I’m currently reading a book by Dr. David Hawkins called Power vs. Force. A great book for looking at levels of consciousness and even answers what consciousness is. The book is very complex and it will take several reads before I absorb all of the messages in it. It feels intuitively right to me, so I’m going to keep reading it. I’m about 3/4 of the way done and so far, it has been a very humbling experience. Whether or not you believe in pure consciousness or what others call “a higher power,” this book is extraordinary in its case for raising your level of existence to the point where you are living more effectively and not only that, with much more wisdom.
There is a scale of consciousness, all the way from shame to enlightenment. Shame is when you are living so low that suicide seems like the only option and enlightenment is where you are one with everything and live in a timeless manner. I’ll steal the descriptions of these levels of consciousness from Steve Pavlina’s site because I find that it will be more accurate and detailed than my descriptions, having read this book only once (not yet):
Shame – Just a step 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 transgressions.
Apathy – Feeling hopeless or victimized. The state of learned helplessness. Many homeless people are stuck here.
Grief – A state of perpetual sadness and loss. You might drop down here after losing a loved one. Depression. Still higher than apathy, since you’re beginning to escape the numbness.
Fear – Seeing the world as dangerous and unsafe. Paranoia. Usually you’ll need help to rise above this level, or you’ll remain trapped for a long time, such as in an abusive relationship.
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. This is the level of smoking and drinking and doing drugs.
Anger – the level of frustration, often from not having your desires met at the lower level. This level can spur you to action at higher levels, or it can keep you stuck in hatred. In an abusive relationship, you’ll often see an anger person coupled with a fear person.
Pride – The first level where you start to feel good, but it’s a false feeling. It’s dependent on external circumstances (money, prestige, etc), so it’s vulnerable. Pride can lead to nationalism, racism, and religious wars. Think Nazis. A state of irrational denial and defensiveness. Religious fundamentalism is also stuck at this level. You become so closely enmeshed in your beliefs that you see an attack on your beliefs as an attack on you.
Courage – The first level of true strength. I’ve made a previous post about this level: Courage is the Gateway. This is where you start to see life as challenging and exciting instead of overwhelming. You begin to have an inkling of interest in personal growth, although at this level you’ll probably call it something else like skill-building, career advancement, education, etc. You start to see your future as an improvement upon your past, rather than a continuation of the same.
Neutrality – This level is epitomized by the phrase, “live and let live.” It’s flexible, relaxed, and unattached. Whatever happens, you roll with the punches. You don’t have anything to prove. You feel safe and get along well with other people. A lot of self-employed people are at this level. 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 organized, things that weren’t so important to you at the level of neutrality. Think of this level as the development of willpower and self-discipline. These people are the “troopers” of society; they get things done well and don’t complain much. If you’re in school, then you’re a really good student; you take your studies seriously and put in the time to do a good job. This is the point where your consciousness becomes more organized and 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 switch careers, start a new business, or change their diets.
Reason – At this level you transcend the emotional aspects of the lower levels and begin to think clearly and rationally. 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 extent. You now have the discipline and the proactivity to fully exploit your natural abilities. You’ve reached the point where you say, “Wow. I can do all this stuff, and I know I must put it to good use. So what’s the best use of my talents?” You take a look around the world and start making meaningful contributions. At the very high end, this is the level of Einstein and Freud. It’s probably obvious that most people never reach this level in their entire lives.
Love – I don’t like Hawkins’ label “love” here because this isn’t the emotion of love. It’s unconditional love, a permanent 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-intellectualizing. You see that you need a bigger context than just thinking for its own sake. 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). I see this as the 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, Mother Teresa, Dr. Albert Schweitzer. 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 pervasive, 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.
Dr. Hawkins says that these levels are numbered from 20 to 1000, with 1000 being the highest possible level of existence by humans. This has to do with a science called kinesiology. It has to do with a test using two people and using this simple test to calibrate the levels of certain people, events, and situations. It is said that below the level of 200 (courage), you are using force and not power, which is nowhere as strong as power and always loses to power. After 200, there is a gradual progression all the way up to enlightenment. At 500, unconditional love is the default state of being. At 600, nonduality is the default state of being. At 700 or higher, enlightenment is the default state of being. Enlightenment can be described as pure bliss, ecstasy, complete oneness with everything and everyone, with a timeless component to it. One becomes pure consciousness at this point and sees that our inner reality and outer reality are but one in the same. It is a place without thought, just a deep inner knowing of the connectedness of everything.
Dr. Hawkins says, however, that most people never move more than 5 points in their entire lives. Why is that? Because at the lower levels (below 200), there is a ton of denial. Most states of consciousness at that point are being dictated by circumstance and not from our inner power. Courage is the gateway to get out of this force-ful way of living and moving into a more power-ful state of being that is much more rewarding. So, what is it that holds these people back, other than denial? Fear, greed, guilt, and other negative emotions. It takes a gigantic amount of effort just to progress to another level above where you are, never mind go from shame to enlightenment.
I find this book to be very comprehensive and well-written. I’m not going to divulge any more information on the book because I’m not quite done with it yet. You can use these calibrations for anything, books, music, whatever. He explains in detail how to do this in the book. I have to say, thus far, it is a highly recommended book that deserves significant attention. For those of you who are interested in raising your consciousness and experiencing higher states of being, as well as understanding how to get there, this is an exceptional book that rivals anything I’ve read in the last 5 years. It is a lot of material to absorb, so you may not get all of it in your head with just one read, but the concepts he presents here are universal to the human condition and timeless as far as I’m concerned.
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