The Four States of Being
“For the past has been left behind, and the future has not been reached. Instead with insight let him see, each presently arisen state”
The intention behind this article is to bring awareness of what are commonly referred to as ‘The Four States of Being’, to help us gain a deeper understanding of ourselves through meditating on these states of conscious awareness. It’s not uncommon to hear of struggles from early meditators claiming they are unable to silence their mind, or that they do not even know where to begin when it comes to meditation. This article will create a simple guideline to help illustrate how to observe ourselves in a way that may help us take a step outside of our mind and into the great cosmic unknown!
This information is based off of the 10 Planes of Consciousness as described by Mahajrya, an organization that take concepts primarily from the Hebrew Kabbalah, Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity to help spiritual seekers find the connecting truth between the various belief systems without the dogma or claiming any one specific path, except that of personal growth. If you wish to learn more about Mahajrya visit Mahajrya.org.
In this practice, they describe the 10 Planes of Consciousness in a way that can be expressed similarly to our basic understanding of the dimensions. There is consciousness, and this consciousness exists in different densities or levels, the highest of which would be source consciousness, or God if you will, and then expands outward to encompass the realms of our soul right down to that of our human experience. The top three planes are therefore often referred to as “The God Planes” while the three planes below that are called “The Soul Planes”. This leaves four levels remaining, “The Human Planes” and the meditation to work your way through these planes is know as “The Four States of Being”.
First State: Breathe
The root of all sentient life as we know it is the breath. Regarding the essential ingredients for life, we can go weeks without food, days without water, but try going even an hour without breathing. Our breath is the first action we take as we are born into this world and is the last action we make as we leave it. So at the very root of the human experience, the bottom of the human planes, is our breath.
Many practices including the common western yoga techniques have placed tremendous importance in the value of deep and wholesome breathing. The understanding is simply that as our breath is so essential to our life, by becoming aware of exactly how we are breathing we will create a deeper connection to the higher planes, grounding us in the present moment, and help establish a state of internal peace.
One of our common expressions is “breath check!” meaning to take a moment right now to check how deep is your breath. Drunvalo Melchizedek in his book “The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life, Volume 2” goes through the steps of the Merkaba meditation, and in this practice your inhales and exhales must be a minimum of 5-7 seconds per direction, for a total of 10-14 seconds for one full breath cycle. Is your breath this deep? Try taking a few really deep breaths and time your inhales and exhales. Being mindful to keep the inhales and exhales the same length.
As we breath in this manner we can observe the fact that we are now focusing our thoughts on our breath, and knowing that as we breath deeply there is more than just air flowing in and out of our bodies, but etheric energy too! As you breath deeply, picture the breath starting at the crown of your head as you inhale and pouring energy into you. Try feel as though you are breathing with your pineal gland, not just your lungs. As you do this you may feel your ears pop, this is normal and a great sign that you are maintaining the pranic breath! Once you are grounded in your ability to observe yourself breathing you can move on to the next plane.
Second State: Inhabit
As you feel your breath on each inhale and on each exhale, take a moment to observe your physical body. Inhabiting yourself in this moment. Observe your body moving as you breathe, if you feel comfort or discomfort, observe the sensations and breathe into them. Try for a moment to exist as a single cell within your body, and look at all the life that surrounds you. Our blood is composed of countless cells, all of which are conscious of the role they play within our bodies, as is every organ or every tissue within us. Take a moment to observe yourself at this physical level.
This body is your container. The vessel in which you exist and are able to reach out and interact with the world. This plane of consciousness is very dense and meticulously structured, which is a good thing as it builds the very fabric of the reality we can see, feel, taste, smell and touch. While meditating on inhabiting your body, you can keep your eyes open and reflect on what you see around you, what you can smell, the tastes in your mouth. Observe yourself, and observe the sensations of your deep breath within you.
This plane is essential to the connection to all the other planes of consciousness as this is the tangible manifestation of reality in which the other planes reach towards. Being alive is life’s greatest miracle, so in this present moment, take the time to go inside and really feel what it means to have a body. As we breath deeply, as we inhabit your bodies, relax and know that we are all the sum of our previous actions, by changing these actions we will change our outcomes. Cause and effect, and this understanding of the nature of the physical world will help us learn from our past and start working towards creating a more blissful reality around each and every one of us!
Third State: Feel
As we ground ourselves in our deep breathing, inhabit our physical bodies, we can take a step up in density to the next plane of human experience, the emotional plane. The reason this plane comes next is because when we have strong emotions, we can really feel them physically. Take the sensation of a new love, many people will describe the feeling of butterflies in their stomachs, our emotions can become so strong that they reach down and affect our physical bodies. Consider the feelings of a heart break, many people will express a physical pain in their heart or a gut wrenching feeling that nearly makes them sick. These are all the sensations of our emotions when they become intensified.
How are you feeling right now? As we take a moment to really look at our emotional selves and how we are actually feeling we begin to see the effects our emotions can have on our bodies or on our breath. Did focusing on your emotions take your attention away from your breath or are you still breathing deeply?
All too often we shut our emotions away in our mental closet and do not take the time required to objectively observe how we are feeling without trying to fix the situation that caused them, or trying to rationalize why it is that we are feeling any one particular way. Just observe how you feel.
There is no judgement here, only self observation and empathy towards ourselves. We can learn from our emotions if we take the time to really step back and look at them. Our emotions are one of the best tools we have for finding out what it is that we like or don’t like, the same way we learn to be cautious with fire after getting burnt, we learn from our strong emotions how to better understand what is and what is not love. It is said that we are here to gain a better understand how to really love, so by observing how close or far we are from feeling this love we can learn and grow emotionally.
Fourth State: Observe
The fourth and final state within the four human planes is the mind itself. While reading this article each of us may have had hundreds of little thoughts already, this is the time when we look at our thoughts as being our own personal internal commentary. As we focus on our breath, we may think thoughts such as counting up to 7 on each breath and breathing in through our crown. As we focus on our bodies we may think thoughts about the actions we need to take to help bring us more comfort or ease our pain. As we focus on our emotions we may think thoughts that help us understand exactly why it is we feel the way we do and help us learn from even the most difficult of emotional situations.
Therefore, as we focus on our thoughts themselves we get the choice to ask ourselves “Do I really need to be thinking that thought?”, “Why do I think that?”, “Is this thought helping bring peace to myself or other around me?” Creating this internal dialogue we can realize a deep and profound truth, that you are not your thoughts.
If we are able to observe something, then that thing is not us. If you can observe yourself breathing, then you are not your breath. You have breath, but it is not you.
If you can observe your body, then you are not your body. You have a body, but it is not the true you.
If you can observe your emotions, then likewise, they are not you. You will have emotions, but they do not dictate how you must act, they only show you the results of the experiences of the human experience on the emotional plane.
And lastly, if you can observe yourself thinking thoughts, then you are not your thoughts but something beyond even your own mind. So this opens the ultimate question, “If I am not my breath, body, emotions or mind then what am I?” You are a soul! Observe the observer within yourself that was able to step back and analyze your own mind. This is the part of your higher self that came down into this dimension and chose to create a human experience, to learn and grow closer in understanding of a greater love.
By stepping outside of ourselves we can see that sometimes our thoughts do not help us, or that they get stuck thinking thoughts that are not productive towards the dreams we want to accomplish with our lives. We can see too that sometimes our emotions can get congested and cling to experiences that are not happening anymore and are things we can choose to let go. We can see that our bodies are the results of the love and actions we take towards ourselves, and by changing our behavior we can grow physically and do things we used to think were impossible. Finally, by stepping outside of ourselves and observing our breath we can see how easily we get caught up in all the different aspects of this human experience and really get back to the root of ourselves, finding a peace and stillness that will change your life, forever.