If the mind can become fully awake for short periods of time, as it does in Transcendental Consciousness, can it remain fully awake permanently? The answer is, it can. And with repeated transcending, it does.
When one first learns the Transcendental Meditation technique, one typically experiences the unbounded awareness of the fourth state only for brief moments, at the deepest points of meditation. But in time, with repeated, twice-daily experience, one’s mind becomes so familiar with pure consciousness that one begins to maintain the experience of it for longer periods—first during meditation and then outside meditation as well.
Gradually, Transcendental Consciousness becomes permanent, forming an underlying continuum that coexists with waking, dreaming, and sleeping. These three states continue to come and go as before. But the underlying continuum of pure consciousness is never broken. The experience of inner silence is never lost—the inner light of the Self is never extinguished.
The experience of growing Cosmic Consciousness is natural, normal, and enjoyable. You grow in creativity and intelligence, alertness and evenness, happiness and fulfillment.
The Fifth State: Cosmic Consciousness
There is a fifth state of consciousness, altogether different from waking, dreaming, sleeping, and Transcendental Consciousness. Maharishi refers to this fifth state as “Cosmic Consciousness.” Cosmic means all inclusive, all-encompassing. In Cosmic Consciousness, the mind is fully expanded. The ocean of consciousness is fully awake to its depth.
The experience of growing Cosmic Consciousness is natural, normal, and enjoyable. As your nervous system becomes progressively free of stress, you spontaneously express more of your inner potential. You grow in creativity and intelligence, alertness and evenness, happiness and fulfillment.
Cosmic Consciousness does not involve some new kind of thought, attitude, or mood. It’s not about positive thinking. The only difference is that the silent and unbounded field of pure consciousness, once hidden by physical and mental stress, no longer remains hidden. It becomes the eternal background of all experience.
Refined Cosmic Consciousness
Cosmic Consciousness provides the platform from where our perceptual machinery becomes profoundly refined. With unbounded awareness established on the level of the conscious mind and with the physiology virtually free of stress, the organs of perception now embark upon a remarkable and spontaneous process of refinement. We gain the ability to perceive finer and finer levels of nature, increasingly subtle strata of creation.
In time, perception becomes so exquisitely refined that we can discern nature’s subtlest material structure. In everything around us, we perceive what Maharishi terms the finest relative domain of nature—the most delicate, most refined value of matter or “relative” existence.
This represents an altogether new state of consciousness—Refined Cosmic Consciousness—unbounded awareness coupled with perception of the finest relative field. Perception now embraces the entire range of outer life, from surface values to the subtlest material level.
Refined perception reveals to us inexpressible beauty, wonder, vibrancy, and life.
The Refinement of Perception
Refined perception reveals to us the previously hidden world, one of inexpressible beauty, wonder, vibrancy, and life. The ordinary waking state presents only the veneer of reality, while the deeper, richer dimensions of life remain concealed. The reality is that the depth of life is always at the surface—we just do not perceive it until our nervous system and perceptual ability has become free from stress.
As our perception becomes refined, nature’s inner grandeur and glory comes increasingly to light, a dimension of life so beautiful, so infinitely rich, that it can only be called heavenly. Maharishi refers to this new mode of perception as celestial perception.
What is the nature of this finest relative level of life? Maharishi describes it as vibrant infinity, vibrant Absolute. It is where unbounded pure consciousness has just become vibrant and ready to create, like a seed swollen with moisture and ready to sprout. The supreme relative field, now open to our direct experience, is omnipresent, forming a common, unified basis of the entire relative creation.
The essential nature of this finest relative field is light. Maharishi has described it as “the self-illuminant effulgence of life.” When the finest material level of life opens to our perception, we see everything as alive, glowing with celestial radiance, as “bright and brilliant and full of light.”
Refined perception is not limited to sight. All the physical senses become refined, so that through every channel of perception—sight, sound, smell, taste, touch—we experience the subtlest, most celestial values. Every perception becomes nourishing, a wave of joy. We enjoy greater harmony, evenness, and intimacy in the quality of our vision, our emotions, the whole of our life.
As our perception becomes refined, nature’s inner grandeur and glory comes increasingly to light, a dimension of life so beautiful, so infinitely rich, that it can only be called heavenly.
Experience in Terms of the Unbounded Self
Refined Cosmic Consciousness brings an extraordinary capacity of perception and knowledge. One now perceives the subtlest material essence of nature. Everything shines with an awe-inspiring, effulgent, divine beauty. One experiences a profound intimacy, appreciation, and love for all things.
Yet knowledge remains incomplete. The ultimate, transcendental reality of nature remains hidden, concealed behind the thinnest of veils—the finest material level of nature itself, the first expression of matter from consciousness. The final stroke of growth carries us across this last threshold.
How does this occur? Through the power of one’s own unbounded awareness. As one’s unbounded awareness falls on the finest relative value in everything one sees, it begins to enliven the unmanifest, transcendental field that pervades the finest relative level.
Discovering the Unbounded within Everything
In Unity Consciousness, we experience the unbounded within everything. And we realize that this unboundedness is identical with the unboundedness of our own Self—the same Self we first experienced in Transcendental Consciousness as our innermost reality. When this happens, the distinction between the Self and the non-Self dissolves. They become unified.
In Unity Consciousness, we experience the Self within everything and everything within the Self—everything is a wave on the ocean of pure consciousness. Dominating every faculty of perception is the experience of the Self, the unbroken wholeness of unbounded awareness.
The world of change does not fall away. We do not lose the ability to distinguish one thing from another. In Unity Consciousness, our senses remain open to the changing world. We see all the details of relative life we have always seen, including the celestial perception that developed with Refined Cosmic Consciousness.
In the ordinary waking state and in Cosmic Consciousness, boundaries were opaque, concealing the boundless. In Refined Cosmic Consciousness, boundaries become translucent. Now, in Unity Consciousness, though boundaries remain, they have become transparent, allowing the unbounded to shine through.