Awaken to Superconsciousness by Swami Kriyananda, as the title suggests, means to awaken to our highest spiritual potential. But what is superconsciousness? All of us are aware of the conscious mind and, to a lesser extent, the subconscious mind in sleep and dreams.
Kriyananda explains that there is a third, less well-known state of awareness called the superconscious—the source of who and what we are in our highest spiritual reality, also known as the “soul” or “Higher Self”.
Superconsciousness is the level of awareness that we experience when our mind is in a calm and uplifted state. It is the hidden mechanism at work behind intuition, spiritual and physical healing, and successful problem-solving.
The physical center of superconsciousness is in the frontal lobe of the brain, at a point midway between the eyebrows, also known as the Christ center or spiritual eye. The more we are able to draw our energy and awareness upward to the Christ center, the higher our level of awareness.
Right attitude: key to effective meditation
Kriyananda points out that everyone has the potential to experience superconsciousness, but in most people it lies dormant. Meditation is the most direct way to awaken the superconscious but, to meditate effectively, first understand the goal of meditation and the role of attitudes in attaining the goal.
Since a goal of meditation is realizing the oneness of all life, it’s important to live in such a way as to constantly affirm oneness. Kriyananda writes that the first step to development of right attitude for meditation is to learn to see others not as rivals but as friends:
If I am willing to hurt life in me as it is expressed in another human being, then I am affirming an error that is diametrically opposed to the realization I am seeking to attain. If I would truly realize oneness of all things, it is necessary for my life to constantly affirm this oneness—by my kindness toward all beings, by compassion and universal love.
The “right attitudes” discussed by Kriyananda are application of the universal moral principles of yoga, the yamas (the don’ts) and niyamas (the do’s). One of the best known of these is ahimsa, or non-injury, popularized by the protest movements of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Ahimsa addresses not only harmful actions but also harm caused by negative thoughts.
Passivity and mental blankness
Kriyananda cautions against passivity and a common misconception that meditation consists of making the mind blank. Mental blankness, he says, opens the mind to the lower vibratory influences and can be very dangerous.
And although relaxation is an important first step toward meditating, meditation is much more than just quieting the mind or sinking into subconsciousness. Proper meditation requires deep concentration and sustained dynamic energy.
The distilled essence of Yogananda’s teachings
In Awaken to Superconsciousness, Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, distills the essence of the original yogic science brought to the West by the great yoga Master. He leads the reader step by step through methods for attaining this state of heightened awareness and beginning to transform our lives.
Written in clear easy-to-understand language, the book provides a wonderful overview of the nature and purpose of meditation. Each chapter is filled with insights and wisdom from Kriyananda’s lifetime of experience as a world teacher and foremost exponent of meditation and yoga practice.
Beginning with simple relaxation exercises, the reader will find an easy-to-follow approach that combines breathing exercises, affirmations, mantras, guided visualizations and centering techniques as a preparation for meditation itself. At the end of each chapter are meditation exercises, which help attunement to a superconscious level of reality.
In addition, Kriyananda offers practical advice on concentration, keeping the spine straight and the body relaxed, best times of day to meditate, duration and regularity of practice, and how to organize our time for maximum benefit.
The most meaningful activity in life
Quite apart from the outward benefits, the practice of meditation is, in and of itself, one of the most rewarding of all human activities. Kriyananda describes meditation as, “simply the most meaningful activity in my life—indeed, the most meaningful activity I can imagine.”