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Consciousness Is Like a 3-Layer Cake

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    Excerpted from the article: Consciousness Is Like a 3-Layer Cake http://www.swamij.com/consciousness-cake.htm (Has graphics and links mentioned below) TOP
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 3, 2005
      Excerpted from the article:
      Consciousness Is Like a 3-Layer Cake
      (Has graphics and links mentioned below)

      TOP LAYER: The top layer represents ourselves as the physical,
      mental, emotional self we know so well, which engages the people and
      objects of the external world, as with the 2-layer cake. The icing on
      top represents our engagement with the other people and objects of
      the world. Between the top and middle layers, the icing represents
      the reverie transition between waking and dreaming states. Or, it can
      also represent the transition between life and death of the physical
      body. (See A of AUM, Waking)

      MIDDLE LAYER: The middle layer represents the subtle realm of
      reality, along with our unconscious mental processing (pictures and
      sounds) and the dreaming state of sleep. This is like the subtle
      level of the 2-layer cake, where one might have many experiences.
      Between the middle and bottom layers, the icing represents the
      transition or bursting forth between the unmanifest and the subtle
      forms. The objects of the subtle realm have been born, so to speak,
      out of this seed potential. Similarly, our individual
      characteristics, in their latent or seed form, transform or morph
      (somewhat like computer animations) out of the bottom or seed level,
      into the subtle level. (See U of AUM, Dreaming)

      BOTTOM LAYER: The bottom layer it the causal level, out of which both
      the subtle and the gross realities emerge. This level (not seen in
      the 2-layer cake) is also the repository of the seed characteristics,
      which form our individual identity. We need to know and experience
      this level so as to transcend both this level and our individuality.
      Awareness of this critical, key level is missing for most people
      because of following the 2-layer cake philosophy. Usually, we only
      see our characteristics (including attractions, aversions, and fears)
      as they play out either in dreams or as actions and speech in the
      external world. Here, we are talking about encountering these in
      their seed form, which is formless, unmanifest. Here, they can more
      truly be attenuated or reduced, allowing us to experience our
      individuality as free or separate from these conditionings. (See M of
      AUM, Deep Sleep, and Yoga Sutras 2.1-2.9, 2.10-2.11, 2.12-2.25. This
      third level is described throughout the article on Yoga Nidra.)

      THE PLATE: The plate on which the whole cake rests represents the
      pure consciousness, which supports and permeates the three layers of
      the cake, as well as the icing. (See Silence after AUM, Fourth State)

      3-LAYER CAKE IS BETTER THAN 2-LAYER CAKE: The reason the 3-layer cake
      is significant is that the spiritual seeker who seeks only the second
      layer of the 2-layer cake will completely miss the higher truths, the
      level of Self-realization. There may be exciting experiences and
      visions, or visits to the subtle planes, but that is far short of

      CAUSAL HOLDS THE SEEDS: It is necessary to see and understand that
      both the subtle and gross realms have emerged from the causal, and
      that this causal holds the seeds of manifestation of our individual
      identities, as well as all of the other people and objects.

      GOING BEYOND THE LAYERS: When we consciously know this causal level
      of the latent subconscious and deep sleep, we can also go beyond,
      into the realization of the pure consciousness or Self, which is
      without characteristic or form, but pure, uniform being, which has
      been called sat-chit-ananda, or the nature of existence-consciousness-
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