7 Levels of Consciousness

purple and gold Illustration of a person in lotus meditation position and 7 areas of consciousnessSeven Levels of Consciousness are recognized in several religious and mystic traditions. While I’ll be researching and sharing other viewpoints in my upcoming classes, I have started with shareable input from the website of https://www.mysticsense.com and with additional quotes from a Transcendental Meditation website. In this article, I’m including a smattering of my own thoughts, as well.

Note: the higher levels of consciousness, typically, are reached through or as a result of meditation.

Western Medicine Recognizes Limited Areas of Consciousness

These States of Consciousness Are Recognized by Western Medicine

caduceus medical symbol in gold by Gordon Johnson


Definition: a state of being aware and responsive to one’s surroundings. Awake.

In this state, thoughts circulate both deliberately and automatically.

  • For example, you deliberately decide to make a list and go to the grocery store to buy food.
  • While driving there, you automatically drive the vehicle, without having to think of every move of your eyes, hands, and feet in maneuvering the vehicle.


brain with tiny arms holding up weights (dumb bell exercise weights)

Information exists as memories one can recall automatically.

Mystic Sense gave the example of muscle memory and one’s ability to remember how to play the violin. Another example is remembering your name.

  • I think the term “Pre-Conscious” also could include patterns that are imprinted on the body/mind/emotions plus the chemistry, hormones, and intrinsic responses that are affected while a baby is being formed in the womb.
  • Furthermore, in terms of metaphysics, “Pre-Consciousness” could include genes, patterns, and other attributes that are passed down from generation to generation, so it would encompass an individual’s ancestral background.

However, the last two points are my own definition and not one put forth in the research I’ve done so far on this subject ~ which is why I’m going to do more research. smiley face girl with lashes and bow


In the Unconscious state, a person is unaware of the surroundings and, seemingly, is living on autonomic systems that preserve survival. The heart beats. Breathing continues. But the brain is not processing stimuli normally.

Red question mark behind figure asking

Again, metaphysicians may argue with this in that some people, who have been comatose, later have accurately reported seeing and hearing what was going on in their surroundings, quoting medical staff and visitors to their bedsides. However, it is true that they were not awake. Clearly, there is a distinction between being awake and aware that we could benefit from exploring.

Metaphysical and Non-Medical

Definitions/Explanations of

Conscious and Preconscious

In some metaphysical approaches to this topic, Western medical definitions are accepted. (Note: this excludes my ad lib comments above.)

Brightly colored paint splashed on the face and hand of a person with blue eyes looking out between spread fingers - Conscious MindIn a more etheric view, the state of full consciousness means the lower chakras (root, sacral, and solar plexus) are operating actively versus a meditative state in which the upper chakras (third eye and crown)  get the most emphasis.

2nd Level of Consciousness

~ Deep Sleep ~ Dreamless

photo of a cherubic angel statue asleep by Thomas Mühl

In deep and dreamless sleep, the mind is not accessing memories or emotions, according to current understanding. We are unconscious.

Yet, the body is still responsive to external stimuli –  reacting in terms of primal instinct. For example, it might jerk a bit at the sound of loud noise.

During this time, our minds and bodies rest and heal from the mental, emotional, and physical exertions of the day.

Deep, dreamless sleep not only supports good health but also is necessary for reaching higher levels of consciousness as we strive for total enlightenment.

  • Many people do not strive intentionally toward enlightenment in their lives on earth.
  • However, in many metaphysical and religious traditions, the souls of people are evolving toward enlightenment, regardless of whether the conscious mind is aware of that.

3rd Level ~ Sleep ~ Dreaming

The word "Dreams" spelled in cloud-like letters by by Biljana Jovanovic from Pixabay

During deep sleep, most of us dream – often about thoughts, feelings, people, experiences, and memories that we have encountered in the last few hours.

  • Dreams occur in color or in black and white images.
  • Dreams often reflect issues a person is trying to resolve or desires they hope to fulfill.
  • Dream images might be symbolic, rather than literal.
    • For example, I once dreamed about the (accounting) Controller in the organization where I worked. I saw him as clearly as if we were in the same room. However, it seemed he was completely out of context and unreal, until I realized he symbolized financial management, rules, and control. When I saw his image as a symbol, rather than as a co-worker, I could interpret the dream. Its meaning and import became relevant, clear, and useful in addressing something I had just purchased.
    • Another dream was about several rescue cats I was putting into a police security van. (I was in charge of campus police and emergency management at the time.) I realized the symbolism was about people and things that needed to be protected by my active intervention in order to be safe.
    • A third way that can be useful in dream interpretation is to see every “character” in the dream as an aspect of oneself. If I saw an overlord in my dream, what might that mean in terms of how I treat my employees? If I were to experience a juggler in my dream, what might that say about my life’s being in or out of balance – of my needing fewer “balls” to juggle – or, of my need to multi-task, etc.?

Lucid Dreaming

An illustration of a woman in the lucid dreaming state of consciousness (one asleep - seeing herself awake in the dream) by Victoria ArtLucid dreaming occurs when a person can switch on part of the conscious mind, while in a predominantly unconscious state. A person then can manipulate the actions and scenarios being played out in the dream.

  • This is most likely in a person who “operates in” higher planes of spiritual consciousness.
  • Lucid dreams often reveal our deepest, darkest fears and desires.
  • We can work with these in our dreams to resolve “earth plane” physical, emotional, or mental issues and to begin a path toward enlightenment.

Common Consciousness Levels

image for HypnoMeditationTM‘s website contains an interview and explanations from which I’ve taken the following quote.

The first three states — waking consciousness, deep sleep and the dreaming state of sleep — are known to every adult human being with a functional nervous system.

The last four levels — transcendental, cosmic, god and unity consciousness — are usually not available right away. These states become accessible only as one engages in regular practice of meditation.

4th Level ~ Transcendental Consciousness

symbolic figure in meditation pose with chakra colors in alignment

This is the first of the truly enlightened states of consciousness. A different way of describing the state is that it is one of Silence.

According to Mystic Sense, transcendental consciousness is the ability to enter into a trance.

  • A person in a state of trance has the ability to completely mute their senses while remaining fully conscious.
    • “Trance” does not mean something you saw in a black and white movie of yesteryear. It does not involve someone swinging a pendulum in front of your eyes or staring into a swirling vortex.
    • You can be in a trance (brain-wave state) when staring at the fire in a fireplace and losing track of your surroundings.
    • You can be in a trance-like state when you are watching an engrossing movie – or when you are “in the zone” as an athlete, aware only of the goal you aspire to reach.

Doing so allows individuals to connect with their spirit without the external noise of their senses, thoughts, and feelings interfering.

When a person reaches the highest levels (usually through an advanced state of meditation) he or she experiences the purest form of self-awareness in which a person exists in a state of being rather than perceiving or doing.

5th Level Cosmic Consciousness

ocean with foam and stacked rocks on a beach, mindfulness meditationHere is a quote from the Transcendental Meditation website:

“Gradually, with the ability of the nervous system to stay in contact with the fourth state of consciousness, one develops the ability to sustain that inner silence, that unbounded inner reality simultaneously while one is doing things, thinking thoughts, [being] active. Eventually, that becomes stabilized and it becomes a permanent state of consciousness which Maharishi called the Cosmic Consciousness.”

6th ~ Out of Body Consciousness ~
Out of Body Experiences /OBEs

image of consciousness being split and an out of body experience - photo by Gerd Altmann

Once cosmic consciousness has been achieved, a person may be prone to out-of-body experiences.

OBEs can be intentional or can occur spontaneously, perhaps surprising the person experiencing them.

Typically, they involve the viewing of oneself as a separate entity. Some people find answers to difficult personal questions while in this state of the spectator.

OBEs can be profound in terms of reaching enlightenment as they are a sign that one’s consciousness has pulled free from the limitations of the human body.

Remote Viewing

Colorful illustration of the continents on a flat surface by Gerd AltmannI don’t know if OBE is the correct category into which I should place this topic, but I’m putting it here regardless.

Remote Viewing takes place when someone can see actual events, people, and/or surroundings in a place separate from that person’s current physical location.

It has been used by Russian and American militaries and, probably, by many other government and private organizations, as well as by individuals.

It often involves giving “the remote viewer the longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates of the intended object of scrutiny. Another way of doing it is to give “viewers” a time in the past or future and ask them to describe what they see.

Below is a fascinating interview with the researcher, Stephan Schwartz, who has utilized thousands of remote viewers in research projects since 1978. You may be surprised at the predictions, and the video is well worth the time spent watching it.

7th ~ Unified Consciousness – Some Call It The Unified Field,

Or The Quantum Field, Or Universal Consciousness, or God

Regardless of what name and/or religious/scientific/agnostic attributes a person ascribes to it, the final enlightened state of consciousness currently known to mankind is unified consciousness.

In this state, an individual becomes aware that there only ever has been and will be one consciousness, and that is the consciousness that is currently in existence.

“The individual understands that life simply… is. There is nothing more, nothing less and nothing for us to search for. True enlightenment has been achieved once a person has fully come to terms with this rather scary and bleak concept.” (Mystic Sense)

Higher levels of consciousness are not permanent states of human existence. We glimpse them, experientially, but we return to the earth plane to live our lives.

Perhaps, one might have a “Road to Damascus – Apostle Paul” experience, but it is far more likely that a person will achieve this state through meditation or by having an NDE (Near Death Experience). I always think that NDEs are poorly named, given that the person has been technically and clinically dead and then returned to life. The label is unimportant. It is the experience that may be profound.

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I hope you enjoy exploring these topics, as much as I do, albeit I usually do it in Sip & Share sessions on Zoom with some of my followers or in some of the many classes I teach online. If you would like to contact me about that, please email me at GetWellStayWell@outlook.com and put “Let’s keep learning!” in the subject line. Thank you very much in advance.

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