Levels of consciousness
30 minutes to read. Audio version is available
Levels of consciousness
This is my personal summary of the levels of consciousness from the book Power vs Force by David R Hawkins. He based his entire book on calibrations measured with muscle tests via kinesiology. He created a scale from 1 to 1000. Humans stretch between the level 20 to 1000. Level 20 represents the most miserable state a human can experience and at level 1000 we have the consciousness of a Buddha. It is said that most humans calibrate on average below the critical point of 200, meaning they are in a life-destructive state of being most of the time. The average level of the human collective has recently popped just above 200 points. This is because the energy of 1 human in the higher level will balance out many who are below 200. Trying a muscle test with someone in a life destructive state won´t give you any usable information. Before I would have been sceptical of this method that uses kinesiology, yet during my own journey I have come to value the outcomes. At times it really helped me with emotional healing and my own process.
The book of Hawkins is controversial, as it might appear that one has to achieve higher levels of consciousness rather than remove our false beliefs and become more aligned with our own being. I therefore don’t recommend the book and give you my own perception on these levels. We need to stop chasing enlightenment and see the book as something simple and practical, something the author forgot to do. It is not about describing levels of peace with words and other spiritual concepts, but rather about remembering how practical a state of joy can be. We all remember joy and as a child we were more often in this state probably. What do we need to be in the level of love (500)? Any mother experiences this level from time to time until the mind comes along with a limited perception to force us to lower our level. We can jump between several levels all the time. Since we don’t analyse in the higher levels, we might not be conscious about our experience of it. In the 9th module, there is an exercise to become aware of experiencing higher levels. With neuroplasticity we can then learn to make the higher levels more frequent.
The lower levels are about resistance. This usually comes due to an unwanted emotion that we label and suppress. To not feel this emotion we try to act mentally in avoiding something that is inside of us. But running away from yourself is pointless, as whenever you stop running or chasing, you experience yourself again.
The higher we move in this scale, the more resistance gets replaced by allowing. Acting gets replaced by loving. It is the opposite that brings us from a level of force to power. Our mind becomes clear and we experience flow.
Level 20 Shame – We have started to believe lots of limited beliefs about life and ourselves. This has caused us to cope with emotions and life itself. We want to be mechanical creatures without dangerous feelings and we are ashamed of our emotions that we usually can’t feel anymore. Sometimes the feeling pops up and we feel keen to project this on someone else. “Shame on you”, is something that we can say.
If you have learnt that being good means getting your needs met, then being bad means not getting your needs met and being ostracized, punished or unloved. From this point on, shame takes over. You become afraid to communicate your healthy boundaries and as a consequence you feel shame.
We eventually adopt very negative beliefs, opinions, life views and violate our own and other people’s boundaries. Feeling becomes very unpleasant. As long as you keep acting, you won’t have to feel. Because we have rejected all kinds of feelings, we are left with a feeling of being wrong, bad, inadequate, inferior, unworthy and not good enough. That is because we treat ourselves that way.
As soon as we calibrate below the level of 200 we automatically land here via a negative spiral of resistance, unless we consciously choose to not take this path because we understand the process of resistance and self-hatred. Stop acting and return to live in your body via consciously feeling. Connect with it via body scans and yoga e.g. and welcome the feeling of shame. Shame is the opposite of self-love. Allowing is the opposite of resistance. We have to accept ourselves and not interact in more strategies to hide feelings and to keep improving ourselves. That’s right, self-improvement is the opposite of self-love. That doesn’t mean that we have to accept our self-hatred, but to accept the pain beneath it all. When we act from this level of consciousness, we are almost unable to see past the superficial small world that we have fled towards in our minds. We don’t really see life anymore. Everything we observe through our senses gets filtered through a full mind, where we filter away reality. We perceive what we think and what we think is very limited. We might shame people who are trying to help us, as that might be safer for the egoic-mind than real change.
Loneliness is a feeling that comes from this state. Additionally we can be ashamed of our feelings of loneliness. For me loneliness means that we are not connected with ourselves. It is a clear scream for attention from our true self to us. From part we have rejected, disowned and denied.
Level 30 Guilt – You see life as evil and vindictive. At this level you feel like a sinner, unable to forgive yourself for what happened before. You feel guilty about yourself. You can’t allow yourself anything nice because you don’t deserve it. You have to pay for what you have done. In society this level returns frequently when we become more aware of our role and effect on this planet. Concepts come up to buy off the guilt that keeps the feeling hidden in our body. The church invented the concept that we are born in sin. In this day and age we have to feel sorry for consuming anything and a carbon tax or budget might be installed. This way the rich can continue doing the same while the poor can’t do anything. The segregation between the rich and the poor grows. We deserve to be poor, we serve the planet with it. To free ourselves from the maze of guilt, we need to connect with the feeling of guilt inside of ourselves and eventually forgive ourselves. People who help others at this level must prepare themselves for getting blamed. Wait for a clear invitation and be patient.
Level 50 Apathy – This is a hopeless level and you are a victim. You are stuck in duality where you have suppressed one side of the coin in the hope to experience the other side. People have escaped to the light and keep denying their inner darkness. The more they run to the light, the less light there is. Life becomes small and petty. There is no awareness of the darkness yet. At this level you don’t have enough strength to face it. People in recovery want to experience trust, but they don’t want to experience the opposite, which is their fear. Fear and trust are two sides from the same coin. They come together. Some people with ME/CFS are sick for years or decades. Waiting in apathy for things to get better. They rarely do. This is the level of depression. What side of what coin do you crave to experience? What is the other side that you need to feel first?
For the egoic mind, apathy is a safe place and healing is definitely outside of the comfort zone. Unconsciously, there is lots of resistance towards deep inner work. Any reason to procrastinate is welcomed with open arms. “It is not my fault, this came in between.” “I can’t meditate.” “I can’t limit my screen time.” There are lots of reasons to not engage in healthy habits that we deep down know to be helpful. At the same time this is also the level of confusion. How can you be absolutely sure that these things help in the long run? Maybe there can still be a magic pill, or a research might come with all the answers. Pharmaceuticals are mainly there in this day and age to suppress feelings of unhappiness. This way we won’t have to face the root cause.
Level 75 Grief – A depressive state of sadness. You might drop down here after you lost someone or something like your health for example. Life is still tragic , but you are beginning to escape the numbness. You might regret a lot. The next step is to fully embrace your grief and mother it. Feel it in your body. Crying helps to resolve the pain that you might have carried for a very long time. Nurture your inner child. You are experiencing sadness, you are not sad yourself. Let it all out. Allow your feelings. Crying can be exhausting, but keeping it in even more. Pace yourself and be kind to yourself.
Level 100 Fear – The world is dangerous and unsafe. You can’t trust anyone. You can be trapped at this level for a long time. You might have been in an abusive relationship. You will experience anxiety as you keep trying to block the fear. Instead you feel keen to act against your fear in a mental process. We believe that fear is not necessary and comply with all kinds of tactics to not feel the fear. We have become afraid of our emotions and the emotions from others. The suppression leads to all kinds of illnesses.
Almost everything we do in our society is because of fear. Whether it is school, jobs, lockdowns, insurances, our housing, the way we farm and deplete nature, etc. In the 12th module there is a meditation to reintegrate your fear via imagining the worst case scenario. Everything that you want to avoid has to be experienced. Otherwise your actions – that are there to avoid your fears – will always lead you to experience what you are afraid of. Instead feel your fears and embrace them. They can be there. It is okay.
When we are afraid of fear or even ashamed, we can teach ourselves to never be afraid anymore. Fear becomes unconscious and suppressed into the unconscious. This can go well for years, but as soon as we move to a place of safety, our fears are deemed to show up again. The old fears and the new fears can redirect themselves to become all kinds of symptoms in the body. The same counts for anger. Have you ever been afraid or ashamed of your own fear and anger?
Fear activates the fight or flight mode, flight in this case. Don’t run from yourself. You can with emotional healing go back to the situation that caused the fear to be stuck. Relive it and apply the fight or flight mode in your imagination with an EMDR session. But are you also afraid of that?
Whenever we were unable to escape from something, we didn’t process the memory. It becomes a trauma, stuck in the freeze response of the nervous system we keep running away from ourselves. Applying all kinds of coping mechanisms and joining the rest of society in doing the exact same thing.
For many, fear has become a comfort zone. The possibility of change is frightful. Better to stick with what you already know.
Level 125 Desire – Addiction, craving and lust for power, money, approval, fame and products. Look at my fake persona. I am trying to be the opposite of how I feel. You can sell yourself as if you are a product. You will do all of it, because you are ready to feel more and want life to be better. Life has been hard in the lower levels and you want more. Yet you act from a place of disappointment and see society and life as a form of enslavement where you want to move higher on the pyramid. Your desires are not the same as healthy goals as they are still pretty primitive and childish. More money, sex and status will not free you from your internal feelings. It seems they do liberate you as long as you keep busy with all these distractions. All these actions become addictions. How long can you keep numbing yourself? Stop with the addictions and feel where you are. Breathe. Become aware of your true desire, being unconditionally yourself. What do you need? Healthy boundaries? Maybe anger can play a role. Many say, “You can’t heal out of a desire”. That is because it puts too much pressure on things and yourself. Your approach becomes obsessive. Eventually we will learn that healing is a more gentle energy that needs peace, allowing and flow. But are you patient? A quick fix in the form of a pill or a course with an aggressive sales technique might be more promising. People spent all their savings by years of seeking the magic pill. This is probably part of the process. Eventually you have all the right to be very, very angry.
Level 150 Anger – You are angry and frustrated at others and yourself. You can be aware of this and let it out on others most of the time. What is the favourite group of people that you can project your anger upon? A person in this level is often a match for someone living predominantly in the level of fear. God is vengeful. By embracing your anger and using it to protect your own boundaries you can empower yourself.
Many also let the suppressed anger out on themselves in lower levels, this can result in all kinds of vague symptoms that doctors can’t explain. You are ashamed and afraid of your anger for example. Anger is natural and everyone needs it to be able to walk their own path. Once we have become aware of our anger, it is time to learn to express this constructively. How can we be able to release the old suppressed anger and use it to take our place in life? Symptoms can vanish and you feel a strength in the belly that allows you to move upwards in the scale of consciousness. Your eyes change and become stronger.
Anger can be a protection mechanism, just as disgust can be. Have you ever been disgusted by something? What was it protecting you from? It might be something different than we are willing to admit.
Anger activates the fight or flight mode, fight in this case. Don’t let it out on yourself or even your loved ones that have nothing to do with it. You can imagine fighting, your mind won’t know the difference. When we are unable to use the fight or flight mode, usually when we were very young and nobody could hold space for us when we experienced anger, we suppress it. We won’t even remember the memory as it is stuck in the freeze response of the nervous system. With breathing exercises and other therapies we can become aware of the anger and remember what happened eventually. Don’t diminish the event as it was a big deal for our small inner child. Let it use “the fight response of the nervous system to complete the experience of anger.
Tip: Don’t become angry with the therapist that tried to help you reconnect with your anger. Well, you can, but don’t let it be an excuse to stop the inner work.
Level 175 Pride – This is the first level where you start to feel good, but it is a false feeling. It’s dependent on external circumstances and therefore vulnerable. Pride can lead to nationalism, colonialism and wars. You become so heavily identified with your ideas, beliefs and coping personality that anyone who challenges your way of thinking becomes a threat. You might deep down feel indifferent about others or better than them.
A more subtle version of this level is the identification of coping mechanisms. We have to admit that a lot of the things we do have subtle levels of manipulation in it. Our ego would never want to admit that we are not as holy and selfless as we like to think about ourselves. Carl Jung talked about the shadow. Things we don’t want to know about ourselves. Up to this level, we don’t experience other people. All we see is a projection. People are a means to an end.
Once we can really admit these kinds of things to ourselves and our loved ones, can we let go of hidden tension inside of us. Arrogance might still be needed to protect you from suppressed feelings of inferiority. Will we really be accepted for who we really are? I think the truth will always set us free and send away people who don’t fit with us and attract the people who really matter.
Many people stay currently in the state of pride, but they will become tired of it as life is so demanding and full of inflation. There is a Hitler living in each and every human on this planet. Accepting it and becoming aware of it, is the only way. Humans are selfish creatures, even pleasing people serves an egoic desire. Every relationship can be manipulated or an unspoken agreement to manipulate each other for our hurt inner child.
When you admit to yourself that this false level of feeling good is exhausting, you can give up and rest with what really is. What we need is courage to be honest.
Level 200 Courage – After we admitted that your pride was too fragile, we can start seeing life from a calmer place. We notice that our self-worth is not related to our actions. It might even be a surprise when we are accepted by others when we accept and admit our flaws that have come from the illusion, and eventually the feeling of unworthiness. We take small steps to investigate internal feelings and judge the people around us less frequently. We might at times even be open to other ideas and other people’s feelings. Life becomes more interesting and for the first time you feel like you have the ability to create the life you want. You develop an interest in personal development, but probably still call it skill building, career advancement, education, etc.
We have to be very careful with personal development and self-improvement as parts of it might still come from the need to be something more than we are. There is a thin line between improving and developing ourselves. With words we can easily be tricked as they don’t mean the same for everyone, plus definations can change. We might as well still trick ourselves from time to time.
We need strength and power to be able to look at ourselves. To not be completely lost in unconscious patterns after a trigger. From this level on, we have some ability to look at our unconscious behaviour and thoughts. The primary wound of any trauma and coping behaviour is insufficient unconditional love. In order to look at ourselves we need to have built up or received some feeling of love and acceptance. It doesn’t mean that your survival is threatened when you do something wrong, because you are no longer wrong. “You are okay for who you are.” Welcome on this planet.
According to Hawkins the total of humanity started calibrating at this level recently. If we have arrived at this level we are automatically stirred upwards via the flow of life. Although sometimes the negativity that comes up might be too overwhelming and forces you to stay stuck at the lower levels again. Keep having the courage to feel instead of cope and keep challenging your belief systems.
Level 250 Neutrality – We become more relaxed and neutral about life. “Live and let live.” We have started to feel safe in life which gives the opportunity to take a step back and enjoy life more. You don’t feel like tiring yourself out more than necessary. When we experience lots of symptoms and unwanted situations in a chronic disease it is a great step to become neutral about it. Allow it and take a rest without resisting it. Neutrality also means to let go of the duality by desiring one aspect and rejecting the other side of the coin. Things can flow more organically from the moment. Impulses are more important than mechanic to-do lists. But first you need to rest in a neutral place to rest from all the stress. You will learn that you don’t have to do that much to get by. Instead of reacting, you can eventually learn to create. What comes out of this place of calmness? It is not a thought, it is not a pressure to be someone.
Level 310 Willingness –After we have felt safe and comfortable we start using your energy more effectively. We begin to work efficiently towards goals. Just getting by isn’t good enough anymore. You start giving your best and care about what you do. These people don’t complain much and are ready to give their best and get things done. We would generally want to work for something that makes life a bit better.
Level 350 Acceptance – After we noticed our competence and are brave enough to use our abilities for the things we really enjoy doing. We start to achieve true and meaningful goals as we have noticed that the previous goals were not fulfilling and maybe even a bit superficial. This level holds a powerful shift and we awaken to the possibilities of living proactively. The name ‘acceptance’ means that we have become ready to accept our role in this life. This is a level of changing careers, relationships and the way we see life. We often need a leap of faith to be able to be at this level.
Level 400 Reason – At this level we transcend and are seeing things clearly. We start to understand how life really works in a mental way. But no matter how hard we try, we are never able to put life into concepts. We have to eventually leave the level of the mind with its analytical thinking that guided us from the lower levels up to this level. This level is about finding truth. Many consider this the achievable level as we are unaware of the possibility of a life beyond the chattering of the mind. After knowing how things truly work, we have to eventually leave the realm of the mind behind us and live it. We have to leave the confusion between symbols and the real deal behind us.
Level 500 Love – As most people are not familiar with this level of love, it is misunderstood by the majority of people. What the world generally refers to as love is an intense emotionality combining physical attraction , possessiveness, control, addiction, eroticism and novelty. If you refer to love like that, you have probably noticed that these forms of emotions can often turn around and change into hate and fear.
The level of love is a huge transcendence, this time it is the start of the liberation from the mind. The mind is taking a step back, allowing us to be present and observe reality. Many know this state from a successful meditation. A feeling of satisfaction rises inside of us. Your life is no longer just about you, but we become a tool of love to experience ourselves via acts of compassion. Love cannot take a position and is global. This removes the illusion of lack. From this level on, we have the ability to see someone else. To understand and to truly listen to each other.
We start noticing how life becomes simpler and we need less than we actually think.
This level transcends disease into something different and that allows us to heal.
Level 540 Joy – As love becomes more unconditional towards life, we begin to experience true inner joy that has nothing to do with doing something in the external world. Whatever happens in life, joy stays at the background. This makes it possible to enjoy situations that were formerly perceived as difficult and unwanted. We have experienced countless moments like these, especially when we were playing as a child. Life becomes more of a process and a verb. There is playing, there is being and we forget about the little I that was usually so busy with in its mind. We transcend in a process of being. We become life itself. We have to understand that this state is the purpose of life, not a phase to go to when we finish to do lists, it is the other way around.
Level 600: Peace – One realises that the quest or search for happiness is useless. The absence of the search reveals happiness and a very deep inner peace. The former identification with thoughts and the body is revealed as an illusion. Who am I? After the hypnosis of the mind has been revealed to be only a dream, the question, “Who am I?” arises. One starts to connect with a spiritual being that is having a human experience. Any position that a thinker can take, is seen as untrue. So the answer cannot be thought of. Nonetheless the human tries and comes up with sentences like: “I am not real.”, “I don’t exist.”, “There is nothing you can do to become enlightenment.”, “I have never done anything.”. The more silent mind tricks itself this way and creates concepts about no-self and non-doership. This is the level of a popular mind-set called Advaita. In Advaita, there is nothing you can do, there is nothing you ever did and everything is pointless. As depressive as this might sound, the peace experienced from this level is transcending all of this. Only for a mind who wants to gain and become something, this sounds negative. This can be a projection of one’s own inner mean critic. Teachings from this level can be bold, brutal, kind and compassionate at the same time.
The experience can be translated to lower levels when we fall out of this state, in an attempt to downgrade the total of existence in a pointless and useless experience. It becomes a mental conversation with the exchange of concepts. This is no longer the level of peace. Stop talking about it and experience it. Sink deeper in the inner peace. Fall into it and notice how simple life becomes.
Level 700: Enlightenment – At this level, the individual no longer exists, strangely for the outer world it seems like this human is more individual than ever, as the human has lost all his resistance towards life and itself, leaving simply being as the only option that had ever been available. Enlightenment is really being yourself then as well, without any concept of how you have to behave. You no longer act from pain, the mind or body identification. They are simply tools you experience.
The distinction between one self and objects are disappearing. I am not the body nor the mind. There is no center to what I am. The self is expanding beyond the body. The world and the others take place inside this space that I am. It is not the belief of oneness, but rather the experience that everything is experienced inside of yourself in a process of complete letting go, flow and allowing.
Any religion or concept of spirituality is being replaced with peace and silence. The mind lost its draining need to conceptualize. Everything is connected, the observer of life dissolves in the landscape. That which is witnessing and that which is witnessed take on the same identity. An infinite presence is around even during sleep at times. Moments cease to exist as everything becomes one big moment. Flow. This is who we really are and have been all the time. The connection is established again. You have surrendered fully to the flow of life and have become an expression of what you can call god or the source. This connection gives energy. Many people are ready to live on prana and don’t need food and sleep anymore. The body seems to become younger.
Everything is and always was perfect. There is no need to change anything as perfection is seen everywhere. From here on words are too limited to describe the feelings and presence.
The point is not to chase this final level, but to allow all of them simultaneously. Surrender to life and thus yourself. Every though we ever had was a limitation put over the reality of life. They served us for a while until it didn’t anymore.