The Empowering Team presents two authors’ models of levels of consciousness we can use to improve our lives. Richard Barrett’s stages include survival, self-esteem, and service. David Hawkins offers several more psychologically driven stages ranging from shame and neutrality to enlightenment.

 Richard Barrett’s Seven Levels of Personal Consciousness

Reference Drive
Survival [Level 1] Feel protected or unprotected
Relationship [2] Feel in or out of a group
Self-esteem [3] Feel positive or negative about yourself
Transformation [4] Act out of your true self
Internal Cohesion [5] Find similarities between your views and goals
Making a Difference [6] Align your views with others to make a greater impact
Service [7] Live through voluntary service to meet your personal goals

David Hawkins’ Power vs. Force

In his book Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior, David R. Hawkins offers numerous levels of consciousness, which arguably maintain a more specific and psychologically driven perspective of internal awareness than the modern views previously mentioned.The features of each level are explicit enough that individuals can most likely place themselves in a stage depending on their perceived state.

  • Shame: Close to ‘rock bottom’; possibly caused by a life-threatening or traumatizing event
  • Guilt: Questioning oneself; difficulty letting go of unfortunate past events
  • Apathy: Defenselessness and weakness; minimal power to change the current situation
  • Grief: Sadness, deep loss
  • Fear: Uneasiness; feeling pressured or sensing a need to act quickly to change the current situation
  • Desire: Greed; the need to acquire things; can lead to addictions
  • Anger: Anxiety; typically a result of not meeting expectations while at lower levels
  • Pride: False positive; happiness in high statuses or other superficial benefits; leads to defensiveness and rebellion
  • Courage: Able to rationalize choices and control vision
  • Neutrality: ‘No strings attached’; content with current situation and no effort to change
  • Willingness: Moving forward; openness to embark on new adventures
  • Acceptance: Reactive; stepping out of comfort zones; putting goals and values to action after discovering them in lower levels
  • Reason: Separating objectives and tackling tasks that align with strengths
  • Love: Empathy; making decisions from true values
  • Joy: Optimism, possibly caused by a life-changing event
  • Peace: Completeness
  • Enlightenment: Large impact; vision of progress

The applicability of this tiered system can be generalized to rank objects, events, and entire societies rather than just individual people. Barrett hypothesizes that the average human being can fluctuate naturally between levels due to environmental effects, including media, people, places, material objects, food, and awareness of world events.

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