Everyone has the potential to enjoy states of consciousness indescribably richer and more fulfilling than the everyday states of waking, dreaming, and sleeping.
Great men and women throughout history–Plato, Emerson, Thoreau, St. Teresa, Einstein, and many others–have described momentary glimpses of greatly heightened perception, or higher states of consciousness. They regarded these glimpses as the supreme moments of their lives, the moments by which everything else would be measured. Yet these glimpses were rare and fleeting. There was no systematic way to access this experience on a regular basis or to develop higher states of consciousness as a permanent reality.
The Vedic understanding of the possibilities for human development that Maharishi brings to light not only predicts the unfoldment of life in enlightenment, but fully expects it to occur as the natural birthright of every human being. As a result of Maharishi’s teaching around the world for fifty years, millions of people are enjoying the enormous practical benefits that come with development of higher states of consciousness.
Even from the first day of learning the Transcendental Meditation® technique people commonly report such experiences as “It left me with a deep sense of ease, inner renewal, and happiness” and “I felt a quality of contentment and peace that I had never known before.”
They are beginning to fathom the unbounded ocean of pure consciousness, or Transcendental Consciousness, the infinite reservoir of peace, intelligence, creativity, and bliss within everyone. This experience connects us with our own divine essential nature and fills the mind and heart with the greatest possible happiness and fulfilment.
As the practice of Transcendental Meditation continues twice daily, the body becomes increasingly free of stress, and the mind becomes increasingly infused with the bliss, profound silence, and clarity of the experience of pure consciousness, even during activity and sleep. This is the onset of what Maharishi has called Cosmic Consciousness, the first of three enlightened states of consciousness delineated by the Vedic tradition.
We can describe full enlightenment as a highly exalted yet completely natural state of consciousness where the silent ocean of inner peace and bliss is enjoyed continuously along with every wave of thought and daily activity. The whole of life in all its diversity becomes a flow of absolute fullness of love, bliss, and contentment. This is the full awakening of spiritual freedom and fulfilment. Life is free from problems, mistakes, and suffering.
Is it possible to verify that someone is truly living in enlightenment? For decades scientists have grappled with the concept of higher states of consciousness, generally dismissing them as mystical or philosophical, to be taken on faith. Maharishi changed this by clearly detailing the development of higher states of consciousness and inspiring scientists to define specific, measurable parameters of the predicted highly refined physiological functioning.
Dr. Fred Travis, a leading researcher in this field and director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management in Iowa, USA, has said, ‘The human brain appears to have an innate capacity to function at much higher levels, where mental processes become very calm, precise, and efficient–without common anxieties, frustrations or unhappiness. The results of our research are important because they validate via Western science the experiences of higher consciousness–deep inner peace, bliss, unbounded awareness, and oneness with the universe–that have been esteemed throughout the ages.’
Research on individuals developing an enlightened state of consciousness has indicated higher moral development, higher morale, more frequent peak experiences in life, more good ‘luck’, a more restful style of physiological functioning during activity (lower heart rate and breath rate), heightened wakefulness and alertness shown through increased coherence in brain functioning throughout the day, faster recovery from stress, and greater stability of the autonomic nervous system throughout the day.
Through this research, modern science, for the first time, has documented the existence of what ancient traditions have spoken of over the millennia as the state of enlightenment.
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Parts of the text on this page were taken from The Complete Book of Yogic Flying by Craig Pearson, PhD