Levels of human consciousness

Consciousness is the most chosen topic of study and research for philosophers, cognitive scientists, neurobiologists, metaphysician, psychoanalysts. Let us explore levels of human consciousness and how we can achieve human potential.

Here is the iceberg analogy of Psychoanalyst Sigmond Freud exploring the conscious, the subconscious and the unconscious mind.

Conscious mind 

The first level of awareness is like the iceberg above the surface which is visible. It holds our thoughts and perceptions of our immediate experience which we are aware of.  It is a place where critical thinking or logical reasoning, decision making come to play. It is operated by our will power. But has greater influence by the subconscious mind.

Subconscious mind

The second level of mind is like the biggest chunk of iceberg that stays hidden below the surface of the iceberg. It is the storehouse of all our past experiences and impressions we have gathered throughout our life. This is where our beliefs, values, habits or addictions are stored.

We can reprogram the subconscious mind through our conscious mind.  Practicing affirmations and visualizations are proven ways to change our mindset, habits, breaking self limiting and self sabotaging belief system.

Unconscious mind

This is the unconscious mind, it is the deepest part of the subconscious mind. It is the reservoir where our deepest fears, hidden memories, repressed emotions, and instincts, deep urges, impulses get stored which we might not be consciously aware of. Sigmond Freud believed that the unconscious mind is inaccessible and sometimes unexpectedly surfaces as in dreams or as sudden reflexes. The study of the unconscious mind and its influence on our behavior has been an important tool in treating psychological problems.

We have all had those moments of Eureka or a brilliant idea or a arriving at a solution at work after days of no luck. Just one morning you wake up with this breakthrough idea, or you find a brilliant hack while taking shower or  getting an idea while daydreaming, or on a vacation. Tapping into the unconscious mind, awakening the creative genius sitting right inside of you gives you such joy, elation, and a sudden burst of epiphany. 

“Research has confirmed ancient wisdom: when it comes to creative breakthroughs, it’s better to relax and let the unconscious mind do the work.” 

Your subconscious mind has access to infinite intelligence when it is in harmony. It communicates to you through great ideas, impulses and urges. The more you tune into it, you will be able to hear the inner voice, the creative genius sitting right inside you, ready to empower you. Such a stream of ideas come in when you are relaxed and not when you are stressed at work. Today’s corporate world, with all those agile processes with back to back meetings, aim for 200% productivity. You might surely be nailing it, but I am afraid you might be missing the real zing of creativity and innovation. For the real creative juices to flow, we need the teams to be at ease and have room to think out of box. Hope companies realize this truth soon. 

Superconscious mind

Superconscious mind is a state of exalted consciousness. This is beyond subconscious. This is a place where you tap into higher wisdom, stronger intuition, open up to higher awareness of absolute clarity. The great spiritual leader Swami Vivekananda beautifully explained “Consciousness as a mere film between two oceans, the subconscious and the superconscious. To reach superconsciousness, humans have to take a long journey, an inward journey through meditation, from the unconscious to the conscious, and ultimately to the superconscious. When this superconscious state is reached man becomes free and divine.”

Revered Kamlesh D. Patel, leading the Heartfulness movement and the 4th spiritual guide of Sahaj Marg system of Raja yoga meditation in his series about Evolution of consciousness, expands our understanding and says “As we evolve, our consciousness expands into both the subconscious and superconscious realms, traveling through the vast infinity of the human potential.”  He further explains how our subtle bodies – mind, intellect, ego and  consciousness evolve and go beyond the human level to the divine level. As we meditate and deepen our practice to regulate the mind, our subtle bodies evolve. The mind evolves from thinking to feeling, intellect evolves into wisdom, ego refines with humility and thereby the consciousness expands to higher levels of consciousness.

I highly recommend you to all read the Evolution of consciousness series on Daaji.org, referenced below in the sources.

Time and again, Spiritual Masters have been teaching how to tap into higher states of consciousness by doing meditation, chanting or prayer all are forms where we rest our thoughts on Divine and let go. Slowly the mind stops the chatter and we sink into this absorbed state of bliss, inner stillness, samadhi -complete oneness and we shift into higher consciousness. More you meditate and deepen your practice, you will be able to hold the condition for a longer duration. As you go further, you will be able to access higher realms of superconsciousness at will. This is when one receives great wisdom, visions, creative art forms, inspiration for poetry or prose, great revelations and discoveries happen. Our ancient scriptures and all great works were truly downloaded from such superconscious states. This is how the great Saints and Spiritual Masters operate with boundless wisdom. 

Now the question is can we access such higher states of consciousness?Absolutely, we can. We can truly access such states of consciousness with diligent spiritual practice and willingness to purify ourselves from inside out.

 Hope you found this topic levels of human consciousness interesting. Below are the resources referred.

The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, 9 vols (Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama, 1–8, 1989; 9, 1997), 2.33.
Science of Spirituality 

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