Most people are aware that they have a physical body. Many people are aware that they have an energy body. Fewer people are aware of yet another body we have, known as the causal body. The causal body is often described as a luminous sphere, roughly egg-shaped. My own teacher described it as a series of interlocking rings of awareness; similar in concept (not shape) to the double-helix found in DNA.
In genetics, the unique way your DNA strands interlock, is what makes you YOU. It gives you your hair color, eye color, skin color. It is also what makes you a human, or a bear, or a tree. Your causal body is like that too. Depending on how your rings of awareness interlock, it determines what ranges of awareness are possible for you. In fact, some suggest that it is the configuration of the causal body that governs the structure of the subtle and the physical bodies. So, if your causal configuration shifts to one formation, you may incarnate as a house plant, or to another, as a saint with mystical powers. It is through the causal body that we evolve (or devolve) from lifetime to lifetime.
Our DNA sequence is pretty much set for life (gene therapy may change this in the not too distant future). Likewise, our causal configuration does not normally change significantly over the course of our life; the rings of awareness are interlocked so tightly, it takes a tremendous amount of energy to separate them and allow them to shift. Typically, we only experience this burst of energy at the moment of death. When these rings of awareness separate, they will shift to a new position, like the way that tectonic plates shift when energy releases during an earthquake.
I said that our causal configuration does not change significantly over the course of our life, but it does change some, in response to major life events. Events such as your first sexual encounter, the birth of a child, a marriage, the death of a loved one; these experiences shock us on a deep level (hopefully, in most cases, in a positive way). That shock can release enough energy to cause our causal structure to shift. Carlos Castaneda called this a shift of your ‘assemblage point’. When this happens, we know that our life has changed forever, we are no longer the person we once were. Think back to times you’ve experienced this in your own life.
If you are fortunate enough to encounter an Enlightened teacher, or a teacher with great personal power, it is possible for them to empower you enough to shift your assemblage point on a fairly frequent basis, causing rapid spiritual evolution, provided you are striving for positive growth. This is one of the primary reasons to seek out such a teacher. It is also possible for you to generate enough power through your own meditation practices and selfless actions to shift your own assemblage point, though it takes a lot of work and dedication to do so.
On certain levels, we become conscious of a pending shift in our assemblage point. Most commonly, we experience periods of intense free-floating anxiety (not connected to anything we can put our finger on). We have a sense of impending doom, although it could just as easily be an impending revelation. On some level, it feels like we are about to die, and in a small way, that is exactly what is about to happen. When our causal configuration, our assemblage point, shifts, our ego — our limited self dissolves and reforms according to the new assembly of our awareness. It is a little death of the ego.
Needless to say, the ego doesn’t like this very much. So, it fights with all its might to prevent these shifts. It will try to sabotage your practice! Trick you into doing things that cause you to waste your energy, doubt your practice or distrust those who might help you evolve. Why? Because it is afraid of death, afraid of the unknown.
The only way I’ve found, to get your limited self to align more with your eternal self, is to get the ego comfortable with change. Changing where you live, changing what you do for a living, changing what you think and how you act (hopefully in a positive way), all these things help your ego to embrace change, to face the fear and to walk through it.
You will find as you do this, that your meditations deepen. Because it is fear that stops us at a particular level in our meditation as well. As your meditation deepens, and you are wrapped in that silence, you begin to sense the unfolding of something incredibly immense. Rather than retreating to the safety and comfort of your known world, just keep going. Don’t look back, just keep going!