What is consciousness?
Understanding consciousness using various analogies
Understanding the evolution of consciousness
Understanding Dr. David R. Hawkins map or consciousness or levels of consciousness
Why raise your level of consciousness?
How does consciousness affect life experience?
How to raise your level of consciousness
Questions for further contemplation and study
Consciousness – Introduction
Consciousness is not something that comes up in conversation too often or ever for that matter. Frankly not many people are interested in the subject. The whole subject of consciousness is not discussed or taught in school. It is not talked about on TV or in the news. The fact is you have to seek awareness of it, and then you can find a great deal of information on it. So we could learn more about it and could affect our own if we studied it and had a desire to increase it.
I need to clarify something prior to getting into this subject. First, I have tried very hard not to come across as judgmental. In describing some of the lower states of consciousness it may seem I am being judgmental. This is not my intent and I do not wish to offend anyone. However, we must all admit there are parts of ourselves we can improve upon. If we are honest with ourselves we also know we are capable of bad behavior. This bad behavior most times remains unconscious to us because of our ignorance. There is nothing wrong with anyone being ignorant. Everyone is on a path to uncovering their perfection. The only way we learn through life is to become aware of our ignorance. The best way to learn is to do an honest self assessment of where we are. If we become consciously aware of the dynamics of the lower conscious states, then we have a baseline for our own self-assessment. From there we become aware of what it means to move up into higher states of awareness. If you don’t believe you have any shortcomings, please click here to read the description for the consciousness level of pride.
If you begin to research consciousness you will find two distinct views of it. One is the intellectual argument of whether consciousness originates in the brain and continues after death. I guarantee the authors of these papers have not reached the highest levels of consciousness and are quite firmly stuck in the intellectual state. Spiritual consciousness or spiritual enlightenment is where we get to the heart of the matter, (literally.) Achieving higher states of consciousness has been the root of most eastern religions and this quest has been ongoing for many thousands of years.
We don’t think of consciousness as something we have control of and in many respects perhaps this is true. We cannot affect something we don’t know about. My intention for this page on consciousness is to create awareness, the second stage in learning. At the lower levels emotions tend to control our experience of consciousness and for many, life is an experience of emotions. The outside influences of life prompt us to react with “our” emotions. These emotional reactions range from: hatred, anger, jealousy, happiness, sadness, shame, guilt, fear and selfishness. The opposite side of this is love, compassion, joy, gratitude and peace. These emotions originate as states of mind radiating out to others in a positive way. One brings in pain and suffering, the other radiates out with joy and happiness.
To understand consciousness one must understand awareness. If we are unaware of something how can we possibly know about it or learn more about it. People at lower levels of consciousness struggle a great deal with life because they are unaware. They are unaware of themselves, of other people, of spirituality and of life in general. They are unaware of what brings real happiness. They are typically not very happy and are caught up in the endless drama of life. This unhappiness results from defending themselves against perceived attacks to their ego.
As people move up into higher levels of consciousness, they become more aware of the world outside themselves. Life takes on a more purposeful flow. People are much happier, more loving, content and peaceful. They have a rock solid sense of themselves that cannot be shaken by outside circumstances or other people. So there is a powerful motive to learn how to increase our level of consciousness and awareness. Just the act of exposing ourselves to certain material has the effect of raising our level of consciousness.
One way to think about awareness is with a food example. Let’s say all you ate were hot dogs, corn, muffins and milk and that was all you really knew about food. You probably wouldn’t think too much about what other foods exist or the range of flavors that are possible, because you wouldn’t know about them. As you began to experience other foods, flavors and spices from other cultures you would start to gain an appreciation for the variety and contrast in textures, flavors, presentations, etc.. Perhaps consciousness is like this, we are unaware of the range or what other levels are like because we only experience our own level.
Like all things in life we learn through a desire of wanting to know. We cannot easily raise our level of consciousness until we at least have a desire to understand what it is. Only after knowing what something is, do we have the ability to work with it, until then we remain unconscious to it.
What Is Consciousness
Consciousness as experience
Consciousness as awareness
Consciousness as scope or ability to consider more outside ourselves
* Understanding consciousness at the lower levels
* Understanding consciousness at the middle levels
* Understanding consciousness at the higher levels
Most of us think of consciousness as the opposite of sleeping, in other words, awake. But there are varying degrees of this “awake” state. As we begin to understand these varying degrees, we will become more aware of what is meant by consciousness. It is hard to re-interpret something we take for granted every day of our life. What we think of as consciousness is just us being us, but there are potential levels of “us” we can’t understand until we start to examine this state from outside of “us.”
Consciousness research is a relatively new field and there are many theories and models that have developed starting with Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Abraham Maslow, William James, etc.. There are also general levels alluded to in ancient text such as the bible, Indian Sanskrit, Chinese, Egyptian and Buddhist scriptures, etc… Throughout time there has been a recognition of these varying levels.
Consciousness As Experience
Consciousness could be described as a measure of experience, for to know of something is to have experienced it in one form or another. So for instance if you have ever owned a dog you are aware of all the aspects of a dog. When someone speaks of their dog you are immediately aware of a whole set of experiences related to dog ownership. You are consciously aware of what that means and can easily relate to another person’s experience. Business owners who have struggled with the challenges of running a business find other business owners are the only ones who truly understand the experience. Parents understand the consciousness of other parents.
It could also be described as a collection of what is personally known beyond any one set of experiences. If a person had to travel the world for a living, they would be familiar with all the nuances of getting in and out of airports, checking into hotels and navigating various cities. They would be aware of different cultures and customs. There would be an awareness of acclimating to different time zones and more awareness of one’s own internal clock and sleeping patterns. This is true of various careers or jobs that people have during their life. Hobbies and personal interest also fall into this category. As we go through life we acquire a collection of memories and set of experiences. These experiences give us a broader base of knowledge with an ability to relate to more things.
These all refer to a set of experiences which give us an ability to relate to many things. While we may expand our consciousness slightly, real consciousness is different. Real consciousness is not just intelligence or experience. It is how a person aligns themselves to truth or life principles. A person can have very little experience or education and by meditating in a cave for 10-20 years arrive at enlightenment. Does enlightenment infer intelligence? Yes and no. Yes because enlightened consciousness ultimately contains all knowledge; no, because the intelligence we typically think of is the application of learned facts and data.
To illustrate why experience does not necessarily raise one’s consciousness, consider the following example. Suppose you have traveled the world and have experienced a great many things. If you are still selfish, self-absorbed, and unloving, then all that experience has done nothing to raise your consciousness. Experiences can be a catalyst for raising consciousness, but experience in and of itself, is just experience.
Emotional experiences may be the exception. Anyone who has ever lost a loved one to a long debilitating illness can relate empathetically to others who have experienced the same. Deep emotional trauma gives one a greater sense of consciousness due to their experience. The realm and depth of emotions can only be related to based on experiencing them.
Consciousness As Awareness
Maybe it could be described as greater and greater awareness of different realities. If you were a quantum physicist, you would be aware of the behavior of matter in its smallest form. The various laws of how the world operates would allow you to see the nature of life differently. The same could be said if you were a doctor or a surgeon. You would see the body differently knowing all its component parts and biological systems.
It could also be known as an ability to see the interconnectedness of things. People who study near death experiences, remote viewing, clairvoyants or extra sensory perception (ESP) understand there is an unseen connection in consciousness that allows for such things. As one begins to study or experience these things they may become more conscious or aware of a spiritual realm of existence. There is no denying a person like Edgar Cayce had abilities that went far beyond normal waking consciousness.
To reach the pinnacle of consciousness would be to know everything everywhere. This is known as the God consciousness, Christ consciousness, Super consciousness, Collective consciousness, Buddha consciousness, Nirvana, Spiritual consciousness, etc. Very few people throughout history have reached this level of spiritual awareness. The most notable examples are Jesus, Buddha and Krishna. There are others but most lived out their lives in relative obscurity. What these levels have in common is a state of awareness that transcends the normal thinking brain.
The last two examples go far beyond everyone’s experience of consciousness. Most people do not even believe they exist or don’t even know they exist. The only way to be aware of them is to have experienced them or to study them. This is where people get trapped and limited in a level of consciousness. We tend to focus on our own limited perception and refuse to learn about or believe in higher levels. We can never aspire to reach higher consciousness if we refuse to believe in it or acknowledge its existence.
Consciousness As Scope Or The Ability To Consider More Outside Ourselves
Consciousness can also be looked at as an ability to choose. In other words having a higher level of consciousness allows you a wider range of choices based on a wider scope of awareness. At the lowest levels choices are mostly based on our emotions and how we feel, the focus tends to be inward toward ourselves. We mainly make choices that only satisfy our own needs. At the middle levels choices are based less on emotions and more on data, reason and logic. At the higher levels choices are based on unity and oneness; from this perspective love, compassion, gratitude and peace become the overriding criteria for decisions. There is little focus on oneself at the higher levels, rather it is on the welfare of others. The ability to choose however, is something we possess at all times, so these higher levels only make certain choices more likely.
There are also ways of understanding consciousness by looking at the various people in our life. Perhaps the easiest way of relating to this is to think of the most difficult person we know, the most intelligent person we know and the most loving person we know. All three of these people provide different ways of understanding consciousness. The difficult person who is hard to get along with is most likely at a lower level. The intelligent person is in the mid-range and believe it or not, the loving person is in the higher range. Consciousness is awareness, an ability to see the interconnectedness of all things, including the ability to objectively look at ourselves. Consciousness is not thinking, rationalizing or analyzing; it is a “thought free” state of “knowingness.”
Understanding Consciousness At The Lower Levels
At the lower levels people behave without a complete conscious awareness of how they affect other people. They are mostly only aware of themselves, the world is seen outside of them as something that affects them. It is a realm of self-absorbed emotions. They have little regard for the feelings of other people because they are not conscious or aware of how others may feel. The exception to this is the relationships in where they receive validation. They are mostly caught up in how they themselves feel. They act and react in a way that is impulsive or instinctual, i.e. similar to an animal. They are often subject to remorse and guilt for what they said or something they did. It could be said they behave without “a present conscious awareness” of their actions.
They are prone to hurt others intentionally, but at other times they are truly unaware they are doing so. These lower levels are a sort of circular trap of inner emotions that feed off each other. This keeps a person mired in their own emotional drama. People who exist at these lower levels are generally not happy a majority of the time. They always feel they are a victim in life, in fact they thrive on being the victim. In a strange way their ego actually gets satisfaction from this. They want others to feel sorry for them because life hurts them. This is how they get attention. Since they feel like victims they are not likely to pursue any type of personal growth, this after all would be an indication of some self-awareness.
People at these levels tend to surround themselves with other victims who all help to reinforce the victim mentality within each other. Complaining about things, other people or life tends to be the main theme of most conversations. In these conversations everyone gets validated for being the victim. They are likely to raise children who grow up into the same victim mentality. This occurs by reinforcing the philosophy: “it is always someone else’s fault.” It is unfortunate in the last thirty or so years, there has been a marked shift in our society to glorify the victim. This has only further reinforced the victim mentality. This helps keep a large portion of society at a level, where as a group, they can be manipulated by emotions.
It is difficult to help people at these lower levels because what they want more than anything is validation. If you suggest to them they may be part (or all) of their problem, they are likely to get very defensive, angry and hurt. Eventually this leads to contempt, hatred and finally outrage and revenge. They need to be “right” no matter how wrong they may be. They only want others to understand them and their feelings, because as they see it, they are the victim. They just want others to tell them they are OK for feeling the way they do. The only way they can be helped is when they acknowledge they are at the center of all their problems. They are the common denominator, the common element to all their drama. They have to truly acknowledge and “know” they are part of the problem. Only then can they seek to change themselves by pursuing higher levels of consciousness.
Are people even aware they are at a lower level?
Probably not. To admit this or see this requires a sort of humbleness, authenticity and vulnerability. These are traits that arise in those who start to take responsibility for their life. With this responsibility comes a sense of inner personal power. Most people are doing all they can just to feel good about themselves.
However making others out to be bad or wrong (judging) is not a truthful way to “feel good.” It is also not an effective way to build one’s true character and self-esteem for lasting strength, respect, prestige and well-being. Ironically people at lower levels would be much happier and feel much better about themselves if they could move up in awareness. By understanding consciousness they stand a better chance of raising their own level.
Again, please do not take this as judgment on my part. I am only trying to bring an awareness to what these levels look like. Awareness is what this website is all about. That being said please know, everyone is perfect just as they are. Everyone is exactly where they should be. It is pain, suffering and heartache after all that gives life contrast and perspective. This is what drives us towards change and growth. Some require a little more suffering than others before they will change. My desire is for people to suffer as little as possible.
Understanding Consciousness At The Middle Levels
In the middle range of consciousness people start to look at life with more courage, optimism and enthusiasm. They “take control” of their lives by being personally responsible for their actions and the corresponding results. This range incorporates the qualities of being more aware of one’s self and one’s shortcomings. There is a great deal of basic growth in this range as people start to learn: “they receive what they put in.” Put in little and you get little in return. Put in your best effort and you will get the best in return. Here people pursue personal growth as means of continually making their lives better. As their lives get better they receive reinforcement in the way of results, money, admiration, respect, nurturing relationships, etc.. This serves to further motivate one towards further growth. People here are able to admit their shortcomings and either work to improve them or openly acknowledge them.
People in this range tend to associate with like-minded individuals and therefore conversations are more about what they are working on or their personal interest. There is an ability to self-correct and rationalize decisions based on a higher awareness of more things. This middle level ends in the area of high intellect. Ironically it is this high intellect which does not allow these same people to rise higher in consciousness. High intellect can lead one to a sense of intellectual superiority, where education is pursued as a means of becoming an “authority” in a particular field. They are no longer ruled by emotions and therefore can become detached from the heart based feelings of love and empathy. Intelligence and reasoning leads to an awareness we are responsible for ourselves.
Understanding Consciousness At The Higher Levels
Love, compassion, gratitude and peace are the overriding qualities of people in the higher levels. Here a person sees life in context with everything. They view all life as sacred and all living things as part of a oneness. At these higher levels everything is seen as interconnected. At the highest levels life itself is seen so differently that people at lower levels can’t even comprehend or conceptualize these higher states. In the highest levels the ego is transcended altogether. This puts the needs of others above the needs of the self (ego.) In other words this heart intelligence brings an awareness we are responsible for not only ourselves but for all others. Love takes all separated things and makes them whole. The sense of joy includes everything in that wholeness.
I know there are high intellect people who will read this and say “hogwash!” That is precisely the stumbling block to getting beyond the mid-levels. To get to these higher levels requires faith in something unseen. However once one has reached these higher levels they no longer need faith, “they know” without having to go through the mental process of rationalizing. It becomes an “inner knowing” that radiates from our “inner being.” It is interesting to note that as one rises in consciousness, they have a better sense of objectively understanding consciousness having risen from the lower levels.
In this higher state, thinking basically stops and becomes pure awareness. This is a difficult state to even imagine for most people because their mind is busy judging, analyzing, comparing and filtering. This thinking mind is the realm of the ego. So it could be said you cannot get to these higher levels with the ego intact. Each person that has reached these higher states enters into the realm of spiritual consciousness. It is a “knowing.” Only at this level does one allow all awareness to enter without getting stuck in the rational brain.
Understanding Consciousness Using Various Analogies
Consciousness includes a level of understanding that comes from learning and understanding. How many times do we interpret the actions of others as offensive or as a personal attack? Understanding people and personality profiles is a step towards achieving higher consciousness. When you begin to understand personality profiles you start to see people as “wired” a certain way. These personality traits or this “wiring” makes people behave in certain ways. When someone’s personality does not match our own, we tend to judge them as offensive, unfriendly, insulting, etc..
There are four main constructs that make up the bulk of a personality and like a gauge or scale from one to ten they range from very little to extreme. The four basic scales are described as
- Low Patience-High Patience
- Low Detail-High Detail.
There is also a component that measures one’s tendency to express emotions and a component that measures creativity. These traits exist in every person to some degree and every person has a high trait and low trait. The intensity of our personality is determined by the degree or range of our highest trait to our lowest trait. Those people that have a high spread or wide range tend to have very dynamic personalities. In other words they will be unique because of the wider range of traits. The degree to which we possess each of these traits leads us to act and react in different ways.
None of the traits listed can be considered either good or bad, they are just different; however we do have a tendency to relate to people who have the same traits we do. In this way we understand their actions and feelings and will literally defend these same people because we are in essence defending our own personality. Because of this we oftentimes will judge a trait to be good or bad based on our own association with it. We feel attacked by other people when their personalities are different from our own and they don’t behave as we think they should. We also tend to judge and criticize others for reacting differently to the same stimuli. Understanding that people are literally “wired” differently teaches us not to take things personally.
People are often admired for their strongest traits, but can be criticized for the same trait. For instance, a person that is highly assertive may be admired for their accomplishments, leadership, quick decisions and proactive thinking, but this same person may be criticized for being headstrong, insensitive, arrogant or selfish. A highly extroverted individual may be admired for their ability to interact with anyone by striking up a conversation with complete strangers. We are attracted to their enthusiasm, charisma and entertaining qualities. These same people can be criticized for talking too much, being superficial and not having firm convictions about things since they tend to allow others to sway their opinions in order to fit in to whatever group they are with.
If we understand that each dominant trait contains attributes that can be construed as both good and bad then we should not be so quick to judge another person. Only with self-discovery and great self-discipline is one able to accentuate the positive aspects of a trait and subdue the less desirable aspects of the same trait. The understanding of personality composition is a fundamental step in understanding others and with this knowledge we are far less likely to feel attacked by different personalities.
Consciousness is like this. As we begin to understand more things and expand our awareness, we stop judging so much. We rise above what appears on the surface and take a broader view. We no longer look at people as attacking “us” we begin to understand everyone is “wired” differently. We just “know” people are different and we should not take things personally.
Beam Of Light Analogy
Consciousness can be thought of as an ability to see and be aware of what surrounds us. Think of navigating through life in the dark with a laser beam of light. With this pinpoint of light we are only able to see small details of something larger. As our consciousness expands we are able to see more detail or even see the totality of something. If we had a flashlight we would begin to see more. If we had a floodlight we could start to see the things around an object and could better understand the relationship between things. If the sun came out we could then see everything in its totality making everything clear to us. This is actually a great analogy for consciousness as we become aware of everything that was once hidden in the dark.
Instinct And Reaction Analogy
In the world of instinct and reaction there is very little in the way of thought. There is only the consciousness of stimulus and response. For example, when an animal is grazing, it is not thinking about the best escape route should a predator come along; at the first sound, sight or smell of trouble they run without any thought. It does not go to a high ridge to survey the greenest pastures in which to graze, it is only looking 2 feet in front of itself. Even if they lifted their heads and could see a fertile green patch 10 feet away, they continue to eat what is right in front of them.
In many ways this form of animal consciousness has stayed with humans. We are reactionary creatures to certain stimulus. There is very little consciousness involved when a person reacts with an emotional response to a given stimulus. We certainly don’t want to think of ourselves as animals but this is what we have evolved from. The inability to see the bigger picture is what marks the lower conscious states.
Driving The Car Analogy
Similar to the animal example this limitation of eyesight and depth of field makes us concentrate on what is right in front of our face.
“The Tailgating Analogy Of Life”
There is a stretch of road I occasionally travel during rush hour that’s about 5 miles long with no passing lanes. Whenever I drive this road I know there will be approximately 4 to 5 times when the traffic will come to a complete stop and then slowly move again. This road is very congested and one of the few roads leading out of a particular residential area towards the city. There are very few side streets and the terrain has many curves and hills so you can’t always see the traffic up ahead. The speed limit is 50 Mph. and I typically drive fairly slow between 30 and 40 miles an hour because I know that I’m going to end up stopping several times somewhere along the way.
I prefer to leave about a football field of length between myself and the car ahead of me. This results in a very enjoyable, stress free drive while looking at the wooded scenery. Occasionally there will be a car in back of me that will beep their horn because I’m going slow. Anyone who travels this road knows there are no passing zones and knows the traffic will come to a complete stop several times. Yet, almost everyone tailgates the car ahead of them constantly hitting their brakes for the entire 5 mile stretch. They spend the entire time concentrating on the car ahead of them applying their brakes as soon as they see red lights. You could say their consciousness is fixated in their forward central vision as opposed to periphery vision.
This is how people use their consciousness during life. Rather then stepping back or leaving space to think, people react to what is right in front of them. They become so fixated on the moment, they lose sight of the bigger picture. The fact is, no one is going to get to their destination any faster by tailgating the car in front of them. The choice then is to leave space and be at peace or spend the entire time watching and reacting to the car in front. One allows a sense of peace and happiness, the other requires our full attention and is full of stress. We can either be part of the drama or we can rise above it.
The View From Space Analogy
At higher levels it is awareness on a deep level, a “knowing.” To help describe this concept we will look at the analogy of altitude or rising above something to gain more awareness, more perspective, to gain a better or clearer view. Every astronaut who has seen earth from the perspective of space had their consciousness raised to a new level. Once they came back to earth, they could never again experience earth or themselves the same way. To see the totality of earth as a living blue orb in the dead of space, makes a person think on a different level. To begin with we are starting our journey on the ground. This represents the lower levels of consciousness.
The ground level
When we are on the ground we tend to only have awareness of what is immediately in front of us. So let’s say its the holiday season, you are in a crowded store of wall to wall people. You can only see the people that are right next to you. Suppose that someone pushes you and you end up bumping into someone else. This other person becomes very angry and yells at you. You become very angry because it was not your fault. Neither of you are aware of the wall to wall people in the store because neither of you can see the whole picture. You both start yelling at each other and neither person is willing to “let it go.” Since there is no where to go and no way to avoid this person a fight breaks out and you both get hurt. Both of you sustain injuries and bruises. As a result you both have a memory of pain, anger and hatred that you carry with you for the rest of the day and into the next week. You end up telling anyone who will listen about how some “idiot” got into a fight with you over being bumped. This becomes your focus for the rest of the day and a topic of conversation for the rest of the week. You literally hate this other person for what they did. Every time you think of this situation you become angry and upset. This obviously does not make you happy.
As we rise up 5 feet in awareness we can now see how crowded the store is and we try to explain to the person it wasn’t our fault. You still yell back and forth but since you can see how crowded it is you “give in” and apologize. You are still very angry at this person and even though you apologized you only did so because they are an “idiot” for not seeing what happened. We are far enough above them that we taunt them a little with our arrogance pride and anger. We may be hurt by their words but we know more than they do and its not worth fighting. We spend the rest of the day telling everyone how we avoided a fight with some “idiot.” We were right and they were wrong. Since we feel “righteous” we mend easily “knowing” we were “right” in our view.
As we rise up 25 feet in awareness this same encounter is no longer seen as threatening. We just apologize sincerely without trying to blame it on anyone else. Because we are so far above them they can’t possibly see the level of frustration of the crowd. We may be aggravated by the person for their complete ignorance but we no longer feel threatened by them. We see how there are many people getting pushed around and it is inevitable that someone is going to get shoved or hurt. We question how the management of the store could allow so many people in at one time. We start to think next year we will go earlier in the day before it gets too busy.
As we rise up to 100 feet in awareness we see all the people pushing and shoving and start to see it as a sad statement on how materialistic the holiday has become. We see the chain of events that leads to a fight. We wish we could make them aware of the conditions because maybe then they would never have gotten into a fight. We are tempted to go down and explain to both parties but both are too mad to reason with. We may feel a certain arrogance or superiority at this level because we can see so much more than everyone else.
As we rise up to 1000 feet in awareness we now see many people with many personalities each wired in their own way. Each is prone to certain characteristics and behaviors based on their personalities. We start to see people as they are more or less programmed to certain tendencies. We see all the drama that takes place because of these different personalities. None of these people see why they have conflict with others. Each individual thinks differently and responds differently to every situation. We avoid shopping altogether since we bought everything several months prior to the holiday. Once we have reached this level we can never look upon the situation on the ground in the same way, we are now changed with a new level of awareness. These changes in awareness occur as we continue higher from this point.
As we rise up to 5000 feet in awareness we now see the entire town. We see the town culture and influence it has played on the people that live there. We see people doing bad things and we see people doing good things. These influences exist everywhere throughout the town. We see where a person lives, where they go and who they associate with affects who they are as a person. We witness people always trying to impress others. We see so many people trying to please others in order to be accepted.
At 52,000 feet or 10 miles in awareness we can no longer see any people. We just know they exist among many living out their life, going through their habits and routines, experiencing their dramas day after day. We start to become more enamored with the beautiful view. We avoid conflict with anyone since each person has their own idea of what life is. No two people are the same so we don’t take things personally. Everyone is programmed to act in different ways and it has nothing to do with us.
At two hundred miles
We start to see continents and different countries. Each country has their own unique culture, each with generations upon generations of tradition and ingrained beliefs. Each culture has their beliefs and those beliefs shape their lives, their experience and the country they live in. We see the resources they may or may not have and the great concentrations of wealth and poverty over expansive areas. Depending on what we pay attention to with our focus and telescopic concentration we can zoom in on anything we wish to see. If we wish to see crime, poverty and cruelty all we need to do is zoom in on it and we can see as much as we like for as long as we like. Likewise we can choose to see the silent and serene beauty of nature away from civilization. If we wish we can zoom in on people performing kind, generous and loving acts for others. There is either great collaboration or rugged individualism and strife, we alone decide which will be our focus. The view is breathtaking and we decide how we focus our awareness and what we wish to experience from our vantage point. We can go anywhere and do anything. Using our ability to focus our awareness, we can create the conditions to experience anything we desire.
At 200,000 miles up or out
We see earth as blue orb. It appears as a living organism providing an environment where life thrives. There is perceived good and perceived bad but from the view so far out in space it represents only an environment. There are countless causes creating countless effects. The nature of life on earth is things come into existence or experience birth, live out their lives and then die. From this view it is not difficult to see the light from the milky way or the lights from other galaxies where life evolves and inhabitants live or die together. The story of evolution is endless. We view all of this and we are at peace knowing this creative cycle is part of creation itself. We no longer see the drama of people, they are just one life form out of many. Humans are prone to their frailties, but love is what holds them all together. Without love humans would not survive. Earth is seen as a loving entity creating an environment where humans can experience love and happiness or pain and suffering. It is each individuals choice.
At 7 billion miles out
We see the existing solar system in which earth resides. We see life is dependent on the right conditions with earth currently inhabiting the unique conditions for life to develop. At an early point in our solar systems 4.8 billion year lifetime, planets closer into the sun may have had the right conditions to support life. It is conceivable as our solar system ages and the sun expands, life may very well evolve on planets outside of earth. The scope, magnitude and age is almost incomprehensible. There is no more judgment of anything. Everything is perfect, everything is as it should be.
At 250,000 light years away We see our milky way galaxy with our small solar system representing just one of 200 billion solar systems capable of supporting life. We realize we are looking at history for if we could travel back to the nearest solar system, it would take 150,000 years to reach it at the speed of light. Some planets have undergone tremendous changes, whole species of life have come and gone. We think back to our drama on the ground and realize each person is only capable of being that which they are able to be. We realize our judgment of people is due to our own ignorance of this fact. People literally cannot help themselves for behaving the way they do. They are at a certain level of consciousness which does not allow them to be aware of themselves. This evolution of consciousness is occurring throughout our galaxy and throughout other galaxies. As each species evolves it goes through its animal phases of consciousness, then higher intelligence phases, finally reaching the highest levels of consciousness. Unity, compassion, cooperation, peace and love represent the end stages of consciousness for all evolved life forms.
At 1 billion light years away
We see our galaxy as one of billions of galaxies spread across a cosmos 46 billion light years across. There is a sense of an intelligent creativity governing the laws of space with the creative destruction and rebirth of planets, stars and galaxies. Time stands still in the wonder and awe of creation. Evolution and life is on a continuous cycle of forming, evolving and perishing. Here we sit in the peace and love that is creation itself, we can feel a merging of our essence into the source of creation itself. We are in a state of absolute joy, love and peace. There are no more wants or desires, these have all fallen away. There is no more sense of an individual self. There is only a feeling of being one with everything. We no longer look upon any other person as higher or lower than us. We see each person as part of ourselves. There is nothing but compassion for all things as they are. Here we understand the essence of consciousness is experiencing itself in every possible way. This provides the contrast for understanding the one true reality, which is love itself. Life is spiritual it has been and always will be. Perhaps the universe exist as a never ending cycle of big bangs expanding and contracting as if it were the creators heartbeat or breath.
Returning to the ground of our own planet it is now difficult to function as a human being.
Those who have reached the highest levels of consciousness can never again look upon the world or life the same way. The awareness they experience becomes a “knowing.” That “knowing” can never be taken away or lost, it becomes an integral part of us as a human. Additionally it is instrumental in the evolution of our soul. One is only left with a sense of love and peace which cannot adequately be described nor comprehended by a lower conscience. Most people who have reached the highest levels of consciousness on our planet, live out their lives in seclusion. Some become spiritual teachers and some elect to pass into the spiritual realm having transcended the human ego experience. Just being in the presence of a highly conscious individual has the effect of raising our own consciousness.
Back to main menu
Understanding The Evolution Of Consciousness
We have looked at what consciousness is and tried to define it. Now we will try to understand consciousness from an evolutionary standpoint. Reviewing evolutionary consciousness will help us better understand how consciousness has developed over time. Consciousness like everything else on this planet has evolved. We may think of consciousness as a form of intelligence when it comes to evolution, but it is far more and can transcend intelligence altogether. It is fair to say however, up to a certain level intelligence is probably a component of it.
Instinctual Animal Tendencies
It is easy to forget that man has evolved over many thousands of years. The higher levels of consciousness we experience is a recent advance in our species. We humans have evolved from a primitive beginning rising up from ape like creatures. During this evolution natural selection favored certain characteristics, such as aggression, selfishness, paranoia and fear. These traits were advantageous to survival and procreation. The instinct to reproduce is the primary driver in life and within humans this instinct manifested differently in both males and females.
During our more primitive animal like beginnings, brute strength and aggression determined which males would mate. As time went on, intelligence started to play a much larger role but it was still used to overpower the competition. Eventually intelligence along with the ability to utilize emotions became advantageous. We have to remember that emotions originally evolved as a means of better sensing danger. As they progressed, devotion, protection and nurturing were a means of ensuring survival of offspring. Eventually emotions progressed further as social groups became larger. In these larger social groups emotions were used as a means of communicating and interacting with others. They were also successful in communicating how a person felt about their environment and the conditions affecting them.
Science has theorized that love is evident in the first mammals as mothers cared for their young. Love however should not be confused with an animal’s desire to procreate and continue the species. The higher emotion of love is relatively new for humans. This love is described as a willingness to sacrifice one’s own life for the sake of another or a group.
Marriage for a long time was traditionally determined by factors other than love. It was either prearranged based on tradition or was largely based on economics. The ability to share in the work necessary for surviving and raising children were the key drivers in these unions.
The Emotional Body
The next level inward is the emotional body. Here the human emotions become the main focus in evolutionary consciousness. In this level we interpret and experience life through our feelings and emotions. As social groups became larger, success, social acceptance and attracting a mate relied more heavily on utilizing emotions effectively. In the residual animal layer we perceive physical threats to our well-being and respond to them as immediate reactions. This was the primary objective of the human ego. The ego evolved to protect us from physical harm.
As we have evolved, the ego has also evolved. We no longer have the same environmental threats to our physical body. We now have shelter, enough food and in most parts of the world we have law and order with a relative degree of personal safety. Absent the physical dangers of our past, the ego has evolved to protect our self-worth or the “imaginary image” of ourselves. Here we interpret outside stimuli as potential threats to our “image.” These “imaginary threats” still invoke a fight or flight response. As we interpret someone’s actions as an assault on our “image” we become angry, fearful, ashamed, resentful or depressed.
Since we are no longer dealing with “real” physical threats, at this level we begin to internalize our reactions to the outside environment. In other words, we are not running away or fighting based on these threats; instead they only exist in our mind. We also begin to create our own internal threats, whether or not they are real. In this realm it is easy to get trapped in the illusion of our own emotions. They begin to feed off each other and the emotions themselves become the threat to our well-being. For example: “Susie is looking at me funny while she is talking to my friends, she is probably talking about me, I hate Susie, I want to hurt Susie.” This line of thinking is not conducive to happiness and well-being.
While many people say they cannot control their emotions, what they are really saying is they cannot control themselves. This is a direct result of the ego taking over as the dominant force in our consciousness. We must remember we are still experiencing parts of the residual animal consciousness. The difference is the threats are no longer physical, instead they are imaginary. After a while we can become addicted to the very emotions that cause us pain. In this way we subconsciously seek out situations in order to experience the same painful emotions.
Another aspect to the emotional body is what I will call stored emotions. These are emotions which have been internalized during traumatic events or ongoing abuse. These emotions become lodged in our body and are often triggered by outside stimuli. For instance, If you were raised by a parent who always criticized you, then you are prone to defensiveness when it is triggered by any form of perceived criticism. In a marriage this can manifest as anger and contempt against a partner who criticizes or even suggest alternative ways of doing something. These stored emotions are released on anyone who triggers them.
Unresolved emotions tend to get stuck in the body and can literally create illness. The heart is an area where rejection or loss can be felt as heartache. Anger can be felt in the gut and so on. The memory of these unresolved emotions can lead one to feel the original hurt as if it were occurring in the present moment. This is why unresolved emotions that are held onto can become a lifelong trap of suffering.
The Intellectual Brain
As we evolved there is a segment of humans who no longer allow their emotions to control their lives; effectively overcoming their emotions. Rising above irrational emotions requires some intellectual reasoning. At this level a person becomes objectively aware of their emotions and starts to detach from them. They realize while some emotions are useful, emotions are responsible for all the drama in life. Most importantly, by allowing emotions to effect our judgments we realize truth can get distorted based on how one feels about something. In order to deal in just the facts of a situation, one has to put emotions and feelings to the side.
The intellectual brain realizes life is an experience and we have a certain amount of control over that experience. This control is mainly of ourselves, our emotions, and our interpretations and reactions to life. Utilizing the power of thoughts and reasoning we resolve problems and utilize our will to create our ideal life. At the highest level of the intellectual brain, people can almost seem cold and distant. They rarely display any irrational emotions and they can be limited in their ability to emphasize with others. Rather than interpreting life’s events with feelings and emotions, everything is looked at rationally as a set of causes and effects. One might respond to a parent dying as “well he was old and had cancer, he shouldn’t have smoked.” Things are seen in a very non-emotional fact based manner.
The Spiritual Mind
A very small segment of humans have evolved to the spiritual mind phase of consciousness. This evolutionary consciousness phase has been reached mainly through spiritual practices and religions that promote higher levels consciousness. It has started to occur in a small number of people in the west in just the last 100 years. This is the new age spiritual movement that has gained popularity as people have rebuffed traditional religion and have sought to learn more about eastern religions. Meditation, chakras, the Tao, the Vedas, Zen, Yoga, Buddhism, etc.. All have helped in showing people a path to higher levels of consciousness. While higher levels of consciousness will eventually evolve over time, people are starting to use their spiritual will to accelerate the process within themselves.
At this level, love, compassion, gratitude and peace are at the forefront of consciousness. These traits are first and foremost directed inward towards oneself. Only after they have been experienced by the self can they be directed outward. The aspect of the soul along with life being continuous becomes more conscious in the individual. This higher self is expressed through the heart as the ego is subdued. Consciousness at this level is that of unity and caring for the welfare of others. Fear is no longer a predominant emotion if it exists at all. As one reaches this level of consciousness the belief in death no longer exist.
We see consciousness as continuing beyond the physical body. We come to realize we are not our body. Living from the spiritual mind, there is little to no identification with the body. The body is seen as a learning tool and the image of it is therefore no longer, protected, worshipped or accentuated. All the materialism associated with the body is diminished. In other words people are no longer concerned with material goods surrounding the body other than what is necessary to sustain a relatively comfortable life.
As the Buddha taught, attachment leads to suffering. At this level of consciousness people become unattached to outcomes. Life begins to flow through us as an experience meant only to teach. Living the principles of Compassion, love, gratitude and peace, one develops a rock solid sense of self. This sense of self remains unchanged in the face of any perceived adversity. To live at this level is to accept people for who they are and to accept life for what it is. There is no more judgment for what is right or wrong, good or bad. All experience is meant to teach regardless of what it is.
This level of consciousness represents the pinnacle of consciousness reached by man. Very few throughout recorded history have attained this center of consciousness. Here individual consciousness merges and is aware of the one unifying consciousness. Little is written on this level because so few have attained it and it has been termed as indescribable by those who have. The awareness of all things and the nature of consciousness itself is experienced in this level. It is said that one becomes the observer and the observed. There is a complete sense of oneness with all that exist.
Eventually humans will evolve to experience the center of consciousness. Once this has been reached, the reincarnation cycle ends. Surely there must be learning beyond this but that would be way beyond our ability to comprehend at our current level of consciousness.
Consciousness has evolved just like everything else on this planet. Starting with a primitive basic consciousness and rising up to the levels that are experienced today. The only way to truly understand consciousness is to rise up from the lower levels and study the higher levels. We cannot hope to achieve something if we don’t even know what it is. This series on consciousness is meant to enlighten the reader on what the varying degrees of consciousness look like. Once someone is exposed to the higher levels and what they look like, it then becomes a personal choice in whether to pursue them. Until then, we just don’t know what we don’t know. As Buddha said, ignorance and attachment are the root of all suffering.
The drama of evolution is before us. There is a process that must be gone through as each species evolves. There is no direct way to alter this process. Everything is in the process of becoming and everything is perfect in whatever state it is in. There is an inner calling inside all sentient life to evolve, to grow, to learn, to search inwardly to know itself. Inside we are programmed with all there is to know. Inside each of us the creator of life has planted the answers to life itself, but we must evolve, raising our level of consciousness, before we are able to access it.
Understanding Dr. David R. Hawkins Map or consciousness or levels of consciousness
About Dr. David R. Hawkins
Map Of Consciousness
The consciousness levels below 200 represent “Force.”
The consciousness levels above 200 represent “Power.”
The general differences between power vs force
Consciousness levels of 500 and above
Consciousness levels – Scale
The energetic and magnetic properties of consciousness levels
To my knowledge there is only one comprehensive map of consciousness, or list of descriptive consciousness levels. This can be extremely beneficial for giving us a more detailed view of the various levels. As you study these levels you may gain insight into where you stand in your own evolution of consciousness and gain a better understanding in how to move higher.
Throughout history the goal of all great religions has concerned itself with techniques and teachings for rising up through these consciousness levels. Most who have done so can attest to the difficulty of this endeavor. Success depends on having a teacher or a set of teachings to guide one in this process. However, just exposing oneself to this information is enough to raise one’s level of consciousness. You will notice these levels correlate with specific processes of consciousness as they relate to emotions, perceptions and attitudes towards world views, spirituality and oneself. One should also note that those who seek to reach the highest levels of enlightenment can transcend the middle levels altogether.
About Dr. David R. Hawkins
Dr. David R Hawkins 1927–2012 (Bio can be found here: https://veritaspub.com/dr-hawkins/) developed one of the most comprehensive maps introduced in his 1994 book entitled “Power vs Force.” Dr. Hawkins has written many books on the subject of how to attain higher consciousness. I have read several of his books and have numerous audio recordings of his lectures. His teachings and work resonate with me both intellectually and spiritually.
I caution anyone about following any single doctrine, method or procedure as a sole basis of advancing ones personal growth. Everything should be looked at in totality for a thorough understanding of any subject. With that being said, I will highlight the “Map Of Consciousness” as a basic framework for understanding consciousness levels. I believe Dr. Hawkins speaks from the unique perspective of having reached enlightenment in his lifetime. This gave him the unique ability to see consciousness from the full perspective of human experience.
Most intellectual people who try to: define consciousness, study it, or research it, do so from the level of reasoning, (under the 500 level.) As a result they either omit the levels above or can only theorize what the higher levels are like. Dr. Hawkins was able to write about it and describe it from the place of “knowing.” I have the unique experience of an awakening which has exposed me to a level around 600 so I too can attest to the accuracy of the descriptions up to that point. Admittedly beyond this I feel I can understand the levels but I do not know it experientially. So while I feel I can speak with confidence on the levels up to my experience, I cannot with any authority speak to the levels beyond. This is what makes consciousness difficult to understand because in many ways without experiencing a wide range it is difficult to comprehend.
Dr. Hawkins has sometimes been described as eccentric. However anyone who wishes to teach spiritual principles must drag up some ego to do so. In order to teach in the environment of academics one must still use the levels of reasoning and this requires some ego. Most people who have reached enlightenment are unnoticed and reclusive. The mere act of achieving such a high state prompts one to accept all things as they are. There is no desire to change anything, including anyone’s level of consciousness.
If one desires to help others by teaching, then one must utilize aspects of the ego to do so. Wanting to help and teach is somewhat egoic by its very nature. There are very few who can remain in a completely enlightened state and still teach. One of the best exceptions to this was Ramana Maharshi. He had no desire to teach. His notoriety only occurred when he was “discovered” and “advertised” to the outside world. However, he continued to live as he had always done, seeking nothing from the outside world. He did not seek anything in return for his enlightenment. Those who wished to learn from him would mostly just sit quietly with him while he meditated, “absorbing” and being attracted to the energy he emitted. The only teaching he did was when he was asked questions, otherwise he barely spoke.
Map Of Consciousness
Below is a rendition of the “Map Of Consciousness” based the work of Dr. David R. Hawkins.
According to Hawkins we enter life at a predetermined level of consciousness. This level is likely where we left off in our last life and most people only advance five points in a lifetime. If this is true then we would tend to be stuck in a certain level most of our life. From my own experience of knowing people close to me, this is probably an accurate statement. Very few people make radical jumps in consciousness unless it is their goal. One of the most important things to note on this scale are the demarcation levels of 200 and 500.
The consciousness levels below 200 represent “Force”
In this range the primary goal is survival with the exception of the very bottom where even the will to live is lacking. These levels are lacking basic integrity in life. One becomes so consumed with their own issues they are unable to look outside themselves. Note that these lower levels have to do with a person’s delusion of themselves as they focus inward. Their focus is on themselves, their emotions and their shame, guilt, apathy, grief, fear, desire, anger and pride. They are unable to expand their consciousness to incorporate awareness outside of themselves and their own emotions.
Below 200 people are seen as net takers in life, taking more than what they give back in life. This also represents the weakness of victim mentality as they cannot see their own weakness and this makes them look outside themselves for the cause of life’s problems. All the levels below 200 tend to be a destructive force to both the individual and society at large, whereas above 200 they become constructive expressions of power. The level of 200 becomes the turning point at which destructive forces turn to positive life enhancing attractors.
This victim mentality is evident in these lower levels. It expresses itself more as blame as one rises above energy level 125 of desire. People at this level will always blame others for their own failures in life. They are incapable of accepting any responsibility for their own circumstances. In essence they forego their “power” in playing the victim because the problem always lies “out there.” Since true power lies in changing ourselves for the better, a victim will continue to remain a victim. They continue to seek the empathy and validation of others and such enabling by others just reinforces the victim mentality. An example may be someone who slips on the ice in someone’s driveway and seeks to sue them. They will claim it was the owners responsibility instead of taking any personal responsibility themselves. Another example may be a failed marriage, where one spouse blames the other 100% taking no personal responsibility for their part in the marriage. Since they are unable to see the solution to a problem within themselves, they can never fix anything. All the levels below 200 tend to reinforce and feed off each other. When one is emotionally upset it is usually a combination of most of these lower levels as they all play a part in reinforcing the weakness below 200.
The consciousness levels above 200 represent “Power”
As one moves to courage and beyond their sense of responsibility for life shifts to themselves. This becomes “empowering” because now the solution to any problem lies within one’s self, here it can be dealt with and fixed. As one moves up from this level there is an increasing focus on possibilities and cooperation with others in order to achieve one’s goals. These levels start to expand our awareness “outwards” encompassing more and more energy. As a brief example Mahatma Gandhi used his “power” of love and non-violence to defeat the British empire without using any “force.” In this process he facilitated the independence of India from British rule.
The general differences between power vs force
The nature of force is limited in the fact that it creates a counterforce. Force requires movement from here to there whereas power is stationary; it does move against anything. Force must always move against something. Similar to gravity, power is stationary but has the ability move all objects. Power comes from meaning and principle and aligns with the support of life itself. Power by its very nature is noble, supporting, uplifting and dignifying of life. Force must always be justified as it is partial and not whole. Since force is incomplete it has an insatiable appetite that must always be fed with energy.
Power is complete by itself and needs nothing outside itself. It energizes, gives, supplies and supports. Power is associated with compassion and makes us feel positive about ourselves and the world; it gives life and energy whereas force takes these away. Force is judgmental and makes us feel bad about ourselves and the world. Force is divisive creating win/lose scenarios resulting in the creation of enemies and therefore requires constant defense. Force is utilized in the pursuit of transient goals and once a goal is reached there is a sense of emptiness of meaning. Power is aligned with principles that are supportive of all life and therefore has deep meaning and endless motivation.
One need only remember that power makes one strong and force makes one go weak. Love, compassion, gratitude and peace may be seen as submissive or weak, however these attributes are exceptionally empowering. Hatred, revenge, judgment and condemnation inevitably make one go weak. The weak will ultimately fall due to their weakness and power will eventually prevail. Those who have aligned with truthful principles throughout history will attest their power came from a source outside themselves. The most deplorable individuals in history unleashed unimaginable suffering due to their own weakness.
Consciousness levels of 500 and above
As one rises beyond 500 their focus is on the welfare of others. The ego is subdued or transcended altogether. Once a person has reached these levels anything below it is unacceptable, thus they will remain in these higher states. A major shift in consciousness occurs beginning at this level as one starts to see themselves and everyone else as a collective whole. Life is no longer the pursuit of one’s own desires but rather it is about helping others and helping humanity.
Beyond consciousness levels of 540 there is a spiritual pursuit for the attainment of enlightenment. If one attains enlightenment, the very act of achieving it increases the overall consciousness of humanity. The level of 400 (Reason) with its intellectual fact based logic is a major hurdle to entering the more spiritual levels of 500 and above. Beyond 540 is the pursuit of the spiritual requiring some faith. This is precisely why enlightenment is typically known as “Spiritual Enlightenment.” The intellectual person will have a hard time getting over a pure fact based scientific approach to life. These people tend to remain fixed below the 500 level as a result.
Consciousness levels – Scale
Another important point is the numbering system of 1-1,000. It is a logarithmic scale. This means that level 300 is not twice as high as 150 but rather 300 to the tenth power. Therefore even an increase of a few points is a substantial increase in power. Dr. Hawkins notes that the average person only advances about 5 points in a lifetime and can sometimes go backwards. One should note that the rate of increase and power as one moves up the scale is enormous. It is also interesting to note the inverse relationship of the amount of people at the various levels. There are very few individuals at the top of this scale and it increases logarithmically as you move down the scale. The vast majority of the world population lives at the lower end and the number of people decrease rapidly as you move up the scale.
The energetic and magnetic properties of consciousness levels
These various levels can be thought of as “energy fields” or “attractor fields” similar to how metal filings line up with a magnetic field. We are “drawn” or “attracted” to certain levels of consciousness when we “align” with their energy patterns. Each of these levels has their own energy field. As we allow new ideas to penetrate our systems of thought we are “drawn” or “attracted” to another level. As we “break free” of old patterns of thought at a lower level, we acquire new belief systems “in line” with a new level of consciousness.
As the levels move higher, they have more energy associated with them. Example: At the levels of Shame (20) and Guilt (30) a person is so full of self-hatred, they are likely to be self-destructive. If they move up to the next higher energy level of Apathy (50) they become almost non-responsive to life, but they are no longer on a clear course of self-destruction. If they started to cry, they would be moving up into Grief (75) which would be healthier and a higher energy level than Apathy. If they moved up into Fear (100) they become fearful of the future indicating concern for self-preservation. Moving into Desire (125) they are willing to risk or overcome some of their fear by desiring, wanting or craving something. Each level is only seen as better or worse in the context of where someone is moving from and to.
Think of the following examples of how you become attracted to different levels of “energy” or thinking when you “align” with the properties of that level. Example: when you are in the presence of a person with a negative victim mentality, you may be “dragged” into or “attracted” to gossiping, judgment, hatred, contempt, criticism, anger, etc.. Likewise in the presence of a higher level of consciousness you would be attracted into the energies of compassion, encouragement, enthusiasm, confidence, acceptance, forgiveness, love, etc..
The point to remember is you are influenced a great deal by different “energy fields.” What you surround yourself with, think, or allow as inputs into your mind have an effect on your consciousness. In simplistic terms this is acknowledged with the old sayings of “Birds of a feather flock together” and “You are the company you keep.” This is why there is great energy that can be drawn from groups based in love, compassion, encouragement and helping; such as “AA,” spiritual groups or other high integrity groups. As one becomes more aware of these attractor fields one can be more conscious of the effect others have on us.
Even brief interactions with those at higher consciousness levels can have profound effects on a person. There is also great power gained from studying the teachings of the great avatars such as Jesus and Buddha and/or any teachings from enlightened individuals. According to Hawkins, Jesus, Buddha and Krishna all calibrated at the level of 1,000. One need only think of the immense power these avatars have had on human consciousness and their effects are still being felt today. The avatars at 1,000 are not so much seen as individuals but rather have become the examples of a model or pattern in consciousness. Christ consciousness and Buddha nature are examples of this model representation.
If one wishes to move up this scale, then one must practice the daily intentions that are consistent with the highest levels. Love, compassion, gratitude and peace are the highest principles of consciousness. If one defers to these principles in their daily life, they will in turn be aligning themselves with the highest energy fields. If one defaults to the negative emotions associated with the lower energy fields, (i.e. anger, gossiping, hatred, judgment,) they will in turn find themselves aligning and attracting themselves to those lower energy states. Aligning ourselves with the highest levels will “pull us” or “attract us” through the other levels as we reach for the top levels.
As we review a detailed description of each consciousness energy level keep in mind that a person can be at various levels in different aspects of their life. It is the average aggregate of a persons overall consciousness that determines the level they are at. For instance someone may jump between Desire, Anger and Pride and therefore their average level may be Anger. It is not uncommon for someone to relate to many of these states at some time or another in their life, but one of them will tend to dominate our consciousness.
Consciousness level 20: Shame
Shame is a level at which death may be chosen through active suicide or the failure to actively prolong life. Shamed people feel humiliation or a sense of being discredited or of “losing face.” They seek to hide becoming invisible. In shame a person becomes withdrawn, shy and introverted. It is portrayed or known in society as “hanging your head in shame.” There is a sense of banishment which can lead one to seek death as a solution. Shame in general is destructive to ones emotional and psychological health and can often manifest as physical illness or death. It can also manifest as cruelty towards oneself or to others.
Consciousness level 30: Guilt
Guilt results in an unforgiving emotional attitude. Guilt can be directed inwardly or projected outward. There is a strong sense of wanting punishment or punishing others. Societies often utilize public punishment to gratify their own guilt ridden conscience. Guilt can provoke rage and can be expressed in killing. It often leads to self-rejection, remorse, feeling bad and self-sabotage. Unconscious guilt can result in psychosomatic disease, accidents and suicidal behaviors. Many people struggle with some level of guilt their entire lives. Guilt can be exploited by others for coercion and control of those who are guilt ridden.
Consciousness level 50: Apathy
Apathy is a state of helplessness depicted by poverty, despair, depression and hopelessness. It is a state that elicits pity from others. The consciousness energy level is so low that one is unable to help themselves, even though help may be available. These include the homeless and people of old age who live in isolation or suffer from chronic and progressive diseases. Apathy is best described as the level in which one abandons all hope. According to Hawkins approximately one third of the worlds population lives at this level or below.
Consciousness level 75: Grief
This level is characterized by sadness, loss, bereavement and remorse of the past. Experiencing a major loss early in life can lead one to accepting grief and sorrow as a consequence of life itself. People at this stage tend to project their grief out into the world viewing everything as sad. This is the level of habitual losers and chronic gamblers, they accept failure and loss of jobs, money, friends, health, family and opportunities as part of their lifestyle. One of the characteristics of grief is the notion that something considered dear and valuable cannot be replaced. When such loss occurs it can lead to serious depression or even death. Grief still has more energy than apathy, so as one starts to experience grief from an apathetic state, they are in fact moving up in energy.
Consciousness level 100: Fear
Fear is a state most everyone experiences in and out of their normal mode of consciousness. While grief is concentrated on the past, fear is more about the future. This state is far removed from the lower states leading to death or suicide. Fear indicates a concern for our well-being or safety, thus it is an indication of wanting to preserve one’s life. Fear is used extensively in advertising, media and politics as a means to exploit people. When fear becomes a person’s main focus they are subject to paranoia, jealousy and neurosis. Fear is difficult to rise above and leads to inhibitions. People at the level of fear can be led higher by those who demonstrate they have conquered their fears. In an interesting way, fear can actually be a powerful motivator as many people structure a great deal of their lives around fear. Fear of death or disease can motivate people to live a healthy lifestyle. Fear of not having enough money can motivate people to be responsible with money and save for their retirement. Fear can also be destructive. The fear of losing a relationship can result in extreme jealousy. Fear can limit our experience of life when we are unwilling to face our fears. Some introspection into our own fears can reveal a great deal about ourselves and how it motivates us.
Consciousness level 125: Desire
This level is the basis for materialism and whole economies. People are able to overcome their fear by a strong desire for attention, power, achievement or material goods. We are able to expend great amounts of energy in order to satisfy our desires. Desire is played upon in the cosmetic and fashion industry as people seek sexual approval. Desire can manifest as greed and the need to accumulate or it can manifest as addictions, obsessions and compulsions. It is a strong attractor field and can become the dominant level of consciousness for many. Desire is the level associated with addictions as desire becomes a craving more important than life itself. Addictions are not isolated to drugs and alcohol, they can take many forms such as the need for attention, amassing fortunes and sexual cravings.
Desire becomes a self-reinforcing trap as one desire is fulfilled another one rises to take its place. This produces a sense of never being satisfied, always wanting and craving more. Desire however can be a powerful motivator to the achievement of goals. When it is directed inward towards personal growth, it can lead to higher levels of consciousness.
Consciousness level 150: Anger
The energy field of desire can lead to frustration for not getting what one desires, this frustration leads to anger. Anger can be used either constructively or destructively. It is expressed most frequently as resentment and revenge which can be volatile and dangerous. There is a sense of fear when interacting with people at this level because one never knows when their anger will erupt. When anger is used constructively it can be the catalyst for ushering in social or personal change. Anger used as a catalyst can bring determination and energize one to seek solutions. Used destructively it can lead to wars and killing. If one dwells upon anger it creates resentment, grudges and hatred which is both dangerous and destructive; effectively “eating away” at all areas of a person’s life. Those who dwell at this level can be difficult, litigious, irritable and prone to explosive episodes. These are people who have anger management issues. Offended easily, they keep a mental diary of every incident where they have been wronged. Anger is the base energy field prompting those at pride to defend their sense of self-worth by spewing their anger, hatred and resentment towards others.
Consciousness level 175: Pride
Closed minded, unteachable, always on the defensive for being right, narcissistic vanity, won’t hear what you have to say, think they are hot stuff…enter the level of pride. Obviously people start to feel positive about themselves at this level. The reward for all the pain of rising through the lower levels is the beginning self-esteem one “feels” at pride. Pride is on display daily by those who “strut their stuff.” Pride entices people to push their sense of pride into people’s faces. This is done by “dressing to the nines,” “showing off” their material possessions, “glorifying” their accomplishments, “gloating” over a win, “boasting” of their many travels, even pushing their children’s or spouse’s accomplishments as a sense of pride. People at this level may be insecure and unhappy but their pride will not allow them to show it. Pride projects the image that life is great, but behind the facade of their outward pretention their personal life can be a mess.
The United States Marine Corp. attracts its recruits with lure of pride in hopes of moving them up into courage. Pride is typically looked at favorably in society and is encouraged to the extent people take “stock” in themselves. After all, it is far better than the levels below it. Pride however is still below 200 and is therefore a weak level of consciousness. Here the ego is inflated and extremely vulnerable to attack. Pride therefore is vulnerable to being knocked off its pedestal back down to shame. As it is said “Pride Goeth Before a Fall.” To prevent this “fall” leads those at pride to be arrogant, divisive, defensive and vulnerable, all of which leads to denial. These characteristics are not conducive to personal growth and stand as a major impediment to it.
At the level of pride recovery from alcoholism or other addictions is impossible because all emotional problems and character defects are denied. The fact that one denies any shortcomings in themselves is due to their pride which does not allow them to progress. Pride must always be protected and therefore contains no real power, stature or prestige. Pride is related to an underlying fear, once a person faces this fear they can let go of pride and begin to align with the next attractor field of courage. Once a person advances into the levels of “power,” personal growth can occur much more rapidly. Beyond this level is where real stature and prestige can be achieved. Until this happens one is stuck at being a victim of their pride and will continue to place blame outside themselves. This level is the last great barrier to becoming accountable to oneself and achieving real self-reinforcing personal growth.
Pride is often a substitute for genuine self-esteem; however genuine self-esteem does not actually arise until pride is relinquished. Things which inflate the ego do not result in inner strength. It instead increases vulnerability and fear. Pride spends all its energy defending a lifestyle, clothes, a neighborhood, the status of a car brand, ancestry, religious affiliation, etc.. There is an endless preoccupation with appearance and what other people will think. This results in constant vulnerability to the opinions of others. Once pride is relinquished and replaced with real inner power, we no longer feel any need to defend our “image,” until then pride’s “defensiveness invites attack.” Pride protects the insecure person who feels they are not good enough on their own.
Consciousness level 200: Courage
The motto at this level is “I can.” This is where power first emerges as the positive aspects of life start to outweigh the negative. Here we start to explore our world with a sense of courage and enthusiasm. This leads to exploration, accomplishment, fortitude and determination. Whereas the lower levels are filled with pain and suffering, here we see life as challenging, stimulating and exciting. As we accomplish things and take charge of our life, each success adds to our self-esteem. Unlike pride which is a false sense of self-esteem constantly needing protection, the esteem one achieves at courage stays with us and cannot be taken away.
For the first time we lift our sail and are willing to chart a course exploring life into the unknown. There are still fears but we muster the courage to face them in order to move forward in life. This may include pursuing education, a new job, working on our character defects, etc… What was once considered an obstacle at the lower levels, now becomes a challenge to overcome. For the first time we are contributing to life as much as we take. Courage allows us to look within for the source of our power. We no longer feel we are always the victim in life we now start to take responsibility for our experience of life. This is truly the beginning phase of self improvement, our only limitation beyond this point is ourselves.
Since pride is due to an underlying fear, courage allows us to finally face our fears. We have the courage to face our emotions instead of being scared of them. As a result we start to gain control of our emotions by no longer being afraid of them. These little victories start to accumulate and give rise to more self-confidence. At the level of courage, our notion of what is possible starts to expand and with it so does our world. To this point personal gain was the primary motivation, at courage we start to develop an ability to give to others.
Consciousness level 250: Neutrality
Neutrality denotes a release from taking strong positions for or against things, instead we take a neutral position. Below this level people take on strong positions for or against things, this positionality creates opposition and division. Since having a strong position can lead to anger, frustration and disappointment, the need to have things be a certain way is released at this level. When we are no longer attached to a particular outcome then we can no longer be a victim. At this level of consciousness we release many painful emotions. Letting go of resistance brings much more power to an individual. Strong opinions create obstacles and difficulties, here we eliminate the obstacles and difficulties by no longer seeing them that way. Power is freed up by no longer being dominated by aversions and cravings.
As we reach this level we develop a sense of well-being and confidence in our ability to deal with life. Fear is replaced with a sense of security and confidence knowing we can handle any situation. Since we are no longer rigidly attached to outcomes and have no desire to control others, we are able to “roll with the punches.” At this level people are undisturbed emotionally, are easy to get along with and safe to be around. They have no interest in conflict, competition or guilt. They no longer feel defeated, frightened or frustrated. Its OK if we don’t get our way because we are more flexible and non-judgmental. A person starts to develop a very real sense of inner confidence at this level and this leads to a true sense of power. With this new sense of inner power, we are not intimidated easily and are not out to prove anything. Due to these inner changes, one starts to value a sense of freedom and are therefore much harder to control.
Consciousness level 310: Willingness
This level marks our willingness to participate in life on an active level. Not only do we perform a job, at this level we put in our “best effort,” as a result, promotions and advancement occur rapidly. Growth is rapid in all areas of life and social and economic success follow automatically. A person at this level is “willing” to start at the bottom and work their way up and if unemployed are “willing” to take any job in order to work. They are not demeaned by lower jobs due to a high sense of intrinsic self-worth and self-esteem. They “know” their worth and their ability to contribute. This is reinforced often by those who give them recognition, appreciation, rewards, admiration and praise.
Willingness allows one to face their inner issues and therefore will not have major roadblocks to continued learning. These people are builders and contributors to society. The have faced their shortcomings, are willing to learn from others and become teachable students of life. There is a sort of self reinforcing upward spiral that occurs from this level.
We start to put our “best effort” into our participation with life. Life then starts to give back in ways that make us want to give more, and life then gives more and so on. At this level we begin to utilize the power of intention. People at this level tend to experience success and fulfillment in their life. It is the willingness to put forth our best effort in being a: great neighbor, friend, spouse, employee, volunteer, caretaker, sibling, coach, etc.., that enhances every area of one’s life.
Consciousness level 350: Acceptance
At this level of consciousness we have fully accepted, that we are the creator of our own life. We are the creator of our own happiness, it no longer lies out there somewhere. This is an enormous responsibility to accept, but with it comes an equally huge jump in power, awareness and consciousness. We understand that we alone have all the power we need to create our life as we desire. We begin to live harmoniously with the “forces of life.” We start to understand the bigger picture and begin to encompass more awareness into solving problems. This awareness utilizes balance, proportion and appropriateness in thinking and decisions. Because we are not interested in determining “right” or “wrong” we becomes focused on a common ground in all solutions.
In the full awareness of our ability to find our own happiness we become conscious of our own limitations, which at this level we can now readily admit. We completely overcome denial as a result and can start to see ourselves more objectively. This level is free from discrimination and intolerance, we recognize equality while still honoring diversity. Regardless of our situation we can affect the circumstances such that it will bring about our happiness. Energy at this level is not only used but is given back out to the world as selfless service to others. This is what moves a person to the consciousness energy level of reason.
Consciousness level 400: Reason
Reason is the level of science, medicine and in general the great thinkers throughout history. Einstein, Freud, Supreme Court justices all calibrate at these levels. Intelligence and the ability to be rational dominates this level. Think of this as overcoming the narcissistic and emotional distortions common in the lower levels. Here we can handle complex amounts of data making rapid and correct factual decisions. The ability of comprehension and conceptualizing happens at this level as we are able to understand the intricacies of relationships, graduations, and subtle distinctions. Reason is linear and objective.
At the level of reason there is a non-emotional respect for truth. Knowledge, facts and education are sought as a means to increase ones worth. Reason is highly effective in a technical environment where logic is required. Reason however can become a great barrier to reaching higher levels of consciousness. Intellectualizing can become a vicious cycle producing massive amounts of data, information and documentation. Without the ability to allow for a jump in “faith,” reason gets stuck in data alone. Therefore it does not allow for the subjective jump to spiritual truth. This is why only 4% of the worlds population moves beyond this level.
This is the level of all great thinkers and “the great books of the western world.” Reason keeps one confined to the logical functioning and interpretation of the brain. Here emotions are subdued allowing for the clarity of data and facts to be processed. When reason evolves to a love of truth for its own sake it can lead to a paradigm jump in consciousness to the energy level of love.
Consciousness level 500: Love
A great paradigm shift occurs at this level. Love exist in another dimension which is non-linear and subjective. We begin to enter the realm of consciousness contained in the heart/soul bypassing the brain altogether. The higher spiritual influences come through this heart intelligence before they are rationalized through the brain. Love starts becoming more unconditional, unchanging, permanent, forgiving, nurturing and supportive. At the lower levels love is directed, exclusive, selective and conditional; as it evolves beyond this point it becomes unconditional as a way of being.
Love at the lower levels is conditional based on a “giving to get” motivation, it is more about dependency than actual love. The love that society portrays is one of intense physical and emotional attraction, possessiveness, dependency, control and addiction. This is not “true” love as evidenced by the fact that love can turn to hate.
Love at this level and beyond becomes a lifestyle, a way of approaching all of life, a force that radiates from our being. Because it is not dependent on some condition, it springs from within and is therefore not subject to outside conditions. Due to the power of this attractor field, people at this level have a profound influence on others effectively attracting them to a higher level. Because love at this level is inclusive, incorporating all life, it expands ones sense of self and ones consciousness to incorporate all life. Love focuses on the good in life and has the ability to dissolve negativity by changing ones perspective.
As people rise from this level they no longer blame anyone for anything, rather life is seen as a continuing learning experience in how to love. Love emanates from the heart and therefore cannot be accessed from the intellectual brain. Due to the purity of its motive it can lift others out of despair and accomplish great feats. Problems are approached from a global perspective with the ability for instant empathy without the need for facts and data. At this level the separating, divisiveness and judgment of the ego is subdued, love seeks to make all things whole. This is the level where true happiness is experienced. This happiness is the result of feeling this love within ourselves while still realizing that love exist as a force outside ourselves.
Consciousness level 540: Joy (Unconditional Love)
According to Hawkins only 0.4% of the world population ever reaches the level of 540. As love becomes more and more unconditional, it begins to be experienced as true joy. This joy is a constant companion to all activities. The energy field at this level is where healing takes place and it is the level of all twelve step groups. Not only is it pleasurable to be around people at this level but we experience a higher level of energy within ourselves due to the energy that emanates from these people. From this level on up is the domain of saints, spiritual healers and advanced spiritual students. Here there is the capacity for enormous patience and a continuing positive attitude in the face of prolonged adversity.
The ability to be compassionate starts at this level. Inner joy, quietness and an inner “knowing” occurs as we begin to connect with a source that is ever present and unchanging. At the high end of this level the world takes on a certain radiance or glow, beauty is seen in everything. Life starts to happen effortlessly as will and intent is manifested through synchronicity.
At this level our sense of responsibility towards others is facilitated by using one’s state of consciousness for the betterment of life itself. One is able to perceive the miraculous power of the energy field itself. There is the capacity to love many people simultaneously, and as we do, we become a conduit for the immense love that springs without limit from the source. Many who have had Near-Death experiences have experienced the Consciousness energy levels of 540 to 600. These are levels that even if they are experienced temporarily, they have the ability to radically change a person’s life. This fact is evident in those people who have had near death experiences. Once one has been exposed to this level, it is as if a new reality is experienced.
Consciousness level 600: Peace
It is extremely rare to reach this level known as transcendence, self-realization or God-consciousness. Only one in many millions achieves this state. Compassion beginning at level 540 is the hallmark of this level of consciousness. Forgiveness is a phase gone through after one has judged something “needing” our forgiveness. Compassion transcends forgiveness because there is no more judgment. We no longer see people as doing things against us, rather they are only being what they can be at their level of consciousness. “If they knew better than they would do better.” This invokes compassion for understanding “they know not what they do.”
In this state the distinction between subject and object disappears as there is no focal point of perception. It is not unusual for a person reaching this state to remove themselves from the world as the state of bliss one experiences brings a sense of futility and obsolescence to regular activities. Some are called to become spiritual teachers, others work anonymously for the betterment of mankind while others may become great geniuses in their respective fields. At these higher levels religion is transcended altogether because pure spirituality is the basis of all religion.
Perception at these levels is difficult at best to describe due to the change in reality that is experienced. It has been described as occurring in slow motion or a suspension of time and space. There is a sense that everything is alive and radiant in an endless flowing of evolution and matter. The mind becomes infinitely silent no longer conceptualizing as one blends into the landscape being observed. Everything is connected to everything else by a presence whose power is infinite, loving, gentle, peaceful and yet rock solid.
Consciousness level 700-1,000: Enlightenment
This level of consciousness is only reached by a few in each generation and at the highest level only a few throughout history. This level is so far advanced beyond our concept of existence that we struggle to describe it in terms that can be understood. Power generated at these levels is immense. These few become known throughout history for establishing the patterns by which others may follow to reach divinity. The few who have reached the top become a powerful inspiration for many throughout the ages. Rather than being known as individuals they are seen as avatars or lords that represent mans highest consciousness. Their teachings establish the principles for reaching this state. They represent pure consciousness beyond the experience of a body; the pinnacle of a pattern in consciousness we are to reach in human form.
Their teachings inspire all of mankind in effect raising the collective consciousness of the human species. The peace they experience is beyond understanding and beyond what words can describe. These people are said to be aware of all lifetimes they have experienced on earth as part of their consciousness, they therefore no longer identify with the body itself. They are said to no longer possess a sense of individuality but rather a merging back into the source of consciousness. In this merging they perceive all things as whole or experience a sense of oneness with everything. The body is only seen as a tool for consciousness, once this level has been reached the body is no longer needed for learning. Their consciousness is not localized rather their awareness is said to be everywhere equally present.
Why Raise Your Level Of Consciousness?
Hopefully at this point the answer to this question is obvious; to raise our level of happiness and sense of peace. We may think attaining, going to or achieving that next “thing” will bring us happiness. We may think as long as we avoid conflict we will have peace. Happiness and peace are states of mind that cannot be experienced outside one’s self. Therefore lasting peace and happiness are states which can only be obtained at higher levels of consciousness. As we rise in consciousness we align with higher energy patterns which lead us to discovering the peace and happiness already within us.
The higher energy levels are so profoundly powerful that even brief exposure to them has a lasting effect. In other words once someone has had a taste of what these higher levels are like, they will strive the rest of their life to re-attain it. This happens in meditation, near death experiences and peak experiences. Once a higher level is experienced, the drama and self-centered nature of the ego is seen more clearly as a hellish state of mind. Surely each person can look back on their life and realize there are hell like states they have overcome. Having overcome them, they do not wish to experience them again.
Raising our consciousness is how we overcome these unpleasant states of mind. Anyone who has ever contemplated suicide can think back on that state of mind and realize the sense of hopelessness was just an ego illusion. If we think about all the moments of life in which we were depressed, extremely unhappy or felt hopelessness, we can easily recognize them as lower states of consciousness. If we think about our happiest moments, we can easily see they were centered around a sense of love. Love is what dominants the higher states of consciousness. We all want to be happy and feel love so raising our consciousness would seem like an obvious goal.
How Does Consciousness Affect Life Experience?
Understanding consciousness allows one to see that people at various levels have a very different experience of life. We may think of the human experience as universal but it is quite different based on consciousness. The death of someone close may be experienced as a devastating event in which life is no longer worth living; to another it can be experienced as an acknowledgment to a cycle of life experience of a person’s soul. Some struggle to cope with life, others welcome every experience. Some wish to push the limits of their own personal achievement, others choose a simple life of contemplation and inner searching. Some live in constant fear, others live without fear. Some seek love their entire lives in order to feel accepted and whole, others are the embodiment of love; unselfishly extending it to others. Some review every life experience for the lesson it provides in growth; others get upset about why things have to always happen to them. It is consciousness that determines how one will experience life.
As a general rule of thumb people at lower levels experience less happiness and have more drama in their life. They typically make themselves feel better by making others feel worse. Life at the lower levels is a struggle. They struggle with happiness, relationships, socially, emotionally and financially. In the middle levels people experience success in life. This success can manifest as long term relationships, money, prestige, social standing, more happiness, more contentment and some degree of peace. At the higher levels the notion of material success is of little importance. For that matter the notion of what society terms as success is no longer important. Fulfilment at these levels relates to spiritual progress in one’s own life. What society deems as success may come to them naturally or they may shy away from it altogether. They exist in higher states of joy, happiness and peace, to them that is success.
Approximately 78% of the population on earth exist at levels below 200 (force) on Hawkins’s scale of consciousness. Only 18% of the population exist at the levels between 200 (power) and 500. So let’s think about this. This means most people are at levels below 200. More than likely most of the people we know are at these levels where the drama of life seems quite normal. We probably know a few people who seem to do very well in life and more than likely these are people who are at the middle levels of between 200 and 500. These people probably associate themselves with other people in these middle levels. You do not get a lot of mixing of these middle and lower levels. People at lower levels look at those in the middle levels as “snobs” “wealthy” or “intellectuals,” and they may well deserve those titles based on their behaviors. The ego at these middle levels may look down upon those below them in social or financial status.
If you know of someone above 540 they may very well be intellectual and wealthy but because the ego is subdued at these levels they will be genuinely friendly. They do not look down upon anyone because they see everyone as an equal. They see everyone as deserving of their love. These people could very well be a friend or part of any social group since they don’t pick and choose who to associate with. Anyone who wishes to align themselves with these people are welcome to do so. They will become friends with anyone who has a desire to do so.
Maybe at some time in your life you’ve had exposure to someone at these higher energy levels. Every time you were with them you felt a sense of peace and love. People at the highest levels of consciousness teach only truth. You will not hear them trying to disparage the character of others. They will not promote gossip or incite your fear or insecurities. They will not make you feel inferior to them. They only wish to teach higher principles; they only wish to share their love with others. You can either seek this knowledge directly from them, or see them as an example of love, compassion, gratitude and peace. Either way you come away being lifted to a higher level. (This of course only happens if you have the wisdom to listen, observe and learn.) That’s the interesting thing about aligning with truth; it tends to resonate with something inside of us. It will always make you feel empowered and make you feel good about your fellow humans.
Back to main menu
How To Raise Your Level Of Consciousness
There is a process for raising consciousness and it requires desire, learning and effort.
Search the internet for how to raise consciousness and you will find “The ten steps to raise consciousness” or “Twelves ways of becoming enlightened.” The fact is there is no quick fix or simple formula for raising one’s consciousness. One must always be careful while searching the internet to find any information. The sites that rank at the top of a search are most often the ones that have done the most marketing to get there. If you must pass multiple ads or keep clicking to the next page in order to read the information, then you might guess the purpose of site is to make money first and foremost. Oftentimes with search ranking there is little correlation to the value of the content.
All changes in consciousness occur because of a change in our thinking and awareness. If we seek higher levels of consciousness we must learn new ideas and beliefs to change our thinking. We must realistically look at ourselves and understand where we are at on the consciousness scale. This change in thinking increases our knowledge which helps us rise up to a level of intellectual reasoning. To move beyond this point requires that we seek spirituality and the deeper meaning of things. We go deep inside ourselves to understand who and what we are. We seek to uncover the “truth” about life. We change our awareness; we do not try to protect the illusion of who we are. The alternative is to allow life’s events to change our thinking through suffering, struggle and heartache. One is a proactive approach; the other is a reaction to life. One approach is evolutionary occurring over great spans of time. The other can occur in a miraculous moment of grace, the choice is ours to make. Gaining a higher level of consciousness is inevitable in the course of evolution. It will happen over a great expanse of time or it can happen rapidly. The choice is ours.
As we seek to raise our consciousness we must maintain some sense of balance. In other words, all aspects of our life must move together towards improvement. In growing a business I use the analogy of moving five bowling balls up a hill utilizing our head and each limb to move them. Each bowling ball represents the various aspects of business, i.e. people, equipment, marketing, sales, quality, engineering, finance, etc.. No function of business can be too much further ahead than the lowest ball. We can’t buy the best state of the art equipment if we do not have the people talent to run it or adequate sales and marketing to secure the work to keep it running. Every aspect of business must move in step with all other functions. In this example if one of the balls lets loose and rolls back down the hill, sometimes you have to start all over again as in reorganizing under bankruptcy.
This same concept applies to our personal life. If we are trying to create better things in life, it is difficult if one area of our life is in shambles. All aspects of our life such as our health, friendships, family, financial, career or our spiritual health must all move together in unison. We must maintain a balance in all we do moving everything “up the path” together. Having a purpose or a goal for doing this work is critical. It may start out as an ego desire for wealth, power or fame. Ultimately what we are seeking is a sense of happiness, love and peace and so we must move beyond the ego. The ego can be helpful in getting us to a certain point, but it can also stop us from going any further.
Start with desire
If a person is completely happy and fulfilled then there is no desire for anything. If this is not your present status then you must want that state. No one can teach a person who is not interested in learning so the main precursor to starting this journey is sincere desire. The mere act of seeking becomes the catalyst for achieving a higher consciousness. On every level, will and desire are the first steps to achievement. This will and desire fueled through intention is the first of many steps in the path to finding truth. Each person has their own unique path and they themselves hold the map. Once one has set about on their journey, they will find help and guidance along the way. The teachers will always appear when the student is ready.
Everything you have ever accomplished in life started with a desire and beyond this desire you intended it. There are things we just “know” we will have, do, or be. This “knowing” is our intention. Think of everything you possess or have done and you will realize you take them for granted. You were so sure of them being a part of your life that you never questioned it. This “knowing” is what created your marriage, your kids, your career, your house, etc.. These things were already a reality in your mind so they had to show up in the physical world. If you can approach your desire for higher consciousness in the same way, you will make rapid progress.
Learning or seeking knowledge
Learning about consciousness
Learning about yourself
Recognizing and getting beyond the emotion/feeling trap
Learning about the ego
Learning about the soul
Learning about the phenomenon surrounding spirituality
Learning about those who have reached the highest levels
Learning about meditation, contemplation and mindfulness
In all of life there seems to be an inherent spirit or force that inspires every entity to go beyond itself. Through experimentation and risk the evolution of life seeks higher levels of complexity and interdependencies. This same force is inherent in each of us creating that gentle or sudden push to expand beyond our current consciousness. In the human experience this manifest itself in the complacency we feel when things are going reasonably well. There tends to be a feeling of restlessness, boredom and stagnation that comes from living life without challenges or disruptive periods. Without changes in the environment and challenges to preserving life, there would be no evolution. History suggests that humans have made monumental leaps of intelligence during major climate change or cataclysmic events forcing adaptation or extinction. It is during times of disruption and challenge that we grow our consciousness and spirituality thus fostering our own growth. Absent the life threatening events of our human evolution we are inspired to grow as a result of being “in spirit.”
The quest for personal growth does not occur until a certain maturation point in our lives. We think of education, work experience and learning more about relationships, however personal growth thoughts seem to originate when we feel stagnation in our lives. These thoughts also come about as a result of having the same bad things happen to us over and over again. Once we recognize the pattern, it is a sure sign that we somehow are repeating the same mistakes, walking around in the same circle.
We recognize at some point the only thing common with all our bad experiences is that we are at the center of it. It is then we start to question what we are learning in our lives or more importantly, we start to question our goals and purpose in life. This can be a pivotal point when we start to take responsibility for the bad things that continue to occur. It also becomes the catalyst for realizing there are things we don’t know, thus we seek learning. Through this evolution we open up our mind to other ideas and concepts becoming a ready student to the teachers that are always present. Just having the desire to learn and expand our consciousness sets up the situations and environment that facilitates the result. Without this self-reflection we are unconscious of the perceived void in ourselves or lack of knowledge.
When we become seekers of knowledge, through the laws of life we receive based upon our desire. This stage of learning is called conscious incompetence. Here we start to question and become aware of things we don’t know about ourselves thus initiating the journey of self-discovery. This is the second stage of learning competence in a four stage process. These four stages are:
Unconscious Incompetence – When we aren’t even aware of what we don’t know.
Conscious Incompetence – We become aware of our lack of understanding or skill.
Conscious Competence – We must concentrate on understanding or mastering a kill.
Unconscious Competence – We have mastered the skill or understanding, it becomes automatic no longer requiring conscious effort.
Learning about consciousness
Full Consciousness is “knowing” it is not the pondering, analyzing, rationalizing, distilling, comparing or contrasting of things, it is knowing. To be fully conscious is to be aware of our own thoughts, actions, spirituality and emotions. It also encompasses being aware of our surroundings and our own existence within those surroundings. We experience our physical life based upon this consciousness as though we are wearing a set of glasses, allowing us to bring into focus only certain aspects of reality. Each time we expand our consciousness we increase our ability to see into more of our own existence.
Understanding consciousness is the first step in the process of consciously raising it. Consciousness will by itself eventually rise over time. However we have the power within ourselves to influence and accelerate that pace. In fact as each person raises their own, they are raising the collective level of all people at the same time. A person who raises their own has the effect of creating a positive magnetic effect “pulling others” or “attracting others” along with them. It is the single biggest thing we can do personally to affect the world in a positive way.
You are here reading this so I assume as the reader you have some interest or desire. So the first step is to get a baseline starting point, in other words where are you at currently? Once we have established this then we can see how to make progress. This is where Hawkins’s map of consciousness is very useful. It is a comprehensive guide of how consciousness develops.
To understand consciousness better we need to figure out where we are on the scale and compare it with the levels below. By contrasting the range we experience we may get a better feel for our own experience of consciousness. Studying and becoming aware of the levels above our current level can give us a picture or goal of what we wish to reach. After all, without a goal it doesn’t matter which direction we go.
Consciousness like other knowledge, grows and increases through learning and experience. The highest levels of consciousness are available to everyone, but to access these higher levels requires a sort of conditioning of the mind. This conditioning can be facilitated through learning and experience. Ironically we are actually “unlearning” the various programming that occurs through life. To reach this higher level of consciousness we must remove the blocks or barriers to it. This is what can be attained through learning and it requires effort.
When a person has no real desire to learn or improve themselves than this is all a moot point. Life itself will unfold as a learning experience and a person will hopefully gain their five points. When we become seekers of knowledge for the sake of growing, we can take an enormous jump in our level of awareness and level of consciousness.
Learning about yourself
At the higher levels of consciousness people are self aware, they see who they are, they know who they want to be and they act consciously to be that. In a sort of “catch 22” however, people know who they are because of their higher level of consciousness. Which comes first? They both happen together.
The process of self-discovery is the most difficult challenge we face in life. Look around you and you will see the truth of this statement. Most people are ignorant and unaware of themselves. This ignorance is what creates all suffering in life. We rarely take a hard look at ourselves and ask the tough questions about ourselves: Why do I fight with others? Why can’t I get along with certain people? Why can’t I stop drinking or smoking? Why can’t I lose weight? Why do I feel so unworthy? Why can’t I be happy? Why do I struggle so much in life? Why do I always spend money I don’t have? Why do I have a hard time finding and keeping love? Why do I keep working in a job I don’t like? The reason we don’t seek the answers for these questions is we are afraid. We don’t want to go deep into ourselves because we are afraid of what we will find. We are afraid of the emotions we may dig up.
This process of self-discovery is like entering into a dark cave of monsters and we only have a small flashlight to find our way. As we walk further into the cave we shine the light onto each monster. We come to realize these monsters are the scared parts of our self that are lost and hiding in the cave. To heal these monsters we must guide them out of the cave and into the light of day. Here we are able to observe them completely and convince them they are now safe and no longer need to hide.
Recognizing and getting beyond the emotion/feeling trap
Let’s get back to a starting point of emotions which dominate the lower states. We are focusing a great deal on these lower states because this is where most people remain stuck. It seems to be where most of the trouble starts and continues in life. There are many negative emotions we would prefer not to deal with. As a result we try to numb these painful emotions with work, drugs, food, TV, social media or alcohol. The other way we deal with emotions is to live in a state of complete denial, or we suppress these emotions and just feel miserable.
Awareness of the emotional body is necessary but it is easy to get stuck there. We need to be aware of our feelings and the emotional events in our life that have left scars. Without awareness we will continue to revert back to that pain in any moment those feelings come up. This causes us to have a visceral emotional response without conscious awareness of why we are reacting that way. Getting in touch with these emotions is essential to understanding where the scars lie in our past, only then can we heal them.
We can do this work by talking with someone who makes us feel safe; digging deep into our past, our childhood, our upbringing, our parents, caretakers, etc.. The goal is to discover the traumatic events or feelings we may not be aware of. Another way is to start journaling our feelings. The process of bringing these feelings up to the surface can be very therapeutic. We need to pinpoint where we feel hurt in our life and the source of that hurt.
At some point however the only way to overcome these feelings is to let them go. Forgiveness is the main avenue for this healing, but there is another way. This other way is to put situations into another context; in other words, to look at things differently. This mainly involves taking a different perspective and this can be done with any past event or situation. Almost every child feels they were not loved as much as a sibling or they feel their parents didn’t give them the love, encouragement and recognition they deserved. Almost every child, adolescent and adult feels a parent should have spent more time with them. This is not unique to anyone, we have all felt this way at some time or another.
There was a time in my life when I “hated” (oh how I dislike that word now,) my Father. He spent little to no time with me during my life and was a very critical man. I can recall just one time when he made me feel good with a half-hearted compliment. As I grew older I started to look at my Father differently. For one, I know my Father was raised by an old world strict German man, who was probably very critical of my Father. Everything he learned about being a father he learned from his own father.
My Father had two boys from his first wife who died shortly after giving birth to his second son. After he met my Mother (a widow with two girls,) they ended up having my brother and I. He had six children and I was just one of them. On top of this the dynamics of step children can strain any marriage. He also had his wife, he started a business, built a house and landscaped it and he also had an active social life with many friends. In this context I could see my Father had a lot going on in his life. He was not very loving or affectionate, but now I see that was his loss. He never got to experience love because he never experienced it as child. He never got to feel an emotional closeness to his children (or me) because he never felt it from his own father. In this way of looking at things, it’s no longer about us, we start to see the bigger picture.
This is how we put things in a different context. Instead of “woe is me,” we look at things outside of our own perspective and try to see the bigger picture. Instead of thinking how each situation affected us, we start to see it’s not just about us. Other people have their own motivations; other people have their own idea of life. They are not put on this earth to make us happy, sad or hurt. No one is put on this earth to make us happy, we determine our own happiness. As children it is too easy to think of the world as a place that exist solely for our needs. This is the mindset of a child, they don’t think in global terms. Yet we learn to consider other people’s feeling when we get older, but somehow we don’t apply this to our childhood experience. So we continue to feel like we were a victim.
My Father died when I was nineteen so I never did get to establish an adult relationship with him. Ironically we were scheduled to go on a weeklong Canadian fishing trip the week after he passed away. I was looking forward to telling him how I felt and was hoping we could establish a relationship. Do I wish I was closer to my Father before he died at the age of fifty three? Yes of course I do, but now I am only filled with compassion for him, for what he missed out on. I am also filled with a sense of gratitude and appreciation for growing up in a nice house and in a nice neighborhood. There are so many things that have been good in my life and it has created everything around me. If it were not for my Father those things as they are would not exist. Everything happens for a reason. Another way to look at it is he may have been my Father to give me a very specific set of experiences. (I did after all pick my parents, more on that in another post.) Considering I had an awakening experience at the age of 45, (which was the greatest gift I could ever receive in life,) everything had to happen exactly as it did for me to get there. So it’s all good.
When we take complete responsibility for our life, we can achieve our own happiness. Something happens when we reach the point in our life where we are happy and grateful. We start to look at our life with an appreciation for everything around us. Eventually we come to understand that if just one thing in our past was different; our whole life might not be what it is. If we continue to believe we are unhappy, then we have to blame it on someone or something. We can’t take responsibility for being unhappy so we blame our parents, our childhood, our wife, our husband, our boss, etc.. You’ll never hear someone blaming a person for their happiness.
This is the paradox of happiness. When we are happy we are completely responsible for that happiness and we know it. We are actually happy knowing we discovered our own happiness and that it lies within ourselves. Truly happy people do not base their happiness on anything outside themselves. This way no matter what happens outside themselves, they will always be happy. They know they hold all the power of their own happiness and do not give that power to anyone else.
When we are unhappy, it is always because of things outside ourselves. We are giving the responsibility for our happiness to other people or we base it on outside circumstances. There are always plenty of people and things to blame when we are unhappy. As long as we continue to blame things outside ourselves, we will never find our own happiness. We give away our power to be happy.
A truly happy person blames no one. They have no enemies, hold no grudges against anyone and regret nothing in their past. When you reach the state of happiness you realize it took every experience in life to get there. If you wish any of it away, you are potentially wishing away your happiness. Everything had to happen exactly as it did in order for you to uncover your happiness. This is the easiest way to tell if someone is truly happy in life. This truth is learned by those who have uncovered their happiness. (See post on uncovering happiness.)
If I had spent my life blaming my Father for being a failure (had I chose that route,) what good would that do me? He’s gone and it is now my experience to make of it what I choose. If we are willing to step outside ourselves and view things from a different perspective we can overcome any bad experience. If however we use a bad experience as a reason for not being happy then we put ourselves in a very weak victim position from which to live our life. If we blame our parents for anything, we are just weakening ourselves. It is always our choice how we react to life’s situations. We can take any experience in life and look at it differently so it doesn’t hurt. We can even turn a bad experience into a positive experience if we are willing to stop blaming the world for our self-induced suffering. The one thing that is true of all parents is they love their children. Some parents just have a different way of expressing it or they have a difficult time expressing it. Some parents become too embroiled in their own drama and emotions. (Sound familiar?) The point is every parent loves their children.
The reason I am highlighting the parent thing is this is where most people get hung up in life. Our parents become the first people we blame for all our negative feelings and emotions. They’re the first people we look to as the reason for our inability to deal with life and our unhappiness. This is why we must get over it and take responsibility for our own life. Could they have prepared us better for life? Sure they could have, but parenting is an experiment. There is no certified degree or certificate in parenting, every family situation is different.
We all have our “stories.” “Dad was a gambler,” “mom was an alcoholic,” “mom loved my sister more than me,” “dad was never home,” “mom always yelled at me,” “dad was only proud of my brother,” “dad used to beat me,” “dad cheated on my mom,” “mom cheated on dad,” “my parents never cared about my grades,” my parents didn’t have the money to send me to college.” You get the picture, whatever it was its done and over, time to move on and take responsibility for your own life. Forgive your parents and just love them. Someday your children will be saying the same things about you. Learn forgiveness, compassion and get out of your small self and rise above to see the bigger picture. Your parents aren’t perfect, they did what they were capable of doing at their own level of consciousness. Anything and everything can be looked at positively as a learning experience meant to teach us something.
Another way to put things into context is to think about Karma. Karma requires that we experience what we have put out. In this way the soul is taught through experience that certain actions against others create pain. The only way to truly learn this lesson is to experience the same pain ourselves. Now we shouldn’t think of karma in terms of being a masochist. We don’t want to feel we deserve to be punished or deserve to have bad things happen to us. Instead we look at any situation and say “well, that didn’t feel very good, maybe I had to experience that due to my past life karma.” The way I put it to people is our evolution was fraught with barbaric behaviors and that lasted for a long time. It’s safe to say almost anyone who had lived a life in the last twenty thousand years probably at one time or another did some pretty bad stuff. Sooner or later we are bound to experience the other side of it.
In the emotional state we are so wrapped up in ourselves and our emotions that we fail to see the outside world objectively. Everything is happening to us and “making us” experience bad emotions. In the emotional state it is never our fault, it is always someone else’s fault. It is always someone doing something to “us” to make “us” feel bad. In order to feel better about ourselves we want people to validate us and tell us “it’s ok,” “its not your fault,” “your not crazy for feeling that way.” At a deep level I think we know we’re crazy for feeling that way, but we are too scared to admit it. It becomes easier to have people tell us we’re not crazy, after all who wants to admit their crazy?
The way we avoid admitting we are crazy emotional wrecks, is to create stories around our life. There is always a story about why we are where we’re at. “My wife was cheating on me,” “my boss didn’t like me,” “that teacher didn’t like my opinion on her favorite subject.” On and on it goes, story after story about our life. Do we tell these stories to make ourselves feel better, or are we trying to avoid looking bad to others? The fact is we lie to ourselves and whenever we lie we have to make up a story about it. Our actions and behaviors create our life, but rather than admitting this we make up a story so we don’t have to take responsibility. It can never be truth which is short sweet and simple, i.e. “I screwed up,” “I really didn’t appreciate what I had,” “I took someone for granted,” “I was lazy and didn’t want to do it,” “I never paid attention.” No instead it’s some elaborate story how we were treated unfairly, and how other people were in on the plot to purposely hurt us, blah blah blah. Truth is simple, it needs no story, all it needs is personal responsibility.
Listen to the stories around you and you will marvel at the creativity of the authors. The stories take on such depth because each lie we tell ourselves has to be supported with more lies. “I couldn’t retire, I had to go back to work because my husband didn’t save for our retirement. Whenever I asked about our savings he just told me not to worry about it. I wanted to get a job after the kids were grown but I was out of my profession for so long I couldn’t go back to it. I was too old to go back to school and besides I didn’t know anything about computers. Then my Father got sick and I had to take care of him. My husband always wanted me to socialize and spend time with his friends but I didn’t really like going out that much and I had to take care of my Father. We got to a point where we didn’t talk much anymore. That’s when my husband started cheating on me and divorced me.” This same story could be told much simpler as just plain truth: “I should have insisted on knowing. I let him control me because I liked spending money and didn’t want to work. It is my fault.” “It is time to move on and take control of my own life.” When we tell stories, what we are saying is someone else has responsibility for our life.
Emotions and feelings evolved in consciousness as a way to further protect us. If we had the feelings of being nauseous after eating something, we might protect ourselves by not eating it again. If the caveman neighbor seemed nice but then killed someone, we might start to develop feelings of paranoia. It is difficult to speculate how most feelings evolved and what their evolutionary advantages were but we can assume they ultimately aided in our protection or procreation.
Feelings and emotions have now evolved to an art form of neurosis for many of us. These same feelings and emotions are now themselves the threat as opposed to the evolutionary conditions that spurred their development. They have created a sense of self that is very weak and vulnerable. They have become an illusory trap of getting stuck inside ourselves; literally lost in our own emotions with very little awareness of our behavior.
When we develop the courage to combat these inner emotional demons, we begin to take on a sense of personal responsibility for our life. We then start to tame the worst of these emotions. As we let go of negative feelings, there is a progressive movement up the scale to courage and then beyond. We begin to have increasing effectiveness, success, and more effortless abundance. We progress by accepting more and more responsibility for our life and our reactions to life. Eventually we reach a very empowered state accepting that our life is truly what we make it. There is nowhere else to place responsibility for our life other than within ourselves. We face things head on, admit our faults and accept our frailties. We accept life for what it is and stop trying to control it, instead we understand we only control our self.
As we progress towards the level of reasoning we are finally able to put emotions aside and deal specifically with the outside circumstances. We don’t allow our emotions or feelings to cloud our judgment or distort our view. Here is where the most rational scientific work can be done. We can get down to business and produce great intellectual works, no longer hindered by the corrupting bias of emotions. As we progress through this process we are also “taming” the most primitive aspects of our ego. Here we teach our ego how to be nice to the rest of the world, (unless of course someone disagrees with our intellectual position on something, then maybe not so nice.) The price of this reason is we start to exist on a level which can lack a sense of empathy and caring for others. (There’s that emotion thing again.) We may get over our parental upbringing by just rationalizing our parents were neurotic. This however is still not the forgiveness and compassion we will afford them at the next level of love. This level of reasoning becomes the last great hurdle to lasting peace and happiness.
As we evolve to a more loving state, we bring back some of the deeper emotions. Now however, they no longer cloud our thinking, instead they are used to make others feel good. Love, compassion, empathy, gratitude, encouragement, peace, sympathy; all these emotions are meant to help others, to give peace to others, to encourage others, to “connect” with others. The emotions at the lower levels that made us feel bad about the world are let go. Now we only focus on the positive emotions by sharing them with others. As we progress upwards from here there is an attraction to things that are more spiritual in nature. We begin thinking of unity, of oneness; instead of rugged individuality. We start to learn and apply compassion. We begin to think and act in a way that is conducive to regaining our spiritual place as a co-creator with the universe.
Learning about the ego
Of all of life’s mysteries, one of the most puzzling is the ego. It is completely elusive to us as we never contemplate its existence within ourselves, and yet we are quick to recognize it in others. It is such an integral part of us that we are unable to separate its existence from who we are. We must have a strong desire to understand it before we are able to even catch a glimpse of it within ourselves. The only way we can make changes to who we are is by thoroughly understanding ourselves. Once we understand something we have a framework for starting to deal with it. Since the ego is an integral part of us, it must be dealt with if we ever hope to change. You must understand the truth of this, otherwise you will always be trying change the symptoms instead of the root cause. Not truly loving yourself or others is the true root cause of most every problem in life. A more accurate rephrasing might be to say it is the basis for all suffering.
Perhaps one of the best ways to illustrate the ego and isolate it from your true self is to think about the last time your inner voice prompted you to help someone. Seeing someone in need our first inspiration is a sense of compassion to help. This inner urging from spirit is a one way communication and during this initial prompting we are devoid of selfishness. For this brief moment we lose our sense of separateness and we join the consciousness of those in need. This is our inner spirit or soul that is a part of everything and seeks only to extend love. Inevitably another voice comes out and starts to rationalize all the reasons why we can’t, shouldn’t or don’t want to help. This voice starts to rationalize why we don’t have time, don’t have enough money, why our schedule is too important, why it’s dangerous, why the person somehow deserves to suffer, etc.. Make no mistake; this second voice is the ego. We don’t think of it as a separate aspect of ourselves, it seems to be who we are, but they are two very distinct voices. The voice of the ego is strong and overbearing and will quickly drown out the voice of our inner spirit. Only after subduing the ego is one able to hear the gentle voice of spirit allowing it to guide our decisions and actions in life.
The ego seems to be quite literally a fearful thing, in its full power it is arrogant, selfish, jealous, stubborn, controlling, fearful, guilty, ashamed, worrisome, resentful, hateful, etc.. The ego represents all things which are not in alignment with truth. If you took away all of the attributes of the ego, what would be left? In its absence there is only peace, love, gratitude and compassion. The ego has evolved to protect us, but protect us from what? There was a time when living life and staying alive was a constant battle for physical survival. Those having a sense of fear, selfishness, aggression and paranoia survived at the expense of others. It is difficult to believe the early cavemen insulted each other and had their feelings hurt. Additionally, those males who wished to pass on their seed had to fight off others for the right to mate. Females also had to accentuate qualities to attract a male. It is also hard to believe early humans were capable of true love. As we evolved and learned to love and protect others above ourselves, we began to subdue the most brutal aspects of the primitive ego.
The ego’s primary tool in ruling over its domain is judgment, this was initially critical to survival during our evolution as many threats required acute life or death decisions. Judgments were mainly made in relation to protecting our physical bodies. In the absence of such dangers, we now use this judgment in protecting our self-image and reinforcing our beliefs and prejudices. The ego’s basic goal is dominance and protection, whatever means it uses to achieve these goals is predominantly at the expense of others and ironically our own happiness.
The ego spends a great deal of its time in the land of make believe. In constant dialog with itself, it takes both sides of an argument in an endless chatter of why things are not the way they should be. Often we find the ego talking to itself fantasizing about conversations we would have with others about how we feel. The theme of these conversations involves telling someone why they are wrong about something, why and/or how they should be punished or how they have mistreated us and why they should behave differently. These imaginary conversations create increased heart rate, higher blood pressure and increased tension as if the conflict were real. This experience leads to what is known as the “fight or flight” response. Ironically this all goes on as an imaginary fantasy. What benefit does this experience provide? It allows the ego a chance to have an imaginary fight with an imaginary enemy to assert its importance and show it is right. Unfortunately this imaginary confrontation also keeps us from being happy and at peace.
Paradoxically, it is also its own biggest critic as this inner dialog is turned on itself questioning its decisions and asserting that we are not: attractive enough, smart enough, brave enough, strong enough or good enough. In this way it needs constant validation of its own self-worth and seeks other egos to validate its worthiness. Take the example of a couple getting divorced, often one or both parents try to turn their children against the other parent. This is the ego trying to validate itself regardless of the damage or harm it inflicts on others, even one’s own children. It is very peculiar that a parent would harm their own children in order to make themselves feel better and as destructive as this is, the ego doesn’t seem to take notice of the harm it inflicts on others.
It is on a never ending quest to “get” things that will elevate its importance or appearance. A job promotion, prominent position among a social group, a new car, a large or well-appointed house, new clothes, new hairstyle, jewelry, breast enlargements, tattoos, etc.. These are all attributes to make one feel important, special or desirable or to highlight one’s individuality. The ego has very specific criteria on what will bring happiness and satisfaction. When these criteria don’t materialize as expected there is nothing but disappointment. The ego maintains a rigid set of conditions for happiness which will never be met.
So what is the end result of this unending inner dialog? A roller coaster of negative emotions, hurt, disappointment, depression, jealousy, anger, hatred, guilt, etc.. One would think with so many negative aspects of the ego we would be quick to subdue it for good. The problem is we don’t think of the ego as a separate thing, it has become such an integral part of our thinking we assume it is who we are. The lesson here is to understand it is only a part of us that in most cases has completely hijacked our mind. In its quest to be right at all cost, it judges everything. It believes its perceptions and opinions are the only ones that are valid. It sees the world and the people in it as only a means to satisfying its needs, wants and desires. The ego can rationalize some compromises but in the end it does so with the selfish purpose of getting what it wants.
The Ego is a very powerful thing and does not take to being rid of easily. It will rationalize its existence having us believe that it is essential to our protection, safety and well-being. It will have us believe there is nothing more important than being “right.” Right and wrong are subjective judgments which the ego lives to decide based on believing it is all important. Love, compassion and peace are the only truths; everything else is judgment and perception of the ego. Protecting our system of thought and beliefs is one of the biggest deterrents to attaining peace and happiness. This single attribute of the ego is what prevents many from finding their way out of the abyss. We have to ask ourselves one simple question; If we are not living in a state of happiness and peace, then how can we possibly change the situation without changing our system of thought? The only effective means we have at changing the world and how we see it is by changing ourselves. This requires a dramatic change in our relationship with the ego.
Learning about the soul
“There is nothing more powerful than an idea. An idea understood, absorbed and accepted as true transmutes life. It changes every now moment of experience. It changes how we will perceive life going forward, and it redefines the meaning of every moment in our past.” ~ Chris W Metz
Certainly everyone has heard of the soul. If you were brought up with a traditional religious upbringing then you know of it as something that must be saved. The soul however is something that you are. During physical life we don’t much think about it. On the deepest level of our consciousness we can sense our soul. We even use terms like “soul searching” which in a very real sense is an accurate description of looking deep within ourselves. We talk of soul mates or knowing someone on a soul level. Sometimes the love we have for someone comes from deep within our soul.
Knowing the soul allows you to think about continuous growth, not just the growth that occurs in one lifetime but of many lifetimes. It also allows you to start viewing your life in a far different context. In other words you can start to think of this life as one of many, many lives you have experienced. You can start to ask yourself what this life has taught you or more specifically what you are here to learn. You can start to view life from a higher perspective or higher consciousness and start asking yourself what you are learning from the many situations in your life.
Everyone has experienced the feeling of having done something before, right? These are called moments of Deja Vu. Or how about recurring dreams of the same landscape, scene or situation? I myself have had dreams of places that seem so familiar, yet they are not places of this lifetime, but in the dream I am intimately familiar with the landscape. These dreams have occurred throughout my life, but always have the same familiarity as if I have been there thousands of times.
How about people we know in our life, doesn’t it seem we have a natural tendency to feel so comfortable with some people and yet have bad feelings about others? Don’t we all feel we know certain people on a level much deeper than others? For instance you may feel a certain connection with one parent over another, or one sibling over another. The closeness we feel with some friends seems as if it goes deeper than one lifetime and yet some relationships seem adversarial throughout life. How about marriages and those relationships? Why do some couples seem to go through their entire life as best friends and others go through two or more marriages? In those failed relationships there seemed to be something else at play. It seems there is a certain karma at play or a certain lesson to be learned.
The soul is the collection of all life experiences. It would be pretty shallow and empty if it was a collection of experiences from just one lifetime. The fact is we have many lifetimes and have had many experiences. The soul is the sort of unique personality that develops with all of our experiences. As a being with a free will consciousness, the soul is everything we have ever done with that free will consciousness. The law of cause and effect, along with karma, demands we must experience the effects of what we do with our free will.
It is critical to know all the love we give ultimately benefits ourself and all the hatred and anger we give out only serves to hurt ourselves into the future. Forget about any notion of a creator judging you. Your soul will judge itself against the ultimate reality of love and will seek to rectify its actions in order to balance the the unloving acts against others. This is why on a subconscious level we seem to be attracted to certain people and have a negative reaction to others. We are trying to learn how to love everyone all the time. This is ultimate truth, the only thing that keeps us from being loving all the time is our ignorance and the domination of our ego.
Perhaps you have heard the phrase, “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Well, this is the precept of the soul. Sometimes I forget how much of a stretch it may be for people to believe in this idea. For myself, my years of searching along with my awakening experience have led me to conclude the truth of the soul. It has become truth for me or more precisely, “I know.” The quote at the beginning of this heading sums up the importance of “knowing.” To “know” of your soul or more appropriately to know of yourself is a life changing revelation. Once you are fully aware of your soul, you will have a completely different view of life and “yourself.” Once this occurs you may understand my quote on the impact of an idea.
It is natural to start out as a skeptic when we don’t have physical measurable facts. If one has faith even the size of a mustard seed, they can make the jump to searching for more information to make them a believer. A believer is one who then relies on the faith of believing, whether it is believing others or believing the teachings of the great enlightened avatars or teachings of a religious group. The final stages of learning however is knowing. Once a person truly knows it becomes truth and this truth is life changing because it changes the reality of life. If you have not read my two post on consciousness, I strongly encourage you to do so at this time. These two subjects of soul and consciousness are strongly interrelated. A person is going to have a very hard time believing in the concept of the soul if they are unwilling to raise their level of consciousness. There is no judgment here, only a caveat if one wishes to reap the benefit of understanding their soul.
Learning about the phenomenon surrounding spirituality
There are many places to seek truth. One of the most fascinating areas to read about is near-death experiences (NDE’s.) The website in this link has enough information to make anyone a believer. There are so many NDE’s that have occurred throughout history and they continue to this day. The descriptions people give are amazing. To the skeptic they may sound outrageous, to the believer they increase their faith. For myself they affirm what I “know” inside myself.
Psychic abilities – Edgar Cayce was perhaps one of the most documented and verified psychics in history. All of his readings contain a great deal of information which seems to indicate a collective consciousness that can be accessed. I highly recommend reading about this most extraordinary man. Please see the links below for further research.