Consciousness, the matrix of existence, is a dimension beyond time and space, holding infinite power. It is responsible for the unfolding of creation, creating unlimited potentials in the time-space reality we perceive as Earth. David R. Hawkins discusses in his book, Transcending the Levels of Consciousness, in detail the different levels of consciousness. He describes the nature of each level and then provides solutions on how to advance to the next level. If you are interested in learning to manifest the kind of life you want, then Hawkins’s book will serve as a guide for lifting your vibration and allowing for that which you desire to flow into your life. However, more importantly, it will teach you to rise above suffering and to allow spiritual energy to flow through you.
Universal consciousness created our planet and everything in it. It is the source of all matter and life. Unlike its creation, it is nonlinear, free of the restrictions of time, space, and physical laws, and has knowledge of everything that has happened on Earth from the single passing thought to the most significant occurrences of human history. Everything in existence is made of spiritual energy, the essence of consciousness, and this energy can be as low as ‘1’, denoting something that merely exists, to level ‘1000,’ the highest level of energy possible on Earth, and only achieved by the select few such as ascended masters such as Jesus and Buddha. As people increase their level of spiritual energy, they are less prone to suffering, life becomes easier, and relationships go from being seen as a competition to the brotherhood of cooperation.
As the first animal life appeared on our planet, so did the ego. The ego thinks in the linear terms of animal survival: through drive for pleasure it finds a mate to get its genes into the next generation, predation allows it to find food to sustain its life, and it must fight to gain and retain its territory. For this reason, the ego is very valuable, it allows for life to survive, and to evolve on the planet. However, with a lack of spiritual energy, it creates viewpoints that are weak, limiting, and exhausting. It uses force because it is unaware of its own innate power. Similar to primitive animals, a person in one of the lower vibrational states will see life as something to survive, and for that reason tends to focus only his or her self-interest, seeing other living creatures as the enemy, rather than seeing life as an opportunity to experience love and growth.
A person should not hate his or her ego, rather Hawkins encourages people to accept their defects instead of denying them as a way of increasing their inner sense of self-honesty, security, and confidence. In doing so a person will become emotionally stronger and less defensive against perceived slights. Most inner-personal arguments stem from a person’s refusal to take responsibility for his or her character defects. This can lead to destroying a beautiful relationship over trivialities over time, because once the ego feels attacked it feels the need to defend itself, usually this results in the person putting the blame on his or her partner, which leads his or her partner to defend his or her own ego. This could simply be avoided by accepting the fact that one is not perfect.
Interestingly, at the highest levels of consciousness, a person realizes that everything is perfect just as it is, because everything has value to consciousness and creation itself. Yet while those still in the lower vibrations hold value to the universe, they still feel a great degree of suffering and bring suffering onto others who have similar mindsets. For this reason, it is a good idea to adopt a sense of humility, which is only a matter of letting go of one’s pride and accepting one’s fallibility as a normal human characteristic. As a person practices humility, he or she will increase his or her spiritual energy. People let go of the need to blame someone else for their mistakes, and begin to understand that it is far better to succeed than to ‘win.’
As spiritual energy increases, so does one’s level of consciousness. In the lower phrases, represented by the color red in the illustration, a person has so little spiritual energy that he or she is lethargic, unmotivated, and carries a self-defeating attitude. As a person’s vibration rises into the yellow, he or she will have more energy, but this energy is ego-driven by survival mechanisms such as fear, desire, and comparing oneself to others. Those in the green have plenty of energy, and they are often motivated to profoundly change the world, sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse. Those that have achieved the level of pride, feel great esteem for themselves, but their self-confidence is contingent on being better than other people.
Once a person reaches level 200, the level of courage, his or her happiness depends less on outside forces and aligns with his or her personal truth. One is not dominated by primitive emotions, and is willing to take responsibility for one’s own demons, and goes on a quest to conquer them. One living outside of one’s own personal truth must compensate with defensive pride, anger, guilt, shame, and the fear of Divine punishment. For those at the level of courage, personal integrity becomes more important than results. Courage differs from pride because while the achievements of courage and pride are both lauded by society, social approval becomes secondary to those in the vibration of courage. For this reason, a person that has maintained the level of courage, will not violate his or her own integrity for a quick payoff.
The level of Courage is the first level of consciousness in which a person feels good without depending on outside circumstances. To reach this pivotal level, focus on gratitude, find things you like about your life and the world around you. Discover your own personal truth by asking yourself questions about what is important to you, and what do you believe a person with integrity would do in a given situation. You must give up the need to be right, let your actions speak for you. Hawkins states that the biggest challenge for those wanting to achieve the level of courage is fear. He insists that courage does not mean the absence of fear but the willingness to surmount it. This is achieved by knowing that one is responsible for the intention and effort but not the result which is dependent on many outside factors.
Neutrality, the level after that of courage, differs in the fact that one is able to let go of positionalities; strong positional standpoints that humans tend to hold onto with stubbornness. Rather than see challenges, the neutral person sees principles and guidelines, not demands and rigid rules. People at the level of courage must remind themselves that intention and effort are more important than results, the person at the level of neutrality has mastered the axiom. For this reason, they don’t have an emotional investment in the outcome, and the experience of failure is no longer defeating, frightening, or frustrating. A person at this level knows that if he or she doesn’t achieve success whether it be getting a certain job, a date with a particular person, or attainment of some other gain that there will be other jobs, attractive people, and chances for material success in the future. Those in neutrality choose to attract rather than promote, they are benign, not inclined to proselytize or prize the glamour of importance; they do not feel the need to minimize themselves out of false humility. At the level of neutrality, those that have struggled with depression, guilt, fear, or frantic searching for gain, approval, and earthly riches can find some much-needed peace; however, as its name implies, they are neither destructive nor active participants in life, furthermore, those at this state have not experienced the joy of the higher levels.
To grow spiritually, the neutral person must willingly participate in life, which will help him or her reach the next level of consciousness: willingness. The willing person has an inner conviction, dependability, and zest for life. Most importantly, they have learned to let go of resistance which is the key to mastering our time-space reality. Whenever someone has resistance to something, part of their energy is fighting against what they actually want. Instead of focusing on what they don’t want, the willing people focus on what they do want, and they go in the direction of their goals even if it means starting at the bottom. They find a way to find joy in their day-to-day tasks, and they perform those tasks well. They engage in life, they genuinely like other people, they are sympathetic to other people’s needs which leads them to find joy in volunteer work. Abundance naturally flows into their lives because of their positive attitudes and their willingness to take action and the fact that they don’t waste energy and time on complaining or worrying. They have humility that allows for them to be more self-aware than people that are still in the pride vibration. A person whose joy is contingent on pride will respond to criticism with anger, denial, guilt, or projection whereas the willing person can take feedback with an open mind and make corrections as needed.
Once a person reaches the level of acceptance, he or she understands that he or she is the source and creator of his or her life experience. All the levels below 200, people see themselves at the mercy of life and see themselves as victims of circumstances. People at the levels between Courage and Willingness, take responsibility for their lives and begin to take the necessary steps to better themselves. At the level of acceptance, a person learns that he or she has the keys to the kingdom. A person at the level of acceptance does not feel the need to judge other people, is not polarized by conflict or opposition, and honors the rights of other people. Those at the level of Acceptance are free from rigidity, as acceptance includes rather than rejects.
Hawkins writes that reason, the level after acceptance, intelligence, and rationality rise to the forefront when the emotionalism of the lower levels is transcended. He goes on to say that reason is capable of handling large, complex amounts of data, making rapid correct decisions, and understanding the intricacies of relationships, graduations, and fine distinctions. To be honest, however, Hawkins does not do a good job of explaining how the level of reason is an improvement on the levels of willingness and acceptance. The people that have risen to the level of willingness and acceptance take on the hardships and opportunities that come into their experience and make the most of them. Whereas people that have reached the level of reason rely only on their physical senses and process cold hard data, relying completely on their mind and not on their connection to spiritual energy.
There are two problems with the information in this chapter, one is why does reason have to be exclusive to one level, surely there have been scientists that had only reached the level of pride, for example, and are quite capable of processing data. The second problem is that the level of reason differs from all the other levels in as much as it requires a person to have a high IQ to assess this level. All of the other levels, including the higher levels of love, joy, and peace, only require a certain amount of spiritual energy to reach, whereas the level of reason can only be obtained by those with an articulate mind. This isn’t to say that reason cannot be a part of spirituality. Reason is important to spirituality since openness to new ideas keeps one from losing oneself in the rigidity of religious dogma. It could be argued that scientific discoveries brought mankind out of the dark ages and into the renaissance and the age of enlightenment. Most educated people understand the importance of reason and logic, and a person that has both a complex understanding of spirituality and logic can enjoy a richer, deeper understanding of the world at large, seeing both the temporal and the spiritual at once. However, Hawkins explains none of this, leaving the reader to draw his or her own conclusions about the spiritual importance of this level.
Fortunately, Hawkins does a better job at explaining the next level, the level of love. Love serves whereas the ego seeks to be served. To be loving, a person is forgiving, nurturing, and supportive. Love emanates from the heart, is non-intellectual, and has a purity of motive. It is all-inclusive, has no barriers, and is one with another. It is important to separate spiritual love from ego-driven infatuation. The ego, as aforementioned, is interested in matters of survival, one of its drives is that of procreation, which concerns itself with finding the best mate so that it can pass its genes into the next generation. At an ego level, love is conditional and identified with possession, passion, romance, and desire; instead of taking a person as part of itself, love at this level projects desire onto the targeted person, seeing them as having a special allure. Once the excitement of acquisition fades, so does the allure of desirability.
True love comes from spiritual alignment and living in accordance with spiritual principles. Once people obtain this level of consciousness their perception is replaced with a vision that allows for awareness and understanding of the intrinsic value of all that exists. It takes a certain amount of courage to transcend to the level of love-consciousness. One must surrender one’s need to win and to be right. To truly love humanity, one must be willing to forgive, which requires a person to understand that everyone does the best they can at the level of consciousness that they are at. A person at the level of love, understands that people that are at a baseline level of fear or anger may not feel like they can afford to treat other people with kindness, because doing so may interfere with their pride, and as transcending to the level of pride is the best happiness they have ever tasted, fearful or angry people understandably protect their pride at all costs. As such, the ability to forgive corresponds with one’s ability to understand. While the level of love requires a certain amount of bravery and lack of self-interest, it is a level of true happiness. Loving people have an increased sense of safety, identification with mankind, and concern for the welfare and happiness of others. They have a radiant aura that has an effect on others around them.
As one’s love becomes increasingly unconditional, he or she transcends into the joy vibration. Those that are in the joy vibration see all the world as an expression of love and divinity, synchronicity is effortless for them as their individual will has merged into divine will. Hawkins states that the ability to give unconditional love comes from the commitment to surrender one’s limitations and positionalities and the payoffs that come from having such inclinations. Once again, the reader must ascertain what Hawkins means by his vague, fancy words. Hawkins uses the word ‘positionality’ at least twenty-three times in his book, but he never defines the word for the reader. The way in which Hawkins uses the word ‘positionality’ seems to mean to him to take a strong position on something, he also seems to associate the word itself with the ego. In chapter two, the chapter on guilt, Hawkins writes, “the ego just ‘loves’ suffering a ‘wrong,’ being the martyr, being misunderstood and being the endless victim of life’s vicissitudes. It thereby gets an enormous pay-off, not only from the positionality itself but also from sympathy, self-pity, entitlements, importance, or being ‘center stage’ in which the self is the hero or heroine of the melodrama.”
This quote gives the reader an insight to what Hawkins means when he uses the word ‘positionality.’ In this instance, the positionality is seeing oneself as a victim, a martyr, and a hero, and the pay-off is the attention, feelings of self-importance, and sympathy that one gets from being in this positionality. By this example, the person that is practicing unconditional love must somehow give up the view of themselves as a victim. We see scenarios like this play out in real life all the time, sometimes the catalyst for such a scenario is simply a petty argument. Let’s say, two people argue, Larry calls John a “naive little twirp.” John could choose to use this derogatory name as fodder for his ego and rally support for his position by telling all his mutual friends what Larry said and lamenting the things that Larry said during their argument; this would earn John attention from his friends, his friends may take up his side, and they may even choose to call Larry even worse names because they chose to take John’s side. Or John could choose to try to neutralize his anger about what happened by trying to understand why Larry said what he said. He could figure that Larry was angry because he was engaged in a heated debate and for that reason, he called John a name. By choosing to let it go, John forfeits attention and self-righteous support from his friends, but John gains a sense of peace, he neutralizes energy surrounding his karma, and he may even salvage his friendship with Larry.
To surrender one’s positionalities takes practice and quite a bit of willpower. For one thing, it needs to be authentic. Suffering in silence is, after all, its own form of martyrdom. What if John cannot neutralize his anger from what Larry said? The best thing John can do is be honest about how he feels, but try to keep the drama a minimum. John could try discussing the situation with only one friend, the friend that he believes will be the most objective. In doing so, John is respecting his own personal truth, but also doing his best to try to understand Larry and show Larry the most love from his own limited perspective.
It is extremely rare to transcend to the level of Peace, Hawkins states that at the time of the book’s publication, 2005, there were only six people on the planet who calibrated at the level of peace or higher. Part of the reason there are so few people vibrating at this level is that once they reach this level “the state of bliss precludes ordinary activity” and “they leave the world.” Does Hawkins mean that they die? Perhaps that they have reached a level of spirituality that was so high that they achieved their life’s mission and no longer continue life on Earth? He does not say. He does, however, say that some persist and become spiritual teachers while others work anonymously for the betterment of mankind. He writes that a “few return to the world and become notable geniuses in their respective fields.” Does he mean by this that they transcend to a level of peace, die, and then reincarnate? Is this the source of child prodigies? Hawkins does not go into detail on this.
As Hawkins discusses the higher levels of consciousness his writing gets vaguer, perhaps because Hawkins’s perspective is limited because has not achieved the higher levels of transcendence or perhaps it is because as one transcends into higher levels of consciousness one’s mind becomes less linear and harder to describe with words. Hawkins describes the level of peace as being slow-moving, suspended in time and space, alive, radiant, continuously flowing, unfolding in an exquisitely coordinated evolutionary dance. He describes it as an awesome revelation that takes place without thought or conception so that there is an infinite silence in the mind, which has stopped conceptualizing. He writes “that which is witnessing are the same identity. The observer dissolves and becomes equally the observation. Everything is connected to everything else and unified by the Presence whose power is infinite, yet exquisitely gentle.”
What Hawkins is describing sounds a lot like the concept of Oneness. Oneness is a spiritual state in which a person or a spiritual entity knows that it is connected to the whole, and knows that everything in existence is part of oneself. Many spiritual thinkers believe that the state of Oneness is humanity’s ultimate goal. If one considers the definition of love as taking something as part of oneself, then oneness would be the most complete version of unconditional love possible. It makes sense that the higher states of consciousness would embody the spirit of oneness.
Hawkins writes that at this level whether the body survives or not is “uninteresting” and without meaning. The universe decides whether or not life continues on Earth based on whether or not karmic propensities are aligned with physical continuation, if so the body survives and if not the body is abandoned because it served its purpose. Hawkins does not elaborate further, other than saying it’s a fifty-fifty chance whether or not someone’s life will continue after reaching this level of transcendence. What are these karmic propensities? Does Hawkins mean that half of the souls that have reached this level have fulfilled their life’s mission and that they can now live in peace in the spiritual realm?
The level of peace is the level in which a person knows that everything in existence is perfect and complete just the way it is. The illusion of moving from imperfection to perfection is a mentalization of the ego. The example that Hawkins gives, is that rosebud is not an imperfect rose, but a perfect rosebud. As it opens, it is a perfect unfolding flower, and when it is completely opened, it is a perfect opened flower. As it wilts, it is still perfect, and it continues in its perfection even as it dies. The same can be said for everything in existence, for everything is an expression of the unfolding of the evolution of creation. A weed is equal to a flower, and all that exists is equal, without classification, and everything is realized to be of the same worth.
This explanation seems a bit incomplete, however, for if everything in existence is perfect then how does one explain ‘evil.’ In the reason chapter of his work, Hawkins challenges the concept of moral relativism, the belief that defining right and wrong is an individual and personal choice. Hawkins calls this a “distorted principle” that has “made great inroads into our universities” and claims that by “using moral relativism as their weapon, liberal secularists can destroy any absolute law they desire.” However, if everything is perfect just as it is, then how can anything be judged as good or bad, moral or immoral? I intend to do further investigation on the different spiritual views on good versus evil, and how evil pertains to the spiritual concept that everything in existence is in a state of perfection just as it is.
The next level of transcendence is self-realization, a state in which a person embodies complete Oneness, a level of non-duality, which is characterized by no longer experiencing an individual personal self separate from others. There is no longer an identification with the physical body, rather the body is seen as a tool for consciousness to navigate the world and to communicate. Consciousness levels at 600 and higher are classically termed ‘no mind’ because sequential thinking stops and nonlinear awareness of consciousness takes its place. People in this state radiate an energy field from their auras into the collective consciousness of mankind which has a two-fold effect: first, it counterbalances the negativity in the world, and second, it contributes to the overall evolution of consciousness of man in general.
The state of full enlightenment is the final level of transcendence. This is Hawkins’s most vague chapter, and it is difficult to pinpoint the characteristics of this level, probably because as the levels ascend, their characteristics become more esoteric. First, Hawkins makes the ascertain that individuals that have transcended to this level are incredibly rare. He stated in a previous chapter that in 2005, the year of the book’s publication, only one living individual had ascended to the level of full enlightenment. Those at this level still have the ability to counterbalance negative energy with their auric fields and are no longer limited by the narcissistic ego or the psychological blocks of positionalities. They are supported by the unimpeded inflow of spiritual kundalini energy to the higher etheric spiritual bodies above the crown chakra. This flow of energy is in response to surrendering personal will directly to the Divine.
Hawkins goes on to say in the next that the evolution of consciousness is accelerated by the combination of intention and attention. Intention, to have the objective of moving for in one’s spiritual journey by increasing one’s spiritual energy and paying attention to how one fares in one’s day to day, by paying attention to one’s emotions and to have awareness over one’s desires, fears, and feelings towards other people will help one garner more spiritual energy and transcend the levels of consciousness much quicker. He also states that at the higher levels, one can make something manifest simply by holding the resolution in one’s mind which makes spiritual intention “one thousand times” stronger than ordinary intellectual effort. Hawkins encourages humility, patience, understanding, and love as the means for transcending to the higher levels of consciousness, and the rewards for this endeavor are more spiritual awareness, less suffering, and a heightened state of awareness for all of humanity.
Amanda Cecil attended High Point University where she received a master’s degree in history. She’s traveled throughout the United States. She was a door hostess at Mermaid’s casino in Las Vegas in her early twenties, and she explored the rough wilderness of Asheville, NC. She plans to travel to England this summer and to New Orleans next fall. When she’s not writing she enjoys taking walks in nature, having a coffee, or watching a movie with her friends. She writes works of fiction and plans to have several finished works done by the end of 2022.