What is the 6th state of consciousness? It’s a separate partition of awareness with unique experiential properties. So, how do we 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…” — Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, 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 consciousness platform includes three primary partitions: 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 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 unaware 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.
The fourth state is exemplified by the contrast of being fully alert yet experiencing profound silence and internal chatter. It is most notable for its profound state of rest while the mind remains alert. Several scholars, from Joseph Campbell to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, describe it is as “bliss consciousness.” When you are in this state, you are self-aware. However, 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 is the journey into consciousness called the Shamanic Journey. It produces a unique state using rhythmic sound and imagination. Michael Harner (1), a noted anthropologist, writer, and Shaman, calls this the Shamanic State of Consciousness (SSC). It is the fifth primary partition of consciousness. The brainwaves are in the theta-wave bandwidth while in this partition.
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. While in this state, you use creative visualization techniques to project your awareness in an imaginary landscape. You are both the director and participant within a landscape of non-ordinary reality, which shows a parallel to lucid dreaming.
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 viewpoints. 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.
“Now, when you meditate, try to meditate in a sustained way; first of all, sustain it. Then you find that you are getting into the state of Samadhi, means at a state where you start feeling the joy and the bliss of God’s blessings, and…
Once you have reached that state, then you have to realize, “Who am I.” Who are you? What are you? You are the Spirit. After establishing your sustained attention on the Spirit you’ll develop a state where you’ll be in a complete state of witnessing with joy.” — Nirmala Srivastava
The 6th state is the next level of waking awareness, proving how expansive our awareness can be if we learn how to do it.
“Meditation is a deliberate attempt to pierce into the higher states of consciousness and finally go beyond it. The art of meditation is the art of shifting the focus of attention to ever subtler levels without losing one’s grip on the levels left behind. (…) Save all your energies and time for breaking the wall your mind had built around you. Believe me, you will not regret it.” — Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
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.
If you try to hold on to this experience, it is gone, and you are just awake. The best way to cultivate this awareness is to meditate regularly, where you commune with pure awareness. Let us know if you can achieve this beautiful level of awareness or if you have questions. Please use our contact form.
(1) Michael Harner, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Harner
(3) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hero_with_a_Thousand_Faces