In the Yoga Sūtras, ignorance means taking the non-Self to be the Self. Once we have done that, we lose our Subject in object. From there, we are attracted to certain things and repulsed by others based on the object we are now identified with. And finally, we cling to the life of that object, believing it to be who we are.
From there, we continue to lose ourselves in objects of all kinds. Our life consists of chasing shiny objects, no matter how subtle, and being unaware that we even have a core. Even a supersensuous experience is an object, a container or vibration that people love to identify with. It makes them “special”, but they are still objects. They lose their subject in the vibration “I am special”. If I believe who I am is “I am special”, then anything I think, say, or do is attributed to this idea of specialness.
From the standpoint of the Śiva Sūtras, that “I am special” container or vibration is actually a shrunken self. “I am special” is just a thought construct (vikalpa); you can replace it with any vikalpa you want and come up with a shrunken self. The nature of the shrunken self is unconscious consciousness. It is enlivened by the Self of All.
After śaktipāt, Grace gradually backs off, requiring us to consciously do the work of re-cognizing the Self. But the shrunken self is deluded into thinking that the drop of consciousness from Truth that it contains is all the consciousness there is. So we believe we can expand that drop of consciousness through vikalpas, fooling ourselves all the more.
The individual shrunken self (anu) is a point; it has borders and boundaries. The anu operates as a “conscious individual in its own right”; it feels no need to consult anyone because it is all the consciousness there is. When the anu believes it is doing sādhana and expanding, it believes that its borders expand. The problem is, this is false expansion. Vikalpas create borders. The anu doing its idea of sādhana pushes out its boundaries and takes in other anus; it loses its idea of subject in more objects.
As individuals, then, we create no-boundary zones on the most superficial planes. In order to make the anu appear to be the Self, we have to shrink the universe to the smallest possible scale. So we think we’re a bigger deal when in fact we’re enmeshed and indulging in no-boundary zones. True expansion of consciousness means the dissolving of the anu into the All, just as a grain of salt is dissolved in water. Then it is no longer a point and there are no borders because there is only the Self of All. If you think your individual consciousness is expanding, you are deluding yourself. None of our containers could ever hold the ocean.
This is why true sādhana is about grinding down the shrunken self and revealing our wrong identification, which is just a bundle of vikalpas.
It’s difficult to know the difference between being lost in our character—in any one of our favorite vibrations—and being with our experience consciously. We tend to avoid being conscious by resonating, wallowing, and denying.
Resonating in particular is how we fool ourselves about connecting with ourselves and the world. In our wrong understanding, we resonate with others’ vibrations, believing we are connecting with those people. In fact, we are losing ourselves further in more and more objects.
To truly connect with ourselves and others, we must turn inward, toward the Heart. We must know the difference between vibrations and vehicles on the one hand and who we truly are on the other.
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