The Six Levels of Higher Consciousness: How to Make the Shift (1)
by Mary O’Malley
The healing you long for doesn’t come from changing anything. It comes from the ability to see and be with what is, for who you are is awareness. You are the space that your storyteller is happening in. As awareness, you can see the spells (limiting beliefs), feelings and sensations that pass through you all day long rather than being lost in the stories they generate.
When you learn how to be curious about what is going on inside of you, you discover the ability to experience what you are experiencing without turning it into a problem. You can then give the energy that was bound up in your struggles the attention and the spaciousness it needs in order to let go. This brings you back to the free-flowing aliveness that you truly are – the meadow of your being.
In order to be this curious about what is going on rather than always trying to control it, it is important to know that your life is for you. Life is not just a random series of events that happen because you did it right or you did it wrong. Instead, it is an intelligent unfolding that is revealing itself to you all day long, bringing you step-by-step from unconsciousness into a state of higher consciousness.
Take a moment now to feel how different that is from the way you usually perceive Life: as something happening to you that needs to be controlled, fixed and changed. Imagine what it would be like to let go of the whole game of resisting Life and instead to trust it. In this trust you could then open to it, listen to it, and grow from every encounter.
“Your life is a journey from unconsciousness to higher consciousness”
At the last Hawaii retreat I led on the island of Molokai, the core focus of the retreat was “All Is Welcome Here.” On the second day, one of the participants said that whenever that phrase was spoken, she heard “All is well. Come here!” When you learn how to stop trying to make your life be what you want it to be and show up for it instead (All Is Welcome Here), you discover that all is well and it is safe to be here. You can show up for the life that Life is giving you! And when you do this you begin to shift into higher consciousness.
When Eben Alexander woke up from his seven-day coma, the first thing he said to his sister was, “All is well!” In order to open to “All Is Well” so you can truly be here for Life, it is important to recognize that the evolution which is unfolding on the Earth includes human beings. Everything is a part of this evolution, including you. You are Life evolving from unconsciousness into higher consciousness. Your life is not a random series of events. It is an intelligent and mysterious process that is for Life.
I like to call it the “flawless, methodical mystery.” It is flawless because each and every experience of your life is tailor-made to wake you up out of your unconsciousness. Also, it is truly methodical. There are basic steps we all go through on our journey out of the cloud bank of our minds back into recognition of the meadow of Life. And it is truly mysterious. Without fully understanding it, we can open to it, rediscovering what Joseph Campbell describes as “the rapture of being alive.”
The Six Levels of Consciousness
Your life is a journey from unconsciousness to higher consciousness. Michael Beckwith, minister of the Agape Church, describes this evolution in four phases. I have added two more, “Life happens in you” and “Life happens for you,” and call them the “Six Phases of Higher Consciousness.”
1. Life happens to you.
2. Life happens by you.
3. Life happens in you.
4. Life happens for you.
5. Life happens through you.
6. Life is you.
Let us take a few minutes to explore each level of consciousness. I invite you, as you read, to keep on checking in with yourself. You are being given important information in this article. Remember that the most powerful thing you can do for your healing is to have your attention and your experience together, even as you are reading this and no matter what it brings up for you.
Dip the finger of your attention into the river of your experience. Allow whatever is here to be here. You have never experienced Life quite like this and never will again. This moment in your life is unique, and it is okay exactly as it is.
The 1st Level of Higher Consciousness: Life Happens To You
For a good deal of your life you have probably lived like most human beings, feeling that Life is happening to you. Life is so big and if you are honest with yourself, you never really know what is going to happen next. You wake up one morning and your heart is light and happy and the next day you’re unsettled. Bosses fire you, the flu debilitates you, people you love reject you, every day you get a little older and death is always lurking around the corner.
So it is understandable that the more unconscious you are, the more often you feel like a victim to Life. When you live in the belief that Life is happening to you, you often view it as a possible threat. So you stay caught in your head, finding yourself lost in your storyteller that resists, reacts, defends and explains, hoping to figure everything out. It generally does absolutely anything except be open to Life, right here, right now.
The 2nd Level of Higher Consciousness: Life Happens By You
When it becomes too uncomfortable to live with this much powerlessness, you evolve into the belief that Life is happening by you. Rather than being a victim to Life, you believe you can control it. There can be a great feeling of personal power in this level of consciousness. It is a necessary step in moving out of the victimhood of the first stage of higher consciousness, but people get caught there. Men try to control women and vice versa. Religions try to control the masses. Countries try to control other countries. The majority of people try to control others who are not like them (different skin color, dissimilar religions etc.). Most of all, we try to control ourselves, hoping to make ourselves be what we think we should be.
There is an enormous amount of effort in this phase of higher consciousness. The storyteller believes that in order for anything good to happen it has to make it happen. So it loves to set goals and feels very ashamed when it doesn’t follow through (just think of New Year’s resolutions!) The storyteller eventually evolves into intentions. Goals are where you use your mind to try to make things be the way you want them. With intentions, you work with feeling what you want to generate. None of this is bad or wrong. These are important tools to use on the path of awakening and sometimes they actually work. But what would happen if you recognized that, rather than trying to make things happen, opening into Life will bring you what you most deeply long for!
“We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.”
There is a relatively new form of control where you believe you can control your reality. In this form of control, the storyteller says that all I have to do is think the right thoughts and I can make my life be the way I want it to be. The main difficulty with this is that, in the long run, it doesn’t work. To think you can control Life is like being a cork in the ocean believing it can control the movement of the ocean. Yes, it does change the movement of the water right where it is, but it can’t influence all the other powerful forces that make up the ocean.
To stay caught in this phase of higher consciousness is to be cut off from the creative flow of Life. Believing that you are in charge of Life, you are mainly identified with your conceptual world, trying to create a reality rather than showing up for reality.
When you have lived this level of consciousness long enough, you see the downside of it. First, you find yourself becoming fearful of your thoughts: “I shouldn’t be thinking this way because I will manifest this in my world.” Second, it can also bring forth shame, for when it doesn’t work the way the books promise, you think this is because you haven’t done it right enough or well enough. Author and speaker Carolyn Myss, who used to teach that you could manifest what you want if you just think right, evolved beyond that. When she was in Seattle in the 1990s she asked an audience of 600 to raise their hands if they had been able to create the reality they wanted. Not one person did!
As you are reading about to you and by you, your belly may have tightened again. Allow any holding you discover there to melt away. Smile and let this softening move all the way down into your pelvic floor and around to your back.
The 3rd Level of Higher Consciousness: Life Happens In You
You eventually begin to see that all of your reacting and controlling hasn’t brought you the ease and joy you long for. Instead of being the victim to your life and or needing to make it be any particular way, which is the endless game of struggle, you begin to get an inkling that Life is something to be listened to, opened to. This is where you start evolving into the next phase of higher consciousness, where Life is happening in you.
At this level of consciousness you begin to realize something very startling: most of the time, rather than experiencing Life, you think about it, seeing only the thoughts in your head! When you experience Life through your thoughts, you stop experiencing it as it is. Or, as the well-known French author Anais Nin once said, “We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.” You project your spells onto yourself and others rather than really seeing what is. When was the last time you truly saw a loved one’s face? If you are honest with yourself, it has probably been a long time.
It is in this phase of higher consciousness that you also realize that your suffering doesn’t come from the experiences of your life. Instead it comes from your stories about what is happening. It comes from inside of you! There could be a gray day and you’re just fine. Then on another gray day you could be miserable. You may say it is because the day is gray, but it comes from your story about the day, not the day itself.
This is where you begin to live what we have been calling the you-turn. You become less interested in being a victim to your life or even trying to make it be any different than it is. You realize that the healing you long for comes when you turn your attention within. When you get to know the spells that are the source of your suffering, you can unhook from them and come back to Life.
Do a you-turn and ask, “What is asking to be seen?” Be curious about what sits here right now.
Read the second part of the article
March 12, 2019