The Mythology of Bodily Ascension Represents a Misunderstanding (Level Confusion) About a Profound Reality, the Ascension of the Soul,
by James Bean: http://about.me/SantMat
His students asked him,
'On what day will the Kingdom arrive?'
'Its coming cannot be perceived
from the outside,’ [Yeshua] said.
‘You cannot say,
“Look, its over there”, or
“No, here it is.”
The Father’s Realm
is spreading out
across the face of the earth,
and humanity is not able
to perceive it.’
(Gospel of Thomas, Saying of Yeshua, 113, Lynn Bauman translation)
After a number of generations the message of the mystics and masters tends to get garbled, redacted, greatly misunderstood. Usually the downward pull of various cultures drags religious orientations into a more materialistic, institutional type of direction. So the Kingdom of God becomes associated in people’s minds with a certain state or empire, political party, or perhaps an idolized revolution of some sort. Without that original focus on a present-tense spirituality and direct, personal experience of the divine that’s available right now, hopes and dreams may get tethered to prophecies about future Kingdoms falling from the sky, second comings, talk about the eventual appearances of divine personalities of one sort or another. There develops a numbers game, a fixation with numbers and planetary alignments, dates on the calendar that are supposed to alter reality, suggesting the physical universe will somehow be transported to the astral plane. There is, in other words, great confusion about WHERE the spiritual reams actually are, and without living masters and mystics to be worthy guides and teachers, knowledge is lost about how one may access these realms. Some teach that the spiritual realms are up in the sky here in the material universe. Some have given this misunderstanding about time, space, the heavens, and calenders a very helpful name. It’s called “level confusion”, the mythologising process that religions may undergo that causes the misunderstanding that spiritual realms are essentially physical and therefore must be up in the air, the sky, in space, and also perhaps netherworlds underneath the earths crust and magma below.
This can be illustrated by the hagiographical stories that eventually are developed about the lives of various saints or divine personalities of the past that, at the end, describe them as physically, bodily ascending up into the sky: Enoch the Prophet being lifted up by a chariot of fire, the whirlwind of Elijah, Vishnu’s chariot of light or a bird hoisting Sant Tukarama skyward, or accounts of ascensions to heaven from Jerusalem or a holy mountaintop. These are of course attempts at metaphors for the ascension of the soul into heavenly realms, and that’s the good news. Behind these so-called violations of the laws of physics and level confusion is a “germ of truth.”
The Liberating Message of the Mystics
The heavenly realms described by various Saints are in other dimensions, sometimes called planes, inner regions or inner space, spheres, heavens, or levels of creation. I hope you find this passage to be as helpful and life-changing as I once did. This observation by the German mystic Jacob Boehme is quite amazing:
"We are not to think that the holy angels dwell only above the stars beyond the place of this world, as the outward reason, which knows nothing of God, fancies. Indeed they dwell beyond the dominion of this world, but the place of this world (although there is no place in eternity), and also the place beyond this world, is all one to them. We men see not the angels or the devils with our eyes; yet they are about us and among us. The evil and the good angels dwell near one another, and yet there is the greatest immense distance between them. For heaven is in hell and hell is in heaven, and yet the one is not manifest to the other." — The Confessions of Jacob Boehme: http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/cjb/cjb16.htm
Some of those medieval mystics such as Jacob Boehme, Mesiter Eckhart, Jan Van Rybroek, Hildegard of Bingen, Hadewijch of Antwerp and so many others reinvented the earlier understanding of the Gnostics from antiquity, with their many alternative gospels found in collections like the Nag Hammadi Library, Codex Tchacos, the Bruce Codex and several other important discoveries.
"If your spiritual guides say to you,
‘Look, the divine Realm is
in the sky,’
well then the birds
will get there ahead of you.
If they say,
‘It is in the sea,’
then the fish will precede you.
"No, divine Reality exists
inside and all around you.
Only when you have come to know your
true Self will you be fully known —
realizing at last that you
are a child of the Living One.
If, however, you never come to know
who you truly are,
you are a poverty-stricken being,
and it is your ‘self’
which lies impoverished.”
(Yeshua, Saying Three, The Gospel of Thomas —
Wisdom of the Twin, Lynn Bauman translation)
Most of the Gnostic writings are to be found online, and are published in many books, The Nag Hammadi Library in English, Gospel of Thomas — The Hidden Sayings of Jesus, Gospel of Mary Magdalene, Pistis Sophia, Canonical Prayer Book of the Mandaeans, etc… My collection and various lists of Gnostic, and other books of of the saints and mystics: https://medium.com/sant-mat-radhasoami-books/gnostic-gospels-contemplative-or-mystical-christianity-the-lost-books-and-spirituality-of-the-west-28ed95fc3401
Seeing the Light of heaven in meditation might mean having a vision of a faint Light, perhaps a certain color, colors, stars or pinpoints of Light. Eventually, more complex and detailed visions can be seen. From the Hidayatnama (esoteric instructions) of Shiv Dayal Singh:
“When your eye turns inwards in the brain and you see the firmament within, and your spirit leaves your body and rises upwards, you will see the Akash (ethereal sky).” (Sar Bachan Radhasoami Poetry)
That’s a description of the beginning of the inward journey, For the rest, see the chapter titled, "The Journey: Light and Sound", in the book, Enchanted Land, which has many excerpts from Soami Ji’s Hidayatnama section of Sar Bachan Radhaswami Poetry: http://www.scribd.com/doc/151013915/Enchanted-Land
Also see my article, The Sermon on the Light — the Light Motif in Gnostic and Other Western Sacred Texts:
Huzur Baba Sawan Singh was once asked, “How long does it take to reach Sach Khand (a term for the Timeless spiritual plane)”? He then closed his eyes for a moment, and replied, "That long."
The following are considered to be the requirements for the attainment liberation:
(A) Trust and belief in God;
(B) Commitment to seek the Divine within;
(C) Devotion and service to a satguru — spiritual Master;
(D) Satsang, listening to the teaching and spiritual discourse including study of the Teaching of the Saints and the scriptures; and
(E) Dhyana, diligent meditation practice. (Maharshi Mehi, from, The Padavali of Maharshi Mehi, also quoted in the Book, Harmony of All Religions)
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.