In light of recent revelations, we have revisited the map of awakening for the essential me and polished the terminology. Not only will it give students a better understanding of this very subtle area of evolution, but it should also provide them with better practical tools for working with the essential me, making their practice much more effective.
‘Essential me’ is a general term which encompasses all of the aspects of the realization of essence-me, meaning the awakening of essence-me’s own subjectivity and its further vertical surrender and samadhi. Essential me is a composite identity that consists of a number of progressively evolving layers of me which sequentially join and overlap each other. It is called ‘essential me’ because it refers to the direct evolution of essence-me, which is the origin and core of our existence.
The first level of this awakening is becoming conscious of our essence-me. In the dimension of forgetfulness, essence-me is entirely unconscious of itself, even though is it present as the inherent sense of me which we all experience on a very rudimentary level. However, the only way it senses itself is in reference to external objects, meaning either through the perception of the outer world or within the framework of our mind and emotions. So although we all have essence-me, almost no one is directly aware of it. This is a paradox which reflects the self-deceptive reality that most humans live in, and which underpins our very suffering.
Some people appear conscious and even intelligent, but they are in fact completely out of touch of their essence, and unaware of the potential to realize even the most basic sense of their own subjectivity. They just have no identity in any real sense, other than one which is entirely externally conditioned, an acquired personality living in a self-deluded state of being ‘someone’. But even stranger is that virtually no one wants to know their essence-me – either they do not have any longing for their true self, or it is completely switched off and dormant. And surprisingly, this includes almost all so-called ‘spiritual seekers’, those who profess to be searching for ‘enlightenment’, ‘consciousness’, or ‘non-duality’. They are not looking for themselves, their essence-me. Particularly in the non-dual traditions, self-denial has become the motto of the path for many seekers; instead of seeking to realize their essence, they do what they can to move even further away from it. The truth is that unless we honor essence-me, unless we love who we are, there can be no spiritual path, and any path that is based on self-negation is effectively a path moving away from the reality of spirituality.
Conscious Me: Essence-me Awakened
How do we get in touch with essence-me? When you look at a photograph of yourself taken a year or more ago, there is awareness that the one who is now looking at the photo is the same one that was looking out from the photo when it was taken. Or when sitting and meditating, but having become lost in a train of thought, someone suddenly notices, “I have lost myself.” That is our observer waking up for a brief instant. Whose observer is it? This observer did not appear from nowhere: it is an unconscious or subconscious emanation of our original I, or essence-me.
Our essence-me is awakened by directly feeling and meeting it. This feeling is done not by the observer and our usual external attention, but by pure attention. Essence-me is in fact the source of attention, both external attention (directed towards objects) and pure attention (activated when turning consciousness back towards our subjectivity). When essence-me lives in forgetfulness, it is fully identified with the type of external attention which emanates away from its subjectivity. When spiritual longing is activated and our instinct of self-remembrance awakens, it is our essence-me which is beginning to look for itself; it seeks to recognize itself directly. For this, pure attention must be activated, as it is through pure attention that essence-me is recognized. Then, there are two levels of recognition and embodiment of essence-me. The first level is when pure attention meets essence-me and activates its bare attention, resulting in the experience of presence. The second level is when that bare attention is fully embodied by pure attention. This second embodiment makes this state of illuminated pure subjectivity constant and signifies the true awakening of conscious me.
Conscious me can exist in two modes: with or without external attention. When conscious me activates external attention, such as in thinking or perceiving, it becomes the conscious observer. Here, all thinking or perceptual activity is done from the correct base of our embodied pure subjectivity.
Pure Conscious Me
After conscious me is awakened, it has to reorient itself towards the vertical dimension in order to evolve further. If conscious me is not resting, it is stuck in presence (where it is in danger of becoming over-crystalized) and it cannot realize itself fully. As conscious me does not have a direct access to universal subjectivity, it cannot surrender directly. Therefore, it evolves through giving birth to a deeper dimension of itself, its own pure me. We call this pure me, which exists just below conscious me, ‘pure conscious me’. Pure conscious me is awakened through a combination of conscious me resting vertically and pure attention emanating from it downwards into vertical surrender. When pure attention is able to stabilize itself below conscious me, it gives birth to pure me of conscious me, or pure conscious me.
The identity of pure conscious me is not essence-me, though it has a flavor of this essence due to its close connection to conscious me. Pure conscious me is not just an expansion of conscious me; it is a new dimension of me that is now able to evolve in its own right. In addition, it can support the further surrender of conscious me. For the correct realization of pure conscious me, it has to be fully embodied and in a condition of deep vertical restfulness.
Fundamental me is born when pure conscious me reaches vertical absorption in the absolute. This is achieved through the practice of letting go and surrendering vertically until the essential channel becomes fully opened into the source. Fundamental me is pure conscious me in samadhi. It is similar to pure me of being in that it is able to penetrate the absolute state, but it does so in the essential channel at the front of the head, just below conscious me. Although in an energetic sense fundamental me is realized and experienced in the area below the eyebrows, because of its energetic expansiveness, it is also felt a little further away below the eyes, or even lower in the face. The realization of fundamental me is the foundation for the further surrender of conscious me, serving as its bridge to the absolute. When fundamental me is realized, there is no more pure conscious me, as through its samadhi in the absolute, it is transformed into fundamental me.
While conscious me is able to attain restfulness through its link to pure conscious me, it cannot reach samadhi on this level for the simple reason that pure conscious me is not in samadhi, the state of absence. For conscious me to reach samadhi, fundamental me has to open the doorway to absence. Conscious me reaches the absolute by merging with the fundamental state, resulting in its transformation into primordial me. Primordial me is the same conscious me but now liberated from the dimension of presence. It is obviously still present, but it is also absent, resting blissfully with its main identity base now established and growing in the eternal peace of the unfathomable source.
It should be also noted that when conscious me merges with the fundamental state, it still retains its own identity of essence-me, while fundamental me transforms into universal essential me, which constitutes primordial me’s vertical body of absence.
Primordial I and Essence-samadhi
In the initial awakening of conscious me, we embody our essence-me. Here, the natural duality between essence-me (the substance of me) and pure attention (the spirit of me when directed back towards subjectivity) is retained. Without this pure duality, there could be no me, because to be me implies an internal relationship with our own identity.
The secret of essence-me is that it contains in its very kernel, hidden within its core, the original information of I am. When pure attention enters the kernel of essence-me and embodies this immanent I am (meaning the I am that exists within, or is intrinsic to, essence-me), this results in the birth of primordial I. Primordial I is the I am of essence-me realized. This is described in more detail in a separate article to be published “Essence-me and the Realization of Primordial I.”
Conscious, Transparent, and Pure Observer
When conscious me uses external attention, it does so through the observer. How this observer is experienced depends on the degree of evolution of conscious me’s essential channel. When external attention is experienced from an embodied conscious me, this is what is called the ‘conscious observer’. When conscious me is both embodied and resting in pure conscious me, the external attention is experienced through the transparent observer. When conscious me is absorbed in pure conscious me, such attention would be from the lower level of the pure observer. And when conscious me is fully merged with and absorbed in fundamental me, the attention would be from the higher pure observer. The higher pure observer is experienced from primordial me, in which primordial me is linking itself from its state of samadhi with external attention.
Key Points in the Changed Terminology
Now that we have fine-tuned the basic terms to reflect the reality of essential me more accurately, we can point out the key differences. Firstly, the term ‘conscious me’ is the same as before, but it’s identity is no longer seen as distinct from that of the conscious, transparent, or pure observer. Conscious me can simply exist as the observer as well. In other words, conscious me plus activated external attention becomes the observer.
Secondly, it was previously said that for conscious me to be properly realized, it has to reach the condition of restfulness. This is now not happening so much within the conscious me itself, but rather through the birth of pure conscious me. In other words, the evolution of conscious me is now divided into two branches: the realization of essence-me (which is conscious me) and the realization of pure conscious me. First, essence-me has to be met and embodied, becoming conscious me; then conscious me has to reach vertical orientation and a basic level of restfulness; then one begins to surrender below conscious me by activating vertical pure attention, while still maintaining an ongoing recognition of conscious me. Through this process, the new identity of pure conscious me is formed. Conscious me continues to exist above pure conscious me and gradually unifies with it, though it still retains its own identity.
The description of the new practice with pure conscious me is not that different than what we said in the past, because the previous guidance we gave did include the evolution into pure conscious me. On the other hand, when we previously spoke about the surrender of the observer as the surrender of secondary conscious me to conscious me at rest, this would now be described as the surrender of conscious me to pure conscious me.
Additionally, because there is no longer a distinction between primordial me and the pure observer, there is also no distinction between the sealed state and the primordial state. There is also no longer a secondary conscious me, because when the observer is activated from pure conscious me, that pure conscious me is not conscious me but pure me. Hence, there is no need for the concept of secondary conscious me. The concept of the secondary conscious me was a term created to fill a conceptual gap caused by the lack of a differentiation between pure conscious me and conscious me. If pure conscious me is embodied, one may feel like it is conscious me itself at rest, and the identity of the observer arising from it may be then interpreted as a secondary conscious me. But in the end, there is just one conscious me.
The most important practical application of the new revelations is that students who have been working with conscious me should now aim at the awakening of pure conscious me as a distinct identity beneath, or just under, conscious me. Unless pure conscious me is awakened, conscious me will have no bridge for its vertical surrender. Furthermore, if one has difficulties to fully embody conscious me even after it is awakened, it is recommended to put more emphasis on resting in and embodying pure conscious me, and only from that place of vertical stability to fully embrace the conscious me. Ideally, after conscious me has been met, one should immediately work with pure conscious me, as at this point pure conscious me is even more important than conscious me. Staying on the level of conscious me alone simply creates too much presence, and may result in creating too much energy in the front of the head when done unskillfully. Conscious me without a connection to pure conscious me cannot fully separate itself from external attention and the function of the observer.
We must also keep in mind that the evolution of essential me should not be seen as happening in isolation from the evolution of pure me of consciousness and horizontal surrender through the portal at the back of the head. Pure me of consciousness is the first me to link essence-me to the universal I am. It is through its connection to the beyond and having an indirect foothold in absence that essence-me is able to reach complete actualization and absence via the essential channel. It is true that conscious me can be awakened without this connection to pure consciousness, but it cannot transcend its presence and fully realize its divine nature on its own.
Conscious me is the true center of our existence, and the correct answer to the question ‘Who am I?’ It is not our complete self, because our soul also has to awaken in its other aspects and establish the different centers of pure me, but conscious me does remain the sole hub and master of our consciousness and intelligence.
None of the historic traditions of enlightenment address the evolution into essence-me. For some, it might have happened accidently as a byproduct of reaching meditative states. But those who promote practices of mindfulness have no knowledge of essence-me and mislead seekers into overexerting external attention. Others foolishly think they will realize the universal self by denying their me. If a teaching is not in touch with our own essential self, essence-me, can it be considered a path to enlightenment in any way, or it is no more than another dangerous form of ignorance masquerading as a means of awakening, consciousness, and transcendence?
Conscious me is the one who guards our thought-threshold, allowing us to renounce thoughts as they manifest from the subconscious mind, and intentionally choosing to attend to thinking – creatively or logically – from its base of pure intelligence. Conscious me is the one who activates pure attention, which illuminates all of the dimensions of the soul, and from the soul, flows on into the universal I am. While doing all of this, conscious me is in a constant state of self-recognition and self-embodiment, while also resting eternally in the bliss of universal subjectivity, the I am of the creator. So as it turns out, the simple and natural sense of self underlying the observer that we all have – but disregard, or even want to suppress or negate – has the potential of being met and realized as the divine essence of who we are. One wonders if there was a need for us to take such a long journey to arrive at that me that has been present in us from the very beginning. Yes, indeed, there was.
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