Human experience tends to encompass three main states of beingâ€”jagrata, the state of waking consciousness; svapna, the dream state; and susupti, the state of deepest sleep. In jagrata, our awareness is focused outward, just as our awareness turns inward when we exist in svapna. The selfâ€”the seat of all awarenessâ€”survives as an autonomous entity in susupti, when it is tethered to neither body, nor mind. Understanding that this is so makes existence in a fourth state possible. Early Hindu philosophy told of another state of consciousness known as turiya, which underlies the common states of consciousness while also transcending them. In turiya, the self does not think, feel, or do, but rather observes thought, emotion, and action. We are, in this fourth state of consciousness, blissfully whole and, for the first time, capable of truly understanding the totality of the universe.
The existence of turiya is proven by the simple fact that we are wholly aware of our existence in jagrata, svapna, and susupti. The source of this awareness is the pure essence of self, which lives through and witnesses the common states within us. We connect with this element of humanity when we enter the turiya state. To achieve turiya, you must consciously isolate yourself from both the corporeal self and the mental self. Accomplishing this is a matter of extreme self trust, as you must first be confident that your existence in a higher plane of consciousness will not compromise your ability to navigate effectively in the physical plane. Meditation practiced with the mantra “I am the soul,” can help you let go of the need to be grounded in body or mind. As you unlock the key to the fourth state of being, remember that turiya has no limits and no endpoint. It is infinitely transcendent, which means its potential is forever expanding.
The self you discover in turiya is the representation of your permanent, intrinsic, essential, yet all-encompassing nature. You are a unique individual and you are a vital part of a larger universal life force that transcends everything on earth. When you touch this part of yourself through meditation, the manner in which you experience the three common states of being will change profoundly. Reality and truth become more clearly defined, allowing you to perceive that which lies above, below, and beyond the human experience.