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..:: The Atmic Plane ::..


Alan Schneider


              Self Realization, the Buddha Mind, and spiritual verbalization – most especially those forms of “verbalization” known as Darshan and Satsang, the discourses on Spiritual Truth given by an Ascended Master, and shared among Initiates, respectively constitute the subjects of this essay.

            Self Realization is a term with many implications. It can mean the realization or actualization (in Maslow’s terminology), of the Higher Self – a term frequently associated with the personal or Collective Soul – the Over Soul, a more complex amalgam of the Collective Soul, and one that corresponds to the Monad in the Western Mystery theory, and the Logos – essentially referring to God Realization. Now, the realization of the Monad pertains to the Monadic Plane, the Sixth Plane of Ascension, and the subject of the next in the sequence of Ascension essays. The realization of the Logos pertains to our last essay in this series, and is focused on the Logoic Plane, the Seventh and final Plane of Ascension. These approaches to realization will be appropriately treated in these essays yet to come. So, we are left with the Collective Soul and the Buddha Mind as possible aspects of Ascension on the Atmic Plane.  

            The Chakra corresponding to the Atmic Plane is Vishuddah, the Throat Chakra, and Chakra Five.  The Cabalistic correspondence is an interactive one – the combined influence of the Martian energy of Geborah on the Pillar of Severity, and the Jovian energy of Chesed on the Pillar of Mercy. The implication of Vishuddah is clear – communication and verbal expression – intonation and chanting, public and private speaking, and discourse on spiritual subjects.  The blend of Geborah and Chesed is less clear, suggesting a balance of the aggressive restriction of Mars and the effusive abundance of Jupiter. Perhaps when these two opposing trends are brought into reconciliation with each other the result is an expression of Truth on the level of the Atmic Plane – not merely the experience of Truth, but the verbal expression of the Truth given to the world on the Physical Plane.  

            Above all else that he accomplished when incarnate, the Buddha was a teacher and communicator of the knowledge and wisdom that he attained on the Physical Plane as a result of his determined meditation, poverty, self discipline, and austerity.  Thus, the Buddha Mind is the essence of not only Enlightenment, but of Instruction in the attainment of Enlightenment as a Bodhisattva – a consciousness that has Ascended, but has also chosen to remain incarnate on the Physical Plane to offer the gift of Ascension and Enlightenment to the other human Souls struggling with the realization process here. This decision is a great sacrifice on the part of the Bodhisattva, who voluntarily accepts the troubles of continued incarnate suffering for the benefit of us all. 

            Since the Atmic Plane is focused at least in part on the instructions offered by the Buddha to humanity for the attainment of muksa, or liberation, a synopsis of Buddhist philosophy is in order here. This is taken verbatim from an earlier essay simply entitled Buddhism. The first, and foundational, belief of Buddhism is that all life is dukkha, or suffering. This is the First Noble Truth. This suffering has several origins – birth trauma, illness, old age, fear (including the primary fear of death), and temporary or permanent separation from what one loves caused by any number of things. The ultimate, root cause of suffering, however, apart from the surface factors just mentioned, is tanha, the condition of desire or craving for something. This is the Second Noble Truth.  Therefore, the way to end suffering is to end desire and attachment, the Third Noble Truth. This is no mean feat for the appetite-driven, ego-mediated ordinary personal consciousness, so, in response to this condition, Buddhism prescribes the Noble Eight Fold Path as the Fourth, and final, Noble Truth.  

            The Noble Eight Fold Path is the curative for ordinary consciousness, which is virtually enslaved to desire by the ego. The first step is Right Knowledge obtained by intensively studying the Four Noble Truths listed in the preceding paragraph as a means of deeply pondering and understanding their full significance. The second step is Right Thought – the positive, assertive decision to set one’s life on the correct moral path. The third step toward Enlightenment is Right Speech, practiced by refraining from lying, harsh language, unjust criticism, and gossip about others and their activities. The fourth step is Right Conduct, which is comprised of the Five Precepts – Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not lie, Do not fornicate, and Do not consume intoxicants. The fifth step is Right Livelihood – one must earn one’s living in a manner that does not cause harm to living things.  Right Effort, the sixth step, implies continuous effort to maintain and enhance good, positive thoughts and mental conditions, while eliminating all evil, negative thoughts and impulses. The seventh step, Right Mindfulness, involves becoming intensely aware of all states of manifestation in the body, emotions, and mind. Finally, the eight step, Right Concentration, entails practicing the deepest possible, ongoing meditation to develop higher consciousness and ultimately attain full Enlightenment. Additionally, The Noble Eight Fold Path is frequently summarized as Right Wisdom, steps one and two above, Right Morality, steps three and four above, and Right Concentration, seen in steps five through eight. Taken together as a system of living, these prescriptions are held to free the individual from suffering, ignorance, and desire, thus instituting the condition of muksa in the personal consciousness. 

            Beyond the conditions of selfless love and compassion that serve as the goals of consciousness on the Atmic Plane, the differentiation of Ascended states, and the related Planes of Expression of those states, becomes problematic. Certainly, there are additional forms and considerations that serve to support both selfless love and compassion, but the manifestation of these forms is subject to much confusion and interpretation, with both conditions occurring on the Physical Plane courtesy of our old nemesis, the ego, which insists on meddling in everything that comes into its perception!  If muksa     is ever to be attained, this is seen in liberation from this ego awareness, pure and simple.  The Collective Soul is arguably the freest manifestation of consciousness that can be experienced, associated as it is with the Cosmic Soul Consciousness of the Universe, and this can be very productively compared to the least free condition of consciousness, seen in ego awareness and Physical Plane information processing. 

            The Collective Soul can be thought of in one sense as the Soul of Creation – a composite of the Spiritual Essences of the total outpouring of God’s Love everywhere and forever, as demonstrated by that ongoing act of Creation. This obviously encompasses more than the human Souls existing now in incarnation, and having existed in past incarnations, or will exist in future incarnations, but this is one of the limited interpretations of the Collective Soul that is commonly held in the Mystery Theories.  This is a good example of what I was referring to with the observation made above regarding the “problematic” character of Ascended differentiation beyond the Atmic Plane.  Some individuals restrict the Collective Soul to only those Souls which are currently humanly incarnate, some include all living things in the definition, some only animal Souls, and so on.  Because Creation is a total expression of Divine Love on all subsequent levels of manifestation, and this Universal Love is the essence of the Soul, I accept the totality of manifestation as the definition of the Collective Soul, and locate that composite Soul expression on the Atmic Plane because it still deals with segregated manifestation in separate form. On the Monadic Plane, the Sixth Plane, we are dealing with the Monad, considered to be a purely spiritual collection of twelve Soul expressions that are directly released from the Logos on the Logoic Plane, the Seventh, and final, Plane of Ascension.  Hence, the last phase of discrete form is seen on the Atmic Plane in the composite representation of the Collective Soul. 

            In contrast, let us consider the anchor that sustains the perception of separation and discrete form – the physical body, located on the Physical Plane.  The perceptual vehicle of the body is the central nervous system and attendant sense organs and physical senses.  These receive inputs from both the internal body and the external environment in which that body seems to be more or less involuntarily located.  The final focus of the senses and sense perception is experienced as sentient self awareness – “I” have an ongoing impression of “my” separate existence as an observer and perceiver of events on the Physical Plane.  This impression is generally referred to as the ego, and is reinforced by the electronic record of experience stored in the brain and perceived in consciousness, known as memory.  All, or almost all, of the impressions of our memories have been subject to the qualitative interpretation of the ego for the term of incarnation – virtually nothing escapes this process from the first glimmer of sentience.  The ego and its interpretive function are also the inevitable consequences of the size and complexity of the human brain – we have evolved to have our form of sentience and memory. 

            It is the mechanism of the ego that is in question here. Essentially, what we see in the ego, and the rote human sentience that it supports, is a social difference engine that operates by ongoing comparison of qualitative values.  We constantly compare ourselves to the others around us on every conceivable level from the immediately personal, wherein I compare myself to myself, up to the world community, wherein I compare myself to everyone else collectively and individually.  If this comparison was simply an objective assessment, this would possibly not be so problematic, but it is invariably accompanied by a corresponding evaluation based on psychological hedonism – my “comparisons” are either pleasant of unpleasant, based on their social implications or literal physical content.  Furthermore, the ego has its own survival agenda as a device of conscious perception – it wants to continue to exist, and dominate as much of consciousness as possible. On a functional level, this means that, although the ego presents itself as a problem solver, it has a built in problem creator in its background – a scenario that guarantees its monopoly on generic awareness.  The ego is not our savior, it is our master – the master of unenlightened consciousness enslaved to primarily one condition on the Physical Plane – desire.  

            It can be argued that our manifestation in separate biological form, requiring extensive interaction with the internal and external environments on the Physical Plane as the price of existence, makes the experience of desire inevitable, and even necessary, but the Buddha was quite correct in his assertion that desire is nonetheless the root of all suffering. This condition of desire is most acute when dealing with direct physical experience on the Physical Plane, and progressively dissipates as we pass through the Planes of Ascension, reaching its least invasive state on the Atmic Plane, where consciousness has been identified with the collective manifestation – one where there is functionally little or no separation between the perceiver and the perceived, in the expression of the Collective Soul.  From the perspective of Ascension, the burden that one is relieved of through the attainment of Enlightenment is the complex of ego-separation-desire which generates desire-action on the Physical Plane.  This desire-action – the attempt to satisfy desire – creates the Karma that holds us in the physical body and sense perception on the Physical Plane by reinforcing the illusory experience of separation, when, in Truth, we are all One in Spirit.  This is the ultimate lesson of the Buddha, and of the Atmic Plane.  

            The attainment of the perception of the Oneness of Being is the ultimate goal of Buddhist doctrine, and all of the techniques of all of the Buddhist variants are directed toward the realization of that goal. The condition of Oneness is inherently profoundly peaceful, as the perception of separation into objects of desire and fear is replaced with unity.  The ego is fundamentally control oriented, and will resist the attainment of this inner peace vigorously as the threat to its existence that it is – the organism that resides in intrinsic peace and harmony with the inner and outer worlds has no need of either pleasure or protection – and no need of control.  Beyond this, perhaps the greatest disservice done to the human organism by the ego is the creation of the web of distractions that all but blinds us to the recognition of the real source of control in the universe – that which is also the source of Love and Creation – the Logos.  Buddhism experiences this level of profoundly non-dual consciousness as Satori – the complete merging of personal consciousness with the Consciousness of the Universe. It is fascinating, is it not, that a belief system that seems to disavow the existence of a Supreme Being still supports the existence of a Supreme Consciousness, and utilizes rosary beads and prayer wheels as methods of generating the link with this Consciousness? It would seem that the Un-God is right next door to the Manifest God, and we are merely bandying words on the Physical Plane.  

            The Buddha Mind is the source of all wisdom – the Sanskrit term bodhi literally means wisdom. The Collective Soul is the manifestation of all wisdom flowing out from the Buddha Mind into perception on the Buddhic Plane.  This perception is experienced primarily as vibrational alignment with the Logos as the Source of Peace, Love, and Creation  through chanting.  The extensive litany of Buddhist and Hindu chants is designed to afford the Initiate with the opportunity to release the ego through the meditative aid of chanting, thus entering the Buddha Mind State of consciousness.  I have personally also used Cabalistic, Druidic, and Native American chants of different forms to achieve release from the ego – what appears to be required is a soft, hypnotic rhythm that lulls the focused consciousness of the ego into an inactive state, permitting the  rapid passage through the lanes of Ascension, and the associated altered states of consciousness, for the experienced practitioner.  I believe this variety of intonation may also be subject to genetic encoding, and it is this code that determines what a given individual will respond to most favorably. This code is, in turn, the consequence of Karma given to the Soul by the Logos at incarnation – a part of the Great Cosmic Gift of Love bestowed by the Creator upon us all. 

            A comprehensive enumeration of all the chanted techniques is most unfortunately far beyond the scope of this essay – such an attempt would require many volumes of discourse simply to record, let alone analyze. But, some interesting final advice regarding one series of Buddhist chanting approaches may be useful. Since the goal of chanting in general is ego negation, and the ego relies on linear logic as its mode of operation, it follows that the less logical, i.e. meaningful,  a chanted expression is, the better.  For this reason, many Buddhist chants may start out with a comprehensible form, such as om mani padme hum, but are intentionally allowed to deteriorate into an unintelligible drone as they progress, taking the ego with them! Far from frustrating, the empowerment and freedom of this technique is enormous, as the voice of the organism is allowed to wander without restriction wherever it might traverse.  I have observed episodes of Speaking in the Tongues at Christian meetings, and this seems to evoke a similar state of ego release, although on customarily a much more vigorous tonal level.  As I have said before, and will say again, the ego is not our savior, but our master, and not a kind master at that, so we must feel free to mumble our way to muksa if that is what it takes! 

            Chanting is a frequent feature of Darshan with the Ascended Master, and also Satsang among Initiates. The Master will frequently sing the discourses of Enlightenment to the Initiates present at meetings, transferring the vibration of the Logos that is carried within through the harmonious melodies to the Auras of the Initiates directly in this way, thus bypassing the ego entirely. In turn, the Initiates may sing or chant these and other intonations to each other to reinforce their spiritual experience. In this way, life in the Zendo or Ashram becomes a spiritual manifestation of Enlightenment on a literal vibrational level that automatically transcends the Physical Plane and its master, the ego, instituting peace as a reality of perception, not merely a longed-for goal that is never attained. How humble and inadequate my written words are in comparison, but this is all I have to give you for the moment.  

            With the experience of the Collective Consciousness and Buddha Mind, we have reached the furtherest extent of Dualism and Dualist consciousness – one that bridges into the Non-Dual experience of Satori, and Universal Oneness of perception.  As we journey beyond this level onto the Monadic Plane, the direct experience of the primary operation of the Logos, the release of the Monad – the family of twelve Souls – into  expression becomes possible. At this level, although we are still referring to numbers of manifestation and expression, we are contacting this phenomenon in such close proximity to the Source of Creation that there might as well be One Manifestation taking place, and, in fact, there is only One – the Unifying Expression of Divine Love that associates the apparently separate elements of the Monad with each other in a common Karmic purpose. Please return to these pages for the next essay, entitled The Monadic Plane, where we will illuminate this most subtle relationship of consciousness!


                                                                               - With Love, Alan -

                                                                         (CR2008, Alan Schneider)


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