Consciousness is Like a Rainbow of Beautiful Colors

Consciousness is Like a Rainbow of Beautiful Colors

Consciousness is like a rainbow of beautiful colors.  It is a kaleidoscope of awareness, which blends from one shade to the next.  Yet, many people live their entire lives in just three primary colors.  There’s much more to experience in life.  See how to do it.

We are nothing but awareness and memory floating on a blanket of consciousness. So, without the thread of consciousness, we cannot become aware. If we do not have awareness, then we cannot experience reality, and the absence of experience means we cannot create memories.  Finally, without memories, we have no identity and without an identity; we cease to exist.

Like a Rainbow of Beautiful Colors

We are essentially memory floating on a continuum of awareness.  Without consciousness, we cease to exist; without memories, we have no experience, no value.  If we are to understand life’s lessons, we must understand consciousness.

The first step is to define our terms.   However, this is more difficult than you would think.  That’s because our consciousness is a kaleidoscope of colors.  The colors of our perception overlap and sometimes run together.  Yet, it is interesting to find most people live their entire lives using only the three basic primary colors of awareness.  These are waking, sleeping, and dreaming.  So, they miss a vast range of other possibilities.

Consciousness is Like a Rainbow

We experience a range of awareness, but we overlook the subtle shifts.  If we have a good night’s sleep, we make better decisions.  We shift between different states of consciousness.  We transition between waking, sleeping, and dreaming states every day.

The default states are only the primary colors of this rainbow.  In this rainbow of experience, there are many colors of awareness, and many variations of altered state and higher states of consciousness.  But many people live their lives in the default modes.  Our goal is to help you see the possibilities within our rainbow of consciousness.  We hope it stimulates your curiosity to learn more about the other rainbow of beautiful colors.

“Consciousness is like a rainbow; it has a multitude of colors, one blending into the next.” ― Guru Tua

Ordinary and Non-Ordinary Reality

The first thing we need to address are the two avenues of perception we call ordinary and what we call non-ordinary reality.  There are many philosophies and ways to define and describe these two concepts.  We’ll try to simplify the definitions.

  • Ordinary reality is a is generally accepted view of the senses.  It is where time and space “appear” to exist as constants.
  • Non-ordinary reality is what we call our experience of things outside the range of the what is considered normal reality.   These non-ordinary experiences can happen in any of the default states.  Non-ordinary experience can take place both within and outside the realm of time and space.  Think about it.  For now, we won’t open Pandora’s Box concerning whether time and space are “real” or an illusion of the mind.

Three Basic Partitions of Consciousness

We have three default states of awareness which are waking, dreaming, and sleeping.  The waking state gets the most attention because it is the primary platform of experience.  The waking state is where most people experience what we call ordinary reality.

Two of the most overlooked partitions of awareness are the everyday cycles of sleeping and dreaming because they occur when we are generally not aware.  The dream state is fascinating because it provides proof of non-ordinary reality.  When we sleep and dream, we are generally unaware of time or space.  When we dream, we enter an imaginary landscape, a non-ordinary reality.  We don’t need drugs to induce an altered state.  Next, let’s look at each of these three and build upon the possibilities.

The waking state of awareness is the primary platform for human experience within ordinary reality.  EEG brain waves of 8 Hz and higher are typical if someone is awake and aware.  When we are asleep, the normal range is in the delta range of around 1 to 3 cycles per second.  EEG is 12 to 14Hz waves with a maximum of 11 to 16 Hz for the average adult while sleeping.

The lines of demarcation between these primary states are often indistinguishable.  We are rarely aware of the shift from one state to the next.  We will come back to this important point later.  Let’s talk about sleeping and dreaming for a moment.

Explain How to Fall Asleep

If you met someone who has never fallen asleep or dreamed, how would you explain the experience?  How would you explain how to fall asleep?

First, you tell them it’s easy and good for you—trust me.  It’s easy to sleep when you are tired, you lay down, close your eyes, and in a few minutes, you are asleep.

While you sleep, your mind and body repair things, but you aren’t aware of it.  Hours pass, and you aren’t aware of time or your surroundings.  You don’t actually know you are asleep.  After several hours pass, you wake up refreshed.

That’s pretty much it, except for these things we call dreams.  Dreams are an imaginary world of the subconscious.  While dreaming, you don’t realize it, and it seems like reality.  However, crazy things can happen.  Sometimes your dreams are pleasurable, and sometimes they turn into things we call nightmares.  Nightmares are bad dreams that contain the most frightening things your subconscious can muster.

So, the man who has never slept listens to your explanation and tells you, no, they don’t want to sleep.  It sounds like you aren’t in control; you lose track of time, which is wasteful, and to top things off, you can have horrible hallucinations.  I don’t want to try it.

If you’ve followed the discussion, you’ll notice these are the same reasons people use to avoid using techniques that open the doors of consciousness.  People don’t have any frame of reference to understand anything beyond waking, dreaming, and sleeping states.  So, they miss how it is like a rainbow of beautiful colors that await them in the other doors of consciousness.

“Our intellect, our awareness, and our consciousness is the most powerful form of life on this planet.” — James McAvoy

Altering, Expanding, and Reaching Higher States

Before we delve into the details of each, here are the short answers:

  • To Alter consciousness is to change our level of awareness or perception.  Before you have surgery, it is common to be given a sedative. This alters your ability to maintain waking consciousness or feel pain.
  • The Expansion of Awareness is an increase in the ability to perceive and understand.  An example is use of techniques for lucid dreaming.  Here, we use techniques which give us the ability to control and remember our dreams.
  • Higher states of consciousness are partitions with greater awareness, perception, and understanding. Reaching these states is one of goals of spiritual exploration. This is where the mind opens a vast rainbow of beautiful colors.

Altering Consciousness

We can alter awareness by introducing substances into the nervous system. If you ingest psychoactive elements, you alter your awareness and perception.   Alcohol is another common substance for altering consciousness.  External stimuli can also alter consciousness.  Situations which cause intense emotional reactions like fear and anger trigger our primitive fight, flee or freeze reaction.

Many ancient cultures used repetitive sound to alter awareness.  Drums, rattles and singing bowls are common tools for altering awareness.  Some cultures use a combination of sound, psychoactive elements, and rituals to produce trance-like states.

These practices have their roots in the shamanic traditions of the past.  Meditation, chanting, and the shamanic journey also create altered states of consciousness.  These methods are also tools used to reach higher divisions of awareness.

It is common to experience traumatic events as though they are in “slow motion.”  This is how people often describe near-death experiences.  Medical conditions, like epilepsy, can induce altered states.  If we deprive the body of water, oxygen, or sleep, it can cause an altered hallucinogenic state.  Some of these effects are predictable, but some are not.

Expansion of Awareness

The expansion of awareness often involves a “eureka” moment when we grasp some new revelation. When we increase perception, it also increases our knowledge. The easiest way to expand awareness is by using lucid dreaming methods. These techniques help us to control and remember more of our dreams. This, in turn, gives us a greater understanding of our subconscious mind.

Another example is using the analytical mind to grasp how our mind works.  The best tool we’ve found for this is the Enneagram of Personality.  This process uses a test to identify your personality’s nine essential components.  Everyone is a little different, but we all have a default setting.

Yet another example is the perspective you get by studying basic logic.  The analytical powers of the mind can transform our perception.  Logic and common sense are helpful tools in spiritual exploration.  They help us sort out the facts from the fiction.  Many ancient cultures taught common sense along with other more esoteric methods.

Higher States of Consciousness

Higher states deal with things beyond the boundaries of ordinary reality.  It is the difference between how an insect sees the world versus how man sees the world.  Both occupy the same world, but with vastly different perceptions of reality.

In the next section, we’ll discuss the partitions of higher awareness.  People see these as the Non-Ordinary States of Consciousness in the modern world.  But, this depends upon who defines ordinary.

The Non-Ordinary Range of Awareness

Most of us start life with access to the three default states of consciousness: waking, sleeping, and dreaming. Gifted people have direct access to other states without the need of any method.  But sometimes this can be a problem.  One must learn to control access.  Otherwise, you slip in out of ordinary states when you don’t want to.

Our ancestors were curious about the boundaries of consciousness. They created methods for exploring other realms of awareness.  We call them non-ordinary states because Western thought does not deem them acceptable, not because they don’t exist.

We find there are two higher states practiced around the world.  These are Transcendental Consciousness and the trace state associated with the Shamanic journey.

Pure Consciousness

The 4th state of consciousness is known by several names, such as pure or bliss and transcendental consciousness, to name a few.  It’s a partition of consciousness that has unique metabolic characteristics.  The most notable is a change in the increased coherence of brainwave patterns.  Brainwaves are in the 4 to 7 Hz theta-wave area.

This partition of awareness has a profound effect on the mind and body.  The body reaches a state of deep rest while the mind remains alert but absent from the typical internal dialogue.  Scholars like Joseph Campbell to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi recommend everyone to learn how to reach this state of bliss consciousness.  We recommend an Indian method known as Japa Meditation.  The more commercially available version of this process is Transcendental Meditation (TM) (2).

Earlier, we talked about how most people do not notice the shift between different states.  Some people have this ability.  We call them gifted.  But you can learn to do this too.  All you need to do is practice the methods of meditation noted above.  After practicing meditation, you will notice these shifts.  Once you experience it for yourself, you will understand how pure consciousness underlies all states of awareness.  This realization is one way you know you are expanding awareness.

Shamanic State of Consciousness

The shamanic journey is the fifth state of awareness, a universal process found worldwide.  It is likely the first codified process for reaching a non-ordinary state of consciousness.  Michael Harner, (1) anthropologist and modern shaman, calls it the Shamanic State of Consciousness (SSC).

It is similar to pure or transcendental awareness in that the brainwaves are also in the theta-wave bandwidth.  However, instead of basking in silence, you use your imagination to engage in a “visionary quest.”  It also has similarities to the lucid dreaming state in that you are aware of being in this partition while you direct the journey in a vivid imaginary landscape.

The Shamanic Journey has similarities across many cultures.  It is an integral part of the cultural narrative.  For example, the aboriginal tribes of Australia have a unique form of this technique known as Dreamtime.  It is the centerpiece of their tribal culture, which includes a relatively accurate cosmology of the Universe.  Processes like this are the most likely sources of modern religion.

Today, this process has undergone rebranding and renaming in the West.  It makes the process acceptable to Western customers.  It is even taught in Churches as guided meditation, creative visualization, and mindscape.

Combining the States of Consciousness

Now we have what you could call our five primary states of consciousness.  These include the three primary states of waking, sleeping, and dreaming.  To these, we’ve added two other higher states, the transcendental consciousness and SSC.  These are like the different colors of our rainbow.  What’s more important is that there are many different shades between these five.  Each color of the rainbow fades into and overlaps another.  Combining these states is also one of the goals of awareness.

The Sixth State of Consciousness

The sixth partition shows us consciousness is like a rainbow by combining two colors where they intersect, thus creating a new partition of awareness.  When we combine the waking state with the transcendent state, we get “cosmic consciousness.”

The sixth state is an example of combining two forms of consciousness—one from ordinary and one non-ordinary partition.  To enter the sixth state, we bring the transcendent into waking awareness, and it’s a significant development.  It shows us how flexible consciousness can be.  It is like the advent of color TV from black and white.

One achieves this state through regular Japa or TM meditation.  The mind naturally moves toward a state of silence.  So, it is natural to bring this quality into the waking state of ordinary reality.  The resulting experience is what we refer to as “witnessing.” Here, the mind can perceive two vantage points simultaneously.  This separation isn’t a philosophical position.  It is the experience of being separate from the body while also fully “present” in mind and body.  (Sorry, but it’s like explaining to someone that has never slept what it is like to dream.)

This 6th state provides experiential proof that reality is a collective holographic construct which provides evidence that “we” are one with this reality.  We are both the Observer and the participant.  It is the 6th state that gives us a glimpse of the concept of Oneness.

Lucid Dreaming the Seventh State

Some believe that lucid dreaming should be the seventh state because it combines two or even three consciousness states.  In lucid dreaming, one is present; they “know” they are dreaming.  This level of perception is the same as the waking state.  REM is a unique partition of the sleeping state.  It is similar to the SSC, where you move within an imaginary landscape.  In lucid dreaming, you also create and direct the experience.  What do you think?


There you have the essential landscape of the states of consciousness.  Now, hopefully, you can grasp how consciousness is like a rainbow.  And, we haven’t even talked about the non-linear nature of time.  We hope this helps you understand the shapes and colors of the rainbow of perception.

There are several ancient tools for expanding and exploring consciousness.

Spiritual Technologies

The methods above are part of the ancient methods for exploring consciousness.  We call them spiritual technologies because they help us investigate the intrinsic aspect of our nature.   They are a collection of processes to develop the potential of the mind, body, and spirit.   They offer us ways to expand awareness and reach higher plateaus of experience.

You could organize these methods in any number of ways.  We divide these tools into four major categories:

Final Thoughts

Be sure to journey to some the delicious places in your mind.  It is like a rainbow of opportunity awaiting your discovery.


(1) Michael Harner, Wikipedia
(2) Transcendental Meditation Technique (TM) /

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