughout, and it looks more or less the same close to the body as it does far away from the body.
I should mention that brightness is not the same as awakening. We can do certain practices and have a bright aura or portions of the aura, and it doesn’t mean there is much awakening there. For instance, people who do a lot of tai chi or chigong or similar practices, tend to have a very bright aura close to the body.
The awakening is mostly reflected in the aura being conscious of itself, and it’s difficult to describe in words how that looks. It’s reflected in a certain kind of awakeness in the aura, as opposed to dullness or a kind of sleep.
EXAMPLE FROM MY OWN EXPERIENCE
The seed of this article is remembering an instance from some years ago.
I was a member of the Center for Sacred Sciences in Oregon, and one of the veteran students was pronounced “awake” and made a teacher.
I could see that there was awakeness in his system. It was relatively bright and conscious, and the conscious part did go out quite far from his body. I could also see that a lot was semi-conscious or semi-asleep. Over the following weeks, I also noticed that the brightness and conscious clarity dimmed in his aura.
Some time later, he announced that the awakening wasn’t as stable as he had thought and he would step down as a teacher. This shows honesty and integrity, and perhaps even courage.
And, of course, being in integrity in this way is ultimately easier and more comfortable than pretense.
AWAKENING => TEACHER?
A note about making people into a teacher just because there is some kind of awakening:
In the traditions I am familiar with, and especially Zen, this would not happen. An awakening shift is a beginning, not a reason to make someone a teacher. Awakening is a process and not (just) binary. It’s something that stabilizes and matures over time.
The noticing stabilizes, deepens, clarifies, and matures. The transformation of our human self within this noticing deepens over time. And living from it also stabilizes, deepens, and matures over time.
Being a teacher requires a lot in addition to awakeness. It requires experience, a certain personality, wisdom, kindness, the ability to guide others, a lot of specific skills. It also requires knowledge about the many ways an awakening process can unfold, and how to support people when they experience some of the many things that can happen in an awakening process. Awakening itself is not sufficient.
The reverse can also be the case. Sometimes – in the case of people with a lot of experience, maturity, kindness, integrity, and good intuition – it’s not even required. They can be good guides for many people even if there isn’t a very high level of awakeness in their system.
When I see people’s auras, I mostly see how awake their system is.
For instance, when I was a member of the Center for Sacred Sciences in Oregon, one of the veteran students was pronounced “awake” and made a teacher. (To me, that seems odd for two reasons. One is that awakening isn’t really binary but has a lot of grey zones. The other is that awakening, in itself, doesn’t qualify anyone to function as a teacher.)
I could see that there was awakeness in his system. It was relatively bright and conscious, and the conscious part did go out indefinitely. I could also see that a lot was semi-conscious or perhaps not even that. Over the next few weeks, I also see that the brightness and conscious clarity dimmed in his aura.
Some weeks after that, he announced that the awakening wasn’t as stable as he had thought and would step down as a teacher. Which shows honesty and integrity, and perhaps even courage.