The heartful strategist – part 6

The Heartful Strategist

In the previous five articles of this series, RAVI VENKATESAN introduced the Heartful Strategist framework, how our consciousness results in the strategies we adopt, and the choices we make, which in turn have consequences that impact the ecosystem in which we exist. He also explored the concept of thought patterns, and in the last article how past impressions create these tendencies or thought patterns in us, and how to use the power of self-suggestion to clear past impressions and make positive shifts in our thought patterns. In this article he dives specifically into the ideal level of consciousness for a Heartful Strategist.

In the third article in this series we talked about active consciousness and subconsciousness, distinguishing between functions that are carried out by us through these states of consciousness. This is a good way to understand consciousness at a basic level. However, just as physics has evolved from Newtonian to Relativity to Quantum theories, our understanding of consciousness needs to go deeper. The generalizations that we adopted earlier will need to be left behind.

The Heartful Strategist

We now look at consciousness from the lens of an ancient Indian scripture called the Mandukya Upanishad. It is of unknown authorship and an unknown timeline, but was passed on through generations, initially by memorizing, and later through written text.

This Upanishad describes states of consciousness in four parts: Waking, dreaming, deep sleep and turiya (which means “fourth” in Sanskrit). Sleep studies and medical research have made great progress in understanding that the dream state and deep sleep states are meaningful in our existence, and that vital functions related to immunity, memory etc., are performed during these states. However, we find no descriptions in scientific literature about this fourth state. So, what is it, and how do we understand it, let alone reach it?

Just as physics has evolved from
Newtonian to Relativity to Quantum theories,
our understanding of consciousness needs to go deeper.

If we think of the waking state as our interactions with the physical and manifest world, and the dream state as our interactions with the non-physical, subtle world of our own creation, we can say that both these states have objective consciousness. In the deep sleep state, we don’t have this objective consciousness, however the seed of it is there, which is why deep sleep terminates and we go back to the dream state or the waking state. These three states are therefore temporary, starting and ending, and cannot be the foundation of whatever is essential consciousness. This essential consciousness is what we refer to as turiya. It can also be considered as transcendental consciousness, since it integrates and transcends the other three states. Hence, it can span the subconscious, superconscious, and waking conscious states, offering both inspiration and intuition, which we sometimes call the sixth sense.

Gaudapada, a medieval philosopher, wrote in more specific terms that a state of consciousness where the mind is withdrawn from both external and internal objects, and also becomes one with its source is known as turiya. This state of consciousness being the essential state, and the underlying state, is also what illuminates all other states.

The Heartful Strategist

Turiya is present in all of us, but it is not developed in a manner where it is without defect. Ram Chandra of Fatehgarh, the first teacher of Heartfulness, describes some examples of how this turiya condition manifests. Children sometimes understand certain things that even grown-ups cannot understand after much effort. Unsophisticated village folk sometimes demonstrate extraordinary wisdom. He provides us with Heartfulness practices that can lead to permanent awakening of this state where it is continuous in its flow. Strategies that we adopt while abiding in this state of turiya will be the best, not just for us as individuals but for our entire ecosystem. In subsequent articles we’ll look at the practices that help us to reach this level of consciousness.

The Heartful Strategist


Ravi Venkatesan

About Ravi Venkatesan

Ravi lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and is currently Head of Innovation at Bakkt. He is also a regular public speaker and public speaking coach. He has been a Heartfulness meditator for over 20 years and is passionate about applying meditation lessons to improve workplace relationships and productivity.

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