The Sequential Processes of Cosmic Manifestation as presented by Roy Eugene Davis in chapter three of his book, Seven Lessons in Conscious Living is a central component in the philosophy of Kriya Yoga.  It is both a study in Vedic cosmology and a description of the practice of Yoga.  Readers and practitioners new to this often struggle with understanding the concepts and how it applies.  It is my belief that if one invests the time to understand this it will increase one’s understanding of the Universe and individual practice.  However, one must realize it is not necessary to understand this teaching in order to practice yoga or any other spiritual discipline.  Any difficulty in grasping these concepts is certainly no reason to feel spiritually inadequate, challenged, or to abandon this practice.  If one keeps the teaching accessible and refers to it occasionally, understanding will eventually happen.  In the meantime, I offer my explication of this teaching in an effort to assist those new to this line of thinking.

In an attempt to explicate these teachings, I draw on a variety of sources and philosophies.  My personal resources and experiences are not exclusively Kriya Yoga- based; therefore this explication is universal in nature and uniquely mine.  I offer it in hopes that others may find it both interesting and useful.  Being that this is my personal interpretation, I must clarify that it may not necessarily be congruent with Mr. Davis’ teachings or those of any other Kriya Yoga teachers, nor is it endorsed by any of these teachers.  I am assuming the reader has read The Seven Lessons in Conscious Living, or some other source that references the process.

This philosophy is grounded in ancient Vedic philosophy and it offers a unique and comprehensive view of the Universe and process of manifestation that further informs the various branches of Yoga, Ayurveda, astronomy, and various traditional life sciences.  This is ultimately a valuable teaching if one is inclined to investigate Nature to a certain degree within this world-view.  I also think that it becomes easier to understand over time.  To that end, I think Mr. Davis’ advice to let one’s understanding naturally emerge is the best approach.

My intention is to review and interpret the process from the top, so to speak, starting with Absolute Reality and moving through the process to the Physical Universe.  I want to explain the basics of what each category means in the Universe (Macrocosmic), and then what they mean in our mind/bodies (Microcosmic).  I will draw parallels with other traditions and various practices in an effort to make the big picture (macro) and small picture (micro) appear as they truly are: one thing.

Absolute Reality is obviously the best place to start.  It is the Ground of all Being, the ultimate source of everything that is and ever was.  It is variously known as Brahman, God, The Tao, The Self, Yahweh, Dharmakya, etc…  It is undifferentiated, non-dual, infinite, devoid of attributes, pure potential.  It is at the same time nothing and everything.  I think it is probably best understood as The Ground of all Being, or Absolute Reality, but names and words don’t really define as much as they point to it.  It is from this source that everything arises, and to which it returns.

Absolute Reality is ultimately a mystery.  One of the best explanations of this is in the Tao Te Ching, which says that the Tao that can be discussed is not the Tao at all.  So it is the essence of everything, but is really beyond full comprehension.  This conception is not unique.  The ancient Hebrews taught that one could never comprehend Yahweh and indeed shouldn’t try.  Some variations of the Christian Church refer to the Mystery of God.  And the Buddha avoided discussing God, considering it unskillful.

Absolute Reality has two specific fields which emanate from it: The Expressive Field and The Field of Primordial Nature.  The first field, the Expressive Field has three attributes: luminosity; inertia; and transformation.  The second field, the Primordial Field is the cosmic vibration of Om, which creates universes.  When these two fields interact with each other souls are created.  A soul is an individualized aspect of Absolute Reality.  Therefore, each of us is not separate from God and can never be separate from God.  We are an expression of God.

Souls reside in one of three realms: Physical, Astral, or Causal.  The Physical Real is the realm we abide in now.  What we know as the world.  The Astral Realm is where unenlightened souls abide in after death (the fully enlightened are absorbed in Absolute Reality).  The Causal Realm is the abode of souls who have transcended the Astral Realm, but are not yet fully enlightened.  Apparently one can be reincarnated from either of these realms back into the Physical Realm, and will continue to do so until one has reached full enlightenment.

This is a rough, incomplete, and very basic description of the Macrocosmic aspect of this process.  In an attempt to make it easier to understand and hopefully to have further relevance in our lives, I would like to look at a Microcosmic view of the process.  In order to do this, I am taking a bit of poetic license and offering a metaphorical and esoteric interpretation of this process through the experiential lens of the mind/body.

If we now start at the bottom we see the Physical Realm, the Astral Realm, and the Causal Realm.  On the micro level these are known as the physical body, the astral body, and the causal body.  These are roughly equivalent to the Taoist concept of the physical body, energy body, and consciousness body.  What constitutes our physical body is pretty obvious.  The energy body, or astral body, is the energetic aspect of our being.  It is this aspect that is influenced by energy work: Pranayama; Qigong; Reiki; Acupuncture; and various other energetic arts.  The consciousness body is that not-so-visible but always present aspect of us that we access through spiritual practice.  This is variously known as The Witness; Buddha Nature; The Holy Spirit, etc…  As we nurture these aspects of ourselves, they begin to align.  As they align, we approach direct realization of Ultimate Reality.

The Field of Cosmic Mind is who we ultimately are; it is our higher Self (upper case “S”).  However, through the process of living and identifying with our memories, ego, and false sense of self (lower case “s”) we forget who we ultimately are.  Yoga or the process of unifying the three bodies results in remembering, or what Zen practitioners call Satori.  Satori is a brief episode of alignment, wherein our mind, body, and spirit remember that we are an individual aspect of Absolute Reality, or God.  This is not intellectual remembering, but something much more like remembering with our hearts.

Concurrently we work with the two fields that express out of Absolute Reality.  We use them and follow them back home.  By chanting “Om”, we align ourselves with the very vibration of the Universe, or the word or God.  This also happens with the practice of Qigong, as we breathe and move at the right vibration.  Om and Qigong (or other energy practices) physically work to engage our parasympathetic nervous symptoms, thus relaxing and nurturing our physical bodies.  Energetically, they work to align our energy bodies with Primordial Qi.  The physical and energetic aspects together with various spiritual practices remove the blinders from our cosmic eyes so we can acknowledge our consciousness bodies.  This is why yoga is a physical practice as much as a contemplative one.  And why other physical practices not necessarily considered yoga also assist in our spiritual growth.

The three attributes of the expressive field are crucial to our meditation practice.  Tamas is intertia, or metal dullness.  This is the experience of sleepiness, lethargy, or fogginess in meditation.  Rajas is transformative activity.  In meditation this is mental chatter, monkey mind.  Sattwa is luminosity, clear mind.  Sattwa is the goal of meditation.  Note here that meditation is no more or less important than any other spiritual practice: Hatha yoga, Qigong, Reiki, Singing, Praying, etc….  In order to balance the disruptive influence of inertia and monkey mind, these other practices are crucial.  For example, a few minutes of Hatha yoga or Tai Chi before sitting to meditate will help to balance mind and body, and thus be more conducive to sattwa.

Ultimate Reality is experienced as stillness: stillness of mind and stillness of body.  This stillness is not something we create by the above noted practices, it’s who we really are; it is our true nature.  The practices create the conditions in mind and body for luminosity, the ability to see our true nature.  Repeated experiences of stillness will reveal this nature as reality and eventually lead to final awakening.  All of the work of yoga leads to this.

So, to review:  Through physical, energetic, and spiritual work (Physical, Astral, and Causal Realm) which includes acknowledging our Higher Self (Field of Cosmic Mind), and working with the two Fields of God (Chanting “OM”, and neutralizing tamas and rajas to strengthen sattva), we experience stillness (Absolute Reality); the experience of stillness leads to understanding and awakening.  This is the full practice of traditional yoga.  Of course, the ultimate practice is no practice.  The ultimate practice is to understand that we are “That” already and always have been, always will be.  At some point in our spiritual growth we may realize that all of the above noted processes are just different variations and vibrations of one thing, Absolute Reality.  As we begin to know this with our hearts (intellectually, physically, spiritually) we approach the place where we can dispense with theories and practices.  We can transcend practicing and start being.  At that point we aren’t “doing” anything; we are “being” everything.