Experiencing higher states of consciousness... This has been the desire of millions of people. You have taken drugs, they have done seances, turned to sex, turned to racing, gambling.
Ordinary consciousness is not very attractive. Ordinary consciousness is boredom, sameness, or misery. It is also a kind of sleepwalking.
Life lived in ordinary consciousness is much like the life of the computer animated characters in the movie Matrix. They go about their tiny concerns unaware that they are a computer generated character in a computer generated reality.
It often occurs for me that our lives, our consciousness is quite accurately illustrated in that movie. You can't reason with a computer animated character, especially if you want them to go somewhere outside of that animation: they can't. It defines their reality and there is nothing accessible for them beyond it. That is all there is... other than desiring to experience higher states of consciousness, lol.
In my work with people, and my work has been with thousands, at least for the extent of one coaching conversation, I have learned about the "human condition".
All my experiments are to reveal if it is possible for human being to be awakened, if human being can change its perception of reality, even for just a glimpse. After that glimpse there is a crack, an opening in the paradigm walls, and the higher, larger paradigm can be introduced.
So far no cigar, and the same can be said about the results of all the previous teachers that have tried. Buddha didn't cause anyone to attain, the next person attained about seven hundred years after Buddha.
We call that glimpse of the larger higher paradigm attainment. Or enlightenment. A very rare phenomenon.
Which pretty much means that if I can crack this seeming impossibility, I will be the first. I am ambitious, I am working around the clock. This work is its own reward: I am not in the business of saving humanity, I am a researcher, and I like larger than life challenges. My biggest fear is boredom and depression: I have been raising the ante since I was 16... it works for me. Let's see if it benefits humanity... lol.
So, what is this consciousness that I am talking about?
Consciousness is a woo-woo word. I could go and look up what other people say about it, but I don't want to add to the Tree of Knowledge stuff, so I am going to look into my own experience, and try to explain it from there.
Consciousness is awareness, noticing, and something else. Consciousness is loaded. Awareness is empty, noticing is empty, no angle, no meaning. Consciousness is loaded with meaning.
Landmark uses a word "occurring" to express this loadedness.
Occurring is something happening (awareness, noticing) plus a meaning. The meaning comes from the past. The meaning is never correct, never accurate, and is always colored by what other people said, what you believe to be true, what you made up yourself. Therefore the occurring world is different for different people, but there are vast similarities in cultural groups, religious groups, etc.
We could say that reality observed plus meaning makes consciousness. And given that the meaning can come from so many levels of "consciousness" themselves, there is a huge variety of consciousness, but reduced to one man's world, there are the following levels that people before me have distinguished, and who am I to argue?
The starting level is where you are, living your life, unconsciously, unaware, asleep.
Mostly you are unaware to what you are adding to reality: you are unaware of yourself and your "contribution." The part of you, the awareness, the witness, the observer is completely ignored, and you live in your mind which only knows about the past, about Tree of Knowledge, about past, about your dreams, desires, dissatisfaction, comparison, and is unable to even think "now".
When I first did the Forum, just about the time when the est training stopped, back in 1987, the trainers were yelling at us. "For you, everything is the same as everything else, except that not always."
Nonsensical, I know, but if you look at it from the point of view of never being present and seeing reality with mind, with meaning from the past, you can see that this is actually the god honest truth about you, and about 99.99% of humanity.
You are not even present enough to notice that you are not present.
If you know me, you know that I play hours of Freecell a day. That is an important part of my spiritual practice: meditation.
Starting about the fifth or sixth year of this, I started to notice that I look at the board (I mean the cards of the game) and I see what I see. When I go to move a card, it is not what I saw. The first five-six years I wasn't awake enough to notice.
This is the ordinary consciousness. We can also say, this is your consciousness when you are awake, meaning not sleeping in bed.
Of course, from time to time you are roused from your sleepwalking, when there is a danger, like your house on fire, but it's rare, and once the danger is over with, you go back to sleep. You may seem agitated, but your speaking belies the truth: you are talking about what happened, and have zero awareness of the now and the now and the now.
Your speaking always belies your level of awareness. If you paid attention, you always talk about things. Things that happened, or things that will happen. There is no attention, no awareness about the now moment. None.
In your normal consciousness mode you are always reacting, never responding. Even when you think you are responding, you are reacting.
Responding is like dancing with a partner who doesn't know the dances you know, and he is leading you in a dance you don't know. In your reactive mode, You would dance from your acculturation, how that dance is supposed to be danced, not how he is leading you.
I hope this example points out for you the difference between being present and responding, and being asleep, doing what your mind tells you is the right thing to do.
There are layers of consciousness below your waking or normal consciousness, the subconscious where you store all the things you suppressed as inappropriate, sinful, too good, etc. the unconscious that is below that. And even below the unconscious there are two levels of unconscious, culturally shared unconscious and universally shared unconscious.
Above your normal waking consciousness, there is superconsciousness, collective and universal consciousness, that you may want to go for, but here is the rub:
You cannot access any of the conscious states until and unless you are willing to go down first. Why? Because they are not available to you: you would bring your "normal" knowing consciousness to that which is far above you and has no room for that kind of consciousness.
Question: is the superconsciousness Colin Wilson wrote a whole book about really superconsciousness? My take on it: not. It is simply you being on the alert side of normal consciousness. Because it only takes you getting into emergency mode, and no digging, and bringing awareness to the dark shadowy death of the below levels of consciousness, you could not call that alert state superconsciousness, it's just a trick to wake yourself up a little bit.
With my handful of brave students we are digging deep into the subconscious and the unconscious, and even a little bit into the cultural or collective unconscious. It's a lot of work, and it requires time, and expert guidance. It is also painful.
But unless you are born again, i.e. become a whole different human being, from the ground up, the higher states of consciousness are not available to you.
But what about the fire breathing gurus, or gurus that make you swirl like a dervish beating yourself into a frenzy? Are those higher levels of consciousness?
My experience to the rescue here: when I enter the Avatar State, which is a higher level of consciousness, at first I am scared. I am afraid that I won't be able to get there. If and when I can stay with that for a while, I disappear with the fear. I'll say it again: there is no "I" or "me" there, only the connection. I, as a person, I as an identity, I, as a self completely disappear and only the connection is there.
I clocked about a thousand hours each year in the past 28 years. I had no guide, I had no teacher, I just had the ambition to do what I needed to do.
Was I aiming at higher states of consciousness? No. I still am a little blaze about it, so what?
But the intense suffering, the intense anguish, the uselessness of the lower states are unbearable to be around, and as an empath I had to do it. Maybe it's my calling. To create the planet where it is possible to live, for me.
All anguish, fear, etc. come from the past. None of them would be there even if you were just on the awake side of normal consciousness...