The first question:
How does one explore the higher states of consciousness?
There are not many ways, there is but one: the way of awareness.
Man is almost unconscious. I say “almost” – there are moments, situations where he becomes conscious, but they are momentary.
For example, suddenly your house is on fire. You will feel a flare-up within you, a sense of alertness that was not there before. You may have been tired, you may not have slept for a few days, you may have been traveling and you were hoping that as you reached your house, the first thing you were going to do was to fall asleep – but the house is on fire!
All tiredness disappears. You forget the whole nightmare of the journey, and inside you find something new which perhaps you will miss because the house is on fire; so you will become not alert of your alertness, but alert of the fire that is burning your house.
In ordinary life also, there are moments when people touch a higher state of consciousness, but miss because that higher state comes as an emergency, and they have to first tackle the emergency that is facing them. And that cannot be the circumstance where they can start exploring what is happening inside them.
But if you can remember – even as a memory – some moments in your life when suddenly you were more aware than you usually are, it will be a great help to understand what I am going to say to you.
I have told you that modern psychology has moved below the so-called human consciousness. And when people like Sigmund Freud found that just underneath your thin layer of consciousness there is another layer, it was a great discovery for him, and for the West. And his whole life he devoted to exploring the underground, the basement of your consciousness.
That’s why he became interested in the analysis of dreams, because when you are conscious you can pretend, you can be a hypocrite. You can say something that you don’t mean, you can do something that you never wanted to do. You can smile, and inside you want to cry, weep. You can cry and weep, and inside you are enjoying, you are rejoicing.
So your consciousness has been so polluted by the society, it is not reliable. This was one of the most significant contributions of Sigmund Freud: that your consciousness is not reliable. Strange, that he feels your unconsciousness is more reliable than your consciousness.