In this article, I’m very excited to share with you the map of consciousness, developed by Dr. David Hawkins in Power vs Force. The reason I’m so excited is because this map is probably the single most powerful tool in your pursuit for personal growth and excellence. There are two reasons why I say that:
Firstly, having the map of consciousness empowers us in knowing where we stand in our current state of growth. While all of us can try to live consciously every day, without knowing the point we are starting from, we are just randomly groping in the dark. Having the map gives us a fix on our current location. When we are able to identify our starting point, we can then make actionable plans on where we want to go next.
Secondly, this map lists all the different levels of consciousness attainable, thus serving as a critical framework for conscious living. Without knowing the highest end state of consciousness we can attain, we can only be making baby steps of progress and not be optimizing our full potential. But having clarity of the different levels of consciousness provides us with the full context of growth. By knowing the other levels ahead, we are more able to comprehend how limiting our current level of consciousness is, what we should be striving toward and the highest end point we can reach. While we can debate on whether Hawkin’s is fully valid or exhaustive, the map definitely provides us a very good reference point to start with.
For me, having this map of consciousness has been very helpful in identifying where I currently stand in my pursuit of growth, becoming more conscious of my reactions toward life events and what they represent, understanding the limitations of the level I am at and what I should do in order to further up my consciousness.
What is consciousness actually?
Being conscious is more than just being physically awake. It is also more than just being aware. Awareness typically refers to knowingness at the mental level, while consciousness is a state of knowingness that encompasses all mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of ourselves. To be conscious is to have awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, own existence, sensations, and surroundings.
The consciousness we operate in is actually equivalent to the lens we use to see reality. The perceptions, beliefs, mindsets and values we hold right now are a result of the consciousness we are operating in. Whenever we experience a shift in our consciousness due to an epiphany, an AHA or inner realization, we are actually breaking away from our old consciousness and as a result, old belief systems and attitudes. This is the same as shedding of an old lens we used to see reality with and adopting of a new lens.
Why Increase Your Consciousness Level?
As mentioned above, consciousness is like a lens you use to view reality. Being at a different level of consciousness means you are using a different lens to view the world. Your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values and actions are outputs of the level of consciousness you vibrate at. While the object you are observing (i.e. life, the world, events in your life, yourself) can remain the same, just having a different consciousness level causes those outputs to be widely different.
Let’s take an analogy with myopia. If you are at the lowest level, it’s like you have extremely high myopia of -10.00. You can’t see anything beyond an extremely distorted sense of self worth and the world. At a higher level however, that visual fog lifts and you develop higher clarity on yourself, the world, and your place in the world. Your vision becomes less hazy and more accurate. The higher you go, the higher the clarity your vision on what the world around you entails. All these changes come from just a change in your consciousness; in reality nothing about life or the world has changed. To increase your consciousness level thus translates into a more accurate viewpoint of reality. This allows you to lead the truly happy, full and abundant life which you are meant to experience.
Map Of Consciousness
The map of consciousness was developed via kinesiology, or muscle testing. I’ll not be covering the technicalities here; if you are interested in the details, it’s best to check out the book – there are two full chapters dedicated to the explanation of the methodology, testing and interpretation.
From this test, a scale of consciousness / energy level was calibrated, from 0 all the way to the highest end of 1000 points. Within this scale, there are a total of 17 different levels of consciousness demarcated by different points on the scale. Moving from 0 to 1000 mark a progression in the change of one’s world view from a fear-based consciousness, to a love-based consciousness. The highest attainable level is enlightenment at 1000.
17 Levels of Consciousness
Description of Each Level of Consciousness
I will provide a description of each level, starting with the bottom-most level. As you read this, think about which level resonates the most with you:
1) Shame (1-20): Someone at this level feels humiliated, has low self esteem, is paranoid. Common expressions where one vibrates at this level would be when one feels like he/she has “lost face”, wishes he/she is invisible, feels worthless. Some individuals at shame react by becoming overly rigid and/or neurotic perfectionists. Vibrating in this level for prolonged periods leads to elimination (of self and others), such as suicide, turning into serial killers, rapists, moral extremists who apply self righteous judgment onto others. The person’s view of life at this state is misery.
2) Guilt (30): Feelings of blame and remorse hover here. Used to consciously or subconsciously manipulate conformance to certain forms of thinking and behaviors. Commonly melded by our society with public punishment and finger-pointing culture, by religious institutions with preoccupation of “sin” and “salvation”, acts of ritual killing to “appease” higher entities, etc. This level cultivates destruction. Hawkins cites the life-view as evil, which I disagree and feel condemnation is more adept.
3) Apathy (50): A state of despair and helplessness. Someone here is needy and dependent on others for help, such as the homeless, the poor, the aged population. Because this level feels “heavy” and is seen as a burden to others around, many people usually avoid those who are vibrating at these levels. For example, we see how the poor and unfortunate have come to be shielded away from the mainstream society. We also frequently see situations where the aged is abandoned by their own kin because they are seen as a liability. This level is associated with abdication, which means to give up one’s power to others. The life-view here is hopelessness.
4) Grief (75): Feelings of regret, sadness and loss are abound here. Many people vibrate at this level in times of losses – of loved ones, relationships, possessions, jobs, money, etc. Outcomes would be mourning, remorse, being hung up over what has occurred, etc. Someone at grief sees despondency and bleakness all around the world and in life. The life-view is tragic. Grief is a higher level than apathy, because one starts feeling more energy at this level, albeit of sadness and loss.
5) Fear (100): Energy at this level is oriented in anxiety. Common situations of fear at play would be fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of uncertainty, fear of challenges, fear of aging, fear of death, fear of loss, fear of strangers. This emotion is often played on by marketers and politicians to achieve their agendas. Fear leads to paranoia and can turn into an obsession. At this level, one views everything uncertain as fearful and thus undergoes the state of withdrawal. Thus, fear prevents personal growth from taking place. Someone in the level of fear sees the world as frightening.
6) Desire (125): At the level of desire, the emotion of craving becomes dominant. We have people pursuing money and status as end goals for a better life, lonely singles longing to be in romantic relationships believing it will complete themselves, marketers conditioning ‘wants’ in people’s minds through enticing advertisements and promises of happiness with consumption of goods, fashion industry playing on desires for increased attraction, just to name a few.
Addictions are outputs of desire, such as desire for food, video games, fun, sex, shopping, acquisition of money and power, etc. One becomes looped into enslavement at this level, because desire is never-ending emotion. The life-view is disappointing, which ensues when one cannot obtain what one desires. Desire is a higher level than fear because the desire for something propels people forward to action, rather than withdraw to a corner.
7) Anger (150): The emotion at this level is hate. Anger expresses itself as resentment, frustration and even revenge. Common manifestations of anger in the society are activism toward causes (environmental, animal rights, third-world countries, poverty-stricken areas), equality, social movements.
At the individual level, examples include irritable and volatile behavior, short-temper. The upside of anger is it has resulted in liberation and great movements in the society; the downside is dangerous behavior and intentional harm might ensue from it. The process one undergoes is aggression. The life-view here is antagonistic, where one is hostile, unfriendly and acts in opposition/rebellion against others.
8) Pride (175): Hawkins cite scorn as the dominant feeling of pride, which I disagree. I feel dignity is an emotion that is more representative of the level; scorn comes a result of this dignity, though it may be too subtle for people to recognize since it is often masked over. At our current society, pride is a level that is encouraged and seen as positive – for example, pride of being part of a group, institution, company, nation, religion, race.
However, this leads to a duality viewpoints, which acts as an invisible force to separate people. For example, nations exist because people identify themselves more with a geographical location rather than the a common, universal identity. Religions exist because people attach themselves to their beliefs of god and values which serve as a separator. On a personal level, people form pride based on possessions and external conditions, and it is vulnerable because such conditions can be removed at any point in time. Pride results in denial and arrogance. At pride, one undergoes inflation (of ego) rather than being able to see things objectively. The life-view here is demanding.
9) Courage (200): Affirmation is the key emotion here. This is the separation point between Power and Force, where one is starts creating change through the use of constructive states of power rather than destructive force. This is the first waking point where one starts to wake from his/her sleepwalker status. At the lower levels before this, the world is seen as hopeless, tragic, frightening, demanding; People from below 200 sees themselves as victims, at the mercy of life and subjected to forces of the external world.
At courage one sees the world as exciting and filled with possibilities. One undergoes empowerment here. This marks the start of active pursuit of growth – where there exists a gap, the person will act to fill it. For example, learning new job skills, embarking on new education, pursuing personal growth. The life-view is feasible – anything is manageable since the person is able to harness power to deal with situations in life. People in the higher levels >200 recognize that their happiness and life lies within them.
10) Neutrality (250): The emotion at this level is trust and safety. Here, people are non-judgmental, objective and able to see things as they truly are. They are not attached to possessions, situations, outcomes and can roll with the punches in life. If they are not able to get something, they are equally happy settling for something else.
This is NOT the same as apathy – the power of neutrality comes from a positive place, where one recognizes his/her inner power and abilities and does not feel the need to prove anything to anyone; apathy is rooted from being forsaken in self and the world, resulting in nonchalance and jadedness toward the external world. The process is one of release (of everything), and the life-view is satisfactory, where anything goes. These people are easy to get along; however they are difficult to engage toward causes and visions because they are detached toward everything.
11) Willingness (310): Optimism runs high here. At Willingness, the individual is open to do anything and everything – he/she is not bounded by others’ judgments or by limitations. For example, he/she is willing to take on menial jobs if he/she cannot get jobs elsewhere. The marked characteristic between willingness and levels below is the desire to do things well (for the sake of it), rather than just doing things. Someone at Willingness can readily bounce back from set-backs, is easily moldable and genuinely open to everyone. Success follows them easily.
The process one undergoes here is of intention (to do anything). The life-view is hopefulness. At this level you have people who perform extremely well in their careers in corporations, start-ups; however the question then comes as to whether they are investing their energy in the best way.
12) Acceptance (350): In my opinion, this marks the second waking point for an individual and where he/she is fully awake from his/her sleepwalker stance. Here, one finally realizes that he/she is THE creator and source of his/her life, as opposed to having relegated some part of it to someone else or a different entity. He/she is (1) aware of the social constructs present in one’s life, whether by family, society, nation, religion, work (2) able to discern against (limiting) beliefs, viewpoints and conditioning which he/she is surrounded with and (3) able to consciously craft his/her life above and beyond all these social constructs.
Characteristic behavior at this level will be acceptance vs. rejection, seeking for resolutions vs. judging right or wrong, long-term vs. short-term view, engaging on life harmoniously on its terms vs. resisting it, striving for personal excellence and growth. Forgiveness is the dominant emotion. The process one undergoes is transcendence (above what one faces in life). The life-view here is harmonious.
13) Reason (400): The emotion is understanding and rationality. One seeks out huge amounts of information and analyzes them to infinitesimal detail before reaching conclusions. This is where the noble prize winners, leaders of science and medicine and great thinkers of history calibrate. However, Reason falls into the trap of overintellectualization in concepts and theories. Where differing theories clash and each argument is sound on its own, we reach a blockade, leading to the inability to resolve discrepancies. This leads to the process of abstraction or preoccupation with data. The life-view is meaningful.
14) Love (500): This represents unconditional love – love that is pure, unfaltering, unwavering, not subjected to any external conditions. It is not the same love that is commonly portrayed in mass media, which is rooted in lust, desire, pride, control, addiction, attraction, jealousy and possessiveness. While the media often establishes love and hates as opposite poles, hate is actually rooted from pride (desire for control/possessiveness), and not actual love.
Reverence is the main emotion in the level of (unconditional) love. At this level, duality becomes an illusion; the feeling is one of entirety that rises above separation. Unconditional love is inclusive of everyone and expands beyond self. While reason deals with specific data, love deals with entirety, thus giving rise to the capacity for instanteous understanding. This aspect is often linked with intuition. The process one undergoes is revelation. The life-view is benign, there is no separation, fear or negativity. Hawkin claims only 0.4% of the population (1 in every 250 people) ever reaches this level.
15) Joy (540): The dominant emotion is serenity and compassion. This is the inner joy that arises from every moment of existence rather than from an external source. This is the level where saints, advanced spiritual students and healers dwell. At this level, one is characterized by enormous patience and an unwavering positive attitude in the face of harsh adversities. The world is seen as one of perfection and beauty. Individuals are motivated to dedicate themselves to the benefit of life rather than for specific individuals. Here, the process of transfiguration occurs (emanating of radiance from the person). The life-view the individual holds is completeness (of the world). Near death experiences have the effect of temporarily bumping people into this level.
16) Peace (600): The emotion is bliss. At this level, there is no longer any distinction between the observer and the subject. People here become spiritual teachers, great geniuses in their field to effect great contribution for mankind; they typically transcend formal religious structures and replace it with pure spirituality where religions originate from. Perception becomes one of slow motion, suspended in time and space. Everything is perceived as interconnected by an infinite presence. The process one undergoes is illumination; the life-view is perfect. Hawkins claims this level is only attained by 1 out of 10 million people.
17) Enlightenment (700-1000): The emotion is ineffable, in other words – inexpressible. This is the pinnacle of the evolution of consciousness of mankind. The greatest people of history have attained this level, such as Krisna, Buddha, Jesus, Mother Theresa. Here, the body becomes recognized as a tool to project consciousness in. One’s existence becomes all encompassing and transcends time and space. The process is described as pure consciousness. The life-view here is simply ‘Is‘. In achieving our highest potential and embracing our best lives, we should strive for the highest possible level i.e. enlightenment.
About the Figures
1. They are logarithmic, not arithmetic figures
What this means is when you see a figure, say 200, it means 10 to the power of 200 (10^200) and not the absolute number 200. Thus, 200 on the scale does not mean twice the magnitude of 100.2. A small increment by a few points represents a huge increase in magnitude
For example, let’s look at 100 and 105. Even though it’s just +5 in pts, in logarithmic terms, a +5pt difference represents 100,000 (i.e. 10^5) times the difference in magnitude! This means even if you are in the level of Guilt or Apathy, just raising your consciousness by +5pt will result in enormous improvements in your well being and state of life.
About the levels of consciousness
1. The level of consciousness which you are currently at is a weighted average of the different consciousness levels you operate in
A person usually vibrates at a default consciousness level and shifts to a couple of levels below and above that level depending on the situation. Every thought, every feeling and every action you have in every situation is rooted from a particular consciousness level; all these can be summed up and averaged to identify the default level you are in. It is rare someone will maintain an exact same state of consciousness in a given period of time. Even within the same day, you may behave at a certain consciousness in this context and at a totally different consciousness in a different context.
One influence on your consciousness is the stimulus in your life. This includes the situations you are in, the type of people you spend time with, your environment and so on. In times of pressure, one’s consciousness level usually gets bumped down a few levels. Depending on how the person recovers from the pressure, his or her default consciousness level might be elevated to a higher level after the encounter.
2. One can move across different levels of consciousness
Your consciousness level now does not define what your consciousness will be in the future. It is open to change; it is not static. Each person is open to move across different levels, depending on how he/she (chooses to) evolve in his/her consciousness.
3. Distinction of levels of Power vs. levels of Force
Hawkins segmented the consciousness into two main categories – one based in force (<200) and one based in power (>200). People in levels of Force vibrate at a level of fear-based emotions. They are more inclined to exert control over others or themselves (oppression, force, coercion, manipulation, violence) to achieve their desired outcomes. For example, crime, war, governmental passing of certain policies, abuse, or even authoritative leadership/parenting styles. People in levels of Power (love, empathy, understanding) vibrate at a level of love-based emotions. They are increasingly aligned with the present moment and universe and use that to bring about their desired results.
4. Each level can be beneficial/detrimental to you depending on the level you are at
For example, the state of fear (100) may look quite undesirable if you are at the level of desire (125). However, if you are at the state of guilt (30), being around people at state of fear (100) is actually beneficial for you as it can help elevate you to a higher level. It is generally more effective when you are around people at higher consciousness levels which are closer to your level (vs. a huge distance ahead), since it is easier for your energy levels to reach resonance with theirs. When the people are too distanced from you in their energies, it may result in detachment and alienation instead.
On the same note, when you elevate yourself to a higher level, it becomes obvious that the lower levels are more limiting. For example, if you are at the level of Pride, you will see how levels of Shame/Guilt/Apathy/Grief/Fear/Desire/Anger bind people down. If you are at the level of Acceptance, you will realize how being at levels of Pride/Courage/Neutrality/Willingness restrain others.
5. At Courage and Acceptance, one experiences a marked leap in the experience of the world
An increase in consciousness at any level changes your experience significantly. However, there are two particular levels where one experiences a marked leap vs. the other levels. The first is Courage, which separates the levels of force (<200) from the levels of power (>200). This is the first waking point from the sleepwalker status. The second is Acceptance, where one recognizes it is he and he himself who is the conscious creator of everything in his life. This is the point where one completely awakes from sleepwalking.
Where Does Our World Stand Today?
If you are to take a guess, what do you think is the collective consciousness of humanity today? 100? 200? 300? 400? 500?
When Hawkins wrote the book in 1995, he calibrated the collective consciousness of our world to be at the level of courage (calibrated 207). As humanity’s consciousnesses has shown to increase only about +5pts every century, 207 is very likely still to be the figure for today.
However, this does not mean that the majority of our world is at the level of courage – in fact, 85% of the world calibrates below courage (200). The lower levels of the masses is balanced out by a few individuals near the top (remember the number is logarithmic, not arithmetic), thus giving us a overall calibrated figure of 207. Just having a few highly conscious leaders walk the earth is capable of raising the overall consciousness of the world – for example, Jesus, Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa, and so on. Before this, the world’s collective consciousness has been at 190 for many centuries.
Why is the figure so low? If we are to look at around at what we see in the world, the answer becomes quite apparent:
1. Over 80% of humanity is living at less than $10/day, under extreme poverty
This includes third world countries, war and disaster stricken areas. Many people here are trapped in states of Apathy (50).
2. Religious teachings and institutions have drastically lowered in consciousness over the years, as they become embroiled with personal agendas of various men and leaders
The original teachings of Jesus, Buddha and Krishna calibrated at 1,000. Today, the teachings of Buddhism dropped over the centuries to an average of 900+; Hinduism at 850; Christianity at 750 or even 500 depending on the denominations; militant Islam fundamentalism is at 130 (Desire). In order to keep members within the religion, many religious leaders turn to Guilt (30) and Fear (100) based teachings toward the members.
3. In first world developed nations, our society is deeply entrenched in states of Fear (100), Desire (125), Pride (175)
Fear includes fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of uncertainty. Desire encompasses the insatiable quest for material possessions (wealth and goods), status, power, love, belongingness. Pride takes root from dualistic views such as elitism, competition, nationalism, racial pride, factions, religions, as well as attachment to status/wealth/goods. These are all dominant levels we see our society operating in today.
4. Our mass media continually perpetuates levels of pride, desire, fear, or even lower
Refer to the below table on the calibrated consciousness of several popular shows (obtained from a Hawkins lecture in 2004). Try examining your favorite shows across the levels of consciousness and see where they are likely to lie.
- Passion of Christ: 190 (Pride)
- Godzilla: 180 (Pride)
- The Godfather: 155 (Anger)
- The Matrix: 150 (Anger)
- American Beauty: 140 (Anger)
- Terminator: 125 (Desire)
- The Shining: 55 (Apathy)
- Silence of the lambs: 45 (Apathy)
What Level of Consciousness Are You At?
What level of consciousness are you at? Which level do you find your thoughts and feelings dominating every day?
Remember that every thought, every belief, every feeling and every action you have is rooted from the level of consciousness you are in. When you shift your level of consciousness, you also change your world views and mentality.
Join the discussion below!
(Originally posted on personalexcellence.co)
About the Author:
Celestine Chua (Celes) is a life coach and founder of Personal Excellence. PE is one of the top personal development blogs in the world with international readers from over 200 countries/territories. She have been featured over 70 times in print, TV and online media, including CNN, Cosmopolitan, Business Insider, CBS Business Network, and Channel News Asia.
Celes’s mission at Personal Excellence is “To unite the world as one consciousness by helping others to achieve their highest potential and live their best lives.”