In this episode in our search for ‘the miraculous’ – the reality that lies behind the reality that we take for the whole and only reality – we first have to get a better view of what is hindering us from getting access to the ‘miraculous’. The system of ‘The fourth Way’, teaches us that man is asleep and not conscious of his thoughts, feelings and actions. It is useful to remember that this is exactly the inner meaning of many ancient doctrines, best known to us in Christianity and the Gospel teaching, in which, the idea that man lives in sleep and first of all must awake, is the basis of all the explanations of human life. The Gospel teaching also demands awakening, but it does not say how to awaken.
The main idea of the system on how to free yourself from sleep, is to become fully aware of your state of sleep. Therefore it is needed to have a better and more refined understanding of what sleep really means. Being asleep is far more than being asleep in the literally sense of the word. The system considers ordinary sleep – the state of consciousness that we are actually in bed sleeping – only the first state of consciousness. In contrary to more traditional psychological trains of thought originated by the likes of Freud and Jung, who ascribe great meaning to dreams and the ‘sub-consciousness’, the ‘The Fourth Way’ speaks about four different states of consciousness. Being asleep – the first state of consciousness – is considered to be a merely subjective and passive state where man is surrounded by dreams and all his psychic functions, thoughts and movements work without any attention.
The second state of consciousness doesn’t differ much from the first state sleep in the sense that sleep itself does not disappear when the second state arrives. When man awakes from sleeping, sleep remains with all its dreams and impressions, only a more critical attitude towards one’s own impressions, more connected thoughts and more disciplined actions become added to it, but the dreams still remain. This second state of conscious is called ‘waking sleep’ or ‘waking consciousness’.
The third state of consciousness is called ‘self-consciousness’ or ‘relative consciousness’ where man does realise he is asleep. It is the state of consciousness that is attainable for man but requires a sustained and conscious effort.
The fourth and last state of consciousness is called ‘objective consciousness’ which isn’t a real possibility for a normal mortal being. In the fourth state of consciousness you are able to see reality the way reality really is. There are no more contradictions, dreams and misunderstanding.
To make things even worse, a mechanical human being has only access to first two states of consciousness. It is as though he owns a beautiful four-storied house, but only lives in the two lower stories. These two states, sleep and waking sleep, are the only two states of consciousness in which man lives.
“ We generally think that we possess self-consciousness, that is, that we are conscious of ourselves, or in any case that we can be conscious of ourselves, at any moment we wish, but in truth ‘self- consciousness’ is a state which we ascribe to ourselves without any right. ‘Objective consciousness’ is a state about which we know nothing.”
Self consciousness is a state in which man becomes objective towards himself, and objective consciousness is a state in which he comes into contact with the real, or objective world from which he is now shut off by the senses, dreams and subjective states of consciousness. To awake from the ‘waking sleep’ it must be understood that the first obstacle is man’s conviction that he already possesses self-consciousness. If you ask a man if he is conscious or if you say to him that he is not conscious, he will answer that he is conscious and that it is absurd to say that he is not, because he hears and understands you. In reality, acquiring self-consciousness means long and hard work. So the fundamental question is: “How can a man agree to put effort in attaining consciousness if he thinks he already possesses the very thing which is promised him as the result of long and hard work?