Understanding the Levels of Consciousness
Dr. David R. Hawkins, MD, PhD developed a “map” of the levels of human consciousness (also called the Scale of Consciousness) that uses a muscle-testing technique called Applied Kinesiology (AK) to document the nonlinear, spiritual realm. The research was scientifically-validated and published in Dr. Hawkins’ doctorate dissertation titled Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis and Calibrations of the Level of Human Consciousness, an elaborate discussion of the Scale of Consciousness and its significance as outlined in his groundbreaking book, Power vs. Force: The Anatomy of Consciousness (Veritas Publishing, 1995).
Briefly, each level of consciousness (LOC) coincides with determinable human behaviors and perceptions about life and God. Each level represents a corresponding attractor field of varying strength that exists beyond our three-dimensional reality. There’s a critical point within each LOC from which its field gravitates (or entrains).
The numbers on the scale represent logarithmic calibrations (measurable vibratory frequencies on a scale which increases to the tenth power) of the levels of human consciousness and its corresponding level of reality. The numbers themselves are arbitrary; the significance lies in the relationship of one number (or level) to another (e.g., Dr. Hawkins’ scale is from 1 to 1000).
The Great Barrier
Dr. Hawkins points out that the two greatest spiritual growth barriers seem to be at level 200 and 500. Two hundred, the level of courage, represents a profound shift from destructive and harmful behavior to life-promoting and integrous lifestyles; everything below 200 makes one go weak using kinesiology. Currently, approximately 78% of the world’s population is below this significant level. The destructive capacity of this majority drags down all of mankind without the counterbalancing effect of the 22% above 200. Because the scale of consciousness is logarithmic, each incremental point represents a giant leap in power. As such, one person calibrated at 600 counterbalances the negativity of 10 million people below 200.
The second great barrier is level 500—Love. Love in this context is a way of being in the world—not an emotionality as most of us perceive it. According to Dr. Hawkins, the reason the level of love is so difficult to achieve is because our ego is so rooted in the physical domain as opposed to the spiritual domain, which emerges at 500. The 400s represent the level of reason, guided by the linear, mechanistic world of form (our modern society that includes advancements in medicine, science, government, etc). Interestingly, the top echelon of intellectual genius, including Einstein, Freud, Newton, Aristotle, etc., all calibrated around 499. The 500s represent a very difficult hurdle as only four percent of the world’s population calibrates in the 500s. This level denotes a shift from the linear, provable domain (classic physics or Newtonian physics) to the nonlinear, formless, spiritual realm.
A person’s LOC remains rather steady through the lifetime. Emotions come and go like the passing wind, but a person’s calibratable LOC is governed by specific energy fields in the nonlinear domain which generally doesn’t waver. Over the course of a lifetime, the average person’s LOC will change approximately five points (this is not a statistical derivation, but an average discovered through Dr. Hawkins’ kinesiologic research). However, it is possible for an individual (such as a spiritual aspirant) to have their LOC jump (or drop) hundreds of points in a single lifetime. -RE: Power Vs. Force, by Dr. David Hawkins, scribed by Scott Jeffery
I was lucky to experience Dr. Hawkins while attending his lecture on Transcending the Levels of Consciousness three years ago in Novato, California. His Joy for life radiated into the audience during his lecture. There is something about the beauty of ‘truth’ that is recognizable. I’ve never been so excited about life and the path towards more knowledge of our existence! I nearly levitated out of my seat! Hawkins stated that once given a glimpse of the state of Enlightenment, nothing on earth will ever quench your thirst again! 🙂
The following information is designed as a quick reference tool for Dr. Hawkins’ students who are familiar with the Map of Consciousness. To fully understand this Map of the Scale of Consciousness within the proper context, it’s important to read Dr. Hawkins’ book, Power vs. Force.
(Below the critical level of integrity):
(c) 1995 David R. Hawkins
These levels determine the reason why people behave the way they do.
These levels can be divided into positive energy-giving levels and negative energy-taking levels. The negative levels from the lowest to the highest are: shame, guilt, apathy, grief, fear, desire, anger, pride. The positive levels are: courage, neutrality, willingness, acceptance, reason, love, joy, peace, enlightenment.
He claims that, although there may be times when we function at different levels of consciousness, we in general operate at one particular level. This can be considered our core level. It is here where I would like to explain these different levels and hopefully inspire you to move beyond your current state.
According to Hawkins, this is one step above death. At this level, the primary emotion one feels is humiliation. It’s not surprising that this level, being so close to death, is where most thoughts of suicide are found. Those who suffer from sexual abuse are often found here, and without therapy they tend to remain here.
Not too far from shame is the level of guilt. When one is stuck in this level, feelings of worthlessness and an inability to forgive oneself are common.
The level of hopelessness and despair; this is the common consciousness found among those who are homeless or living in poverty. At this level, one has abdicated themselves to their current situation and feels numb to life around them.
Many of us have felt this at times of tragedy in our lives. However, having this as your primary level of consciousness, you live a life of constant regret and remorse. This is the level where you feel all your opportunities have passed you by. You ultimately feel you are a failure.
People living under dictatorship rule or those involved in an abusive relationship find themselves at this level. There is a sense of paranoia here, where you think everyone is out to get you. Suspicion and defensiveness are common.
Desire is a major motivator for much of our society. Although desire can be an impetus for change, the downside is that it leads to enslavement to ones appetites. This is the level of addiction to such things as sex, money, prestige, or power.
As one moves out of Apathy to Grief and then out of Fear, they begin to want. Desire which is not fulfilled leads to frustration which brings us to Anger. This anger can cause us to move out of this level or keep us here.
According to Hawkins, since the majority of people are below this point, this is the level that most people aspire to. It makes up a good deal of Hollywood. In comparison to Shame and Guilt, one begins to feel positive here. However, it’s a false positive. It’s dependent upon external conditions such as wealth, position or power. It is also the source of racism, nationalism, and religious fanaticism.
This is the level of empowerment. It is the first level where you are not taking life energy from those around you. Courage is where you see that you don’t need to be tossed to and fro by your external conditions. This empowerment leads you to the realization that you are a steward unto yourself, and that you alone are in charge of your own growth and success. This is what makes you inherently human: the realization that there is a gap between stimulus and response and that you have the potential to choose how to respond.
Neutrality is the level of flexibility. To be neutral, you are, for the most part, unattached to outcomes. At this level, you are satisfied with your current life situation and tend not to have a lot of motivation towards self improvement or excellence in your career. You realize the possibilities but don’t make the sacrifices required to reach a higher level.
Those people around you that are perpetual optimists – this is their level of consciousness. Seeing life as one big possibility is the cornerstone of those operating here. No longer are you satisfied with complacency – you strive to do your best at whatever task you’ve undertaken. You begin to develop self-discipline and willpower and learn the importance of sticking to a task till the end.
If Courage is the realization that you are the source of your life’s experiences, then it is here where you become the creator of them. Combined with the skills learned in the Willingness phase, you begin to awaken your potential through action. Here’s where you begin to set and achieve goals and to actively push yourself beyond your previous limitations. Up to this point you’ve been generally reactive to what life throws at you. Here’s where you turn that around, take control, and become proactive.
The level of science, medicine, and a desire for knowledge. Your thirst for knowledge becomes insatiable. You don’t waste time in activities that do not provide educational value. You begin to categorize all of life and its experiences into proofs, postulates, and theories. The failure of this level is you cannot seem to separate the subjective from the objective, and because of that, you tend to miss the point. You fail to see the forest because you’re tunnel-visioned on the trees. Paradoxically, Reason can become a stumbling block for further progressions of consciousness.
Only if, in the level of Reason you start to see yourself as a potential for the greater good of mankind, will you have enough power to enter here. Here is where you start applying what was learned in your reasoning and you let the heart take over rather than the mind – you live by intuition. This is the level of charity – a selfless love that has no desire except for the welfare of those around them. Gandhi and Mother Theresa are examples of people who were living at this level. Only 0.4 percent of the world will ever reach it.
This is the level of saints and advanced spiritual people. As love becomes more unconditional, there follows a constant accompaniment of true happiness. No personal tragedy or world event could ever shake someone living at this level of consciousness. They seem to inspire and lift all those who come in contact with them. Your life is now in complete harmony with the will of Divinity and the fruits of that harmony are expressed in your joy.
Peace is achieved after a life of complete surrender to the Creator. It is where you have transcended all and have entered that place that Hawkins calls illumination. Here, a stillness and silence of mind is achieved, allowing for constant revelation. Only 1 in 10 million (that’s .00001 percent) people will arrive at this level.
This is the highest level of human consciousness where one has become like God. Many see this as Christ, Buddha, or Krishna. These are those who have influenced all of mankind.
Hawkins’ Power vs. Force and his associated map of consciousness has been a groundbreaking work for those interested in human-consciousness development. In this continuum we can clearly see where we as individuals function and where we can arrive. A view into what could be our potential is inspiring.
It’s interesting to note that according to Hawkins, everything that is around us can effect our level of consciousness: the music we listen to, the people with whom we associate, the books we read, the shows that we watch, etc. After reading this book, I began to see myself and those around me in a different light. I guess you could say I felt more compassion for others. We are all at different levels of consciousness and are functioning according to the light and knowledge that we’ve obtained. This has helped me to better understand what drives people and why they make specific choices.
How can you raise your own level of consciousness? I would suggest first to figure out where you presently are – awareness is always the first step. Learn from the Great Ones who are the source of the ‘wisdom literature’ of your tradition and try to live the principles taught in those books. As you raise your own level, you will discover a desire to help others and you’ll be a source of positive change for yourself and the world.
In the 1960s, Dr. John Goodheart developed Applied Kinesiology (AK) into a practical diagnostic technique used mainly by chiropractors and holistic health practitioners. Based on the principle that “your body doesn’t lie,” AK or muscle testing assists these practitioners in uncovering what is going on in the body as well as determining whether or not a specific remedy would be beneficial. By testing the instantaneous response of a particular muscle, AK practitioners are able to more clearly navigate the complexities of the human body: If a tested muscle stayed strong, a substance was good for the body, and if it went weak, it was not.
Psychiatrist Dr. John Diamond further expanded Dr. Goodheart’s work by discovering that different images, paintings, music, games and material affect the body. For example, he found that classical music makes people go strong, while rap music makes everyone go weak. Similarly, synthetic clothing makes you weak and natural fibers make you strong. The implications of Dr. Diamond’s work, called Behavioral Kinesiology (BK), were profound: Everything we interact with either strengthens or weakens our life energy.
Psychiatrist Dr. David R. Hawkins realized the universality of muscle testing response—“what is good for you is good for me.” To test the hypothesis, Dr. Hawkins put a thousand people in a room, each with a sealed envelope. Half the room was given organic vitamin C and the other half a packet of NutraSweet. None of the participants were aware of the content of their envelope. Each person was tested using muscle testing (as described in the next section). The result was that half of the room went weak while the other half stayed strong. The 500 hundred people who went weak were holding the envelope with NutraSweet and the 500 hundred who stayed strong had the organic vitamin C—Dr. Hawkins had uncovered physiologic testings usefulness as the ultimate truth detector.
By following a simple procedure and making a clearly defined statement, one’s muscles either stay strong or go weak. Statements can be asked about anyone or anything from past to present. You can calibrate the level of truth of a politician, a Fortune 500 CEO or your next-door neighbor. Want to determine the validity of a new scientific theory? Test it. You don’t need to know anything about the topic in order to test a statement. The answer you receive from the kinesiologic response transcends your own knowledge and beliefs; you are accessing the infinite intelligence of the collective field (or Collective Unconscious) that binds us together.
Interestingly, physiologic testing calibrates at 600—the level of nonduality—which means the technique itself transcends a complete intellectual (i.e. linear) understanding of the phenomenon. When one muscle-testing in the above fashion, one is accessing the timeless, spaceless, database of consciousness itself. -Scott Jeffery
Quotes by Dr. David R. Hawkins
Quotes from The Eye of the I:
We change the world not by what we say or do but as a consequence of what we have become. Thus, every spiritual aspirant serves the world. (Eye, 69)
To let go of the known for the unknown requires great commitment, willingness, and devotion to surrendering one’s faith to God. (Eye, 110)
There is no inner ‘thinker’ behind thoughts, no ‘doer’ behind actions, no ‘seeker’ of enlightenment. Seeking occurs on its own when the time is right, and it emerges as a focus of attention. All aspects and qualities of consciousness are self-actuating and energize each other under the general direction of the will. (Eye, 132)
It is the ultimate human paradox that man’s dependence on perception precludes his being able to know his own identity. (Eye, 220)
There is absolutely nothing in ordinary human experience to compare with the joy of the presence of the Love of God. No sacrifice is too great nor effort too much in order to realize that Presence. (Eye, 289)
The true destiny of man is to realize the truth of the divinity of one’s source and creator which is ever present within that which has been created and is the creator—the Self. (Eye, 87)
To understand the nature of God, it is necessary only to know the nature of love itself. To truly know love is to know and understand God; and to know God is to understand love. (Eye, 88)
In reality, everything occurs of its own, with no exterior cause. Every thing and every event is a manifestation of the totality of All That Is, just as it is at any given moment. Once seen in its totality, everything is perfect at all times and nothing needs an external cause to change it in any way. From the viewpoint of the ego’s positionality and limited scope, the world seems to need endless fixing and correction. This illusion collapses as a vanity.
In Reality, everything is automatically manifesting the inherent destiny of its essence; it doesn’t need any external help to do this. With humility, one can relinquish the ego’s self-appointed role as savior of the world and surrender it straight to God. The world that the ego pictures is a projection of its own illusions and arbitrary positionalities. No such world exists. (Eye, 107)
At some point, the illusion breaks down and the opening for the start of the spiritual quest commences. The quest turns from without to within and the search for answers begins. (Eye, 115)
Q: Where does one begin the search for spiritual truth self-realization called enlightenment?
A: It is simple. Begin with who and what you are. All truth is found within. Use verified teachings as a guide. (Eye, 175)
Like springtime, the promise of a new era in man’s understanding of God is emerging. Now the level of consciousness of mankind is high enough to be able to recognize the truth of a God of Love instead of worshipping the god of guilt and hate. (Eye, 76)
It is helpful to remember that neither Truth nor Enlightenment is something to be found, sought, acquired, gained, or possessed. That which is the Infinite Presence is always present and its realization occurs of itself when the obstacles to that realization are removed. It is therefore not necessary to study the truth but only to let go of that which is fallacious. Moving away the clouds does not cause the sun to shine but merely reveals that which was hidden all along. Spiritual work, therefore, is primarily a letting go of the presumably known for the unknown, with the promise of others who have done it that the effort is more than well rewarded at the end. (Eye, 117)
In turn, every advance that we make in our awareness benefits unseen multitudes and strengthens the next step for others to follow. Every act of kindness is noticed by the universe and is preserved forever. (Eye, 118)
The radiance of God is the light of awareness that reveals the divinity of all that exists. In the stillness of the Infinite Presence, the mind is silent as there is nothing that can be said; all speaks of itself with completeness and exactitude. With this realization one transcends the final duality of existence versus nonexistence because only existence is possible. The opposite of Truth does not exist because Reality excludes non-reality. In this realization resides the peace of God. (Eye, 118)
Nothing in the universe happens by chance or accident. The universe is a coherent concurrence and interaction of innumerable conditions attendant on the infinite number of energy patterns. In the state of Awareness, all this is obvious and can be clearly seen and known. Outside that level of awareness, it could be likened to innumerable, invisible magnetic fields which automatically coalesce or repel one’s position and which interact according to the positions and relative strengths and polarities. Everything influences everything else and is in perfect balance. (Eye, 170)
What the people in the world actually want is the recognition of who they really are on the highest level, to see that the same Self radiates forth within everyone, heals their feeling of separation, and brings about a feeling of peace. To bring peace and joy to others is the gift of the benevolence of the Presence. (Eye, 91)
Much relief is experienced when we realize that by adopting a spiritual life, righteous condemnation and the hate that ensures from it can be left to others. This pursuit of the spiritual ‘good’ benefits all mankind, and it could therefore be said to be the most praiseworthy vocation of all. (Eye, 67)
Spiritual progress is based on acceptance as a matter of free will and choice and thus everyone experiences only the world of their own choosing. The universe is totally free of victims and all eventualities are the unfolding of inner choice and decision. (Eye, 61)
The experience of the presence of God is available and within at all times, but awaits choice. That choice is made only by surrendering everything other than peace and love to God. In return, the divinity of the Self reveals Itself as ever present but not experienced because it has been ignored or forgotten, or one has chosen otherwise. (Eye, 48)
Spiritual truth, then, is universally true and without variation through time or place. It always brings peace, harmony, accord, love, compassion, and mercy. Truth can be identified by these qualities. All else is the invention of the ego. (Eye, 40)
Peace is literally a choice and a decision, although not a popular one in our society despite all the rhetoric about the term. The decision to overlook the seeming inequities of life instead of reacting to them is a choice. (Eye, 198)
When perception ceases, the world of wonder reveals itself. Consciousness is in all that exists. It recognizes itself manifesting as the Allness of Creation. (Eye, 228)
In reality, the love of God, like the sun, shines equally on all. (Eye, 235)
In the Reality of non-duality, there is neither privilege nor gain nor loss nor rank. Just like a cork in the sea, each spirit rises or falls in the sea of consciousness to its own level by virtue of its own choices, and not by any external force or favor. Some are attracted by the light and some seek the darkness, but it all occurs of its own nature by virtue of divine freedom and equality. (Eye, 262)
Q: What prayers are useful?
A: Ask to be the servant of the Lord, a vehicle of divine love, a channel of God’s will. Ask for direction and divine assistance and surrender all personal will through devotion. Dedicate one’s life to the service of God. Choose love and peace above all other options. Commit to the goal of unconditional love and compassion for all life in all its expression and surrender all judgment to God. (Eye, 201)
Quotes from I: Reality & Subjectivity:
When one realizes that one is the universe, complete and at one with All That Is, forever without end, no further suffering is possible. (I, xxii)
The destiny of the spirit will be for better or worse, depending on the choices and decisions one makes. (I, 154)
Beliefs are the determinants of what one experiences. There are no external ‘causes.’ (I, 22)
Thus, if we take responsibility for being the author of our world, we come close to its source where we can correct it. (I, 22)
The soul is the author of its own fate by the exercise of its own choice and selection. (I, 24)
Truth has no opposites, such as falsity or ‘off-ness.’ Nothing is hidden from the field of consciousness.
The level of consciousness is determined by the choices made by the spiritual will and therefore is the consequence as well as the determinant of karma. Freedom to evolve requires a world which affords the greatest opportunity to ascend or descend the spiritual ladder. Viewed from that perspective, this is an ideal world and its society is constituted by a wide range of experiential options. (I, 80)
Exploration is innate to mankind, and its highest levels lead to spiritual inquiry. This brings up the questions of who am I, what am I, where did I come from, what is the origin and destiny of the self, and who and where is God. (I, 117)
The human mind is incapable of discerning truth from falsehood. (I, 117)
The spiritual aspirant, therefore, is wise to detach from all positionalities and opinions and be willing to surrender the ego’s temporary satisfactions for a higher goal. (I, 177)
All life ebbs and flows. Everyone is born, suffers afflictions, and dies. There are happiness and sadness, catastrophe and success, increase and decrease. The stock market rises and falls. Diseases and accidents come and go. The karmic dance of life unfolds in the karmic theatre of the universe.
All reactions to life are subjective. There is nothing happening that is awful, exciting, sad, good, or bad. It is pointless to hold a position that catastrophes shouldn’t ‘happen’ or that the innocent ‘didn’t deserve it’, or ‘isn’t it awful’, or ‘it must be somebody’s fault’. With a broad view, one can remain unperturbed by either the content or the context of life. That requires giving up judgments, expectations, or ‘sensitivities’ (I, 179)
In as much as the entire universe and everything in it is a karmic unity, the Allness of Reality is the realization of enlightenment. If all is a karmic unity that originates from the same source, then to see any separation is an artifact of perception. In Reality, the one and the many are the same. (I, 251)
Be passionate for God, not for belief systems. That is the only real decision that has to be made and can be applied to any and all situations. The question is always whether to be at the effect of the world or aligned with the Truth of God instead. The search for enlightenment is different from that of seeking worldly success. (I, 355)
The world of the ego is like a house of mirrors through which the ego wanders, lost and confused, as it chases the images in one mirror after another. Human life is characterized by endless trials and errors to escape the maze. At times, for many people, and possibly for most, the world of mirrors becomes a house of horrors that gets worse and worse. The only way out of the circuitous wanderings is through the pursuit of spiritual truth. (I, 393)
At every instant, one is really making a choice between heaven or hell. The cumulative effect of all these choices determines the calibrated level of consciousness and one’s karmic and spiritual fate. (I, 397)
At first, spiritual purification seems difficult, but eventually, it becomes natural. To consistently choose love, peace, or forgiveness leads one out of the house of mirrors. The joy of God is so exquisite that any sacrifice is worth the effort and seeming pain. (I, 397)
It’s All God, but our feeble minds cannot grasp it. Maybe, if Hawkins stayed around for another 100 years– we would all get it! 🙂