There are three relative states of human awareness, waking (that which we are now in), dreaming and deep dreamless sleep. These states are quite well researched upon by the neurobiology. These states can be referred to as personal states.
There is a fourth state, however, which is not relative and which is trans-personal and completely Absolute in nature. I don’t think neurobiology has really looked into these states yet. Maybe someday, I guess.
And again, transpersonal psychology and integral paradigm has got a lot to say about this particular state of consciousness.
Be that as it may, here is a statement on the subject of a self-realized human being, Sri Ramana Maharshi:
“Samādhi, turiya and nirvikalpa all have the same implication, that is, awareness of the Self. Turiya literally means the fourth state, the supreme consciousness, as distinct from the other three states: waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep. The fourth state is eternal and the other three states come and go in it. In turiya there is the awareness that the mind has merged in its source, the Heart, and is quiescent there, although some thoughts still impinge on it and the senses are still somewhat active. In nirvikalpa the senses are inactive and thoughts are totally absent. Hence the experience of pure consciousness in this state is intense and blissful.”
As for me, I would like to share this:
“…There is an important difference in perception of oneself, others, the world and God, after attainment of the kevala nirbikalpa-samādhi, in my experience. Let us listen again to Sri Ramakrishna’s experience first:
“…After nirvikalpa samadhi, Sri Ramakrishna realized maya in an altogether new role. The binding aspect of Kali vanished from before his vision. She no longer obscured his understanding. The world became the glorious manifestation of the Divine Mother. Maya became Brahman. The transcendental Itself broke through the Immanent. Sri Ramakrishna discovered that maya operates in the relative world in two ways, and he termed these “avidyamaya” and “vidyamaya.”
Avidyamaya represents the dark forces of creation: sensuous desires, evil passions, greed, lust, cruelty, and so on. It sustains the world system on the lower planes. It is responsible for the round of man’s birth and death. It must be fought and vanquished. But vidyamaya is the higher force of creation: the spiritual virtues, the enlightening qualities, kindness, purity, love, devotion. Vidyamaya elevates man to the higher planes of consciousness. With the help of vidyamaya the devotee rids himself of avidyamaya; he then becomes mayatita, free of maya. The two aspects of maya are the two forces of creation, the two powers of Kali; and She stands beyond them both. She is like the effulgent sun, bringing into existence and shining through and standing behind the clouds of different colors and shapes, conjuring up wonderful forms in the blue autumn heaven…”
(Harding, Kindle edition, p.273)
Although my empirical knowledge of the subject in discussion is certainly not as vast and deep as Sri Ramakrishna’s, I did realize a profound change in the months after the attainment of the kevala nirbikalpa-samādhi: ego, the self from Authentic level, lost its grip over my inner psychodynamic climate. I clearly saw that the ego as well as everything else in everyday experience (even negative emotions, dirt, air, fire, water, earth, energies etc…), is Divine, perfect, pure. It has always been that way.”
An excerpt from my upcoming book, After anatta
My experience of the nirbikalpa samadhi I mention above has transpired for the first time years ago and all I can say is that in such states
all illusion is wiped out, only the Absolute Truth remains.
There is no meta-cognition involved – not even a tiny bit of duality, no separation between me or I and experience. No process of perception as in “I am at One with God”. No time, no space, no energy, no form – nirguna samadhi. No separateness, no duality whatsoever.
The ego, the ahamkara, the “I and mine” notion is really gone and all that remain is the Absolute, pristine awareness of the One. The witness, the I am presence, the Causal self, the Self, God if you want. And it is liberating as hell; far beyond the bliss that the sabikalpa-samadhi offers and far, far beyond any physical/emotional/mental pleasure.