Levels of Consciousness

There is said to be seventeen level of human consciousness as described in the book Power vs. Force, by David R. Hawkins.  The paradigm lists the hierarchy based on your current life situation. From low to high, the levels of consciousness include: shame, guilt, apathy, grief, fear, desire, anger, pride, courage, neutrality, willingness, acceptance, reason, love, joy, peace, and at the highest level, enlightenment.

levels of conscious awareness

The Cosmic Masterpiece


Just a step above death. You’re probably contemplating suicide at this level. Either that, or you are a serial killer. Shame is simply self-directed hatred. Shame is self-sabotage, the lowest level of consciousness.


Guilt is you being unable to forgive yourself for past transgressions. You might dwell to much over past mistakes instead of consciously working towards fixing and growing from them.  You might exist in a deep state of depression, but you still are a step above shame.


People who are apathetic tend to feel hopeless or victimized. They feel as if they are victims of their external reality, instead of taking steps towards creating their own ideal reality. They blame others for their problems, and don’t think anything in the world can help them grow out of their current state of consciousness.


Grief is a state of perpetual sadness and loss. You might drop down here after losing a loved one or a good friend. Grief can usually be a temporary state if you have dropped down here, usually taking a few weeks or months to fully get over losing someone. Grief is still higher than apathy, since you are beginning to escape the numbness.


You see the world as dangerous and unsafe. You might exist in a state of paranoia, under constant worry and stress of your current reality. To rise above this level usually requires some level of help. Overcoming fear is something we all have to deal with. Levels of fear differ from overall security, to fear of rejection from society. Fear is just an internal belief, you create fear for yourself when you perceive situations and events to be threatening to your overall well-being.


This is the level of addiction, craving and lust. These addictions and cravings might be for money, approval, power or even fame. You might be stuck in a state of materialism and consumerism. Materialism means that you attach yourself to physical objects. You are happy when you have what you want, but are desperate to acquire what you want when you don’t have it. Physical goods have an effect on your emotional well-being. They only effect your emotional state if you allow them to.


Anger is a level of frustration, often from not having your desires met at the lower levels. This level can spur you to action at higher levels, or it can keep you stuck in hatred. We all experience some level of anger in our lives. There will be events in our lives that well be unhappy about. Dealing with them in an angry state usually results in becoming even more unhappy. Fighting resistance with more resistance tends to spiral people into even lower levels of consciousness.


This is the first level where you start to feel good, but it is overall a false feeling. Pride is dependent on external circumstances such as money and prestige. Pride can lead to nationalism, racism, and religious wars. Religious fundamentalism is also stuck at this level. You become so closely enmeshed in your beliefs that you see an attack on your beliefs on an attack on you. The problem is, we all have different belief systems whether they be right or wrong. Getting to attached to your current beliefs is a flaw, there is always room for improvements and alternative ways of thinking that may be more beneficial if you allow them to be considered.

human brain power

Transcending Levels of Consciousness


The first level of true strength. 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 will 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 is a level of flexible, relaxed, and unattached belief systems. 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. Te level om complacency and laziness. You are taking care of your needs, but you don’t push yourself too hard.


At this level, you begin to use your energy more effectively. Now that you are safe and comfortable, it is easy to channel your energy more efficiently. Just getting by isn’t good enough anymore. You begin caring about doing a good job, perhaps even your best. Time management, productivity, and getting organized now become a big part of your life. This is the level of development of willpower and self-discipline. This is the point where your consciousness becomes more organized and disciplined.


A powerful shift happens at the level of acceptance. You awaken to the possibilities of living proactively. You now want to put your abilities to good use. This is the level of setting and achieving goals. You begin to accept you responsibility for your role in the world. 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.


At this level you transcend the emotional aspects of the lower levels, and begin to think more clearly and rationally. Hawkins defines this level as the level of medicine and science. You become capable of using your reasoning abilities to their fullest extent. You look around the world and start making meaningful contributions. At the very high end, this is the level of Einstein and Freud. Most people never reach this level in their entire lives.


A level of unconditional love, and a permanent understanding of your connectedness with all that exists. 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. This is the level of awakening to your true purpose. The motives at this level are pure and uncorrupted by the desires of the ego.


This is a state of pervasive, unshakable happiness. 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. 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 is total transcendence. Hawkins claims this level to be reached by only one person in ten MILLION.


The highest level of human consciousness, where humanity blends with divinity. This is an extremely rare state. This is the level of Krishna and Buddha. Just thinking about people at this level can raise your consciousness.

How can I raise my level of consciousness?

If you read through each of the levels, there is certainly one level that you can associate your current state of reality with. Just knowing where you fit in can spring you into action to reach higher levels.

Reaching higher levels of consciousness takes consistent effort and determination to improve as a human being. It includes becoming more aware of yourself, and your belief system. Once aware, it involves a gradual process of shifting through levels. There will be temporary states of reaching higher levels, accompanied by states of lowering back down to your current state. Certain events and situations that occur in your life might also shift you down levels temporarily, but nothing is permanent unless you let them become permanent. Making permanent changes in your level of consciousness is difficult, but certainly not achievable.

Just as Hawkins claims, only one in ten million ever reach the level of peace, and that isn’t the highest level. To truly become enlightened, you must go above and beyond what an overwhelming majority of people in our race have accomplished. In the society we live in today, achieving enlightenment might seem impossible. For most of us, it will be. However, taking conscious action to improve your awareness can help you transcend into higher levels.

How far you want to reach is completely dependent on you. There are useful tools and resources to help you along the way, but at the end of the day, the level of consciousness you can achieve depends on how far you are willing to go. There is always room for improvement, becoming satisfied with your current state of reality keeps your growth stagnant.

For more information check out David R. Hawkins’ book, Power vs. Force



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2 Responses to Levels of Consciousness

  1. Pingback: » The Importance of Letting Go Zazen Life

  2. Anirudh Kumar Satsangi says:

    Consciousness is both physical and spiritual.
    “Physicist Roger Penrose and neurophysiologist Stuart Hameroff claim that consciousness emerges from quantum-level elements of the brain’s cytoskeleton. The cytoskeleton is a protein based structure that maintains the integrity of living cells, including neurons. The neurons in the brain are organize into a network of microtubules of microscopic size but astronomical number. The network of microtubule is known a s “microtrabecular lattice”. It could be responsible for the quantum-receptivity of our brain, picking up, transforming, and interpreting information based on phase-conjugate resonance. But I feel that this is contrary to all religious belief particularly Eastern Philosophy. Penrose-Hameroff Model of Quantum Consciousness deals with physical consciousness. In this model brain receives (quantum -hologram receptivity) information and process them. In this model physical consciousness dominates over spiritual consciousness. The domain of physical consciousness extends up to the region of Brahmn. In English Brahmn means ever expanding. This region was created after the first Big Bang and the universe is expanding ever since. Ever expanding means ever changing. Quantum theory can be applied in this region since it deals with probability.

    Spiritual consciousness deals with Self-Realization. In State of Samadhi, when soul transcends for journey into higher spiritual regions brain does not accompany Soul. It is the Soul only which realizes Itself. However, brain of the enlightened persons gets the knowledge of this experience simultaneously. It is worth mentioning here that in disembodied spirits (subtle body) there is no brain but they receive information and process them and also sometimes communicate with us. So Quantum Theory cannot be applied at the level of Spiritual Consciousness.

    His Holiness Maharaj Sahab (1861-1907) wrote in Dicourses on Radhasoami Faith: “During satyauga, the creational current, having freshly descended into the third division, was highly charged with the spiritual energy which it infused in every form of animate and inanimate existence…………………………

    And the human entities, in consequence of their comparatively greater spirituality and of high purity of their heart, had no difficulty in getting access at times into the astral planes and holding communion with the departed spirits. This yuga was of the longest duration” Here again there’s no brain in departed spirits and no neural or cortical activity is involved in holding communion into the astral planes. This experience is purely at spiritual level. This is the difference in physical consciousness and spiritual consciousness.

    I would also like to quote few lines from Hidayatnama from Sar Bachan (Poetry) by August Founder of Radhasoami Faith His Holiness Soamiji Mahraj.

    “When your eye turns inward in the brain and you see the firmament within, and your spirit leaves the body and rises upward, you will see the Akash in which is located Sahas-dal-kanwal, the thousand petals of which perform the various functions pertaining to the three worlds. …….At the apex of this Akash, there is a passage which is very small like the eye of a needle. Your Surat (spirit) should penetrate this eye. Further on, there is Banknal, the crooked path, which goes straight and then downward and again upwards. Beyond this passage comes the second stage.

    Trikuti (Region having three prominences) is situated here. It is one Lakhi Yojan2 in length and one Lakh Yojan in width. There are numerous varieties of glories and spectacles at that plane which are difficult to describe. Thousands of suns and moons look pale in comparison to the light there. All the time, melodious sounds of Ong Ong and Hoo Hoo, and the sounds resembling thunder of clouds, reverberate there. On attaining this region, the spirit becomes very happy, and purified and subtle.

    From here onward, it becomes cognizant of the spiritual regions. “

    Quantum theory can also not be applied in Pure Spiritual Region which was created before the first Big Bang where Time and Space does not exist. Nothing can be assumed of this Region.

    There is no Brain-Realization, there’s Self-Realization. Brain cannot know itself. Brain can know only surroundings. Soul or Spirit can know Itself and its surrounding. Know thyself is for God-Realization. ‘Apni khudi ko jo jana usne khuda ko pehchana’ (those who know themselves, recognize God).”

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