Though frequently used with respect to development, the term "states" can be somewhat vague and unambiguous.
In common understanding, states would often refer directly to the emotions e.g. a state of joy, an anxiety state, a state of bewilderment, a state of confusion etc.
The term could equally carry a physical connotation as appearing for work in a tidy state, driving in a drunken state, sitting down for a meal in a hungry state etc.
It could also refer to motivation as for example with a disciplined state or a state of concentration.
However when used with respect to development, it generally carries a distinctive meaning, which initially would be identified in a physiological manner.
So here the three states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep are usually grouped together.
Now in psychological terms these relate closely to the relationship between conscious and unconscious.
Thus when one is awake this thereby implies direct consciousness of reality. By the same token, when one is in deep sleep, this implies that one is thereby unconscious with respect to phenomenal circumstances.
Dreaming then seems a little problematic being suspended somewhere between conscious and unconscious aspects. Conventionally it is associated with sleep. However one still relate to phenomena, though now more through a process of fantasy rather than the conscious manner of a waking state.
Thus in the broadest sense, states can be associated with the unfolding of corresponding stages, that entail varying degrees of exposure with respect to conscious and unconscious aspects of development.
Though some interesting connections can indeed be made through this terminology of states (in terms of waking, dreaming and deep sleep), I personally find it somewhat vague and imprecise.
Indeed I find the notion of the physical spectrum with its various bands of electro-magnetic energy more useful.
Thus each state is now seen as representing a characteristic type of psycho spiritual energy that is associated with each stage of development. Put more simply, it represents a characteristic form of illumination or spiritual intuition that typifies each stage.
However in then end, the best scientific interpretation is provided in holistic mathematical terms through the notion of number. Each number is associated here with a characteristic dimension through which the world is viewed. And as the number system itself is unlimited, ultimately the possible variety of states (i.e. dimensions) that can be experienced is likewise unlimited.
Furthermore, I have always emphasised in my writings that a dynamic interaction necessarily characterises both the state and structure characteristics that typify each stage.
So the structures of a stage provide the appropriate phenomenal configurations through which affective, cognitive and volitional experience take place. Thus associated with the typical intuitive state associated with each stage, is a unique structural configuration through which this intuition can be successfully mediated in a phenomenal manner.
Ideally a degree of harmony should be maintained as between states and structures. However frequently a marked imbalance may be apparent. So from one extreme, the experience of the state may dominate; from another extreme the experience of the corresponding structure will dominate.
Indeed as a generalisation, I think it is true to say that the traditional treatment of contemplative type development focuses unduly on the states associated with the more advanced spiritual stages.
Then it is perhaps even more true to say that the conventional treatment of science and indeed intellectual life generally, is characterised by undue concentration on the mere structures associated with the middle levels of development.
However coming back to the waking, dreaming, deep sleep portrayal of states, I think it is important to distinguish as between daytime and night time use.
Normally we associate waking with day-time time activity (when by definition we are conscious of the surrounding world).
However even here the dreaming state can intrude when for example one engages in fantasy. Indeed this as indicated by the term day dreaming! Also the deep sleep state can intrude when for example one performs activities from a profound contemplative disposition.
Therefore one is never in a pure waking state, as conscious and unconscious necessarily interact in experience. However it is true that work activity for example would normally be heavily dependent on the conscious activity associated with a clear waking state!
Likewise we normally associate night time activity (as rest) with sleep. However the deep sleep would be of comparatively short duration with most time given over to dreaming, where phenomenal interactions of various kinds occur. Thus through asleep, we can indeed at times feel keenly conscious of events unfolding in out dreams. Occasionally it is also possible to have especially lucid dreams where one may for example resolve issues arising from waking life with much greater clarity.
Thus all three states can overlap with each other in varying degrees both with respect to day-time and night-time usage.
In recent blog entries I have been dealing with the the 3 main levels of Band 3 (representing the transcendent direction with respect to the "higher" spiritual contemplative stages of development).
Now each of these is characterised by a daytime dream state.
However it is necessary to clarify these further into - what I refer to as - real, virtual and original dream states respectively.
During Level 1, as the intensification of spiritual intuitive illumination occurs, one enters a dream state with respect to normal waking reality whereby one - literally - begins to experience the phenomenal world as illusionary. So this represents the "real" dream state, where the dualistic nature of conscious phenomena is eroded to a considerable extent.
Then the purgative stages especially with respect to the "dark night of the soul" often resemble a waking nightmare!
During Level 2 one enters a new dream state of a virtual nature, where "imaginary" phenomena, as indirect conscious phenomena (deeply expressive of the holistic unconscious) now likewise undergo intense erosion.
Then finally during Level 3 - approaching a deep sleep state - one enters an even more profound dream state of an original kind where the essential nature of life and death is confronted. This can culminate in a decisive near death type of experience (while awake) where existential fear regarding death is removed and the essential nature of spirit as the sole permanent reality directly revealed.