Reaching a higher state of consciousness is something that is well within every person’s grasp. The mere desire to reach a higher state of consciousness is a higher state of consciousness in itself.
While there are many steps and stages up the ladder of consciousness, the basic ‘goal’ is to move ourselves beyond the mundane and the everyday functions of life to discover higher truths about ourselves, about life and about our purpose.
With the help of scientific, spiritual and yoga practices we can gain access to a higher state of mind. In deep states of contemplation and meditation, the serious practitioners become familiar with and connect with these higher states of consciousness.
Gradually those deeper recesses of our awareness become a more ‘normal’ state of mind. While we may need a vehicle of meditation to “be there” we take the awareness out into our lives and see the world and life in a new light.
Our States of Mind and Consciousness
Waking, dreaming and sleeping states of consciousness are common to all of us.
The most extroverted state of mind is what we perceive with our senses.When we are hearing, touching, viewing, tasting and smelling various things. These are sensation bound states of mind.
Second, and deeper state of mind, is related to mental and emotional faculties. Reason, logic, thought, analysis, memory, will power or volition are one part and feelings and emotions are second part of our mind.
The third type of condition of mind is dreaming and sleeping. Despite great scientific advancement, the later two states of mind are little understood.
The Five Progressive States Of Consciousness:
It is said that the spark of life in body and mind is provided by soul or pure consciousness. At the time of death, soul leaves the body with all its vital organs intact and we die.
And we see this truth everyday. Death is one of the greatest enigmas for science and medicine.
The science of yoga deals with fives progressive states of consciousness (or awareness).
- Bound State
- Scattered or distracted mind
- Sometimes scattered, sometime focused
- Concentrated or focused or streamlined.
- Centred in soul without any quiver in mental faculties.
Spiritually most of the persons remain in the first three states of awareness. As we practice meditation and contemplation, we start to taste focused state of mind.
Finally after a long and dedicated practice, the state of pure consciousness without any quiver of mind is realized. With this experience, we find that we have started to identify ourselves with pure consciousness.
Previously, our identification with body and mind is so deep that we could not let go of it despite a lot of thinking of doing so. The experience of self or soul makes this identification very easy.
It will be easy to understand if we think of consciousness like a stream. In a bound state of mind, our awareness is limited to a gross world of sensations, and thoughts and emotions limit or condition the stream of awareness. It feels as if our mind is glued to them.
In a scattered and distracted state of mind, our awareness only sometimes has a glimpse of that state of pure awareness, and that glimpse is also indirect.
In third stage, as we practice being centered in self-awareness, we feel that our mind is sometimes scattered and sometimes collected.
Fourth state of consciousness is achieved only in deep meditation, when there is continuity of awareness on the object of contemplation. This is like an uninterrupted flow of consciousness to the exclusion of everything else.
Three entities remain:
- The observer
- The object of contemplation and
- The process of observation and contemplation.
In fifth and the highest of all stages, even the single quiver of mind is absent; there is full absorption of all of our mental and emotional faculties in our own pure consciousness or soul.
This stage is achieved usually after a long and dedicated practice of the science of meditation and yoga.
Eight Limbed Yoga and Higher States Of Consciousness:
The first two of the eight limbs of yoga are related with good behavior and personal discipline. The third step of posture makes us sit still with ease for prolonged time.
The fourth step is breathing exercise that leads us to higher stages of meditation with absorption of mind.
The fifth step results from the above mentioned practices – the interiorization of mind – mind becomes absorbed and outer sensations of five senses are not able to disturb.
It might be like conscious sleep. The rest of the three higher states of consciousness are concentration, continuity of concentration and merged state of mind.
Samadhi Or Yogic Trance And Higher States Of Consciousness:
Usually the three types of mind is recognized – conscious mind, subconscious mind and superconscious mind. Superconsciousness is used for the deep state of meditation or for trance like state.
There is one type of trance that is like suspended animation and it does not produce any good. The other types of trance that are experienced in deeper states of meditation are good as we remain aware in those higher states and enjoy greatly the deep and merged state of mind.
There are several sub-stages of superconscious state of mind and that would only complicate the topic. It is better to ponder over other topics now. Why do we need to experience these deeper states of consciousness?
What are the benefits of experiencing them?
To become more aware, to use our full potential, to become happier, to become healthier, to earn more money, to have better control on our self, to become successful in whatever we choose, to lead a more fulfilled and purposeful life, to connect ourselves with God or Universal Consciousness or our source.
There could be a thousand reasons.
Remember the spiritual domain is not exclusively made of the material world, it includes all domains and life and other domains that are beyond our comprehension yet.
There is a science and art behind this, much deeper and complex to be understood by mind, because mind simply doesn’t exist when we experience those higher states of consciousness.
They belong to experiencing our true nature – our soul – the Spirit in us. Let us explore our true nature, our potentialities in Spirit! Let us become conscious of that we are made in His Image!