When we study spiritual arts, or begin studying meditation, we may tend to look up to our teaching yogis who’ve spent a lifetime engaged in such meditation and other spiritual arts. We naturally assume they have reached a “higher state of consciousness or awakened consciousness or whatever transcendental level – along with maybe bliss or perhaps a state of nirvana. We want to emulate them to awaken our own consciousness. Christ had to have had Christ consciousness, right? But let’s face it, do we really know what “higher consciousness” refers to or what truly entails a rising path to enlightenment? Perhaps with enlightened consciousness there is a glow or sense of inner peace . There may be some confidence because assured higher conscious steps have been taken. But is any of this a sure sign of enlightenment consciousness? Maybe the yogi or saint appears as a “together person,” not out-of-control, not agitated or stressed. We also may note their surrounding environment is orderly, and as a reflection of the “togetherness” within. But beyond that or demythologized, is there actually such an animal as purely higher consciousness or higher states of conscious awareness?
In answering that question, let us assume our answer depends, in part, on how we see and define what consciousness is. What are we really pointing to with such words?
A Guiding Definition of “Consciousness”
In this blog, we tend to define principle of consciousness as the principle of connection itself in nature. If we apply that unique definition consistently, there may not be such a thing as a purely “higher” state of consciousness. This is because that principle of connection refers to something far too universal – such as connecting to whatever is higher and lower. So a guide to consciousness has to involve a practically guiding definition of consciousness and to transcend consciousness in the ordinary modes.
Another Meaning of “Higher”
There is still another keen way of looking at the term “higher” in relation to consciousness. It can mean the experience of what is higher consciousness or what are higher conscious states in a way akin to being on top of a mountain and seeing from a “zenith” panoramic perspective. To see an entire landscape as one is a way of making vision connectively whole. Or this means one has a more connective/conscious posture to literally everything in daily life experience – namely towards consciousness itself, one’s mind, emotions, body movements, social environment and nature as a whole.
Monastic View of Higher Consciousness
If we then separate ourselves from the world in a monastic lifestyle and go deeper and deeper into a mucho-relaxed, mega-alpha wave state, we arrive then at a different view of presumably higher consciousness or some high consciousness states. To awaken that kind of consciousness, we need not be involved in the world at large. Creating a deeply relaxed and at peace state allows us to become more connected and whole within – whether or not one can use that state or its insights outwardly to help others heal with compassion. Thus a heightened inner connectedness that is monastic, via life in a cloistered monastery, steps away from worldly concerns or involves emptying the mind as a whole. This is not the same as a lifestyle that dares otherwise. I’ve traveled to Israel and have seen where the Essenes lived in desert caves removed from the rest. Other such traditions support living in seclusion via different means.
Divergent Terms for Awake and Conscious
As a result, we have divergent terms for what it is to achieve a higher level of consciousness or awake states such as spiritual consciousness, awakened state, sudden enlightenment, cosmic consciousness, transcendental consciousness, alpha wave mind state, buddha consciousness, christ consciousness, brahman consciousness, shiva consciousness, yogic trance consciousness or samadhi, and the state of bliss and nirvana , spiritual consciousness and so on. Maybe the laughing Buddha, God bless him, has reach a state of comic consciousness. Higher consciousness, treated lightly or seriously, may often be something quite different in various cultures.
The positive is that there is no one guide to higher consciousness. One can choose to pursue different spiritual consciousness paths, or living in the world while not being of it. You choose the level of consciousness to be on, and perhaps some run in parallel loops rather than ever higher spirals of transcendent conscious awareness.