The Four Levels of Consciousness
What is the real meaning of unplanned, and does it in fact equal unwanted? How unwanted is an unplanned pregnancy, really?
According to both the psychiatric and yoga sciences, the human mind has 4 levels of consciousness. Conscious, sub-conscious, unconscious and super (or supra) conscious.
It is only at the surface or the conscious level that we use such terms as ”wanted” and “planned” because we have rationally thought them and memorised them. But when the unexpected, the unplanned, or the unwanted happens, is that really a mistake of fate, or are we then being confronted by other levels of mind below the conscious?
In the event of the unexpected, one can do several things. You can immediately react at the rational, normally conscious level of your being, or you can explore deeper into the presently unconscious levels of your being. Those who choose the former might react – “I will fix this breach of my plans straightaway by getting rid of this unplanned, unwanted event”. This is a very common response to many events and some women react to unplanned pregnancies exactly in this way.
However, on a subconscious level, the desire to have a child can exist, but because of career, financial or relationship factors, such plans remain suspended until circumstances evolve when you bring that desire up to the level of conscious choice and planning. In the event of an unplanned pregnancy, this subconscious desire has simply been brought forward in time, by circumstances which we can consider as either bad luck, bad management or the power of our own mind to manifest what it needs right now. With this last possibility, one might say – “That’s something I know I wanted in the future but maybe now is OK after all”.
At the unconscious level we have a store-house of desires and needs barely accessible to normal rational thought. Unconscious means that which we are not conscious of at all. At this level, a desire for a child (be it the first or any subsequent ones) can exist, but you will have no knowledge of it. When the unplanned pregnancy arrives from this level you can dismiss it as a complete accident, with no personal relevance, or you can look at it and think – “Hmm, maybe there is a part of me which did want this but I didn’t realise it”. Examining this level of consciousness or awareness, and understanding its
mechanisms and manifestations, is the realm of meditation.
Beyond the personal unconscious is the fourth level of consciousness, the super-conscious or the universal consciousness. Events which occur from this level of awareness can also be explored by meditation, and realised as that force of life which guides us all. Some call it destiny, others God’s grace, guru’s grace. Yoga philosophy calls it dharma.
So according to this model of the 4 levels of consciousness, the terms “unplanned” and “unwanted” in fact mean “not consciously aware of”. So the job of the yogi is to find the source of these unconscious events and to become more conscious of their purpose, rather than to see them as obstructions to our well-planned lives.
All unexpected, unplanned, unwanted, uncon-scious events need to be examined and resolved – and meditation is ideal for this. From out of his process, deciding what to do will become far clearer. Whilst it might sound that turning an unwanted pregnancy into a spiritual journey is some kind of joke or trick of the mind, this is in fact the tantric approach to any dilemma – to accept and examine everything the cosmos appears to throw at you and, through adversity, find the potential for growth and transformation through those experiences.
The Issue of Abortion
You may be surprised to see this issue discussed in a book focussing on spiritual matters, and might also think yoga’s attitude to abortion is a foregone conclusion. You may also have already detected my own personal opinions on this subject. But rather than let the matter just pass through unexamined, I believe that the issue of abortion is a very important contempo-rary topic which touches many people’s lives, either directly or indirectly. It is also one of those things which my yoga students bring up occasionally – “What does yoga have to say about abortion?”, they whisper alone one night after class, desperately trying not to give away their own current inner turmoil. So here I am going to discuss abortion, but only in the context which affects the aspiring yoga and meditation student, and women who want to become more spiritually conscious, any of whom may one day find themself facing such a consideration. For such occasions, following below I unveil my unique and very practical 6 Step, 15 minute, emergency program of – “What to Do In the Event of Unplanned Pregnancy”
In the ongoing socio-political-religious bunfight for the right to choose a safe,