Most people are aware of the three forms of consciousness. They are:
The Conscious – our regular, everyday wakeful state
The Subconscious – the awareness we have that we’re not usually readily aware of–our dreams when we’re asleep, or perhaps the gut instinct that nags at us
The Super-Conscious – the alpha state that we achieve through meditation or extreme relaxation; often, this is where inspiration comes from
But few people realize there’s a fourth consciousness.
I got to thinking about this one day, back in about 1998, and suddenly, it hit me.
I’ll take you through my thought process. Don’t worry; it’s relatively brief.
The three states of consciousness listed above have connections to astrological signs.
The Conscious is associated with Genini, the sign of the mind and initial inquiry (“why is the sky blue?” These are the souls who generally feel happiest when they know what’s going on around them.
The Subconscious is linked to Pisces, the mystical lovelies who tend to lose themselves in the grand scheme of the universe.
The Super-Conscious correlates with Sagittarius, the sign governing journeys, philosophy, long-distance travel, and higher learning; these are the pretties who are on a personal quest, the seekers of truth.
All of these signs fall into a category known as mutable signs. In general, mutability implies that these folks tend to be the most adaptable. Some might say they’re the most passive, but that’s not always the case.
(The other two categories along this vein are Cardinal and Fixed. Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable types repeat in that sequence. Cardinal starts the sequence, with their ability to initiate, lead, and begin. They come up with the new ideas and usually prefer not to stagnate. Fixed signs are generally better at seeing an existing project through to completion. The Mutable signs tow the end of the line, getting ready to hand off the relay baton to the next Cardinal sign to begin the process again, but not before digesting the details in their own way. This requires the consciousness to which I refer.)
But there’s another Mutable sign. There are four signs in each category, and yet, there are only three known types of consciousness. That leaves a hole open–an unfinished puzzle.
And we all know how I feel about unfinished puzzles. 😉
So, what’s the missing piece? And who’s missing it?
The remaining Mutable sign without an assigned form of consciousness is Virgo. Virgo does not reign over the Conscious, the Subconscious, or the Super-Conscious. All of those are taken, claimed, spoken for.
But the puzzle is unfinished! That can’t be!
Worry not, my pretties. Maybe it isn’t quite unfinished after all.
There’s a Fourth (4th) Consciousness (insert devilish grin here, complete with a wink).
And given the bodily health-oriented nature of Virgo, how appropriately it fits!
The 4th Consciousness can be summed up in a single word: homeostasis.
Homeostasis is defined as:
“the tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes.”
Essentially, it’s the body’s attempt, independent of our free will, to maintain balance, stability, and harmony within and among our physiological functions.
Consider a few examples…
When we catch a common head cold, we sneeze. Our noses become stuffy with sinus congestion. We may even run a fever.
That’s not the direct effect of the virus. That’s our body doing that. The body is pulling out all the stops, trying in every way it can to rid itself of the bug. Cells that line our sinuses secrete mucus in order to try to trap and engulf the bug so that white blood cells can come along and eat the bug (how cool is that?? It sucks while it’s happening, because it’s not pleasant, but it’s a really cool defense). Our sneezing is the attempt to expel this bug-trapped gunk from the body once and for all. Even the fever has a purpose: the body knows that bugs are made of proteins, and proteins denature (change shape and become ineffective), even when “cooked” by just a few degrees.
How about when you sprain your ankle? The ankle gets red, swollen, and painful. That’s the body’s attempt to do several things. First, it knows it’s injured, and thus unstable, so it doesn’t want you to move the injured part until it heals. Second, the swelling is the body’s dilation of the blood vessels in order to deliver more nutrients (which are carried by the blood) to the injured area. If the blood vessels are dilated, more nutrients can be delivered faster.
Additionally, immune system cells are carried in at the same time, to defend yourself against the injury; had you cut your skin during the injury, your body would no doubt have been exposed to the non-sterile outside world, which could result in infection. Not only that, but those immune cells will be tasked with cleaning up the debris of dead or injured cells, in order to clear them away. As for the redness, well, that’s a by-product of the swelling. And had you cut your skin, the body would know what to do to heal itself, repair the cut skin, and form a scar.
What about everyday tasks like heartbeat, blood pressure, sleep-wake states, neurological reflexes (such as pulling away from a source of pain), breathing, fear, or even food digestion?
The same principles apply. The body performs these tasks automatically, without needing any input or direction from us. That’s why we don’t stop breathing or digesting food after we fall asleep. We wake up, properly ventilated, meals digested.
How does that happen? I’m not sure if anybody really knows, other than that it’s the definition of physiological life. It doesn’t say anything about the quality of that life, but it does define us as being physically alive.
Metaphysically, I call it the 4th Consciousness. Its link with the astrological sign of Virgo is too appropriate, for Virgos tend toward greater health consciousness, and if they aren’t, then they’ll tend to feel the effects of their negligence on a greater scale than other signs.
There you have it; mystery solved!
And we all know how I feel about solving mysteries. 😉