How can we, who are supreme consciousness, suffer? How did we become transmigratory souls, covered with impurities?
To manifest this play of consciousness, this creation, God’s non-duality accepts the appearance of duality. God’s unlimited power accepts the appearance of limitation. God appears to contract and conceals His supreme state. This process of contraction produces concealment through the following three misperceptions:
- I am separate. We feel separate from the perfect and so we see ourselves as imperfect. This sense of imperfection makes us feel incomplete, unworthy, inadequate, unsatisfied and incapable. In separation there is a primal isolation. Our misperception is that there is something other than the Self, that we are separate or other than universal consciousness. We feel sadness and depression arising from the feeling of separateness. But it is this sadness that is actually separation expressing its yearning to merge with God.
- I am different. When our Divine nature, the true Self, is hidden, a sense of individuality exerts itself. We experience only the surface appearance of name and form and we experience everything as different from ourselves. Everything and everyone become different individuals. The unifying supreme consciousness is veiled and we believe we are individual bodies creating individual thoughts. Our misperception is that the varied and disparate names, forms and attributes our senses experience are reality. We experience loneliness and feel unconnected.
- I am the doer. The ego dominates our experience and we possess our actions. The ego lays claim to all the apparent separate parts of us claiming, ‘this is my body, these are my thoughts and I am the doer of these actions’. Our misperception is that we are only the individual body, mind and actions. All the while, we are supreme consciousness witnessing the play of consciousness.
The three misperceptions cover up our true Self, our supreme consciousness. These three veils cause us to seek satisfaction in the outer world. Our misperceptions and our desires become self-grasping ignorance.
Instead of experiencing the bliss of absolute bliss consciousness, we experience 1) separation, believing ‘I am imperfect’, 2) differentiation, believing ‘I am an individual’, and 3) the destiny of our actions believing ‘I am the one doing this’. Remaining perfect, God witnesses and experiences our suffering and limitation because He has become us. That perfect, universal, witness consciousness is our true Self.
The three misperceptions arise through the accumulation of past karma and the dominance of limited ego. The spiritual path removes the misperceptions and we realize we are perfect in our unity with God, we are one with all that is and we are the universal awareness that is the witness of action.