At present we have earth consciousness, or that of sensory reality. Its the consciousness with an object.Within this state of consciousness we develop a "I" consciousness. Of course in the eastern perspective often seen in this forum there is no "I" but an illusion. It appears that in reaching "higher" levels of consciousness the eastern thought disdains the earthly consciousness and "tells us how it really is".
Speaking to the earth consciousness and the "Ego" or "I" of Man "touch" is of primary consideration. What we call our "sense of touch" is in reality a withdrawing away from the object centered consciousness. A sense of sound or taste or sight brings to the human "I" a piece of that external reality, but the sense of touch "flees" from the external and in this the human being obtains a sense of "self". this, you have to experience in yourself thus becoming cognate.
This experience of the "I" in the material world as the "sense of touch" is the sense image of the "I' itself. Man has "sense" experiences in this earthly habitat and in this has "I" or "Ego" experiences within this realm of consciousness; the "self " experience is within the "sense of touch".
Now, this "self experience" or "experience of the "I"" is in image form and is not the actual "I". the actual "I' of the human being sits at the beginning of our earthly life awaiting to receive the fruits of this earthly life. the actual "I" is out of space and time, the high spiritual reality of the human being.
Deniers of the "I" as illusion come from an atavistic knowledge which in its time did not see clearly the "I" being as these meditations were part and parcel brought forth within a consciousness to which the earthly or material was seen as illusion, or "maya". Ensconced within the spiritual reality the ancient Indian saw the material as illusion for he saw the spiritual underpinnings of what we call the material. He had very little to do with the external and lived within his inner light which was consequential to an inspiration from higher beings, of multiplicity. He knew he was within the spiritual reality and that he supped with his Gods who were in effect his "Ego" force, not his, but theirs.
Mankind has progressed (or even regressed as some might think), to a state of lack of knowledge of the spiritual worlds as the ancient Indian knew of, but in compensation mankind has come to a "Ego" or "I" centered consciousness bereft of spirituality. we are becoming aware of our "I" , always present but of which we were not always aware. This of course leads to the question of Egocentricity or Egoistic behavior and mankind's dilemma.
the message from the east is that the "Ego" is allusion and others state that it is "perverse" or "bad" . Destruction of "Ego' behavior is called for in many religious or occult presentations. The knowledge of Good and Evil, to which the ancient Indian had little need for his actions because he had not come to the point where he was released from the spiritual world as an "Ego" being. We have an "I" or "Ego" and are released into the earthly world with this "Ego" to which our moral tone comes forth. We live within the moral sphere and this is where the "I" has his home, the home of Man which is the world of the spirit. Just as we have laws of nature so does the spiritual world have the laws of morality to which the human being is working towards, with the "Ego". The substance of the spiritual world is the moral just as matter is the substance of the earthly realm.
The "Ego" lives and confronts knowledge of "good and evil" and in this Man prepares for a return to the spiritual as independent beings, of "Ego" beings ensconced within a spirituality sans time and space. the development of the human being is to have the "consciousness without an object" and this is obtained through reembodiment of the spirit, or reincarnation and karma, within the earthly sphere..
If one says that one wants to "get to the beyond" then all one has to do is die and you'll get to the beyond but the earth is our importance for in this we get to the beyond, in time, as independent beings, the noble work of Man.
Self seeking and self immolation are two poles of the polarity of mankind. One says to only see the earth(Ahriman) while the other says that you are better than the earth, "come to my realm"(Lucifer).
The middle way where light becomes the colors of red and yellow and darkness becomes the colors of blue and violet is the the Christ Way, the Impulse of Golgotha, our guide to the independence of being within the spiritual realm, in effect our guide after death. this, only obtained while on the earth.