The Six Planes
4 — Your Vast Self
In this level your sense of self expands. Having grown in higher consciousness, you are now bestowed the ability to let go of your egocentric drive. Releasing the tremendous self-preoccupation that most people have, your sense of self lightly and easily expands outward from you, moving out beyond the confines of the body, extending and extending not only to the horizon but beyond the horizon. There is a rush of awareness that you are conscious energy yourself, pure awareness, and that you are not confined to a body. You can extend your being, your essence, not only as a general glow or radiance but this marvelous light of your being, this marvelous power of your being, can extend to infinity — and it does.
This infinite, vast experience is filled with ecstasy and delight. It is called cosmic consciousness by many people. You realize your cosmic, or universal, self. You realize what mystics through the ages have experienced through their profound meditations. You are alive as never before.
Usually these expansions last about half an hour and then you return to physical awareness and feel that once again you are abiding within your body. The nerves have to be strengthened in order for this experience to occur in the first place and if you are to have expansions that last more than twenty minutes to a half hour, then your nerves will have to be very strong because the rush of energy is very powerful. **
This cosmic consciousness, or expansion, is not without its tests and difficulties. Very often you will find you are about to have the experience but you choke. That is, you clutch, you hold back, you do not dare let go of your self-interest or your attachment to your body. It is often difficult to expand even a little bit, let alone allow the process to extend to seeming infinity — which is indeed what can happen.
So, many aspirants balk at this point. They are afraid to let go of their body and to experience a change in their perception of who they really are. It's scary, and it is not known to the beginner what is going to happen. There is a fear of losing oneself, or of dying, of being very unsafe. What should happen if one is out there and the phone rings or somebody comes into the room? Perhaps one won't be able to get back in the body. All these fears have to be dealt with by a patient acceptance of the higher consciousness and a willingness to work with it and to understand it — to the extent one is ever able to understand something so great.
Sometimes it takes a person over a year to be willing to trust this expansive pressure that lovingly builds up, usually in the chest area. Some people who begin the experience and then, through fear, stop it, give up the spiritual path and live in quiet terror that the expansion might happen to them sometime. They find the feeling utterly horrible, their sense of self being altered so. Often one needs the help and inspiration of a Master/Guru or adept who routinely experiences this state. Such guidance encourages the aspirant to be patient and to be pleased when the expansion tries to happen.
The difficulty is based entirely on the strength of the ego and its predilection for self-centeredness. The higher consciousness will not overwhelm the ego. It awaits the time that the ego is willing to experience something beyond itself, willing to welcome a new state of love and freedom to occur, and willing to surrender control to the higher power, the greater wisdom, and the true love within.
Many seekers do not understand and do not have what it takes. They try the expansion a few times, find themselves unwilling or unable to cooperate with the outward thrust of the self. They return to the fork in the road where higher consciousness began and they willingly take the other road: the road of self-confinement.
On the other hand, those who persist and understand that the problem is the thickness of their ego — the intensity of their ego-centricity — find the experience so wonderful they yearn that it not end. And each day that goes by thereafter they yearn to experience the expansion again and again and again. They feel, both in the expansion and in the afterglow of it, that they are surrounded by blessedness. They behold everything as tinged with a sweet ecstasy. The serenity of the second level has been totally replaced by an ecstatic and dynamic play of consciousness. It is thrilling to be alive in every tissue! Every moment, every second, has a delight in it for the one who meets with this adventure and dares to be changed in so fundamental a way.
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