08 May 2012

A Leap in Consciousness

There is no growing without failure

In the book Power vs. Force by David R. Hawkins, there’s a hierarchy of levels of human consciousness. From low to high, the levels of consciousness are: shame, guilt, apathy, grief, fear, desire, anger, pride, courage, neutrality, willingness, acceptance, reason, love, joy, peace, enlightenment.
While we can pop in and out of different levels at various times, usually there’s a predominant “normal” state for us. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re at least at the level of courage because if you were at a lower level, you’d likely have no conscious interest in personal growth.

The descriptions of each level are based on Hawkins’ descriptions but blended with my own thoughts. Hawkins defines this as a logarithmic scale, so there are far fewer people at the higher levels than at the lower ones. An increase from one level to another will result in enormous change in your life.

Shame – Just a notch above death. You’re probably contemplating suicide at this level. Either that or you’re a serial killer. Think of this as self-directed hatred.

Guilt – A step above shame, but you still may be having thoughts of suicide. You think of yourself as a sinner, unable to forgive yourself for past wrongdoing

Apathy – Feeling hopeless or victimised. This level is characterised by poverty, dispair and learnt helplessness. Many homeless people are stuck here.

Grief – A state of  sadness, loss and dependency.  Most of us have felt grief at one point or another but for those stuck in this level constant regret and depression is common. Still higher than apathy, since you’re beginning to escape the numbness.

Fear – Constantly viewing the world as hazardous, full of traps and threats. Paranoia. Usually you’ll need help to rise above this level, or you’ll remain trapped for a long time. Abusive relationship is a good example of that...

Desire – Not to be confused with setting and achieving goals, this is the level of addiction, craving, and lust - for money, approval, power, fame, etc. Consumerism. Materialism. Desire has to do with accumulation and greed. This is the level of smoking and drinking, shoppaholism and doing drugs. Desire motivates vast areas of human activity, including the economy. Most people are driven by desire and are stuck at this level of consciousness nowadays.

Anger – the level of frustration, often from not having your desires met. This level can force you to action at higher levels, or it can keep you stuck in resentment. In an abusive relationship, you’ll often see an anger person coupled with a fear person.

Pride – Pride generally has good reputation and is socially encouraged.The first level where you start to feel good, but it’s a false feeling. The problem is that "pride goeth before a fall". It’s defensive and dependent on external circumstances (money, prestige, etc...), so it’s vulnerable and unsustainable.  Pride can lead to nationalism and racism. Think Nazis. A state of arrogance and denial. Religious fundamentalism is also stuck at this level. You become so trapped in your beliefs that you see an attack on your beliefs as a personal attack on you.

Courage – Courage is the gateway. The first level of true strength. This is where you start to see life as challenging and exciting instead of overwhelming. You begin to have an interest in new things and personal growth, although at this level you’ll probably call it something else like skill-building, career advancement, education, travel etc. You start to see your future as an improvement upon your past, rather than a continuation of the same.

Neutrality – This level is epitomised by the phrase, “live and let live.” It’s flexible, relaxed, and unattached. Whatever happens, you go with the flow. This is the beginning of inner confidence.  You feel safe and get along well with other people. A lot of self-employed people are at this level. You have nothing to prove. A very comfortable place. The level of complacency and laziness. You’re taking care of your needs, but you don’t push yourself too hard.

Willingness – Now that you’re basically safe and comfortable, you start using your energy more effectively. Just getting by isn’t good enough anymore. You begin caring about doing a good job - perhaps even your best. You think about time management and productivity and getting organised, things that weren’t so important to you at the level of neutrality. Think of this level as the development of willpower. These people are the “troopers” of society, they get things done well and don’t complain much. This is the point where your consciousness becomes more disciplined.

Acceptance – Now a powerful shift happens, and you awaken to the possibilities of living proactively. At the level of willingness you’ve become competent, and now you want to put your abilities to good use. This is the level of setting and achieving goals. I don’t like the label “acceptance” that Hawkins uses here, but it basically means that you begin accepting responsibility for your role in the world. If something isn’t right about your life (your career, your health, your relationship), you define your desired outcome and change it. You start to see the big picture of your life more clearly. This level drives many people to change careers, start a new business, or change their diet to a healthy one.

Reason – At this level you transcend the emotional aspects of the lower levels and begin to think clearly. Hawkins defines this as the level of medicine and science. The way I see it, when you reach this level, you become capable of using your reasoning abilities to their fullest. You now have the discipline  to fully exploit your natural skills. You’ve reached the point where you say, “So what’s the best use of my talents?” You take a look around the world and start making meaningful contributions.

Love - This isn’t the emotion of love. It’s unconditional love, an understanding of your connectedness with all that exists. Think compassion. At the level of reason, you live in service to your head. But that eventually becomes a dead end where you fall into the trap of over-intellectualising. At the level of love, you now place your head and all your other talents and abilities in service to your heart (not your emotions, but your greater sense of right and wrong - your conscience). This is a  level of awakening to your true purpose. Your motives at this level are pure and uncorrupted by the desires of the ego. This is the level of lifetime service to humanity. Think Gandhi and Mother Teresa. At this level you also begin to be guided by a force greater than yourself. It’s a feeling of letting go. Your intuition becomes extremely strong. Hawkins claims this level is reached only by 1 in 250 people during their entire lifetimes.

Joy – A state of unshakable happiness. Eckhart Tolle describes this state in The Power of Now.  The level of saints and advanced spiritual teachers. Just being around people at this level makes you feel incredible. At this level life is fully guided by synchronicity and intuition. There’s no more need to set goals and make detailed plans - the expansion of your consciousness allows you to operate at a much higher level. A near-death experience can temporarily bump you to this level...

Peace – Total transcendence. Hawkins claims this level is reached only by one person in 10 million.

Enlightenment – The highest level of human consciousness, where humanity blends with divinity. Extremely rare. The level of Krishna, Buddha, and Jesus. Even just thinking about people at this level can raise your consciousness.

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One thing I like about these consciousness levels is that I can trace back over my own life and see how I’ve been moving through them.
I think I've spent most of my early childhood years back in Comminist Bulgaria at level of Fear. Inciting fear was a common weapon of the regime back in the old Eastern block.
I hit the level of Courage (considered the Gateway) in my mid 20s, but the courage was very unfocused, and I overdid it and got myself into all sorts of trouble. I then spent couple of years in neutrality and moved through willingness and acceptance during  late 20s with a lot of conscious effort.

At present I think I'm at the level of reason. The elusive leap to love seems to be hard. I sporadically experience the state of love more and more often, and it’s guiding many of my decisions already, but it hasn’t yet stuck as my natural state. I’ve also experienced the state of joy for days at a time, but never with any permanence yet. That state is a  feeling of natural euphoria, as if I’m exploding on the inside with positive energy. It literally forces me to smile.

We’ll naturally fluctuate between multiple states throughout the course of any given week, so you’ll probably see a range of 2-3 levels where you spend most of your time. The way to figure out your “natural” state though you need to think about how you perform under pressure. If you squeeze a lemon, you get lemon juice because that’s what’s inside.
What comes out of you when you get squeezed by external events? Do you become paranoid and shut down (fear)? Do you start yelling at people (anger)? Do you become defensive (pride)?

Everything in your environment will have an effect on your level of consciousness. TV. Movies. Books. Web sites. People. Places. Objects. Food. If you’re at the level of reason, watching TV news (which is predominantly at the levels of fear and desire) will temporarily lower your consciousness. If you’re at the level of guilt, TV news will actually raise it up.
Progressing from one level to the next requires an enormous amount of energy. Without conscious effort or the help of others, you’ll likely just stay at your current level until some outside force comes into your life.
Going up even couple of levels can be extremely hard, most people don’t do so in their entire lives. A change in just one level can radically alter everything in your life. This is why people below the level of courage aren’t likely to progress without external help. Courage is required to work on this consciously; it comes down to repeatedly betting your whole reality for the chance to become more aware. For example, when you hit the level of courage, all your past fears and false pride seem silly to you. When you reach the level of acceptance, you look back on the level of willingness and see you were like a mouse running on a treadmill - you were a good runner, but you didn’t pick a direction.
According to Hawkins 85% of the people on earth live below the level of courage.

When you temporarily experience the higher levels, you can see where you must go next. You have one of those moments of clarity where you understand that things have to change. But when you sink into the lower levels, that memory becomes clouded.

We have to keep consciously taking ourselves back to the sources that can help us complete the next leap. Each step requires different solutions. But you can’t hit the higher levels if you haven’t mastered the basics first. Jesus was a carpenter. Gandhi was a lawyer. Buddha was a prince. We all have to start somewhere....

London Spa Girl x

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