There are ten primary partitions of consciousness, but most people use only three. How do we reach the others? Why would we want to? Come and find out.
The Rainbow of Consciousness
People tend to think of consciousness as separate partitions. Or part of a strict hierarchy, level upon level. But what if that’s not correct? But what if consciousness is more like a rainbow? Perhaps it’s not a strict hierarchy, but like plants growing from the ground with several connections to the earth. Or like a rainbow that shifts in brightness and intensity.
People are doing the best that they can from their own level of consciousness.” ― Deepak Chopra
In our talk about consciousness, we start with the three default states. We all can recognize them from our daily cycle. These three are waking, sleeping, and dreaming. These three default states are important because they connect our bodies to consciousness. They are three plugs in a pegboard with many other holes.
Perception & The Expression of Consciousness
Most people consider these three states separate entities, like vertical silos on a bar graph. Waking is not on top of sleeping. However, some people see dreaming as a part of the sleeping state because we generally go through the sleep stage to reach it. However, this isn’t always the case. Daydreaming is the case where you go straight from waking to the dream state.
The fact that you can go from one state to another seamlessly is an important finding. It tells us that consciousness is not hierarchical in structure, at least not with the default states. Instead, they are linked and possibly related, like the vertical silos on the bar graph. (1)
Our perception and awareness are fully engaged in this partition when we are in the waking state. Yet, we still have access to sleep and dream states under the right conditions. It’s simply that our awareness is not using either of these partitions.
You are familiar with the first three; these are the default partitions that enable us to use this great mind, body, and spirit machinery. Many people never move beyond this default platform.
But, as you will soon discover, there is much more to the experience available. Nietzsche describes life as a series of questions and experiments. Consciousness is the apparatus through which we make this adventure.
The Ten Levels of Consciousness
Remember that the partitions of awareness are not static and fixed. The rainbow of consciousness is fluid. (2)
We concentrate most of our efforts on the normal waking state of awareness. It becomes the benchmark for ordinary reality, even though we know we experience everything within the mind.
We assume everyone “sees” the world exactly like we do. But we know this isn’t the case, even in practical matters. Several people can witness the same thing, but each gives a different account. Sometimes the accounts are drastically different. EEG brain waves of 8 Hz and higher are typical.
We start our discussion of the ten levels of consciousness with the waking partition. Most people spend most of their time in this partition. It’s not necessarily the most important, but we’ll return to this issue in a moment.
We spend almost half of our lives in the partition, yet most of us do not remember it. When we sleep, our cognition of reality shuts off.
We go through multiple NREM cycles (no rapid eye movement) and REM (rapid eye movement) when we sleep. In normal adults, each cycle lasts for about 90 to 120 minutes. Most people cycle through 4 to 5 phases during a typical 8-hour sleep cycle. NREM sleep is maximum in the first part of the night, while REM sleep predominates in the second half. In the sleeping partition, the EEG is 12 to 14Hz waves with a range of 11 to 16 Hz.
Our dreams are proof of non-ordinary reality, yet most people discount this fantastic conclusion. When we dream, we enter the stage of sleep known as REM for rapid eye movement.
The dreamscape seems as real and concrete as our experience in the waking state. The EEG is the same for sleeping unless we experience nightmares. Dreaming can escalate respiration and heart rates into the waking state’s realm.
This partition opens other avenues for expanding consciousness, outlined under the seventh state.
Sleeping and dreaming are two of the ten levels of consciousness that we overlook. These two states are portals that expand awareness. One of the easiest ways to increase the bandwidth of awareness is to use a lucid dreaming exercise.
4) Transcendent State of Pure Awareness
Without a doubt, the fourth state of consciousness changes things. It’s the beginning of what many Indian masters call the higher states of consciousness and with good reason.
It’s a partition of awareness with profound rest while the mind is active. When you arrive in this partition, you feel the change. The other significant characteristic of this partition is its absence of internal dialogue. You are simply awake and aware. Here, the brainwaves operate around 4 to 7 Hz in the theta-wave area. So, it produces lower but more coherent brainwave patterns than waking, sleeping, or dreaming.
Many people learn to reach the fourth state with the proper type of meditation. We recommend Japa or Transcendental Meditation as the most efficient technique. After using this technique, many people report they experienced this state before; but didn’t realize it. This state of pure consciousness is the silence between waking, sleeping, and dreaming.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi describes the transcendent state like the sap in flowers. Although colorless and shapeless, it feeds the firm stem, the green leaves, and the colorful flower. It’s the expression of consciousness manifest in different ways. Maharishi calls this portion of awareness bliss consciousness. Patanjali refers to it as Samadhi.
Many people report encountering this state after learning to meditate. Familiarity with the transcendent increases our awareness as we transition between states. Some also say the experience between sleeping, dreaming, and sleeping to waking. It shows the 4th state of consciousness supports our platform of default awareness. It is not a state of awareness above but below holding them up.
5) The Shamanic State of Consciousness
This partition of awareness has some unique properties. It is an inward journey that takes place in an imaginary landscape. This landscape is the home of our subconscious imagination. We need to access the subconscious when we dream.
It is one of the ten levels of consciousness that some believe is humankind’s first technique for exploring awareness. This technique is one of the most significant doorways to non-ordinary reality.
6) Cosmic Consciousness
Next, we have the sixth state of consciousness, which combines the transcendent 4th state with the waking state. This partition of consciousness is known as cosmic consciousness and witnessing.
Many Eastern teachers refer to this state as witnessing. This is because you witness yourself from a second vantage point. This second vantage point is from above, but not always. You don’t stop experiencing reality through your senses. You hold both vantage points at the same time. It proves that consciousness is not bound by the body and that our ability to perceive is much greater than we realize. This aspect of witnessing is similar to experience in the lucid dreaming state.
7) Lucid Dreaming
Now we come to the seventh state. Lucid dreaming is the combination of at least two or possibly three states of consciousness. It’s a most interesting experience. You are present and “know” you are dreaming, so it offers some control over what’s happening. This level of awareness is the same as the waking state.
While lucid dreaming, you are present and aware, just as you would be in the waking state. The more experience you have, the greater your control over what is happening. It has similar qualities to the landscape of the spirit world in the Shamanic Journey. This is why many believe Lucid Dreaming is a separate 7th state of consciousness.
8) “God Consciousness”
This partition is possible when we perceive our own divinity as a part of creation. It is the second highest level of perception. One can comprehend the highest value of ordinary reality while maintaining the sixth state. “God Consciousness” as a label for this partition is a well-known oxymoron.
Consciousness and God are the same, although most do not understand them as such. They appear to be different before gaining the proper perspective. We finally grasp that we are as much “a god” as any other anthropomorphic being. We are just as much a god of creation as any avatar of religion. When we achieve the correct perspective, we realize we are the creator, “the god,” or the sap within the flower.
It combines the waking state, the fourth and sixth states, producing the ultimate physical perspective of reality.
“There is a God part in you. The consciousness. The pure Self. Learn to listen to the voice of that Power.” ― Amit Ray, Nonviolence: The Transforming Power
9) Unity Consciousness
In this state, one lives in the realm of oneness. When we reach the fourth state or apply the correct process to remove bias and prejudice barriers, we can get glimpses of oneness. These glimpses of oneness are temporary but show us what is possible. Unity is the highest state of awareness one can achieve in ordinary reality.
10) Unbound Awareness
With this state, we step into the realm of non-ordinary reality. There isn’t a good label for this partition. Yet, it exists in the stories of those who can move beyond reality. The closest examples we have for this state are Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime. The astral projection time travel experiences of Carlos Castaneda also mirror this capability. Some call this state the essence of sorcery or alchemy.
In this partition, we combine four states. We start with lucid dreaming and add the Shamanic Journey. Then we combine the fourth and tenth states of consciousness. You don’t achieve this state unless you’ve done serious inner work.
These ten levels of consciousness are the main ingredients for our life experiment. But, like a rainbow, there are varying degrees of each. For example, as you learn to lucid dream, the first step is knowing when you are in the dream state. But now, you do not yet have control over what’s happening.
Those new to meditation only realize they reach the 4th state when they leave it. You don’t recognize it at first because it lacks internal dialogue, a state where time does not exist. As you become more familiar with this state, you’ll look forward to the peace while basking in the silence. This will help us understand the difference between a state of emotional enchantment and a genuine change in awareness.
(1) The Status and Future of Consciousness Research. The National Library of Medicine
(2) Assessing levels of consciousness with symbolic analysis. The National Library of Medicine