The party was in full swing. It was a Disney costume party. Everyone had a minute on the stage to enact their character. Sue, clutching her shoe was rehearsing her Cinderella midnight act in her mind. As she started walking towards the stage, she heard a small boy shouting “where is my shoe?” Soon the boy started tugging her skirt vigorously to get hold of the shoe. There was a tussle between Sue and the little boy, for the shoe. And Sue suddenly WOKE UP, as her son was trying to wake her up to go to school. It was a vivid, dramatic reality for Sue till her son woke her up!
So, when Sue went into deep sleep, she entered the first state of consciousness. In deep sleep, the person has some degree of awareness and so the person can respond to any emergency or a call of duty. In this case, it was a mother responding to her child’s plea to wake up.
The second state of consciousness is dream state. All our memories, imagination and desires make our dreams so colorful, energetic and REAL. Cinderella’s role was so lifelike and expressive in a seemingly real world, till Sue woke up.
Now, Sue woke up into the third state of Consciousness called the “Waking State”, which according to Vedanta is like waking up to another dream. In this waking state too, everything is of temporary nature. We experience pain, joys, melodrama, suffering, happiness etc which are all transient and nothing is everlasting. We are equally engaged in the “Dream state” as we are in the “Waking State”. Both seem real while we are in that Consciousness, but when out of it – we can see that both are impermanent!
Once caught up in this frenzy of excitement as well as agitation, we can use meditation to silence our mind, which enables us to wake up into the fourth state of Consciousness also known as Transcendental Consciousness. We transcend the senses and the material world, to get a peek into our “Soul” or the “Silent Awareness”. People in this state experience total Bliss, which is not dependent on anything. In this state, our senses get more refined, general health improves along with over all wellbeing.
After a glimpse of the fourth state, we enter into the fifth state – the Cosmic Consciousness. Once we are able to maintain this Silent Witness Awareness in all three states of consciousness – deep sleep, dream state and waking state – Cosmic Consciousness awakens. This journey of True Awakening begins, as now one is truly awake as a Witness in all states. We can perform different roles without getting attached to anything. In fact, now we can do everything more passionately, with no bias. We develop compassion and expand our reach to help more people.
In this Meditative Awareness, we start observing the same “Presence” or “Awareness” in everything. In other words, we wake up to not only to the subject of Awareness[ which is you] but also to the object of Awareness (the Object you are observing). The cosmos and nature comes alive and breathing with same Presence and Consciousness.
In the Seventh State of Consciouness, the Observer (you) and the observed (what you look at) becomes the same. It was the same consciousness, but we could not see it till we are truly Awake!!! This state is also called by some as Enlightenment.
So the food for thought is – are we really Awake in our “Dream State”, or are we Dreaming in the “Waking State”.
Poet Walt Whitman gives a perspective in this quote – “I cannot be awake for nothing looks to me as it did before, or else I am awake for the first time, and all before has been a mean sleep”.
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