24 Oct What is the Purpose of Life? The Seven Levels of Consciousness
From ANew Paradigm of Reality?by Gonzalo Rodríguez-Fraile:
Broadly speaking, the higher the level of consciousness, the greater the ability to discern the truth, the essence and reality from illusion and from misperceptions.
In short, the subjective world of experience is a consequence of the level of consciousness that emerges from within, irrespective of external events. This means it is impossible to accurately determine the true reality of the world, because it is only experienced as it is perceived. When observed from the highest level of consciousness, the world is perfect as it is, as it offers all the opportunities and possibilities for evolutionary growth. Therefore, from this vantage point everything that happens is “”perfect and necessary”” for this purpose and the only valid option is to flow with manifestation.
We have already seen that understanding is a consequence of the context, and the level of consciousness itself offers the definitive context in which whatever seems to be dark, becomes obvious. This layer of attractor fields, according to the corresponding levels of consciousness, provides a new paradigm for recontextualizing human experience throughout time. Scales and levels of consciousness have been obtained from the fields of psychology, philosophy, quantum physics, the classic “”Great Chain of Being” (Lovejoy 1936) and from Ageless Wisdom (Wilber, Hawkins, Schmedling, Marquier, Aurobindo, etc.).
Here follows a brief analysis of the Hawkins and Schmedling consciousness scales, and a closer look at the highest, or post-rational levels, which precede enlightenment.”
Barrett’s 7 Levels of Consciousness
For example, when a person has a subconscious fear-based belief at the survival level of consciousness, no matter how much money they earn, they will always want more. For them enough is never enough.Because of their early experiences they feel they cannot trust the universe to provide for them. Therefore, they must stay vigilant, earn as much as they can and watch every penny they spend. Such people can remain focused at the survival level of consciousness all their lives, even though compared with others they are financially well-off.
When a person has a subconscious fear-based belief at the love and belonging level of consciousness, no matter how much love and affection they get, they will always want more. They cannot get enough. They want to experience the love and affection that was not accorded to them in their childhood. Such people can remain focused at the love and belonging level of consciousness all their lives, even though they may be in a loving relationship.
When a person has a subconscious fear-based belief at the self-esteem level of consciousness, no matter how much praise or accolades they get, they will always want more. They cannot get enough. They want to experience the respect and recognition that was not accorded to them in their teenage years. Such people can remain focused at the self-esteem level of consciousness all their lives, even though their accomplishments are frequently acknowledged by the people around them.
These three considerations led me to recognize that the fear-based beliefs that we use to interpret our reality (our Early Maladaptive Schema) strongly influence the levels of consciousness we operate from during our adult years; they keep us focused on our deficiency needs, not allowing us to explore our growth needs.
Expanding the concept of self-actualization
The second change I made was to give more definition to Maslow’s concept of self-actualization. I achieved this by integrating the concepts of Vedic philosophy into Maslow’s model and expanding self-actualization from one level to three.
According to Vedic philosophy we can experience seven states of consciousness. The first three—waking, dreaming and deep sleep—are part of everyone’s daily experience. The next four are dependent on the level of self-actualization we reach.
In the fourth state of consciousness, we recognize we are more than an ego in a physical body. By contemplating the question Who am I? we begin to recognize that we are also a soul.
In the fifth state of consciousness we learn to fully identify with the motivations of our soul. We give more focus to exploring our natural gifts and talents and we begin to experience a fear-free state of psychological functioning.
In the sixth state of consciousness, we become aware of the deep level of connection we have to other people. We realize that there are no “others” because at a deeper level of being we are all energetically connected.
In the seventh state of consciousness, we become one with all there is. The self fuses with every other aspect of creation in a state of oneness. There is no separation between the knower and the object of knowing.
The frequency of our experiences of these higher states of consciousness depends on the degree to which we have released the fear-based beliefs we learned during our childhood and teenage years. As we make progress in releasing our fears and mastering our deficiency needs, we gain more access to the higher states of consciousness. We begin at the transformation level and from there we go through three stages of self-actualization.
The fourth state of consciousness corresponds to Carl Jung’s concept of individuation. I call this level of consciousness transformation. Transformation occurs when we find the freedom and autonomy to be who we are: when we begin to inquire into our true nature. We learn to make our own choices; to develop our own voice, independent of our parental and cultural conditioning, and thereby become the author of our own life. This is an important preliminary step before we enter the first level of self-actualization.
The first level of self-actualization
The fifth state of consciousness in Vedic philosophy corresponds to the first level of self-actualization. I refer to this level of consciousness as internal cohesion. At this level of consciousness, our ego motivations merge with our soul motivations. We want to identify our unique gifts and talents and find our personal transcendent purpose—our calling or vocation in life. We become a soul-infused personality wanting to lead a values-driven and purpose-driven life.
The second level of self-actualization
The sixth state of consciousness in Vedic philosophy corresponds to the second level of self-actualization. I refer to this level of consciousness as “making a difference.” At this level of consciousness, you begin to feel a sense of empathy towards the disadvantaged; you want to use your unique gifts and talents to take support and help them; you want to improve the world. You learn that you can make a bigger difference if you connect and collaborate with others who share the same values and the same sense of purpose.
The third level of self-actualization
The seventh state of consciousness in Vedic philosophy corresponds to the third level of self-actualization. I refer to this level of consciousness as “service.” You arrive at this level of consciousness when your pursuit of making a difference becomes a way of life.You begin to feel a sense of compassion for the world. Wherever you are, you want to be of service to others—you just want to help in any way you can. At this level of consciousness, you learn to show love and kindness in all situations; you learn to be at ease with uncertainty and tap into the deepest source of your wisdom.
Whilst I fully realize the correlations I have made between Vedic philosophy and Maslow’s concept of self-actualization are not exact, they were sufficiently close to provide insights into the motivations and underlying spiritual significance of the process of self-actualization.
Richard Barrett is an author, presenter, coach and internationally recognised thought leader on the evolution of human values in business and society. He is the President of the Barrett Academy for the Advancement of Human Values®, the Founder of the Barrett Values Centre®, a Fellow of the World Business Academy and Former Values Coordinator at the World Bank.