Three states are only objects, things seen, hence one try to transcend them. Even truth is only an idea to one in illusion. The mind and the meaning is the idea within the illusion. One has to know the subject as well as the object.
Psychologists commit the error of defining consciousness as a duality of Mind plus the object! Unless both are together there is no awareness of experience. They deny that consciousness can exist apart from objects. The illustration of deep sleep is given as a valuable warning against such an erroneous position.
Many philosophy of the world does not go into the question "What is meant by mental?" or what is beyond mind? That is, because it is ignorant of the real subject. And they also hold object as subject within the object.
Psychology has nothing to do with the formless witness, with that which is aware of all these things and ideas and processes and reactions which psychology discusses. The only certain thing about the body is that it is forever changing; the greatest change of all being death which no one can prevent. In contrast to the body the mind is the only thing of whose unchanging character one can be certain. The one which is aware of all these tells one about all the changes, remaining itself relatively constant, as a standard of reference for them.
One can never know what the mind really is until one indulges in self search. Only by analyzing deeply one becomes aware the mind is not limited to physical entity but to the whole physical existence. Most of thinkers limit the mind to the physical entity. When one limits the mind to the physical entity it is called ego. People base themselves on ego and trying to understand assimilate the truth, which only leads them to imagination or intellectuality or logical conclusion.
It is incorrect to base on the ego in pursuit of truth, when one becomes aware of the fact the self is not physical but it is formless soul/spirit. If one wants to study soul/spirit, he must make the mind as an object ; and if it becomes a object, it is no longer subject, no longer the mind; if he wants the subject[soul] as it really is, then it is absolutely impossible to study it.
The term Witness, Seer, is used in a non-dual sense, without reference to objects witnessed, absolute awareness, not relative.
Thought is present in duality. Duality is mind. Mind is illusion. Thoughts, feelings, will, are all modifications, nothing more. Even if it is of God, it is still in the mind, which is illusion.
Once one really understands that, all imaginations are illusion because they ceases to exist without the mind. One may hope to understand the ultimate truth but without knowing the untruth [illusion] he never will.
Birth, life and death which happen within the waking experience which comes and goes apply to mind. Therefore birthlessness is the characteristic of soul, which is ultimate truth.
Consciousness means awareness of dual [waking/dream] and non-dual [deep sleep] experiences. People think consciousness implies duality. It is not so. When the mind is present the thoughts, emotions also are present, then unconsciousness would only mean the absence of duality, not the absence of the capacity to know; unconsciousness does not mean the nonexistence of that which disappears from consciousness, it merely means that mind has ceased its functioning. Finally there must be a kind of awareness which one does not understand and which is still existent when the waking or dream [object, the known, the thoughts] are absent.
Subject [soul] object [three states] analysis gives one a key to analyzing all statements, all revelations, all assertions, and all gods even. For it tells one that anything that can be made known by mind is but an illusion; something imagined, and never reality.
Before the act of thinking there must be the consciousness, the Witness as such by itself. Thought is impossible unless one is aware of it. Psychologists are trying an impossible problem in analyzing thinking and yet leaving out the seer of the thoughts. The truth is hidden within the three states; the intellectuals do not understand it because their understanding is based on the physical self /ego.
In practical application the word “consciousness” usually means a duality, something to be conscious of is implied. Therefore, it is an unsuitable word to indicate the pure objectless awareness which exists prior to waking experience.
The ego, the individual self is not the soul, which is the witness/true self because it often disappears in deep sleep. The one which is aware of the three states is not the ego but the soul, which is the true self.
It is the illusion that is ever-changing but never the witness of the illusion. The illusion come and goes as waking and dream. When there is no illusion it is deep sleep or death. Consciously being aware of the witness and the illusion, in the midst of the illusion is non-dual wisdom.