Chapter One—The Journey of Ascension

Returning to Oneness

The Seven Keys of Ascension


Download a pdf of Chapter One

Ascension is talked about a great deal nowadays, yet it is still somewhat misunderstood and also still seems to create confusion, even in the minds of individuals actively seeking it. Just hearing the word “ascension” used to evoke visions for some people of motherships coming to the rescue, or the hand of God coming down to lift us up sometime in the ominous future when it was predicted that the going would get tough. Seemingly to some, it was about being able to escape from the harsh, cruel world that was to be our lot when we reached the fast-approaching end times. Nowadays, since there is a greater receptivity to what ascension actually is, there is also a need to look more deeply and realistically at it.

In fact the experience of ascension has been with us for eons. And it is a very real, tangible and immediate experience available to us right now, should we choose it—an experience completely connected to our physical life and body. Ascension is actually another term for the experience of awakening to the state of enlightenment—or unity consciousness—our highest potential. The misunderstandings around it exist because it is definitely a non-ordinary state, difficult to define, and as yet little understood in our ordinary world.

The word “ascension” is a very graphic and literal description of the journey to enlightenment, especially when viewed from the perspective of the anatomy of the subtle-physical body. This is because it describes the energetic journey in an ever-ascending path, up through the chakra levels from the root chakra to the crown chakra. While this is an inner energetic and bodily experience, it also depicts the complete transformation of our perceptions and experiences of the outer world around us.

Ascension through the chakra levels is also about individual consciousness moving from the ordinary, worldly state, which is a fairly slow vibration, into a higher and faster vibratory state, yet at the same time remaining solidly grounded. We venture forth from a judgmental, polarized and limited mind, which keeps us susceptible to states of negativity at least half the time, to the experience of being liberated from negativity and limitation into the expanded, universal mind. It is in this state that we can realize our full potential as humans and experience more of the interconnectedness of all of life.

As we take this journey, we become beings of heart, living in compassion, generosity, and tremendous strength and wisdom. We are diving into the mystery of eternal beingness, yet simultaneously we becoming more practical, grounded and “real” as our consciousness becomes more based in truth. We are moving from an old, dysfunctional system into a new, more inclusive system, from the third-dimension into higher-dimensional consciousness, from a win–lose paradigm to a win–win paradigm.

The journey of ascension actually takes place right in the energy body. Our awareness is aligned in and moves through the energy body continuously, reflecting our shifting states of awareness. With every thought, emotion and action, our awareness flows through the body, either ascending or descending our consciousness. Sometimes our awareness moves in a way that is harmonious with life and is aligned with our highest good. When it does, we feel fulfilled, alive, able to meet life with enthusiasm and optimism, ready to meet the world fully. Other times it moves erratically, seemingly out of synch with the rhythms of our natural flow, and we feel drained and depleted, as though we are wasting our energy. In this instance, we feel confused, thwarted by life’s roadblocks, unable to fulfill our dreams, and we wonder what is going wrong.

In this book we take a detailed look at exactly how this works, at why consciousness sometimes moves in an erratic, draining way, and at how certain “locks”, states of consciousness or thought-forms, which reside in the body, obstruct our natural flow of life force. The seven “keys” help to open those locks and restore the natural flow that is our birthright. We will use the subtle body and chakras as a map in order to explore how our consciousness moves through the body on the journey of ascension. But before we go there, let’s look first at what ascension is not.

Completing Life in the Separate System

Ascension does not mean leaving something behind, just walking out on, or abandoning the old system of consciousness. And this is a very important point to understand. Rather, it means completing the old system.

You cannot leave the old third-dimensional system, a system of great disconnection and separation from one another and from other species, until you have completed all of the incomplete lessons that still await you there. The system of separation is an old way of perceiving, in which we see, feel and believe that we are separate, autonomous entities, and that we are not connected to the outside world, to other people and to God. All your unfinished business in the separate system will hold you back, and therefore you must attend to it. In the separate system we believe reality is the material world; we believe matter is what matters. We believe that what we can see and touch is real and that what we cannot see or touch is not real.

All the stories about life that you still believe are real will be blind spots that suck you into a maelstrom of attraction and repulsion and negative and positive thinking, keeping you connected to the old, limited, dualistic, third-dimensional paradigm.

Since life is really about learning lessons, you cannot move on until you have learned them. When you have done so, you are free because you have incorporated, completed, and integrated the third dimension, and thus you move on.

Because of this very important fact, we must attend to clearing and deconstructing any states of mind and emotion that keep us attached to the old way. We must process all of our old issues, limiting beliefs and personality patterns that lock us into these limited states of consciousness.

Processing is a form of self-inquiry—a way of looking at our egoic self. “Ego” refers to the personality structure, which results from childhood and worldly conditioning. The term “to process” means to examine and to inquire deeply into the nature of our conditioned and unbalanced egoic programming with the intention of moving our awareness into balance and truth. We process our consciousness in order to become clear and ultimately to find our wholeness.

Processing the egoic programming is a very fast way of parting the veils of separation and refining our awareness to where we are not part of the old system any more, and begin to live in the open heart. Without that “seeing” of life’s lessons, we have to live out those lessons in the physical world in the form of negative experiences. That can take years and cause much unnecessary suffering. The approach of processing the imbalances in the personality ties in with the old yogic instruction to be “in the world but not of it”.

Passing Through the Eye of the Needle

Your growth toward higher dimensional consciousness means a gradual dis-identification with your old reality and old identity. It is preparation for the journey through the eye of the needle. The eye of the needle represents the doorway through which we pass when we allow our old reality to dissolve. Only the essential Self, the pure essence that you are, can pass through the eye of the needle, ascending into the next dimension. That essence is you, not as your personality. but as Oneness, and in that state of Oneness, you pass through the minute opening between the worlds and into the next dimension.

Thus the most important thing for us to attend to at this moment in time is our attachment to our old, third-dimensional personality programs. We can let go of attachments by deeply processing them, to where we are well and truly complete with all that the third dimension has to teach us. In this way we are actually decoding it to the point of becoming completely unplugged from it. We will then come to the place where we understand deeply that we are actually not the personality—that the old third-dimensional personality is a false self with which we are mistakenly identified, and that our true deeper nature is as the eternal Self.

The old third-dimensional system of separation is a certain bandwidth of vibratory frequency—a small part of the huge range of all the frequencies of creation. The ego is programmed to perceive only within that bandwidth. We, acting through the ego, are bound by its limitations. By seeing and transforming the old personality patterns, by letting them go and making new and different choices in our daily lives, we vastly increase the speed of our vibration to where our consciousness is no longer bound by the limitations of the old system. We begin to expand beyond it, into a new bandwidth.

Processing will wake us up to all the structures still rooted in the old way and bring us into a place of witnessing all the sides of this third-dimensional system that are still hidden from our sight in the unconscious. This will allow us to see where we are still hooking into it. Making the unconscious conscious is what the journey of ascension is all about.

Time is of the essence now for all of us as we approach the moment that has been predicted for the completion of this cycle, the year 2012, and processing becomes a very fast way to gain the understandings of our lessons. Completing the lessons allows the release of our attention from those places where we previously had blind spots.

The technique called “squares” that I teach in the book, The Marriage of Spirit—Enlightened Living in Today’s World, is one method of processing, and it especially helps you see hidden sides of your old personality and thus awakens you to all the unconscious sides of the programs you run. Doing squares will also actually deconstruct the egoic programs as you finish them.

Using the seven keys presented in this book is also a powerful way of processing. In this accelerated time, you must have some method of processing the ego in order to stay on track with your path of transformation and spiritual awakening. Any way of processing that works for you is fine, as long as you do it regularly! You will not be able to ascend into “unity consciousness” and leave the old system without some proactive way of letting go and dissolving.


All the dualities that we hold in consciousness can be unified into the Oneness that is our origin and source, bringing us back to perceiving unity consciousness and allowing a tremendous speeding up of our vibration. In this world all individuals are holding varying degrees of separation in their patterning. How much separation someone experiences seems to depend on how much wounding he/she is carrying. Separation and wounding cause the vibration to be slower. Let’s talk about duality for a moment so that you have an understanding of the dynamics that give rise to the slower, and also to the faster, vibrations—so that you understand how you can affect them.

This world is a world of duality. Because of the dual nature of our consciousness and our world—dual meaning divided in two—we perceive life in myriad pairs of opposites. Good and bad, pain and pleasure, joy and sadness, and life and death are just a few examples. There are many, many more pairs of opposites to which we are subject on a daily basis. Just a brief moment of reflection will reveal the truth of this.

Each person’s egoic consciousness is programmed to exist within the context of all of life’s pairs of opposites. The ego, or personality, is involved in all the pairs of opposites all the time. Life is dictated by our experiences of these states.

All the pairs of opposites are polarized by a magnetic field that holds them in a dynamic interplay with each other. The two sides of every pair spin around each other as a result of the magnetic force of attraction and repulsion. Since we are identified with the ego, this subjects us to the positives and negatives of all the states of mind and emotion in our bandwidth. In other words, in the third dimension we cannot experience the positive side of a pair of opposites without being subject to the negative side at some point.

The motion caused by the magnetic field is an oscillation back and forth, operating like a pendulum. And the further apart the extremes of polarization are, the slower the vibration we will experience in our minds, emotions and physical bodies.

This back-and-forth motion accounts for the mood changes that we experience in our daily lives. The ego balances itself by flip-flopping between negative and positive. However, this is a crazy, roller-coaster kind of balance and can be very stressful. It results in consciousness vibrating more slowly. Human life is stressed by living at a slower vibration because of the extremes of dark and light we experience. There is another way to find balance, a far less stressful way, and that is by unifying the pairs of opposites and coming back to our original state of unity. In other words, consciousness oscillates less and thus has a higher vibration. This allows the consciousness to ascend. Ascended paradigms vibrate at a faster speed.

It is not within the scope of this book to explore in any detail how the system of separation and duality works. But if you feel you need more information on the subject, a major portion of The Marriage of Spirit—Enlightened Living in Today’s World, is dedicated to exploring it.

The Flow of Life Force through the Body

We have many bodies other than the physical. Our complete, all-encompassing body is really a body of energy and consciousness. It comprises a mental body, an emotional body and a vast light body as well. Our life force is always naturally flowing through and animating all of our bodies. When we choose to awaken to truth, a particularly powerful and vital flow of energy or light is activated in the body. In the East it is known as kundalini. It comes from the Sanskrit word, kundal, which means “coil.” Seen clairvoyantly, kundalini is coiled at the base of the spine, like a snake, and when awakened, moves serpent-like up through the body. The natural flow is from the base of the spine, or the root chakra, to the top of the head, or the crown chakra. Before we proceed with our discussion of how this flow relates to the seven keys, let’s take a brief look at the anatomy of the light body, also known as the subtle body or aura.

The Light Body Anatomy—the Chakras

Chakras are energy centers in the body and are active at all times, whether we are conscious of them or not. Chakra is a Sanskrit word that denotes circle and movement, or it can be translated as “wheel.” Chakras are associated with aspects of the physical, mental and emotional bodies. We have many chakras within, and even some beyond, the physical body. There are seven main chakras in the body, and they are the ones we will address here.

There are aspects of consciousness and behavioral characteristics associated with each chakra. Often in meditating on the chakra, we can perceive the unique attributes of the consciousness associated with each chakra as described below. For the purposes of this book, we explore only the basic aspects of consciousness associated with each chakra; there are actually many more.

The first chakra is called the root chakra and is located between the anus and the genitals, at the base of the spine. The consciousness associated with the root chakra is that of security, physical survival, the fight-and-flight mechanism and life-and-death struggles.

Human figure showing chakra centers in the body

The chakras are energy centers in the subtle body. Seen
clairvoyantly, the radiating rays resemble flowers or wheels. They
are the interface between the subtle body and the physical body.

The second chakra is located on the front of the body between the navel and the genitals. Sexuality, procreation, creativity, the nurturing emotions and family or tribal issues are associated with it.

The third chakra is located at the solar plexus. It is the power center and is where we work out dualistic issues of power–powerlessness—tyrant–victim, loss–gain, success–failure, and dominance, manipulation and control. This is where we learn the lessons associated with polarized power, authority, name, fame and all the shadow states associated with power, such as rejection, betrayal and abandonment.

The fourth chakra is located in the middle of the chest and is often called the heart chakra. The consciousness associated with the heart chakra is that of love, faith, devotion, duty and compassion. It is also associated with the ins and outs of love relationships—rejection and acceptance.

The fifth chakra is located at the throat and is the energy center of the voice, expression, artistry, knowledge, mastery and will.

The sixth chakra is located between the eyebrows and is known as the third eye. This is the energy center of conscience, wisdom, insight, clairvoyance, psychic perception and multi-dimensionality.

The seventh chakra is located at the top of the head and is known as the crown chakra because it sits on the head like a crown. It is a vortex of energy that opens upward like a funnel. The royal crown that kings and queens wear is a representation of it in physical form. Also known as the thousand-petaled lotus, the crown chakra is associated with our sense of connectedness to All That Is and, at its deepest level, with our union with the Divine within us.

It is easier to experience our natural state of non-duality or Oneness in the upper chakras, especially in the crown. Many people make the mistake of thinking that by keeping their awareness in the upper chakras they are free of the third dimension, and they “train” themselves not to go down into the lower chakras with their conscious awareness. By opening your crown chakra, which you can do just by willing it open in meditation, you can temporarily experience a unified state. But the problem is that the crown does not automatically stay open once you have opened it with your will. Because of the programming of polarization in the egoic mind, the crown chakra closes again as soon as you forget to hold it open. Then awareness drops back into the programming and loses that open state. So training yourself to stay in the upper chakras will not bring you to freedom from ego.

Trying to remain in the consciousness of only the upper chakras is the practice of avoidance and denial. When we indulge in avoidance and denial of the third-dimensional worldly consciousness of the lower three chakras, the awareness is still trapped there from childhood programming, and it is simply being kept unconscious. It has not been cleared and deconstructed.

It is important to know that at the deepest level of the subtle body, unified consciousness resides in the body all the way down to the root, not just in the crown and upper chakras. As you use the keys, especially clearing the first, second and third chakras of their shadow content, you will experience unity consciousness all the way down into your root chakra. Eventually your crown and your root will be emanating the same unified state. There will be no difference between them. So forget about the idea that to live in unity consciousness you have to reside only in the crown and upper chakras. It just is not so.

Awakening to the inherent unity in the lower chakras is immanently possible. It does take a little longer and require more dedication, however, because it means being willing to face the egoic shadow.

The Light Body Anatomy—the Core

The light body has a core or central axis from which the chakras emerge. In Sanskrit the core is known as the shushumna, and it corresponds roughly to the physical spine. The shushumna is a pathway of light. It is the luminous core of enlightenment within each one of us. It is the center of the cosmos, and is known in the Bible as the Tree of Life, one of its many names. Its “branches” of energy or light spread into all the different dimensional facets of all of the bodies.

The shushmna or core axis of the body

Most people in the separate system are unaware that the core exists and rarely feel it. All the veils of the conditioned personality—fears, imbalances, negative and limiting belief systems, and so forth—have been wrapped tightly around it and have hidden it from our conscious view. In fact they resemble a coating of thick, black leather, like a sleeve, around the core. Between the chakras are locks where the veils constrict and cut off the flow of light and energy through our physical body. The illuminating flow of kundalini, once liberated, moves up and opens the locks to reveal the emanation of unity consciousness from the core. The locks limit the quantity of light we can access, thus keeping us in a limited system. As we ascend in vibration and let go of the beliefs in separation and limitation, the kundalini opens the locks and sweeps away the veils. We become conscious of the kundalini ascending, of the light of unity emanating from the core and of being connected all the way up, from root to crown chakra.

When a single, thread-like flow of light, or kundalini, ascends all the way up the core from root to crown, uninterrupted by egoic limitation, we begin to experience unity consciousness. In Sanskrit it is a state known as samadhi. The Christian Church refers to it as “the peace which passeth all understanding”. As we clear the constricting, limiting locks in egoic consciousness and as we progress on the path of Self-discovery, the thread widens and our samadhi state evolves and grows. Samadhi is an actual experience of the light of the core and is an awakening to the knowledge of the cosmos—the beginning of enlightenment and of being “ascended”.

Transcendental light is unified consciousness and contains information. When we enter samadhi, we download the information in the light, or unity consciousness, and later it is decoded through the mental body, where we become conscious of multidimensional understandings. For example, we may gain insights into a current process that would help to unravel a destructive behavior pattern, like overeating or smoking. Many of the world’s great scientists, artists and leaders have access to higher realms of light—whether consciously or unconsciously—and therefore they are able to receive information and brilliant new ideas in this way. Transcendental light is sometimes experienced—usually in meditation—as a blissful, ecstatic, ever-expanding presence; it is the unconditional love of the Divine.

The light of the core is experienced as unified or non-dual awareness—divine presence within us. Traditionally, developing awareness of the core is done mainly with meditation practice. With meditation, doorways gradually open in one’s interior space, and the consciousness is flooded with the state of non-dual awareness that is our natural state.

Using the seven keys and other processing techniques to unravel knotted patterns and imbalances in the ego also allows us to thin out the veils. The non-dual awareness seeps through and realigns the ordinary everyday awareness, bringing us very easily and gently into a wonderfully integrated state of awakeness.

Choosing To Love at All Times

Since we are surrendering to the journey into and up the core, through all the levels of the third dimension, our first stop will be the fourth dimension where our consciousness begins to be centered more in the heart. This means shifting into a love-based state from a power- or fear-based state.

Daily we must make the choice to love even if we do not understand how it will look. Even in the face of all of our tribulations and fears about change, we must let go more and more of all our power and control issues, which bind us to the third dimension.

In choosing love over power or fear, we pass through the eye of the needle into the pathway to the next dimension. The pathway is the river of light, the core, and we are carried along on its current and reborn once again into the heart space. By choosing love, we are reborn into our own true and permanent heart presence. When we live life centered in the third chakra, the heart presence is hidden from our view.

When you choose love and let go of the old way, you may not be completely aware of the change this institutes. It can feel scary, and you may balk since it feels as though you are entering the unknown, folding your wings and going into free fall. If you react to the fear by buying into it, you will resist the process, and it will not happen. You will be unable to let go and experience the shift. Instead, you will fall back into the negative side of the third dimension and be stuck there until the next time the choice between love and fear, or love and power, comes up. However, do not be concerned. The choice could come up the very next day since we are each making choices that decide our level of consciousness moment by moment. These choices are coming up constantly in subtle ways. Letting go is a very important part of the path of love; and be assured, it gets easier with practice.

As you enter the eye of the needle even momentarily, you become pure beingness, nothing but light in fact. In our egoic self we are used to feeling like we are “somebody” or even its polarity on some days, “nobody”. This doorway into the heart is about passing between these two sides of the ego and momentarily becoming who you truly are, pure beingness, energy without any human attributes.

The Sequence of the Keys

The keys are presented in a unique sequence, rather than in the order of the chakra numbers. It is a mystical order that most easily expedites the unlocking of the doorways between the chakra levels. It is best to learn the keys in the order they are presented here and initially to use them in this order. With time you will become very familiar with each of them. Once you have learned them, you can use them in a free-form way in any order you wish.

The seven keys in sequence related to the chakras
  • The Seven Keys of Ascension

  • The First Key: Do not believe in loss and gain (between the 5th and 6th chakras)
  • The Second Key: Forgive all betrayals (between the 3rd and 4th chakras)
  • The Third Key: Not my will but Thine (between the 4th and 5th chakras)
  • The Fourth Key: Have faith in the support of the invisible realms (between the 1st and 2nd chakras)
  • The Fifth Key: View the ego impersonally (between the 2nd and 3rd chakras)
  • The Sixth Key: Accept your death (just below the 1st chakra)
  • The Seventh Key: Accept your divinity (between the 6th and 7th chakras)

The above is an excerpt from Returning to Oneness—The Seven Keys of Ascension by Leslie Temple-Thurston with Brad Laughlin. The book is available to purchase though the CoreLight webstore • ISBN: 0-9660182-9-X • Softcover • 160 pages • $13.00

Copyright ©2002 by CoreLight.
All rights reserved. You may use or reproduce as long as the text is unaltered and appropriately credited.


Daily we must make the choice to love even if we do not understand how it will look. Even in the face of all of our tribulations and fears about change, we must let go more and more of all our power and control issues, which bind us to the third dimension. In choosing love over power or fear, we will pass through the eye of the needle into the pathway to the next dimension.