Continuing the discussion about different states of consciousness...
In the waking state we can see and understand that there are two 'lower' and states of consciousness - dreaming and deep sleep. But while we are in those states we cannot possibly see 'up' towards the waking state. It just doesn't exist for us. In the dream state what we experience in the dream is our only conscious reality at that time.
Only when we wake up to a totally different state - the waking state - can we know that we have just had a consciousness shift from the dream state to this 'normal' awake state. Our entire reality has shifted. The dream state reality has faded, perhaps leaving only some memory of its content. Our new reality is completely different, with a completely different content.
Different realities, different truths
This brings us to an important principle that will help in understanding more about life in this universe of ours.
Reality is different in different states of consciousness.
Perhaps this is why, in some of the religious scriptures of the world, we are told not to judge. Our awareness is simply not all-encompassing, so any judgement would be invalid, because it would be based on our perception from our own current state of consciousness. Not only that, but if it is another person whose situation we are judging, we do not know the totality of their reality.
Expanding our consciousness unlocks our happiness from within
Without being in a higher state of consciousness than the waking state, the notion of higher states of perception and awareness therefore remains just an intellectual idea. It only becomes a living reality when the functioning of our psycho-physiology itself has shifted and become refined enough to sustain such different states of consciousness. This is when we are using more of our innate full human potential.
Can such a state be attained?
Attainment of the highest state of consciousness, often called 'enlightenment', has been the goal of many a spiritual seeker. How many have actually attained it in this life is anyone's guess. For one thing, no one in the usual waking state of consciousness can possibly know with certainty whether someone else is 'enlightened'. Nevertheless, if there are indeed higher states of consciousness, then at least we might want to move in that direction to see what more life might have to offer us.
Moving towards higher states of consciousness
One way to move towards such a state is to allow our mind to disengage from its constant babble; to quieten down towards more settled states, towards pure awareness itself. Doing this regularly every day, through an effective method of deep meditation or the process I now use, called Conscious Mental Rest, allows the psycho-physiology to make internal adjustments so as to normalise its mode of functioning. This is popularly known as stress release.
The principle is something like sleeping, which rejuvenates the mind-body system through the rest that the system gets when we are asleep. Without our mental interference, the mind-body system starts to reconstruct and repair itself for the next day's living.
However, during deep meditation, or Conscious Mental Rest, we remain awake and conscious during the process, not unconscious or dreaming as during sleep. And, the functioning of the entire mind-body system is different from what it is during sleep.
So, be allowing our mind-body system to restructure itself in this way, our mind is progressively able to perceive life more clearly, from a broader perspective. Our perception, through a heightened state of consciousness, becomes more refined.
Seven states of consciousness
This topic will be discussed more fully as new pages are added, and we'll explore what are traditionally known as the other four different states of consciousness beyond sleeping, dreaming and being awake.
See also: >> The fourth state of consciousness
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