The soul center deep within the center of the head, in the hollow surrounded by the corpus callosum, pineal and hypothalamus, is known as the Cave of Brahman in Vedic tradition. Here, awakening to the absolute Self as that which is both transcendental and prior to all manifestation is experienced. In Judeo-Christian-Islamic cosmology, this would be the domain of the Father, the pure spirit aspect of the trinity.
Awakening into conscious union with this soul center results in the experience of unity consciousness, as the oneness of all things is directly apprehended. This is classically termed “non-dual awareness,” since the sense of subject-object consciousness dissolves. There is no longer a “me” here, and the world “out there.” Attachment and identification are destroyed by this awakening, as it is seen that there is no “self” and nothing “other”, nothing outside of Self to obtain. At this level, relationship does not exist. Until this is directly experienced, such statements will be confusing and mystifying for most people.
Identification with mind itself is the very veil that obscures the pure, spotless nature of mind. In this realization, the illusion of the self as a separate, fixed being is dissolved in the ocean of pure consciousness, in which all things arise as but a temporary modification of consciousness itself.
Diving into En-light-enment
The first unfoldment that usually occurs when this center awakens is an ascent, as consciousness rises into the transcendental realms. One may experience endless vastness, limitless Presence, an indescribable Void, geometries in otherworldly colors tumbling through Infinity, and/or non-physical, higher-dimensional presences including World Teachers, ascended masters, and angelic beings. Light infuses the head soul center and upper chakras, and the veils of mind are dissolved. The term illumination is often used to describe this level of soul unfoldment.
One time-honored Way toward illumination is the path through the mind. This involves becoming aware of the attachment and identification with the forms that arise in mind, whether they be thoughts, feelings, judgments, images, or patterns of personality. Each is examined to see whether what is arising is based in absolute truth or reality. When examined, every construct of the mind is seen to be arbitrary, based in illusion.
The sum total of all the structures and processes of mind constitutes the sense of the finite self or “i”. As the layers are peeled away, one ultimately confronts the core illusion of mind -- the sense of “i/me/mine”. Turning mind back upon itself to look at the root origin of the “i” thought results in liberation from the self, the source of all suffering.
Suffering arises when the self sense is threatened -- when there is a challenge to the attachment and identification with the body, other persons, circumstances and conditions, cherished thoughts and images, or, most fundamentally, the idea of “me”. When all is given up -- when all attachment and identification dissolve, what remains is freedom. When there is no one left to suffer, there can be no suffering.
While instant awakening does occur, most people go through a process of gradual dissolution of the separate ego/personality self sense. This usually begins with disidentifying with the contents of mind, as unconscious mental patterns are examined and discarded. The mind begins to quiet; fewer thoughts arise, and unconscious reactivity based on threats to patterns of thinking diminishes.
Next, as the eternal witness becomes established, one is no longer caught inside the labyrinth of the contents of mind. Experiences of free awareness, prior to the arising of the everchanging landscape of the mind, begin to occur. All is seen as temporary modifications of the mind stuff; it becomes clear that none of it is tied to the sense of self.
Whether gradually or all at once, the dynamics of mind reveal themselves. The modus operandi of the mind is seen to center around categorizing, projecting/blaming, analyzing, and so on. It becomes clear that the separate self sense experiences fear and aversion to that which it deems threatening, while it seeks that which it views as life enhancing. Seeking and avoiding are seen as the cornerstones of the ego’s constant activity as the “doer.”
Loss of subject-object orientation follows; this can also be described as the realization of oneness. The experiencer and that which is experienced melt away into pure experiencing. What remains is the direct experience of Self as pure consciousness, pure beingness, the light of consciousness apprehending itself. Throughout the ages, this state has been called enlightenment.
Although beings from all traditions have experienced enlightenment, for thousands of years this has been the preeminent goal of the classical Eastern path. Hindu and Buddhist yogis and monks devote decades to austerities and stringent practices all aimed at one thing -- to get off the wheel of rebirth, to escape the world of samsara through moksha, or liberation. Typically, the primary focus has been to go beyond the ensnarements of the world and physical embodiment altogether. In this often lies a subtle but profoundly impactful judgment on matter and embodiment. This is the traditional shadow of the Enlightenment path.
The Limits of En-light-enment
The attempt to awaken any one soul center, without a corresponding inclusion of the other two, can result in limitations and imbalances. One possible cul-de-sac of overly focusing on the head soul center can be an attachment to and identification with ascent. In extreme, this can manifest as an addictive craving for anything that leads to a spiritual high, whether it be a meditation practice, a catalytic transmission such as the deeksha, or another spiritual tool or technique. Getting high and feeling free and detached are not synonymous with experiencing the fullness of Self realization, unfolding in union with the heart and belly soul centers. Nor should we mistake spiritual highs and blissful states for true awakening or enlightenment.
The glorious bliss of consciousness soaring free of the body-mind can be particularly intoxicating for those who are especially sensitive to the harshness of embodied existence. Seeking after transcendental bliss at the expense of earthly grounding, however, tends to imbalance the subtle bodies and chakras so that our being becomes spirit polarized.
Virtually everyone is carrying unresolved pain in their mental and emotional bodies. There is an understandable tendency to want to escape the pain in any way possible. In addition, we live in a culture that in countless ways encourages and reinforces the escape from pain. When the diversions of the world are eventually revealed as inadequate to assuage the suffering, many embark upon the spiritual path in response to the pain of earthly embodiment. Consciously or unconsciously, one of their prime motives is to get out of the pain and suffering they are in. The way beyond the pain is through it, but many do not understand this. The attempt to avoid the pain is further reinforced by spiritual paths and practices that preach that one can transcend or go beyond it all, never having to fully face and embrace their wounding. These paths of ascent promote the idea that one can rise above the lower chakras and the pain they hold. In our experience, we have never seen this work. It only tends to cause the person to create a split or attenuation in energy/consciousness, which gives a temporary sense of relief but even greater long-term suffering.
The more spirit polarized a person becomes, the greater the likelihood s/he will withdraw from a robust, engaged involvement in life, for the daily round of earth-plane existence may be perceived as distorted, limited and illusory. The personality nature can become dry, cold and austere, with a detached indifference even to the suffering of others. The warmth and aliveness of engaging everyday life can diminish, along with the desire to heal and make whole the wounded, fragmented parts of the psyche.
All is seen as the source of suffering, something to go beyond. It isn’t even real, a spirit polarized person may say, so why engage with it? Yet outer life circumstances may be crying out for someone to deal with them -- to accept their relative reality within this realm and actively engage with the situation.
In extreme cases, the lower three chakras can become shut down and virtually inaccessible to the individual’s consciousness. This results in a lack of connection with and ability to foster basic human well-being, an inability to manifest resources, and a loss of interest in or an aversion to sensual and sexual experiences. Sometimes, consciousness becomes so spirit polarized that it becomes almost impossible to engage warmly and authentically with others, or with life in general.
What drives spirit polarization is a deep fear of loss of self in the “maya” of everyday life. In its extreme form, this may manifest as a fear of being swallowed up and engulfed in the “darkness.” The deep feminine attributes of life may be judged as negative, dangerous, and to be avoided; darkness can be equated with evil. Patriarchal ways of being and perceiving can arise from this consciousness skew. Great destruction to life can result.
The more spirit polarized and disembodied one becomes, the less one may experience communion with the innate intelligence of life. The connection with that which nurtures and causes life to flourish may be severely attenuated, if not lost. This can be seen in the ancient culture of India. In this traditionally Hindu land, the realm of matter is seen as impermanent; the goal of life is to get off the wheel of rebirth and suffering. It is the spiritual realms that are sought after. The result: rampant poverty, millions homeless, buildings decaying, and death in the streets.
Just as the quest for enlightenment may not translate into embracing physical, embodied life, a head center awakening does not guarantee that the heart soul center will open. As strange as it sounds, it is possible to be awakened to Oneness and not be particularly loving. Some who have come into radically clear states seem to exist in an austere, dry realm, largely devoid of human warmth -- quite a different experience of awakening from that of those whose hearts are blossoming.