Mindfulness Theories & Practices #8: The Fourth Level Of Human Consciousness

“The topic of the retreat, and its goal, is the turiya state – the elusive fourth level of human consciousness. During the typical human experience, say the Yogis, most of us are always moving between three different levels of consciousness – waking, dreaming or dreamless sleep. But there is a fourth level too. The fourth level is the witness of all the other states, the integral awareness that links the other three levels together. This is pure consciousness, an intelligent awareness that can – for example – report your dreams back to you in the morning when you wake up. You were gone, you were sleeping, but somebody was watching over your dreams while you slept – who was that witness?…


“Here’s how you can tell if you’ve reached the turiya state – if you’re in constant state of bliss. One who is living from within turiya is not affected by the swinging moods of the mind, nor fearful of time or harmed by loss.” (p. 96)


Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love; One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia (NY: Penguin Books, 2006) provides this description of “Our Awareness.”\. She’s describing a silent retreat in which she was assisting.

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