What is Consciousness? 3 States and 5 Functions of the Conscious Mind

What is Consciousness? 3 States and 5 Functions of the Conscious Mind

Humans mind has basically three parts: conscious mind, subconscious mind, and the processing unit. Consciousness is the state of the conscious mind. Although it is hard to define the consciousness, basically consciousness evolves through practice and works as a gateway to the processing unit of our brain.

When we sleep, our processing unit of the brain takes rests, but the consciousness doesn’t. The sensory inputs are directly fed into the subconscious mind when any sensation passes the boundary of consciousness, you might get awakened during sleep.

Depending upon the knowing or unknowing mental diets and practices throughout life, we all experience different levels of consciousness at different times. Basically, we have three levels of consciousness.

       ➡ Chapter 1: 4 Steps to Be Your Own Life Coach

       ➡ Chapter 2: How to Understand Your Mind

              👉 Part 1: You Are Here

              👉 Part 2: What is the Subconscious Mind?

              👉 Part 3: How to Control Your Mind

              👉 Part 4: How to Stop Reacting and Start Responding

              👉 Part 5: How to Master Your Mind

       ➡ Chapter 3: Why Do You Need to Be Attentive?

       ➡ Chapter 4: How to Improve Attention

       ➡ Chapter 5: How to Boost Your Intelligence

       ➡ Chapter 6: What is Self-Awareness?

              👉 Part 1: How To Stop Unwanted Thoughts

              👉 Part 2: How to Be Happy

              👉 Part 3: How to Deal With Anxiety & Depression

       ➡ Chapter 7: What is Conscious Intelligence & How to Be Conscious Intelligent

In this article, I shall let you know the three basic levels of consciousness and the basic functions of the consciousness.

Three States of Consciousness

Consciousness can be reflecting, analytical, or transcendental. Reflection is the most basic level of consciousness and transcendental consciousness is the supreme level of consciousness.

We all experience all these states of consciousness throughout life, however, for most of the people on this planet, transcendental consciousness sparks for a while, instead of illuminating the intelligence. This life skills development series is designed for anyone to illuminate the intelligence, in the meanwhile let’s get acquitted with the three states of consciousness in detail.

Reflecting Consciousness

Animals live in this state of consciousness. Whatever enters in the subconscious mind through sensors gets passed through the gateway of consciousness without any kind of analysis or comprehension and loads into the processing unit of the brain.

While an owner of a dog goes for a walk with his untrained dog, you might have observed that the dog pulls the owner here and there. Whatever catches the dog’s attention, the dog gets attracted to it. However, if the dog is trained to handle distraction through commands, the owner might be able to keep the dog focused on the walk.

In the case of human, sensory inputs and memorized information or thoughts may pass the boundary of consciousness and get loaded into the processing unit without filtration or analysis. When humans live in this state of consciousness, people often get fooled.

Suppose a WhatsApp message “Abraham Lincoln was really a Vampire Hunter” has been circulated to a group of ignorant people frequently for a month. One person of the group strongly rejected the message and got angry by seeing this message, because he identifies himself as a fan of Abraham Lincoln. Most of the people of that group memorized the WhatsApp message unknowingly by repeatedly seeing it. Their consciousness can’t decide as they let anything pass through the boundary of the conscious mind. After a year, another intelligent gentleman asked one of them “Is it true that Abraham Lincoln was a Vampire Hunter?”  Then one of the ignorant people reflected his memorized information unknowingly and said, “Yes it is true, I have read the news in many newspapers.”  He was firm on his view; it was hard for the gentleman to convince him that it was fake news.

Analytical Consciousness

In this level, people don’t let anything pass the boundary of consciousness easily as happens in the reflecting consciousness level. When the mind is trained to reach this level of consciousness, the program of consciousness decides what to pass and what not to pass to the processing unit.

If a person has attention disorder (happens due to unknowing practices), he might not be able to always keep his mind in the analytical state of consciousness. However, if the person becomes self-aware, he may recognize when he becomes reflecting conscious.

Consider the example of WhatsApp fake news: “Abraham Lincoln was really a vampire hunter”. When the message gets attention to the person of analytical consciousness level for the first time, the person may discard it as fake. However, if the message frequently gets his attention for many times, the probability of getting memorized unknowingly is 50/50. After one year, if the intelligent gentleman again asks the analytical conscious person same question, “Is it true that Abraham Lincoln was a vampire hunter?” the person might get confused. Because, he is reflecting the memorized fake information but, his analytical mind doesn’t accept it.

Transcendental Consciousness

This is the ultimate level of consciousness when a person becomes attentive, aware, and intelligent enough to filter out and differentiate all the information and thoughts seeking to load into the processing unit of the mind all the time.

Creative thinking, critical thinking, hypothetical thinking, and metacognition work at its best in this level of consciousness. Through intense devotion towards mindfulness, anyone can reach this level through practice. In this state, the mind can be trained to run Intelligence skills on autopilot, in which intelligence becomes intuition to reach the ultimate stage of life skills development- conscious intelligence.

Let me explain this state of consciousness through an example.

Suppose, in the ecology class of high school, we all have studied about the food-cycle. The food-cycle essentially tells us the interdependence of the species of nature. We all are living in this planet because of the natural conditions we have. If someone is sent to Mars without necessary tools, he wouldn’t survive there. So, essentially care for the physical self is the care for nature, we are all interdependent in this nature. Transcendental consciousness is when through self-introspection when one identifies himself with the cosmos because it is the very basic way of our existence.  If someone believes in the identity of cosmos, it is again the reflecting consciousness.

If the fake news “Abraham Lincoln was really a vampire hunter” is sent to a person living in the transcendental consciousness. The person will analyze its authenticity & recognize it as a fake and he will never get confused with it. Because he is always attentive, he will always remember it as fake news.

Five Functions of Consciousness

Basically, consciousness has five distinct functions; we all exhibit these functions exclusively or inclusively depending upon a particular moment. The functions of consciousness are:


As the name reflection suggests, it is a state where thoughts, information, and emotions from subconscious directly loaded into the processing unit without much filtration and analysis by the conscious mind.

Suppose, a boy named Peter was attracted to a girl named Julie. Whenever he saw that girl; his thought of attraction loads into the processing unit of the brain directly passing the consciousness without analysis. His thought of attraction may be due to physical attraction, emotional attraction, or psychological attraction. Within a month of this happening, they fall in the so-called love. However, their relationship ended after a period of one year. Peter had a desire to marry her but, the desire was unfulfilled. That unfulfilled desire made him angry and now, he is facing anxiety attack. The anxiety is nothing but a thought that was built over time in his subconscious mind. Now, whenever the thought of anxiety evokes, his reflecting consciousness can’t filter out the thoughts and let the processing unit loads it. As a consequence of this, he feels anxiety.


This function of the subconscious mind discards certain subconscious output such as thoughts, emotion, and sensory inputs for a particular moment.

Suppose, you were engaged in watching an interesting documentary, in the meanwhile, your mom asked you to come outside. You hear her but couldn’t listen to her. So you didn’t respond to her and busy watching the documentary as nobody called you. In this case, your consciousness filtered the voice not to reach fully at processing unit and as a result, you didn’t respond to her.

When you master the art of filtration by the conscious mind for the right purpose, you may eventually discard unwanted thoughts, unwanted conversations, and much more.


In the function of differentiation, your conscious mind works in the feedback mode with the subconscious mind and the processing unit.

The conscious mind takes information from the subconscious and lets it process in the processor. Depending upon the result from the processor, the conscious mind asks more related information from the subconscious if required.

For example, you are documenting an HR policy for your organization. You have to put the terms & conditions for punishment for illegal activities by employees. In this case, you will encounter “What-If” analysis. Suppose, the processing unit asks you to find the result “If an employee engages in cybercrime.” Your consciousness will ask the subconscious what is the solution, if the subconscious has a solution it will provide otherwise the subconscious will tell the conscious, “Google it.”


Manifesting the subconscious information or thoughts into reality or into the reality of another dimension is the act of imagination by the conscious mind.

Imagination is a reality for the conscious mind. It is the individual’s imagination and the individual’s reality. For another person, the imagination of another person might be merely a fiction.

For example, when a creative writer writes a script for a cinema, the story of the cinema becomes reality in the imagination of the writer and that let the writer present the cinema elegantly. For the viewers, the script is a fictional story but, if the writer is good at his imagination, the writer may be able to let the viewers feel the cinema as reality while watching.

Involvement of the processing unit of the mind creates a distinction between imagination & dreamingWhile dreaming, your conscious mind and the subconscious mind working similar to the actions of imagination, but, your processing unit does not function fully to make the dream a fully-functional reality.


When the consciousness becomes attentive, aware, and conscious all the time to run intelligence skills on autopilot; the mind functions in the transcendence.

Your transcendental consciousness might be able to spark the bulb of your mind, through attentive practices; you can illuminate the bulb of your mind.

In this function, the conscious mind let differentiation, filtration, and reflection run in autopilot while the consciousness is awake to determine the individual’s right way of doing.

The conscious mind let the intuition overtake its function although consciousness is fully aware of its functionalities.

Creative thinking is one of the states of transcendence.

Are you creative? Yes, you are creative; we all the humans are creative to a certain extent. It doesn’t matter the impact of creativity, how big or small it is. The only thing that matter is the transcendental experience of creativity. Everything happens so perfectly and quickly when you encounter creative ideas. Try to recall your experiences. 


We all are learning all the time, wherever we give our attention, it gets remembered. It is important to know how to be attentive in the right direction to control your mind and live in a state of transcendental consciousness.

In the journey of life skill development, I think you and everyone will thrive to live in the transcendental state of consciousness. Do you want to live in the transcendence state of spark for a while or illuminate your mind all the time? Do let me know in the comment

Must Read: How to Understand Your Mind

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