I haven’t written a lot about our current political situation. In the past I tried to speak in terms of higher values with the hopes that readers would search their hearts and make good political choices rather than tell them what they are supposed to believe or how to vote. But I feel the world getting increasingly dangerous and refraining from comment doesn’t seem the appropriate thing right now.
In spite of what I just wrote, I am not going to tell you who I plan to vote for or which party most aligns with in my beliefs. Rather, I want to talk about consciousness. I believe that how people view their world depends upon their level of consciousness.
In 2019, I read 6 books by worldwide teacher of the Way to Enlightenment, David Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. It may seem a bit obsessive for me to indulge this way, but Hawkins answered for me a question that was gnawing at me: Why is it that people have such a hard time with change even when change could mean greater happiness? When I asked the question, I had in mind a couple of friends whose thinking was clogging them. I remember talking to one of them and it would sound to me like she perfectly understood and agreed with what I was saying. Then I would talk to her a couple of days later and I found her thinking hadn’t changed at all. I was baffled.
The cornerstone of Hawkin’s teaching is his Scale of Consciousness. He created a grid and assigned a numerical value to the way people look at the world and thus how they interact with it. People with a higher level of consciousness basically know themselves better and have the capacity to monitor their own thoughts and behaviors. Those at a lower lever lack this self-awareness and tend to buy into their thoughts as though they are true. They have a lesser control over their behaviors because they tend to react to whatever happens around them. A person with lower consciousness may not know why they do what they do. If they do something they or others perceive as wrong, they will get defensive, blame others, and try to justify their actions rather than acknowledge their error and learn from it.
My only hesitancy about Hawkin’s chart is that in the past, whenever I dealt with charts about one’s maturity or level of spirituality, I always put myself at the top. Needless to say, my Higher Power had to do some serious correcting on that. This time, however, I came to the levels with greater self-awareness and with it humility and a higher capacity for honesty.
I don’t want to explain the whole of Hawkin’s teachings, but I do want to focus on one aspect, the number value of the different levels. A creature at the lowest level, (probably a mosquito) would be 0. The highest would be pure enlightenment which he numbers 700-1000. Only Jesus is attributed to have attained the level 1000. I won’t argue with that. Each level is given certain charactersics which he puts under four different categories: God-view, Self-view, Emotion, and Process. I will discuss only the first category here. How people view God which effects how they view everything including themselves and the world.
At the lower levels, people tend to view God as vindictive, condemning, punitive, vengeful or indifferent. When people view God this way, they tend to be full of guilt and shame, apathy, hatred, fear and anger. Those at higher levels of consciousness tend to imagine God in a much more favorable light. They would use words like permitting, inspiring, merciful, wise, and loving. They tend to have a more positive view of themselves and others, and are more willing to make sacrifices for the good of others. They tend to use their reason and wisdom to solve problems while not always thinking they are right, so they tend to show more respect for others points of view.
Those at the lower levels tend to drain to world of energy. Those at the higher levels tend to add energy to the world.
What most interested me is the one I was looking for when I was first drawn to Hawkins, and that is the key or quality that shifts a person from the lower levels to the higher. I found that the quality is Courage. Many of you are familiar with the Serenity Prayer. “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the COURAGE to change the things I can.”
Watching the political landscape, I am struck by the lack of courage among people in office. This absolutely baffles me because it seems to me that it would take a lot of courage to run for office in the first place. But over the past several years, I have watched legislators cower under their party’s leadership, voting with them even when it would seem their values are in conflict. I ask myself, “Is being in office such a fabulous thing that you can’t imaging life without it?” That is what an alcoholic says when you suggest he should give up alcohol to save his marriage and his job.
People who operate out of a lower consciousness tend to be hateful, antagonistic, demanding, blaming, and full of fear. They have a desire for more of whatever they think will make them happy and then carry around a false pride because of what they have. They fear what might happen to them if they choose to do something other than what their tribe demands.
Humans are complex beings. As I think about myself on Hawkin’s scale, I know I am inconsistent and sometimes lose my bearings. I still drag around character defects that I’ve had for years. But I do know this: I see life from a higher place than I did in the past. I watch the interactions among my fellow Americans and Hawkin’s levels of consciousness seems to explain an awful lot to me. It doesn’t necessarily tell me what to do, however. I have chosen to just keep growing and share my insights wherever they may be useful. If I can help one person to rise above their own fears and anger, I feel I have shifted the world just a little bit.