Have you ever had the thought: How Conscious Am I?
Probably not. It’s not something to think about….or is it?
I myself did not have the thought until recently when I noticed the shifting within myself was so vast and the changes were so noticeable that I had to ask this question.
A little backstory. At the time of writing this blog (trust me it’s not the day you are reading it!), I had completed 100 days of daily meditation. Consistently.
I am an avid meditator and have been meditating since 2009 but let’s be honest, life happened and I missed a day or two or six months. But no matter what happened, I would always get back on the serene horse and meditate again.
-Because it made me feel good
-Because it set the mood and intent for me to have a peaceful and calm day
-Because my partner, kids, anyone who was in my life required it
-Because I noticed that I stopped poking my nose into other people’s businesses (hello FB) and started minding my own
and the list goes on. I am not one to have habits but meditating is a habit I just can’t seem to break. SO being that it is stuck with me and I am stuck with it, I decided to do a little research into what meditation can do for me.
Of course this idea came to me today (the day I wrote this blog) on the 100th day of meditation. Well played Universe, well played.
So this is what I found. Read on and learn. Keep this question alive as you read, “Where do I see myself in this list?”
It is in Vedantic philosophy and Vedic Psychology of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi we can find knowledge on something called the seven states of Consciousness. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is the founder of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement. He describes the seven states of consciousness as:
- Deep Sleep
- Dream States
- Waking Consciousness
- Transcendental Consciousness
- Cosmic Consciousness
- God Consciousness
- Unity Consciousness
The first three states of Consciousness are accessible to every human being with a nervous system. They are part and parcel of the whole human existence thing.
Deep sleep we know (or would like to know some nights!) because we all sleep. What is interesting is that even though we sleep, we still have some level of awareness. Take for instance if there is a fire or the alarm goes off, most of us, if not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, can and will wake up. It is almost as if the mind and body are asleep but the Spirit is still awake and ensuring our safety.
In dream states, there is much activity that plays out in stories our minds create from our subconscious realms. It feels real! Even though we are dreaming, they are so vivid and real that we cannot tell it is a dream until we awake.
Waking Consciousness is supposedly our awake and aware state. I say supposedly because I actually prefer Vedanta’s take on it. According to Vedanta (Hindu philosophy), in life we wake from the dream states and enter another dream (smile). All of life can be seen as a dream! What is real and not real depends on the viewer and how they respond to it….just like a dream.
The fourth stage and above is not available to every being. It is only available to those who go higher. Mostly this means meditation and self awareness.
A large body of research has indicated that during practice of meditation a fourth major state of consciousness, transcendental consciousness, is produced (Chalmers, Clements, Schenkluhn, & Weinless, in press; Orme-Johnson & Farrow, 1977).
This level of consciousness represents a state of restful alertness or awareness without drama as I like to call it. It can be seen in someone with a calm mind, peaceful purpose, inner knowing and contentment.
It is wholeness, aware of itself, devoid of difference, beyond the division of subject and object—transcendental consciousness.
In this state, a person is in company for blissful experiences not bound by thought or perceptions that create division, suffering or judgment. This state differs from the waking consciousness where the person perceives objects of experience as external and separate from himself. The individual self is experienced as localized or bound in time and space. This is why Maharishi (1969) refers to the status of the self experienced in the normal waking state as the small or lower self. This lower self is only concerned with egoic desires such as money, career, relationships, clothing, etc….
A person who wants to master themselves have to master the lower self first and this means taking the mind from the gross fields of existence to the subtler fields, until the subtlest field of relative existence is transcended.
The fifth level of consciousness is often referred to as the “Witness Consciousness” because it is here that you determine the consciousness is YOU everything else is your Self.
When you meditate and achieve transcendental consciousness, that is the first step beyond the normal realms of living. When you consistently meditate and stay in the fourth level, your nervous system stays in contact with this state of consciousness and you develop the ability to keep that inner silence while you perform other things such as thinking thoughts, being active and participating in life. Eventually it stabilizes and becomes a permanent state of consciousness which is this fifth level or Cosmic Consciousness.
Everything becomes….quieter. The Ego that was raising hell to be seen, noticed or heard now dissipates. You begin to see the transitory state of everything, people, life, relationships, material possessions.
As uncommon as this state is for most people, it is still only one of the unfoldments in consciousness development. It is in fact the first of the permanent awakening but it is the beginning step.
The beauty of unfolding is that there are still deeper layers to go and this is the case of the 6th Consciousness or God Consciousness.
As you transcend thought, you reach the inner Self, the Atman as Vedic Studies refer to it. It is here that you find the deepening of the bliss received from the 4th and 5th levels.
Your perception changes. You no longer see the surface issues presented to you and this is why you become Love. Your heart is expanded and your knowing is increased. You can only find joy and delight in everything, including the uncomfortable or setbacks in life. You are able to see how everything plays a role in the grand opera of life and this knowledge brings peace and bliss to you.
As this develops, so too does devotion. Devotion can be seen in a religious, spiritual, universal way or even more generalized. You have reverence for everything and everyone, every experience in life and this is why we call it the God Consciousness.
In Unity Consciousness, we see no difference. I am myself and myself is All. “Where once was the inner and the outer, the real and the unreal, the Self and the non-Self, the absolute and the relative, the eternal and the temporal — there is now only One.”
It is the full awakening where a person can be at peace and love with life wholly and fully. Completely engrained within the living of life and also completely engrained within all.
“This seventh state of consciousness could very well be called the unified state of consciousness because in that state, the ultimate value of the object, infinite and unmanifest, is made lively when the conscious mind, being lively in the unbounded value of awareness, falls on the object. The object is cognized in terms of the pure subjective value of unbounded, unmanifest awareness…. In this unified state of consciousness, the experiencer and the object of experience have both been brought to the same level of infinite value and this encompasses the entire phenomenon of perception and action as well. The gulf between the knower and the object of his knowing has been bridged. When the unbounded perceiver is able to cognize the object in its total reality, cognizing the infinite value of the object, which was hitherto unseen, then the perception can be called total or of supreme value. In this state, the full value of knowledge has been gained, and we can finally speak of complete knowledge.”(Maharishi)
I have to say that even though I am an avid meditator, it is only now (ten years later) that I am reaching if not fully engrained on the last two stages. It took awhile, but I am not hard on myself about it. I am just glad to be here.
Some of you might ask me, “What does it feel like Uma?”
While I cannot be a spokesperson for everyone who has touched the last three levels, I can speak from personal experience and this is what I have felt myself:
- I am happy
All of the time. Even when my water heater breaks down in the same week my dishwasher sprung a leak and after I worked eight hours to produce 85 slides for a class and none could be shown because the laptop wouldn’t connect to the TV…..all of the time happy! I know, sounds weird, but truly I floated through all of it.
2. I am peaceful
My partner and I have been together for four years now and those early years were rocky! I needed and required so much of his attention. Now it’s different. I no longer require him to be part of my process. I in fact am quite happy by myself. There are weekends I actually request time to myself for no particular reason. I just like the presence of me, and this (for a recovering codependent personality) is refreshing.
3. I am more intimate in my connections
Having touched the deeper parts of my Soul somehow makes it easier for me to do the same with other people. People have always been drawn to me because of my personality but I have noticed a shift. It seems like people are drawn to me now by my presence. I can feel it too, it feels like I emanate love without trying. From my limited perception, I would say that in my successful quest to knowing myself and knowing the world intimately, I have maintained the essence of that journey and it is a scent picked up by new hunters. They thirst for the same experience and I exude a fountain of it.
4. I am Aware.
The best part (to me) of reaching higher states of consciousness is the amount of awareness that I have about myself, people and life. I don’t fall for the *bs* anymore. Even better, I realize the *bs* is most times unknown also to the person feeding it to me.
This proved a dilemma in the beginning of my awakening. How do I proceed?
At first I would call people out on it. The lack of comeback because they were too stunned to respond made me realize that I was calling people out on things that they themselves did not realize. The reality of my words hit them so hard that it made ME feel bad.
So then I stopped doing that and instead tried to tell them what I knew and what I saw. This backfired too, because I was speaking to most people in a waking consciousness state. I literally had people say to me, “I don’t understand the words coming out of your mouth.” Even though I was speaking casually and normally, it sounded like a foreign language to them. Interesting.
So now, with my state of awareness, I say nothing. I do not engage. If I see someone acting from a place of unconsciousness, I leave it be. If they ask my opinion or want to know what my perspective is, I am happy to share. Otherwise, I keep my mouth shut, my heart open, my awareness on fleek and continue to have a peaceful existence.
It is with consciousness my life has improved. And now because of how much it has helped me tremendously, it is my deepest desire that we have the majority if not all people living from a state of consciousness. I can imagine what this world would look and feel like if we were all consciously living. It would resemble something like this:
Husband and Wife having a disagreement:
Wife: “You are so lazy, I can’t stand it.”
Husband: “Are you saying I am lazy because there are things to do around the house and I am not doing as much as you think I should?”
Wife: “Yes that’s it. I do everything around here and you just sit around and watch t.v”
Husband: “Do you think I can do more than what I currently do so you can have the opportunity to relax in your own way as well?”
Wife: “I would love to relax! But I am always working! And yes seeing you relax makes me angry because I have no time to relax.”
Husband: “Ok what can I help you with today in this moment so you can take some time for yourself to relax?”
Wife: lists all the things she has to do and works with husband to finish them or put off until tomorrow.
Husband: “Now that we have created some space before dinner, would you like to join me in watching this show?”
Wife: “Actually no dear, you continue. I am going to draw myself a nice bath and soak for a bit before dinner. And I apologize for calling you lazy. I am projecting my own issues onto you instead of taking the time to communicate with you about them.”
Husband: “Apology accepted and I too apologize for not tuning into your frustration and stepping up to talk with you about what you were going through. Let’s make the rest of this evening a peaceful one.”
Hey I can hope and dream right? 🙂
Well, I can do more than that….I can educate, inspire and gently nudge people in the right direction….the path to meditation and unfoldment.
So here is your gentle push. Start today. Start with five minutes a day of complete silence and work your way up. I now meditate 30 minutes a day sometimes twice a day. I am working my way up to 40 minutes. You can be here too. Trust me, just start with 5 minutes and see what happens.
In the meantime I am going to go back to my regular schedule of staying in a state of awareness. Love to you all and blessed be
Uma Alexandra Beepat is an intuitive consultant, psychic medium and spiritual teacher located in Northern VA. To learn more about Uma, visit http://www.umalotusflower.com