Three Levels of Consciousness

WHAT IS CONSCIOUSNESS?

by Derek O'Neill

Consciousness is a huge topic, with as many interpretations of what it means. There’s the scientific view of consciousness which looks at details of the brain and its functions. Consciousness is also defined as our thinking, our perceptions, our system of beliefs and spirituality, and the entirety of our self-reflection. Though our reality seems dependent on what our external world looks like – where we live, our relationships, our economic situation, etc. – in truth, it’s our consciousness that creates our reality and determines what the external world is serving up at any given time.

Our consciousness that creates our reality and determines what the external world is serving up at any given time.

CREATING YOUR REALITY

The manifestation of your state of mind – your consciousness – influences your life in every conceivable way. Your consciousness will always be a stronger force than the external world around you. No matter how potentially jarring or seemingly powerful a life-changing episode can feel, your consciousness will create your reaction. Life is a pendulum that swings back and forth, from pleasure to pain, from darkness to light; we choose which one we want to experience at any given time.

Your consciousness determines your reality. When we attain a higher consciousness, we achieve perspective and the inner truth that helps us understand, accept, and love ourselves so we can be aware in every moment. To attain a higher consciousness, your goals are:

  1. To be aware of your consciousness and how to shift it
  2. The role it plays in the various scenarios life presents to you
  3. How your individual consciousness affects the collective consciousness (and vice versa).

If that seems like a big ask, don’t worry. We can break it down step by step. Think of consciousness as the blueprint of your mind. That blueprint is sitting there, waiting for you to acknowledge it so that you find your passion in life. Consciousness is continually manifesting your world on more than one level. To launch us into the topic, let’s look at how consciousness exists on three levels.

3 LEVELS OF CONSCIOUSNESS

Ultimately, consciousness is energy. By bringing together the three levels of consciousness, we can shift and change that energy.

Level 1 – The Conscious Mind

The first level, “the conscious mind,” encompasses your thinking, feelings, and reactions, as they happen in real time. The conscious mind is what you are reading with right now. In simplest terms, it’s being awake and aware that there is a “self” that you experience the world through. Consciousness knows right and wrong – usually – and it is the mind that is most active during your day. This includes thinking about the past and the future on a conscious level.

Consciousness arises from a connection to the mind that exists in the present and focuses on the creation of new possibilities at any given moment. When our consciousness is intentional and aware, it leads us into deeper self-reflection, and allows us to relate to other people with compassion as we recognize we are all one, each a part of the whole.

Level 2 – The Subconscious Mind

The second level is the “subconscious mind.” Think about the subconscious as the mind that lies underneath. It affects your consciousness in a powerful way as it has imprinted experiences that have happened in your life – that you may or may not be aware of – but that play an important role in how they affect your current consciousness. The subconscious could be called the paintbox of your mind, coloring your thoughts and sketching your perceptions. It is a library of every event you have ever experienced, that is now subtly influencing who you are and how you process your present life experiences.

Understanding the subconscious, and how it shapes your conscious mind, can shed light on old patterns of behavior and belief systems, as well as your ability to accept and change your ways of thinking for the better. The subconscious knows everything about us. Our journey is to lovingly open up its multitude of “files” and embrace how we got to this point in life. With the subconscious’ help, we can stop the struggle we experience within certain areas of our lives.

Level 3 – The Higher Self

The third level of consciousness is our “higher consciousness.” We could also refer to it as our “superconsciousness” or “overriding consciousness.” Some people call this level of consciousness the “Higher Self”,” “Source,” or “the God-self.” The higher consciousness acts as a neutral force on both the positive and the negative poles that are created by the conscious and subconscious minds. When a neutral force acts upon positive and negative forces, a spark-like energy is created that inspires wisdom, creativity, even genius. The superconsciousness observes and acknowledges a higher plane of existence that can help make sense of the chaos and provide a unifying path to acceptance and happiness.

The more your consciousness grows, the more you understand yourself, and everything and everyone around you.

GOING DEEPER

The topic of consciousness is rich and far-reaching. Many cultures, philosophies, and belief systems offer teachings that can illuminate a fascinating exploration into our very being. For example, Buddhist teachings offer nine levels of consciousness, which expands on the three I’ve outlined above. The first five levels encompass the use of our senses – the consciousness of what we see, hear, smell, touch and taste. We don’t all experience these levels the same way from day-to-day or person-to-person, because our belief systems create filters that alter our perceptions.  Mindfulness, when it comes to our senses, puts us in conscious contact with our surroundings. This can lead to a greater sense of wholeness and appreciation. The 6th through 8th levels in Buddhism lead up to the subconscious level where the blueprint of your life and its karma resides. The 9th level is pure consciousness and enlightenment which is accessed through teachings and meditation and is the highest rung of the superconscious.

Ultimately, consciousness is energy. By bringing together the three levels of consciousness, we can shift and change that energy.

To explore further topics on consciousness such as the role of Karma, the relationship between personal and collective consciousness and accessing your higher self, download my latest book.

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