Question: How can we tell which plane of consciousness we are in?

Sri Chinmoy: If you can meditate deeply, each plane of consciousness will present itself before you. Just in a flash it will come and present itself to you. The seven main planes of consciousness are like seven rungs of a ladder. As we aspire sincerely and soulfully, we climb up the ladder rung by rung. Or you can say that there is a tree with seven branches, and our consciousness is like a bird that flies from one branch to another. When you are seated on one branch, you can see the next branch which is a little higher. Then, when you climb up to that one, you will see another one, which is still higher. Similarly, when you are making progress in the inner world, you will see these different planes, each one higher than the other. But when you are at the top of the tree, you are at a place where there is no limit, no distance above you. At that time, you are looking at the sky and you forget that the tree even has branches.

Right now if you try to learn about the seven planes of consciousness, your knowledge will be all mental and theoretical, a matter of curiosity. You feel that by knowing the seven planes of consciousness, or by concentrating on them, you will make rapid progress. But I wish to say that at this stage in your development it is not advisable for you to think of them or meditate on them. Always do the first thing first. Right now only pay attention to your own aspiration. For a sincere seeker, what is of paramount importance is conscious and constant aspiration. This conscious and constant aspiration can alone lead you to the destined Goal. Try to ask yourself this most significant question: “Am I ready to cry for God, the Supreme?” As a child cries to the mother for food, so also you have to cry to the Supreme for Nectar. And if you can drink Nectar from Him, then you will be energised and your consciousness will be immortalised.