I was first introduced to the concept of Turiya when studying and practicing yoga nidra at yoga school in India. It was described to me as a fourth state of consciousness, which encompassed the three most familiar: the unconscious, the subconscious, and the conscious mind. I learned how practicing yoga nidra on a regular basis could help me to navigate all three of these layers of mind with awareness, and by so doing, could grant me access into Turiya -- an awareness of all of them simultaneously.
Where the conscious mind has been depicted as the visible portion of an iceberg, the subconscious mind is the very large, submerged part making up roughly 95% or more of its entirety. The subconscious is unseen and largely inaccessible by the conscious mind, though it contains all the patterns, impressions and stories which, for the most part, run the conscious mind. Our subconscious mind is wide-open between the ages of 0-7 when everything we hear, see, and feel programs this region of our consciousness with behavior patterns and beliefs.
The unconscious consists of group consciousness, the collective mind, and impressions taken on by society and the world at large. It is also the storehouse of all that has ever existed, including the creation of all things, all wisdom, all knowledge and all stories ever told, thought, or felt. The unconscious mind is often accessed in near death experiences, deep meditative states, through psychic intuition and flashes of insight, and through the use of psychedelics; one who channels higher intelligence is also largely accessing the unconscious mind...becoming more and more conscious these days.
Speaking of that: as we all “wake up” -- which I believe is what is happening through the evolutionary process of the earth and all of us -- that which has largely remained hidden and unconscious is surfacing. This is what the energies of the more distant planets coming into certain configurations with the sun and moon are bringing forward. This current Uranus Retrograde period is also sweeping through our subconscious and unburying that which has lay hidden for perhaps generations, to be worked through now.
Karma is stored in both the unconscious and subconscious minds, and it is the reason why many people find themselves acting out behaviors and beliefs which seem strange or unfamiliar to the person they know themselves to be. These patterns are being projected from deeper states of consciousness and often times over-ride the conscious mind.
Through practices like yoga nidra, where consciousness is taught to navigate the subconscious and unconscious minds, a sort of cohesiveness can begin to exist where the person not only can weed out negative or unhelpful thought patterns and impressions, but can also begin to pull in and express more of the true self which underlies all these more recent and “human” programs. Underneath it all, we are divine beings, equipped with greater awareness, skills, and love than we usually know ourselves to have. By dissolving the barriers to these various states -- the ones normally found between our conscious mind -- the subconscious and the unconscious, we begin to access what in Sanskrit is called Turiya. Another name for this is Superconsciousness.
In a superconscious state, one becomes aware of their whole personage: all the patterns which had previously affected are no longer intact in this state, as in order to access this state of being you must weed out that which is blocking the soul light from bleeding through. In superconsciousness, the idea of becoming lucid in a waking dream is a very real thing, as normally, the subconscious mind and beyond is accessed through dream states and the brain waves associated with dreaming, which are largely Theta states.
In yoga nidra practice the brain is taught to easily access Alpha brain waves, such as those found in one who is deeply relaxed, or who meditates often. Alpha states create harmony between the hemispheres of the brain and bring balance to an individual. In Turiya states, the Gamma waves are accessed, which are the highest frequency brain waves recorded and are highly organized states.
In order to attain Turiya, you must have faced your inner demons and mental blocks, for only after doing so would remaining conscious with full access to your whole mind be possible. For the most part, people don’t have access to their subconscious mind and its secrets because it contains a storehouse of what would be considered one’s ghosts. All the patterns and conditioning, unprocessed memories and emotions -- all reside in the subconscious. So, when one begins to open that door, first, these stories and emotions must be addressed before deeper movement can occur.
One must also have strength of spirit and character, as well as an open third eye to be able to handle access to the unconscious mind as well, for it is in this space of awareness where the illusions and entanglements of humanity are brought into full view. When you are able to witness the depth of the sufferings of the world and to see your place within it, beyond attachment, beyond personality, and to feel the compassion of acceptance and embrace for the whole -- you are in a better position to know Turiya. Turiya is without judgment, but holds divine discernment surrounding actions and thoughts. In Turiya, Oneness is realized, a wholeness and feeling of divine connection between all things is dominant.
Gradually, as we erase the blocks in our psyche and begin to clear up old patterns and conditioning, as we expose ourselves to our shadow and embrace the wholeness of who we are and who humanity is, without judgment or regret…over time and with grace, we may be able to access the Divine State of Turiya, where Oneness is known and all states bleed into one. It is said that our minds are just a medium between the Cosmic and our smaller selves. What if we could take out the middleman and always experience Cosmic Awareness? This is Turiya.