What is the difference between these two spiritual ideas? How do they each relate to the desire to eliminate suffering? Where do they exist in relation to each other and on the scale of freedom?
The nature and role of energy.
There are three types of energy operating in creation, in various
combinations. They encompass the spectrum of light frequency, from a total pure and still brilliance, through all fluctuations, down to a
potentially motionless density, or black hole.
These energies are present at all levels of reality, with subsets
apparently operating within all portions of the greater level.
“As above, so below.”
The combinations of these frequencies, at a total level, make up the whole causal, subtle and gross material creation. At another level, these frequencies and the knowledge they form, colour the mind as our perceptions of the creation. They are also responsible for our three states of waking, dreaming and sleep.
Tamas. Dull, heavy as sleep. No available knowledge.
Rajas. Activity, motion and action. Relative object knowledge.
Sattva. Clear, bright and still. All potential knowledge.
A symbolic description of these energies.
Using three buckets of water to represent the mind under the
influence of these energies, each is placed outside the entrance of a dark cave. The sun, representing the light of awareness, shines equally upon all of them. The reflections of the light, upon the wall of the cave, represent our worldly experience of reality in each state of mind.
The tamas water is dull and heavy, like water taken from the bottom of a muddy pond. The reflection on the wall of the cave, is dim and muted – the shape and quality of the sun is completely indeterminable.
The rajas water is agitated, moving erratically and it’s surface
disturbed – the light of the sun is dancing excitedly upon the cave wall. While many highlights and specular flashes of light are there – the true shape and quality of the sun is imperceivable.
The sattva water is totally still and clear – and the image on the cave wall is a clear and distinct, accurately reflected depiction of the sun. In such a state of mind – the reflection of the self / awareness can be glimpsed.
Our experience in the creation spectrum.
The mind/body identity, is moving through this spectrum in cycles of waking, dreaming and sleep. The projections toward material, feeling or inner pursuits are equal to the current location of one in the
continuum and the direction in which one is pointed – either towards the light of all potential knowing, or the dark black hole of a sleepy not knowing.
In either case, the prime motivation is to move away from the sense of agitation and disturbance, of lack and limitation, that is characteristic of a localized place in the whole of the spectrum. One may choose to escape depression by falling asleep into not knowing, or one may choose to enlighten their experience with waking pursuits.
Liberation in the spectrum.
The various range of location, pursuit and self understanding,
are illustrated in the listing of seven distinguishable stages of self
liberation, or self knowledge.
1. Ignorance. Like sleep. A black hole to dense energy / tamas. Not knowing.
2. Obscuration. The belief that there is no awareness. Pursues object happiness.
3. Superimposition. Body/mind identification. One is the doer enjoyer that experiences pleasure and pain.
4. Indirect knowledge. An epiphany or non-dual experience, or
hearing of self from teacher, results in belief “The awareness / self does exist.”
5. Direct knowledge. “I am the self.” The doer enjoyer is revealed and the process of ending suffering begins.
6. Moksa. Cessation of grief. The process of dissolving the grip of
karma is complete. “What can I desire?” “I am already the whole.”
7. Actualization. Perfect satisfaction. Abidance. Satisfaction of self knowledge is unlimited. All that was to be achieved and enjoyed has been achieved and enjoyed.
Stage seven, is achieved only by passing through and/or having
knowledge of the other six stages. It is an embodied complete objective position with respect to the nature of the self and creation.
The knowledge of what is real and true, and what is only apparent and not real – has been fully discriminated. In this stage, the futility of
experiential pursuits of not-real objects, has long since been exposed and eradicated.
The stages below four, are plagued by a denial or ignorance of
awareness. Pursuits for a freedom from suffering, prior to ‘seeing the reflection of the light’ – can only be directed towards tamas, towards a hiding from the suffering one knows. It is a retreat into deeper
ignorance and is the hallmark of the ‘not-knowing’ or ‘do not exist’ teachings.
To sum up what I apologize may be a difficult to grasp presentation: one who is caught in the sufferable and limited realms of experience, will endeavour to escape the limited web of unstable and
uncomfortable rajas, in whatever direction they believe to be
At either end of the spectrum of light to dark, from space to density, there is respite from agitation. At one end, it is the light which is
beyond the highest vibrations which dissolves agitation and at the
other, it is a vacuum of not knowing where no knowledge of agitation can exist, and so the agitation is unavailable for negation.
An escape into not knowing, is equal to sleep. The trouble with this
solution, is that in the absence of objective knowing, one simply
returns from their sleep into the very suffering they hoped to escape.
Only moving towards realization of the light of the aware self, can bring a relief from suffering and limitation that is lasting – because the
cognitive capacities of discrimination, are present during this quest,
enabling the dissolution of limitations.
Will you choose to escape or dissolve your sense of
limitation? You discover what you are, by facing and
removing the things that you are not – not by hiding from them.