Ascension: The Larger Picture

SaLuSa: “For many lifetimes your Guides have travelled with you, and proportionate to your level of development have led you to the truth and real purpose of life. … Clearly … there are those who profess little interest in the purpose of life. They will be ill prepared to take the opportunity to ascend, in view of the few years left to this cycle.” (1)

I’d like to contextualize Ascension, to show how it relates to the purpose of life, where it differs from enlightenment and evolution, what level of enlightenment Ascension corresponds to, and how many ascensions we may have before us before we complete the task that lies at the heart of the journey of life.

The Vision

The energy I have for all the subjects discussed here arises from an event that happened on 13 February 1987, a vision. Rather improbably, it happened while I was driving my car. I’ll try to describe it in as much detail as I can for interest’s sake. You may recognize it as a variation on the spiritual parabola or Jacob’s ladder of consciousness.

The previous weekend I had been at a rebirthing workshop and had had a full breath release, an event which left me feeling incredibly clean and clear.

Moreover, I was at the time studying for my doctorate in sociology and had been counselling people on a volunteer basis. This experience as a counselor contributed directly to what happened next.

At first, like so many counsellors, I used “problem-solving therapy,” but soon became weary of trying to “sell” solutions to people who weren’t inclined to buy. They seemed to want to tell their stories no matter what and rebuffed any attempt I made to offer a solution until they had had their say so I started listening.

I found that people presented me with a puzzle and, when I listened and they talked about it long and deeply enough, they suddenly had an “Aha!” The puzzle turned into a picture which caused their upset to disappear. (Of course I’m simplifying a more complicated process.)

In all sincerity that day, I said to the universe in general, “If our early lives are a puzzle which turns into a picture, is it possible that life itself is a puzzle? And, if so, what might the picture be that life is?”

I’d turned the corner in my car and was travelling through a part of the city I knew well. Having asked my question, everything suddenly turned black. I forgot about my car and found myself staring at a wordless tableaux, a spiritual movie, if you will. All of it was relational, a cause-and-effect story in pictures. I was watching God’s wordless way of speaking to me.

At the same time as I watched this spiritual tableau — and this is very important – I was filled with bliss. The experience of bliss resulted in greatly-increased comprehension. It somehow made it easier for me to take things in so that, what I could not wrap my thoughts around in everyday consciousness, I now knew and understood quite simply, intuitively, and directly.

I knew intuitively the identity of the actors in the film and the nature of the drama that was unfolding before my eyes. Words just arose in my mind to explain what I saw.

There was before me a large Golden Sun, which I knew intuitively to be “God the Father” (Brahman, the irreducible Essence, the Tao). From it emerged a small golden star, which I thought of as “God the Child” (the Atman, the Buddha-nature, the Christ, the Pearl of great price). This small golden star streaked out into the blackness of space and disappeared.

I noticed that I had the capacity to follow the golden star wherever it went. I simply wondered where it had gone and I was there, looking at that corner of “space.”

In the corner where the golden star had gone, there was a kind of hazy cloud. I knew that cloud to be God the Holy Spirit, which I would now call “God the Mother” (Shakti, the Word, Aum/Amen, the creative universal vibration).

Within the haze, I saw a spiraling tube and recognized the Star-Child, moving through it. Now it had lost its brilliance and I could only see its perfectly-circular outline, as it wended its way through what I knew intuitively to be “lifetimes in matter.”

I watched for a time and then, suddenly, the Star-Child flashed back into brilliance and I knew that to be an experience of enlightenment. As soon as its luminescence returned, it left the tube and raced back to the Golden Sun in which it submerged itself. I knew this to be another, more senior experience of enlightenment.

The Star-Child having disappeared, I pondered what I had seen and the words formed in my mind: “Enlightenment is the purpose of life.” This understanding summarized my experience.

As soon as I had reached this conclusion, the vision disappeared and I was back behind the wheel of a car.

Knowing that part of the city well, I looked to the right and the left of me to see how far I had moved in the roughly eight seconds I had been somewhere else. I had not moved an inch. I concluded that the whole event had taken place outside of time.

The experience was not enlightenment. It was a teaching about enlightenment. I had been given a glimpse of God’s great Plan for life, a representation of the total journey of an individual soul. It went out from God, on a spiritual parabola, all the while spiraling forward, through the universe of matter, and back again to God once it had achieved a supreme level of mergence or enlightenment.

“It All Works Out in the Final Reel!”

Behind the wheel of the car again, I came to a red light and looked over at the worried expression on the face of the driver in the next car. I wanted to roll down my window and shout: “It all works out in the final reel!”

For the next three days, I remained in bliss. I saw that all of nature praises God and reveals His Plan. Trees raise their leafy branches to the sky as if in adoration. Their leaves drop off, as our bodies do, but the trees don’t die. The birds flying through the air leave no trace; nor do souls journeying through life. The way the sand and sea mix and yet return to their basic natures reminded me of the relationship between the soul and the body. Everything natural was a metaphor of the Divine or one of Its created processes.

Thereafter my doctoral studies seemed insipid. I tried to enroll my professors in allowing me to study enlightenment for my dissertation but no one at the university, including the religious studies department, would hear of it. Religious studies said that the university regulations prevented them from studying such a subject. I was amazed.

Empirical materialism was the dominant paradign at my university in those days. Only what could be known through the senses was considered real. None of what I’d seen was known through the senses; hence none of what I’d seen was, to the university, real.

I felt confined by the academic paradigm, was glad to leave it, and have never looked back. Moreover, I’ve never allowed my research, since that day, to be subject to academic scrutiny to preserve my freedom to wander where I will.

I remained entranced by the vision. I had to find words to express its wordless message. One by one, as I read the classics, statements appeared that explained what I had seen. Jesus saying that he came out from the Father out into the world and now returns to the Father was an exact description. Jacob’s Ladder was a depiction of it. Here it was discussed in Ibn Arabi; there in Krishnamurti.

I spent almost twenty years trying to put that eight-second movie into words.

The Purpose of Life is for God to Meet God …

God is One without a second. In its highest expression, God is formless and thus encounters no forms and can draw on no tools or technologies. God is alone in the universe of form and beyond.

There being no other, there is no one to know God and no means for God to know God.  In light of this, to satisfy a desire to know itself and taste its own bliss, God created life forms, finger puppets, shadow dancers, us, bestowed upon them consciousness and the capacity for Self-Realization, allowed them to convince themselves that they existed separately, and assigned them the purpose of realizing themselves.

Thus, God created the drama of life or lila for its own pleasure, a game of blind man’s bluff in which God plays all roles and is the object of the search as well as the searcher and the search itself. Only God can realize God.  Each time a life form realizes its true identity as God, God meets God, and for this meeting was all of life created.

Rumi discusses our situation, having been given our assignment from God:

“There is one thing in this world which must never be forgotten. If you were to forget everything else, but did not forget that, then there would be no cause for worry; whereas if you performed and remembered and did not forget every single thing, but forgot that one thing, then you would have done nothing whatsoever.

“It is just as if a king had sent you to the country to carry out a specified task. You go and perform a hundred other tasks; but if you have not performed that particular task on account of which you had gone to the country, it is as if you have performed nothing at all. So man has come into this world for a particular task, and that is his purpose; if he does not perform it, then he will have done nothing.” (2)

He implanted in them a homing beacon, a longing that can only be satisfied by our realization of our identity as God. He created universal laws that aid the individual being in the journey from God into the world and from the world back to God again.

… In a Moment of Our Enlightenment by Us Knowing the Trinity

To achieve the task of God meeting God, God made from himself a trinity of forms of reality which we must realize.

The Christian Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost is the Hindu Trinity of Brahman, Atman and Shakti. It is the Transcendental, the Phenomenal, and the Transcendental embedded in the Phenomenal. These are the trhree levels of Reality which we must know if we are truly and completely to know God. We know them in stages of enlightenment.

The Divine Mother is a primal universal creative vibration known as Aum/Amen, the Logos or Word. Known to Solomon as “Wisdom” or Sophia, to Lao-Tzu as the Mother, this level of reality is the Phenomenal world whereas the Father or Brahman is the Formless Transcendental, beyond the Phenomenal world.

The Christ or Atman is “the Father in me” or “Brahman-within-the-individual,” a “fragment” or “spark,” metaphorically speaking, lodged within the body (or bodies), which are created by the Mother. One cannot know the Father without first knowing the Son in a moment of enlightenment. This first sight of the Light grows, with meditation, till one day it becomes the sight of the Father’s Light.  The Son is the Father but the Father is greater than the Son. The Father is in me (in the heart of the individual) and I am in the Father (as are all things).

Neither is the Father male nor the Mother female. These designations were conventional teaching devices used by sages of old. There is no cosmic male, strictly speaking, and no cosmic female.  The difference being pointed at is the same as the difference between movement (Mother) and rest (Father), sound and silence.  Only the Father is not physical or material; everything else, no matter at how sublime or refined a level it exists, can be said to be physical or material when compared to the Father.

The descriptions of the Trinity and enlightenment that lie beyond words and beyond religions has been called the “perennial philosophy” or “ageless wisdom.” One group called it the “divine wisdom” or theosophia. Another called it the “eternal law” or sanathana dharma.

The Realization of the Trinity

So the One became Two and the Two became Three. And the Three became a multitude and went out into the world. The Mother taught her children well and showed them the direction of the journey they must take.

The prodigal Child enjoyed the material world; ate, drank and made merry. And when finished with all the delights of the world, it took up the journey again, driven on by an inextinguishable longing that only God could satisfy, placed there by God himself to drive us on.

And it completed the journey by realizing the three members of the Trinity in reverse order: Child, Mother, Father.

When the spiritual current or kundalini reaches the fourth or heart chakra, we realize the Child or Christ, as a discrete light burning in the darkness. We experience spiritual awakening or stream-entering.

When the kundalini reaches the sixth or brow chakra, the Third Eye is opened and we realize the Mother, the Light in all creation. We experience cosmic consciousness or saviklapa samadhi, samadhi with differences intact.

When the kundalini reaches the seventh or crown chakra, we realize the Father, the Light beyond creation, the Transcendental Absolute. We experience Brahmajnana (God Realization) or kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi, samadhi with a temporary heart opening, samadhi without differences.

And far, far beyond these three stages of enlightenment, the Three will become Two and the Two will become One and the journey will be complete. And this realized One, this realized Child who has become the Father, will go out again into the world to help the many.

Enlightenment, Ascension and Evolution

Depending on the power of the microscope, we describe the markers and stages in the journey back to God as enlightenment, ascension, or evolution.

Enlightenment is an event in consciousness; ascension is an advance in dimension; evolution (in the final analysis, spiritual evolution) is an advance in kingdom or domain.

Which process one observes depends on distance from the individual. If one stands up close, conceptually speaking, one sees events in enlightenment; if one stands back a distance, one can make out events in ascension; if one stands back a great deal farther, one can see events in evolution.

Enlightenment relates to events that happen to individuals in historical time. Ascension relates to events that happen over tens and hundreds of thousands of years. Evolution relates to events that happen over such vast stretches of time that I’ll call it “developmental” time, for lack of a better measuring stick.
Regularly, spiritual seekers have numerous enlightenment experiences in the Third Dimension and remain in 3D after them. Even after exalted experiences such as those gifted to Sri Ramana Maharshi or Shankara, the individual remains embodied in this material world or physical  dimension.

Ascension implies movement (and I mean “movement” in a metaphorical, rather than an actual, sense) from one dimension to another. Ascension does imply enlightenment as well, but it isn’t enlightenment that’s being principally referred to; it’s the “relocation” (again, a metaphorical use of the word) to a higher dimension that’s being pointed at.

Spiritual evolution implies enlightenment and ascension, but neither is being principally referred to; it’s the entry into and exit from one kingdom or domain of life to another that’s being described – mineral, plant, animal, human, angelic, and so on.

Looked at from another angle, enlightenment signifies a radical, discontinuous leap in consciousness or experience; ascension signifies a radical, discontinuous jump in dimension or plane; and evolution implies a radical, discontinuous step up in kingdom or domain.

SaLuSa tells us that “evolution is quite natural and the desire to do so remains with you forever. It is fun and rewarding, particularly once you graduate to the higher dimensions.” (3) Here Rumi describes the path of evolution.

“I died as mineral and became a plant.
I died as plant and rose to animal.
I died as animal and I was man. …
Yet once more I shall die as man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! For Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, ‘To Him we shall return.’” (4)

Ascension is a Level of Enlightenment called Sahaja

The Divine Mother confirmed for me that sahaja is the same experience as Ascension. I reproduce that exchange here:

Steve Beckow: I’m trying to understand what level of enlightenment Ascension corresponds to and I think it’s beyond the normal seventh-chakra enlightenment. I think it is what is called, and I will make this clear to readers, Sahaja Samadhi. Am I correct?

Divine Mother: Yes, it is beyond what you think of with your seven chakras.  … What you are doing with the chakra system, even with the thirteen, we have emerged from the Third-Dimensional realm which is that reference point for the chakra system into the new so yes, you are correct in this question and this statement. ….

SB: [Is this experience] a permanent heart opening?

DM: Yes, it is. That is correct. (5)

When all movement in the mind stops, when the spiritual heart (or hridayam) opens and never shuts again, the individual being realizes God in sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi, the stage of liberation from the need to be physically reborn (or mukti).  This level has been called vijnana (or perfect wisdom) by some and nirvana (or cessation of movement).

But Enlightenment Itself is Virtually Endless

But spiritual evolution does not cease here.

Once we climb the mountaintop that humans must surmount, off in the distance as far as the eye can see, we glimpse more mountains rising range upon range.

And we see more travellers, in different forms, some with bodies of light, some with wings, all of them marching on or returning. Angels ascending and descending Jacob’s ladder. Here is the way that Dr. Franklin Merrell-Wolff describes what lies ahead:

“A certain Sage…, speaking of unfolded Consciousness above the level of the highest human Adepts, said: ‘We attain glimpses of Consciousness so Transcendent, rising level upon level, that the senses fairly reel before the awe-inspiring Grandeur.’”

“Here, certainly, is space for evolution far beyond the highest possibility of man as man.” (6)

“Truly, within the Infinite there are Mysteries within Mysteries, Deeps beyond Deeps, Grandeurs beyond Grandeurs. … Mystery of Mysteries, reaching inward and outward, but ever Beyond! And from that Beyond ever there come new whisperings of other imponderable Glories. Ah! How little is this world at the beginning of the Trail, barely a point in a Space of unlimited dimensions!” (7)

“Beyond [the sage’s] attainment, whatever it may be, there lie further mysteries awaiting his resolution. In other words, We find no conceivable end to evolution.” (8)

In Summary

What I’ve tried to do here today was to contextualize Ascension, to show how it relates to the purpose of life, where it differs from enlightenment and evolution, what level of enlightenment Ascension corresponds to, and how many ascensions we may have before us before we complete the task that lies at the heart of the journey of life.

May your efforts to achieve the purpose of life and consummate God’s Plan for you be blessed with success. May you be filled with divine joy and love. May all God’s children be enlightened through Ascension, fulfilled and reunited with God.


(1) SaLuSa, Feb. 27, 2009, at

(2) Rumi in A.J. Arberry, A.J., trans., Discourses of Rumi. New York; Samuel Weiser, 1977; c1961, 26.

(3) SaLuSa, Feb. 8, 2010.

(4) Rumi, in Anne Fremantle and Christopher. In Love with Love. 100 of the Greatest Mystical Poems. New York, etc.: Paulist Press, 1978, 58.

(5) An Hour with an Angel with the Divine Mother, Oct. 15, 2012, at

(6) Merrell-Wolff, Franklin. Pathways Through to Space. A Personal Record of Transformation in Consciousness. New York: Julian Press, 1973, 17.

(7) Ibid.,115.

(8) Ibid., 43.


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