The four states of consciousness as delineated in enlightenment teachings are deep dreamless sleep, dreaming sleep, conscious wakefulness, and the fourth state called superconsciousness. Superconsciousness is always present and is the silent witness to the other three states.
Superconsciousness is defined as: The mind of light, the all-knowing intelligence of the soul. At its deepest level, the superconscious is the Divine Mind of God. The superconscious mind works through the conscious and subconscious states and is the source of intuition, clarity and insight. It is always there, it is the source of our very existence.
The goal of spiritual practice is to live in the superconscious state by learning to consciously access it through meditation and being conscious-present (being in the ‘gap’). We can learn to recognize it in our moment-to-moment awareness; it is our natural state.
The late Subramuniyaswami, in his book, Merging with Siva (Siva is the all-pervading absolute divine consciousness), writes about superconsciousness:
“When are you superconscious? It is easier to know when you are not superconscious than when you are superconscious, because your superconsciousness is such a natural state. It is such a beautiful state. It is such a full, wholesome state to be in, that you are not aware generally that you are superconscious.When you are not feeling too well within yourself, you are not superconscious. When you are feeling really good and satisfied with yourself, you are superconscious. When your timing is right, when everything is happening right during the day, you are superconscious. When nothing seems to be happening right, then your awareness is flowing through one of the congested areas of the thought realm. When everything seems to be going wrong, you are flowing through the instinctive area or a congested intellectual area.When you are arguing with yourself, you are not superconscious. You are flowing through an area of the intellectual mind, taking two points of view and flowing from one to another. When discussing something with someone, you are not superconscious, for superconsciousness is a one-way street. You speak right from the core of existence without really thinking about what you are going to say. You just speak out and hear what you said afterwards.When you are arguing with someone, you are not superconscious. You have moved into a congested area of the thought strata of the mind and you are verbalizing it, and are congesting the aura too. Then awareness has to be unwound from that area of the mind and directed back to superconsciousness.When you are disturbed about yesterday, or even conscious that there was a yesterday, you are not in a superconscious state. When you are afraid, you are not in a superconscious state. When you are peaceful, when you are calm, when you are in the eternity of the moment, when you feel secure on the inside of you, you are in a superconscious state. Superconsciousness is not something you will get, because you have never been without it. You are superconscious this very minute…”
As we develop our understanding of when we are and when we are not actively and consciously manifesting the superconscious, we realize it is basically a choice. We can choose to be present, open, and flow with life. We can choose to stop worrying and being afraid. We can choose to stop arguing with, and/or judging, ourselves and others.
Cultivating superconscious awareness is done first through learning to observe ourselves, working with any negative thinking or programing we identify in the ‘gap’, and then make a conscious choice to stop and change the negative flow of thinking/behaving.
There are certain times when the background of congested thoughts in the intellectual and instinctive areas of the mind can be observed. The first is during the night if we find our sleep is disturbed or we find ourselves waking often. The second is when we awake in the morning. The subconscious mind is closer to the surface at these times and its contents more visible. If you have occasional nights when your mind is trying to solve a problem or a worry, if you have disturbing dreams, or if you wake up with some vague (or not-so-vague) anxiety, try this:
- Do not try to analyze or solve the problem.
- Prepare a simple ‘mantra’, a word or a phrase that is representative of how you want to think or feel according to when you are superconscious. For guidance on this refer to the excerpt from above: “When you are peaceful, when you are calm, when you are in the eternity of the moment, when you feel secure on the inside of you, you are in a superconscious state.”
- Use the ‘gap’ exercise described in Sutra #14 and practice your ‘mantra’ or choose a virtue from the list. Then, immediately (or as soon as you remember to) upon awakening, mentally repeat your mantra with slow rhythmic diaphragmatic breathing. If habitual or intrusive thoughts persist just keep redirecting your awareness back to your mantra and back to your breath. If you are sleepy, your mind may wander off, but again, gently keep pulling it back to your mantra. Over time the positive superconscious conviction of the mantra will become firmly established and impressed in all levels of your mind.
With persistence over time you will notice that when you wake up, your mantra is right there with you. You may also notice that during your day it is right there with you too. In effect you are re-educating the subconscious and all levels of the mind.
The tone and content of our dreams and nighttime musings mirror the stability and harmony of our subconscious and will reflect in our daily lives. When sleep and dreams are disturbed it is because our subconscious is trying to work out conflicts and our daily lives will express the inner conflict in the form of external problems and issues. Many of us repress uncomfortable memories that, when unresolved, lurk in the background and can create current problems in various areas of our lives. Everything that has happened to us is stored in the subconscious.
There is recent research from Emory University School of Medicine showing that the memory of trauma experienced by our ancestors can be passed down, literally by being programmed into the DNA. According to the research, events will trigger the inherited DNA reaction pattern programming. If our parents or grandparents, or beyond, went through traumatic periods or events in their lives we may inherit certain characteristics as a result. This can include fear, anxiety, worry, anger and depression reaction patterns to name a few. Perhaps this is why we see generational trauma and collective grieving patterns, and patterns of racial and ethnic conflict, among so many peoples that have been going on for hundreds or thousands of years – the memories are inherited and passed on to subsequent generations. Nevertheless, we are responsible for how we respond to life now and we can eliminate and neutralize the subconscious conflicts and programming with the method outlined above. Evidence suggests the DNA programming is indeed altered in this way. Enlightenment teachings tell us that when we awaken to superconsciousness, seven generations before us and seven generations after us are blessed by our awakening. Perhaps this has a direct connection with the new discoveries about DNA.
When we clear the subconscious of conflict and thereby allow the superconscious mind to shine forth unimpeded, sleep and dreams will be blissful, and our daily life will be a blissful flow of perfect timing and divine order as an expression.