The objective universe exists as a bridge from sparkling awareness to sparkling awareness. Consciousness projects the universe out of its own energy as an object to perceive. For what purpose? In order that through the act of perception, consciousness may reflect back from the object perceived, and become aware of itself as sparkling awareness.
Awareness creates the world in order to perceive it, awaken its own light, and then experience liberation from the world it has created.
This is a process of ecstasy. Literally ecstasy means "standing out from itself," ek-stasis in Greek. Awareness stands outside itself as the world, in order to become aware of what it is not, and then collapse into what it is. Sparkling awareness dissolves the external world, its intimate lover, back into itself through love.
Pure awareness is Shiva. The sparkling energy of Shiva's world-manifesting power is Shakti. The appearance of the material world in consciousness, and its dissolution back into consciousness, is their love-play.
The time is coming when the science of physics will verify this paradigm. The greatest quantum physicists of the 20th Century have already intimated that this "material" world is made out of nothing but consciousness:
"I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness." ~Max PlanckOnce realized as Self-radiance, awareness becomes free of the objective universe, its own creation. The liberation and detachment of consciousness from matter is Sankya, attained through the purifications of Yoga. This de-linking of sparkling awareness from its created universe is the beginning of freedom.
"Modern physics has definitely decided for Plato. For the smallest units of matter are not physical objects in the ordinary sense of the word; they are forms, or in Plato's sense, Ideas, which can be unambiguously spoken of only in the language of mathematics." ~Werner Heisenberg
"All through the physical world runs that unknown content which must surely be the stuff of our consciousness... The stuff of the world is mind-stuff." ~Sir Arthur Eddington
Now awareness is free to make love to the creation from whom it has distilled itself. Sparkling awareness tastes and sees subtler aspects, finer veils of creation's beauty, until it beholds its Self in all. This process of refinement is Bhakti, devotion. It begins when we see God in the Master. Then our perception widens to experience God in the leaf, the raindrop, the face of the poor, the diamond in the dog turd.
Finally, we behold the invisible in the visible. We behold stillness in action. We see only consciousness in the object of matter. The Self as subject intimately unites with its Self as object. Shakti dissolves into Shiva through the union of supreme love, and this union is Vedanta. Thus Indian philosophy does not present rival schools of teaching, but stages in the evolution of consciousness, moving from Sankya, through Yoga, to Bhakti, to Advaita Vedanta.
This entire process depends on our ability to refine the experience of pure sparkling awareness, tasted through the silence of transcendental deep meditation. The practice of transcending is the beginning, and the daily stepping stone. In deep meditation we directly experience pure sparkling awareness as the absolute basis of both subject and object, which are merged in silence beyond dualistic thinking.
The state of pure awareness is neither waking, dreaming, nor deep sleep. It is called Turiya in Sanskrit. It is not awareness "of," but awareness of awareness, without an object. Objects cannot cling to sparkling awareness any more than muddy water clings to the golden lotus. Sparkling awareness needs no object other than its Self, because the subject reflects itself like the image of a mirror in a mirror. When this experience becomes stabilized through regular daily meditation, our awareness remains sparkling, changeless, taintlessly pure in the midst of activity, whatever the changing turmoil of the world around us may present.
There is no other liberation but the innate condition of sparkling awareness. Great souls from St. Paul to Gandhi, Martin Luther King to Nelson Mandela, realized perfect freedom even in a prison cell, because freedom is within consciousness, not in the politics of external circumstance. This is what is meant by dwelling "in the world but not of the world," and what St. Paul describes in Romans 12:2 - "Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind."
Awareness sparkles when Wall Street crashes and you lose all the money in your portfolio. Awareness sparkles when your team loses by one point. Awareness sparkles in the midst of sudden violence or tragedy. Awareness sparkles among rain-drops on ferns. Awareness sparkles in a sensation of loss or disappointment in your breast. Sparkling awareness in the slowly dying sparrow on your porch, who just flew full-speed into your glass door. Sparkling awareness in the grief and beauty of your mother's last breath as you hold her hand, gazing at the finished grace of her lips through your own tears. Sparkling awareness that, no matter how tenderly you may have lived, you could not have prevented any pain, or tasted any deeper beauty.
Love is just a word we use: it is not enough to describe the sensuous all-embracing void in each sparkle of awareness. If there is any transformation, any revolution, any enlightenment to be gained, it is the sparkling awareness of things just as they are.
For awhile we may angrily rebel against the seeming injustices of the world, or desperately try to reform its fickle fleeting images. Our efforts feel heroic, but have nothing to do with real freedom. For we are not here to change the world: we are here to awaken...
And yet, the awakening of sparkling awareness transforms everything.
This awakening is completely natural, requiring neither effort, control, nor concentration. How much effort is required to wake up in the morning? "Spiritual" techniques can short-circuit the mind, increasing the likelihood that awareness might fall back into itself. But ultimately, this process of awakening simply happens by Grace: the projection of matter from consciousness, the intercourse of consciousness and matter, the dissolution of matter back into consciousness, the dalliance of Lord Shiva and Mother Divine, playing through every breath, every love-act of sensory perception. Therefor, seeker, abandon the quest. Just repose in the Self, as you are. This very moment, this very breath, is the portal to transformation.
Sharanam, surrender now! Surrender awareness to awareness. For awareness itself is Shiva, creating all abundance through its own sparkling.
Jai Guru Dev