What is the 6th state of consciousness? Is it a separate partition of awareness with unique experiential properties? How do you get there?
One of the essential goals of spiritual exploration is reaching the sixth state of consciousness. Come with us on this adventure, which Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey (1). Many enlightened sages tell us this is one of the chief reasons we are here.
“The most divine mission of every human being is to explore himself. We all contain a seed, which is the source of unlimited possibilities and our link to GOD. The nurturing of this seed is the source of fulfillment and joy. The pursuit of own understanding is the ultimate divine purpose of life…” — Osho
“Whether we are aware of it or not, the real purpose of life is to realize the divinity within.” ― Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi)
Higher States of Consciousness
To better understand the sixth state of consciousness, we need to background the first five states. Our default platform of consciousness includes three primary partitions are, waking, dreaming, and sleeping. Of these three, the waking state of consciousness takes priority in our modern culture. The waking state’s experience is what most people perceive as “normal reality.” Consciousness is like a rainbow with many different colors that fade and overlap.
Of course, there are also non-ordinary states of consciousness. Dreaming is proof of non-ordinary reality. We all have access to this partition of awareness.
Next, let’s look at each of these three default partitions of consciousness. The waking state is the like RAM setting of a computer. When we are in this default partition of awareness, our brain operates in the beta frequency range from 13 to 20 Hz.
The normal range is in the delta range when we sleep, around 1 to 3 cycles per second. The lines of demarcation between these primary states are often indistinguishable. Most people are not aware of the shift from one partition of consciousness to another.
When we dream, the eyes will often move back and forth under the eyelids during this state. So, it is known as the REM state, “rapid eye movement.” REM sleep has some exciting properties with frequencies in the theta (4–8 Hz), beta (16–32 Hz), and gamma (>32 Hz) ranges (2). It is a shared experience, and most people ignore its significance. It gives us a glimpse into other possibilities of non-ordinary reality. When we sleep and dream, we are generally not aware of time or space, that is, unless we train our mind through lucid dreaming techniques.
When we dream, the landscape is one of non-ordinary reality. So, even without using extraordinary processes or drugs to induce altered states, we regularly experience non-ordinary reality. Again, this is a vital point to keep in mind. The door is always there, always open. We need to learn how to use it.
The 4th State Transcendental Consciousness
Reaching higher states of consciousness starts with transcendental consciousness. We know this partition of awareness by several names, including the 4th state, the transcendent, pure, or bliss states of consciousness. This state has specific metabolic characteristics, including increased coherence of brainwave pattern and brain frequency operation in the theta-wave area around 4 to 7 Hz.
It is most notable for its profound state of rest while the mind remains alert. Scholars and teachers from Joseph Campbell to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi describe it is as “bliss consciousness.” When you are in this state, you are self-aware, but the typical inner dialogue is silent. You have awareness without the interruption of the Ego. Now, that is bliss.
Early in our discussion, you might remember how we talked about how we don’t usually perceive the shift from waking to sleeping or sleeping to dreaming. Well, some people do. They experience the gap or change between different partitions of consciousness, and you can too if you practice the methods of meditation noted above. If you practice a while, you will soon perceive the shifting of these states and discover that this gap is the 4th state of pure consciousness. This 4th state undergirds the other default states.
When we enter the 4th state, we are expanding our awareness. The expansion of awareness increases our ability to perceive and reach other partitions of consciousness.
Shamanic Journey the 5th State
Reaching higher states of consciousness is a goal at the heart of many ancient cultures. The first spiritual process man developed is what we call the Shamanic Journey. Michael Harner (1) calls the Shamanic State of Consciousness (SSC) the fifth state of consciousness. He is a noted anthropologist, writer, and Shaman. In this partition of consciousness. When in this state, the brainwaves are in the theta-wave area.
We find this awareness-altering process in many cultures around the world. It’s another portal to non-ordinary reality. The shamanic state of consciousness is evidence of humanity’s interest in exploring consciousness.
This process has a common theme across many indigenous cultures. It uses rhythmic sound and creative visualization to produce an altered state of awareness. Besides being self-aware, you project yourself into a “visionary state” of consciousness. You are both the director and participant within a landscape of non-ordinary reality.
The Aboriginal tribes of Australia have a peculiar variation of the Shamanic Journey they call Dreamtime. This technique allows them to observe events in other places and times. In essence, they found the secret to time travel.
What is The 6th State of Consciousness?
When we meditate regularly and bathe the mind in transcendental consciousness, we prepare the nervous system and mind for growth. It allows the 4th state to combine with waking, dreaming, and sleeping. This combination results in a new level of consciousness, the 6th state.
This partition of consciousness is significant for several reasons. It proves we can expand awareness to view reality from two different vantage points. So, we learn our consciousness unbound. It can move beyond the confines of our bodies. The 6th state of consciousness is another stepping stone to other higher perception levels.
One achieves this sixth state through regular Japa or TM meditation. This process draws the mind naturally to the state of bliss consciousness. So, it is natural to bring this quality into the waking state of ordinary reality. They describe the experience of this state as “witnessing.” It expands awareness to perceive reality from two different vantage points simultaneously. There is a conscious awareness different from the human body while at the same time being fully “present” in mind and body.
This sixth partition of perception is what some refer to as astral projection. This partition of consciousness provides experiential proof that what we perceive as ordinary reality is more aptly a collective holographic construct. There is also the experiential realization that “we” are eternal and one with this reality as an Observer.
“In the morning stillness, when the world is just waking up, and your conscious mind hasn’t fully taken over, you may feel a connection or passageway to another world and a feeling that something is about to happen in yours. It’s like a quiet storm is coming. You can feel the distant rumble of thunder on the horizon, yet you have no idea of the deluge your life is about to experience.” ― Padma Lakshmi
Here’s another similar view of this higher state of awareness.
“I’m simply saying that there is a way to be sane. I’m saying that you can get rid of all this insanity created by the past in you. Just by being a simple witness of your thought processes.
It is simply sitting silently, witnessing the thoughts, passing before you. Just witnessing, not interfering not even judging, because the moment you judge you have lost the pure witness. The moment you say “this is good, this is bad,” you have already jumped onto the thought process.
It takes a little time to create a gap between the witness and the mind. Once the gap is there, you are in for a great surprise, that you are not the mind, that you are the witness, a watcher.
And this process of watching is the very alchemy of real religion. Because as you become more and more deeply rooted in witnessing, thoughts start disappearing. You are, but the mind is utterly empty.
That’s the moment of enlightenment. That is the moment that you become for the first time an unconditioned, sane, really free human being.” ― Osho
It is possible to get glimpses of the 6th state of consciousness. You may first experience the 6th state when waking up in the morning. In those precious moments of stillness between sleeping and waking states, it is possible to become aware that you are sleeping. Then you can observe yourself waking up. When the mind is silent, then the transcendental state of pure consciousness can reach the surface of everyday awareness.
Are you interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. We offer this curriculum through our individually tailored virtual learning academy and our traditional face-to-face sessions. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey (1). Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions.
(1) Michael Harner, Wikipedia
(3) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia