“Consciousness is not in you in the same sense that a raisin is in a bun. That is not unity. Consciousness is in you as the ocean is in a wave. The wave is nothing more nor less than the ocean expressing as a wave.”
Adapted from a quote by Eric Butterworth
I’m a bit of a consciousness geek.
Because our consciousness is everything—without it you can’t hear, you can’t feel love, you can’t assess your own presence.
The quality of your life depends on the quality of your consciousness.
So, if you want to be a better leader, feel more confident, quit a bad habit, or improve your relationships—whatever your goal—it begins from the inside out.
From the Authentic You.
What is consciousness?
Consciousness is primary. It’s the foundation of our lives. Your consciousness is your experience of reality.
I’ve spent the last 10 years studying human consciousness and, most recently, becoming certified in the evidence-based technologies that help us develop it.
Much of my learning was brought to light in detail by a physicist named Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who came from the ancient Vedic tradition, and then elaborated on by Dr. Tony Nader, a Harvard and MIT trained neuroscientist, who worked with Maharishi for many years. Today, Dr. Nader is widely regarded as the foremost expert of our time on the study of consciousness and human development.
The Two Aspects of Consciousness
Dr. Nader explains that there are two aspects of our consciousness: physical (limited to our senses) and nonphysical (beyond our senses). The ocean is a great metaphor for this.
The physical aspect of consciousness is like waves on the surface of the ocean that are seen and experienced as being individual waves.
The nonphysical aspect is like the silent depths of the ocean that has within it the potential to create all possible waves, all possibilities exist under the surface.
The same is true for you. On the surface, your consciousness is bubbling with thought and activity, but there is also something beneath the activity of thought, a higher state of pure consciousness, a peaceful field of creative intelligence.
Beyond Waking, Dreaming, and Sleeping
To access this peaceful field, it’s helpful to understand that humans have different capacities of consciousness.
We are all familiar with the three basic states: waking, dreaming, and sleeping.
But there is a fourth, higher state, of human consciousness which was discovered by Dr. Keith Wallace at UCLA in his groundbreaking research in 1970.
This fourth state is called transcendental consciousness. It’s distinctive from waking, dreaming or sleeping in that you enter a state of deep physiological rest while, at the same time, maintaining an alertness of the mind.
What Does it Mean to Transcend?
To “transcend” means to go beyond, to experience something beyond.
We’ve been discussing that we experience the mind at the main level, which is mainly through our five senses. When we transcend, we take the mind deeper, beyond the capacity to discern, beyond the feelings, beyond the ego, and finally to the deepest level: consciousness unto itself.
This gives you a personal experience of pure consciousness, or Being.
It’s what the great philosophers and thinkers throughout the ages have explored and called the Self.
The Real You
Over 500 published studies by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Yale University School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Stanford Medicine, and others show that accessing this transcendental state of peaceful alertness is key our ability to release stress, increase brain and heart coherence, as well as improve countless health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and PTSD, so we can experience our greatest health and wellbeing (see research studies at tm.org).
Connecting with and enlivening this deepest level of the mind by practicing this evidence-based technique (Transcendental Meditation or TM) regularly, trains your nervous system to be more present, more in control of the frenetic monkey mind. The nervous system becomes less reactive and we become more clear-minded and peaceful.
And doing so is game changing. When we bring more of that calm with us into the busy, upper level of our day-to-day life, every area of work and life shifts. Every metric of success—performance, happiness, wellbeing—reaches a higher potential than before.
There are countless case studies on the benefits of accessing this state of pure consciousness within each of us, but I came across this podcast recently and it’s such compelling personal journey that I thought I’d share:
Enlightenment is Sexy on Happiness in Progress with Danielle Craig (34 mins)
If you’re curious to learn more about consciousness and how to develop it, or want to share reflections from your own journey, please reach out. I’d love to hear from you!