Map of Consciousness, Dr. David R. Hawkins
Transcending the United State of MAD
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“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”—Chief Tecumseh (1768—1813)—(note: this attribution is disputed)
...Above the planet on a wing and a prayer,
My grubby halo, a vapor trail in the empty air
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye
A dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night
There’s no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation, a state of bliss
Can’t keep my mind from the circling sky
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I
—Pink Floyd “Learning to Fly”
“We change the world not by what we say or do but as a consequence of what we have become.”—Dr. David R. Hawkins (1927-2012)
As I watch the transformation of the free republic(s) of the United States of America into the centrally controlled United State of America, I am reminded of an acronym popular during the height of the Cold War—MAD, or Mutually Assured Destruction.
MAD referred to the lose/lose scenario that would follow a nuclear weapons exchange between the United States and Russia. MAD was considered to be a deterrent to nuclear war, as such a war would inevitably end in mutual destruction; so what would be the point?
As far as deterrents go, the theory of MAD leaves much to be desired IMHO, but nonetheless it was in vogue for a number of years. In any event, MAD has appeared on the scene again in the form of two mutually irreconcilable ideologies that verge on tearing the United States apart—I am referring to what we call the conservative and liberal (Progressive) viewpoints.
“We the people” generally agree with Henry David Thoreau that “That government is best that governs least.” Liberals on the other hand, believe that “the bigger the better” when it comes to government. These two diametrically opposed views of government are rapidly closing together, and as things stand will soon reach their flashpoint.
[Sidebar: It is worth noting that government per se is not evil, not even a necessary evil. A limited government (such as outlined in the US Constitution) is a positive force for good, in that it protects its citizens and allows them to “follow their star” under the rule of law. According to what might be called “The Goldilocks Rule,” too little government (anarchy) results in chaos—while too much government smothers freedom, stifles initiative, and ultimately fosters rebellion and chaos. It is a question of balance. Given human nature’s propensity for greed, corruption and other mischief, the Founders felt that the best answer to the question of how America should be governed was to limit the power and size of central government by law (the Constitution). The US Constitution is paid lip service and little else these days, with the result that the federal government has been free to run amok].
To say we are facing a MAD situation as regards our divided nation is not hyperbole. The tense standoff we are currently experiencing brings to my mind the so called “Phony War” of 1939-1940(dubbed the “sitzkrieg” by the British press)—where various European nations, after declaring war on each other, spent the next half-year preparing for hostilities and engaging in futile peace negotiations.
Make no mistake, if the current “Phony War” should end and the gloves come off, the results will be catastrophic. There are patriots among us who believe in Churchill’s admonition that “You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves.” Such people will wage a ceaseless and costly guerilla war against a government that they see as opposing everything that their country once stood for: liberty, opportunity, free enterprise, and God.
Is there a way out of our present MAD predicament? I would say that there is, and I will spend the rest of this article discussing it. The way out of this situation is not through some sort of homogenized group-think overseen and enforced by the federal government. Rather, it entails the application of individual responsibility. It is, in a very real sense, up to us as individuals to extricate ourselves from this mess.
Dr. David R. Hawkins
The focus of this article is on the teachings of Dr. David R. Hawkins, who died (made his transition, if you prefer) earlier this year. Let me say up front that I present this overview of his teachings because I have personally found them to be very helpful in my own life—they may not “ring your bell,” nor am I saying that they should. Of course I hope that most of my readers find his teachings of interest, but if not, then not.
To start with, perhaps a short biography of Dr. Hawkins is in order. The following (edited and truncated) bio comes from the website “Veritas Publishing,” which is devoted to disseminating the teachings of Dr. Hawkins:
Sir David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. [was] a nationally renowned psychiatrist, physician, researcher, spiritual teacher and lecturer…. Founding Director of the Institute for Spiritual Research, Inc. (1983) and Founder of the Path of Devotional Nonduality (2003), Dr. Hawkins has lectured widely at such places as Westminster Abbey; Oxford Forum; Universities of Notre Dame, Michigan, Argentina, Fordham and Harvard; University of California (SF) Medical School; Institute of Noetic Sciences; and Agape Spiritual Center (Los Angeles). In addition, he has been an advisor to Catholic, Protestant, and Buddhist monasteries….. Dr. Hawkins entered the field of medicine to alleviate human pain and distress, and his work as a physician was pioneering. As Medical Director of the North Nassau Mental Health Center (1956—1980) and Director of Research at Brunswick Hospital (1968—1979) on Long Island, his clinic was the largest practice in the United States, including a suite of twenty—five offices, two thousand outpatients, and several research laboratories. In 1973, he co—authored the ground—breaking work, Orthomolecular Psychiatry with Nobel Laureate chemist Linus Pauling, initiating a new field within psychiatry…. His clinical breakthroughs brought appearances on The Today Show, The Barbara Walters Show and The Mcneil/Leher News Hour. In the 1970s, he co—founded several psychiatric organizations, including the Editorial Board of the Journal of Schizophrenia and the Attitudinal Healing Center in New York…. Many awards followed, such as The Huxley Award for the “Inestimable Contribution to the Alleviation of Human Suffering,” Physicians Recognition Award by the American Medical Association, 50—Year Distinguished Life Fellow by the American Psychiatric Association, the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame, and a nomination for the prestigious Templeton Prize that honors progress in Science and Religion. In 1995, in a ceremony officiated by the H.H. Prince Valdemar of Schaumburg—Lippe at the San Anselmo Theological Seminary, he became a knight of the Sovereign Order of the Hospitaliers of St. John of Jerusalem (founded in 1077) in recognition of his contributions to humanity…. Dr. Hawkins’s honors are vast. His background is detailed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World, and his work has been acclaimed by many world leaders and Nobelists, including Mother Teresa. His life [was] completely devoted to the upliftment of mankind.
Before delving into his teachings, a couple of caveats are in order. First, as mentioned earlier, this article is an overview written with the intention of presenting the gist of Dr. Hawkins’s teachings to the reader who is unfamiliar with them. In no way should this article be considered any sort of “crash course” on his teachings. I am just a water carrier if you will; if you want the “real deal” then you will need to go to the well itself, via the various CDs, DVDs, and books that Dr. Hawkins left us. Secondly, similar to the first caveat, any errors that might be contained in this article are mine, and mine alone.
The Map of Consciousness (MOC)
Perhaps the most important element in Dr. Hawkins’ teachings is the Map of Consciousness (MOC). An excellent introduction to the MOC can be found in Dr. Hawkins’ watershed book “Power Vs. Force” (whose book jacket contains several complimentary blurbs by Dr. Wayne Dyer, automotive “mover and shaker” Lee Iacocca, Walmart founder Sam Walton, and Mother Teresa). An in depth discussion of the various levels of consciousness contained in the MOC can be found in Hawkins’ book “Transcending the Levels of Consciousness.”
Although the levels of consciousness as portrayed in the MOC are not ultimately arranged in a better/worse hierarchy (for esoteric reasons which we will not get into in this article), for our purposes looking at it as a hierarchy will be beneficial, and that is how I will present it. Therefore, in descending order, the levels of consciousness in the MOC are:
The level of Courage is of special importance, as I will explain in a moment.
Note that it occurs in the middle of the levels—with eight levels above it, and eight levels below. Dr. Hawkins writes, “The level of Courage is the critical point that marks the shift from negative to positive energy.” Courage and those levels above it represent states of consciousness that are giving, constructive, positive, and increasingly loving, awake, and aware. Those levels below Courage are negative, non-loving and of limited awareness. Courage separates the men from the boys, so to speak—and, of course, the women from the girls.
Before discussing Courage, a brief side trip to investigate the subject of love is in order. Few words in the English language are as abused, misused, and misunderstood as the word “love.” The capacity to love increases as the levels of consciousness go up, and decreases as they go down. In addition, the level of Love is an exceedingly attractive state of consciousness, so it behooves us to have some clarity regarding what the word “love” truly represents.
First, what it is not. In Dr. Hawkins’ words: “Love as depicted in the mass media is not what this level [Love] is about. What the world generally refers to as love is an intense emotional condition, combining physical attraction, possessiveness, control, addiction, eroticism, and novelty…an addictive sentimentality is likely what’s being spoken about, rather than Love….” Sounds like something you would not want to step in.
Society has burdened the word “love” with such a thick patina of misleading associations that it is no wonder that the word has such a hard time being taken seriously outside of the realm of romantic love. We should at least be aware that love is not an intensive of “like”—as in “Like, like a lot, love,” and that “making love” is in fact “making lust.” Not that I have anything against lust, but it most certainly, in and of itself, is not love.
The muddled conception of love currently holding sway in Western culture is not the love that Jesus was referring to when he said “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you….” (John 13:34)
So what is love? The ancient Greeks were on the right track when they named three different aspects of love, acknowledging the separation of mundane love (conditional), and divine love (unconditional). They named these differing aspects of love philia, or brotherly love (as in Philadelphia), eros (as in erotica) and agape.
Dr. Hawkins calls love a state of being, rather than an emotion or something of the mind. That is, love is something you are. Once you are love, why would you seek for it outside of yourself—the very idea becomes nonsensical. As you progress up the levels of consciousness you stop seeking and taking love, and start freely and effortlessly giving it away as naturally as the sun shines and rain falls.
Unconditional love, or agape, is currently an extreme rarity. Dr Hawkins calibrated that only .04% of the population experiences it—a drop in the bucket. He describes the higher stages of love as being “miraculous, inclusive, nonselective, transformative, unlimited, effortless, radiant, devotional, saintly, diffuse, merciful, and selfless…characterized by inner joy, faith, ecstasy, patience, compassion, persistence, essence, beauty, synchronicity, perfection, surrender, rapture, vision, and openness. [There is] profound peace beyond description…curiously powerful and totally unassailable.” Powerful stuff, wouldn’t you say? And there are still two more levels of consciousness above Love in the MOC. Makes you wonder what they must be like.
The level of Courage is the great dividing line between those levels of consciousness below it and those above it. It acts as the gateway to the higher levels of consciousness. In essence it separates the Takers from the Makers. Those below the level of Courage are takers—they take love, they take up society’s resources, they take up your time, they take advantage of you…they take, and take, and take. They are a drain on other individuals and society as a whole. People at and above the level of Courage give. They give love, they give of their time, they come up with new ideas and inventions, and they are positive assets to society.
The level of Courage gets its name from the fact that it is the first of the levels where the concept of individual responsibility appears, and to embrace that concept takes courage. The levels below Courage all play “the blame game” to one degree or another. In the lower levels it is always “their” fault. He, she, it, or they made them do it (whatever “it” is), or is the cause of their misfortune, or the reason behind their lack of success. People in the lower levels almost never “own” their failures; their finger is forever pointing beyond themselves—hence personal growth (on the rare occasion when it occurs) tends to be sporadic and anemic.
Albert Einstein once said “The most important question a person can ask is ‘Is the universe a friendly place?’” The answer depends on whether your state of consciousness is above or below Courage. Below Courage the universe can be a sad, fearful, violent, and hopeless hell hole, whereas at Courage and above, it becomes an ever-increasingly benign and friendly environment.
It is next to impossible to convince someone in the lower levels of consciousness that they are wrong to think and feel the way they do, because the levels of consciousness are self-validating. If you go around wearing a pair of c—p colored glasses then…Presto! You live in a s—tty world. Or a fear filled world, or a sad world, or a hopeless world, or a mean world, or a greedy world, or…well, whatever level of consciousness you call “home base” will color your perceptions. I speak from experience.
For much of my adult life the levels below Courage were my “hood.” My “home base,” or most visited level of consciousness was primarily Pride, but I often made forays into the levels of Desire and Anger—still do in fact. It is also worth noting that even back when I lived in the hood, I often made it to “the other side of the tracks,” and spent much time at the level of Reason.
Speaking from personal experience I would say that “travel” between the various levels of consciousness is not only possible, but common. On any given day I may visit the levels of Pride, Desire, and Anger numerous times. The big difference between now and the time before I reached the level of Courage is that I no longer buy into the “reality” of the lower levels. My “hood” is now Courage and the levels above, and my forays into the lower levels have progressively shortened in duration and lessened in intensity. My old stomping grounds have largely lost their glamour and allure.
Most of the time when I get upset these days, I immediately ask myself, “Why am I choosing to feel this way,” because anymore I know that it is a choice. Sometimes it takes me awhile to come to my senses, but eventually I always do—I am still very much a work in progress. Blaming “them” still has its attractions (it is such an easy out).
Jesus was addressing those below the level of Courage when he asked “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Jesus was not above being sarcastic at times). He was addressing those at the level of Pride when He compared the Pharisees (blind guides who strain out a gnat but swallow a camel) to cups that are nice and clean on the outside where everyone can see, but whose insides are full of “greed and evil.” The Map of Consciousness may not have been around during Christ’s day, but the levels of consciousness sure were.
Why This Article?
The reason that I have written this article is because I have a strong sense that playtime is over; that humanity needs to grow up, and we need to be quick about it. We are increasingly being ruled by pompous buffoons, greedy political hacks, power hungry jackals, ideological zealots, and idiot savant technocrats—and it is a recipe for disaster.
It is no secret that humanity’s technological expertise has far exceeded its moral/spiritual understanding, and unless something is done, and done soon, then it is inevitable that our ignorance, hubris, and anger will be our undoing. We constantly invent ever more clever gadgets and gizmos (and weapons), and yet human nature remains “stuck on stupid”—where it has been for millennia. It is a situation that cannot end well.
Our society idolizes Pride, and tamps down and represses massive amounts of Fear and Anger (which go together like Nazis and swastikas). In addition, our culture loudly and endlessly sells Desire—from Black Friday greed, to the ubiquitous promotion of sex. We have stopped evolving as a people and as a nation, and have been de-volving; slipping backward into the sludge of the lower levels of consciousness. I feel like I am locked in a room full of arrogant horny monkeys (with college degrees) playing with live hand grenades. (On the positive side, it gives me ample incentive to think of the hereafter and work on my spirituality).
As a freedom loving American patriot it sickens me to watch what has become of our country, and if inclined I could stoke up enough “justifiable anger” to light up a large town—but I do not see any sense in going that route yet again. I look at mankind’s bloody history of nearly constant warfare, and see only more of the “same old/same old” unless we radically change tactics, direction, and ourselves.
This talk about the levels of consciousness is no hocus-pocus voodoo nonsense. They are as real and pragmatic as concrete. When René Descartes came up with his famous observation in the 17th century—”Cogito ergo sum,” I think therefore I am—he did Western civilization no favor. We have been marooned in our heads ever since; in thrall to our thoughts and intellect. It is our awareness that allows us to be cognizant of having thoughts at all, and without awareness we may as well have no thoughts. The correct observation is not “I think therefore I am,” but “I am aware of my thoughts, therefore I am.”
A meaningless difference or splitting hairs you say? Au contraire, mon frere. By changing the focus of our foundational source of being from our thoughts to our awareness we have made a quantum leap from content to context. Think of thoughts as being like fish (content) in a Goldfish bowl, and the water in which they swim and live as awareness (context). When we identify with awareness, as opposed to thoughts, then we have changed our paradigm of reality substantially.
Awareness is a notoriously elusive thing to experience—it is often called “the silent witness,” and trying to know it has been compared to an eyeball trying to see itself. Nonetheless, it can be experienced directly (although it is beyond the ability of the intellect to grasp). But that is neither here nor there, as I have no interest in trying to coax anyone into experiencing awareness (as if I could!). My intention here is simply to point out that awareness is at the root of our being—and that is a fairly easy concept to grasp on the intellectual level. Again, how could we even know we were thinking unless we were aware of our thoughts?
Once we understand the importance of awareness, it is no great jump to acknowledging the importance of our state(s) of consciousness. (An imperfect but serviceable analogy for consciousness is, if awareness is like the water in a goldfish bowl, then consciousness is comparable to the state of that water—is it clean and life-enhancing, or muddied and poisoned?). (Note: awareness is in truth always and forever pure, unblemished, and stainless, but rather than go down a rather Byzantine verbal detour we’ll just stick with my analogy for now).
We are nearing the crux of the matter, and the reason for this article. By the way, congratulations if you have managed to hang in there to this point! Most people will not have made it this far, so give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back—or not, as you see fit.
There is one more important thing that I want to mention before closing. A considerable number of people (myself included) believe that every individual consciousness is at some deep unconscious level interconnected with every other consciousness. It was Dr. Carl Jung who coined the term collective unconscious, which is also known as the “race mind,” the mitote, and several other names.
The collective unconscious is the reason why the most important thing that we can do to help others, to help humanity, is to help ourselves—that is, elevate our personal state of consciousness. Dr. Hawkins echoed numerous sages and saints when he wrote “...our own inner evolution serves all of mankind. By reaching these higher states of lovingness and peace within ourselves, we become a saving presence in the world.”
Although I have not touched on the vast majority of Dr. Hawkins’s teachings, we are near the end of my article. Hopefully those of you who found my article of interest will take it upon yourselves to inquire further into the subject. It is my hope that in addition to taking action on the material plane, those of us who value freedom, honor, and integrity will utilize Dr. Hawkins’ teachings in order to raise not only our own consciousness, but the collective unconscious as a whole.
It is doubtful that many of those in the lower levels of consciousness will attempt to “pull themselves up by the bootstraps,” as they have too much invested in the “blame game.” So it will fall to “we the people” to raise their consciousness along with our own. It is not such a bad gig at all. As we discard such things as guilt, grief, and anger, in dribs and drabs; we automatically help the collective unconscious to rise along with us.
Most American patriots are conservatives, and conservatives, by and large, have at least reached the level of Courage, as they believe in and practice personal responsibility. Dr. Hawkins writes, “People on this level [Courage] are the backbone of the country. They are the people we turn to when it is necessary to do so for the common good. They are dependable and can be counted on because of their willingness to accept responsibility.”
We cannot solve our difficulties with the same consciousness that created them, and we cannot find the right answers if we are asking the wrong questions. At bottom the “culture war” that is threatening our country is a war between opposing states of consciousness—the giving, positive states, and the taking, negative states. Courage is the level that separates them.
It is a short distance from Pride to Courage, and if enough people can be encouraged to make the jump from Pride it would mean all that much more positive energy would be available to counterbalance the negativity of the lower levels. (Note: the main reason why Pride is in the lower levels—although, granted, at the top of the heap—is because Pride still depends on the opinion of others for its sense of self-worth. The person in Pride has yet to take personal responsibility for their sense of self-esteem).
The same thing applies to those who are already at Courage and any of the levels above it—if they make a concerted effort to raise their level of consciousness further (which generally entails nothing more than letting go of negative energies) then any elevation in their state of consciousness will translate into more positive energy being available to oppose the negative energies. It is possible, through intention, to rise as high as the level of Joy (after the level of Joy any further progress is a grace and is non-volitional).
What about on the material plane—do I believe in armed resistance? I will protect myself and my family with the weapons I have at hand—that is a given. As far as participating in armed insurrection goes—it would depend on the circumstances. For those in the highest levels of consciousness participating in armed conflict is an impossibility—it simply will not happen. But no doubt their extremely high positive energy output more than offsets a Mother Teresa’s lack of firepower. Seeing as I do not feel in imminent danger of slipping over into sainthood any time soon it is something of a moot point for me. I would say let your conscience be your guide in this matter—literally.
In closing let me reiterate that this article should not be considered in any way to be a crash course on Dr. Hawkins’s teachings. If you have found it to be of interest then please avail yourself of the wealth of material Dr. Hawkins left us. You might want to start with his last book, “Letting Go.” If Dr. Hawkins’s teachings interest you, and you are anything like me, then you have a thousand-and-one questions regarding what this article has covered (usually of the “But what about…” variety). Dr. Hawkins answers many of the most common questions in his books, CDs, and DVDs.
In reference to the higher states of consciousness Ludwig Wittgenstein once famously proclaimed “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” Thanks for nothing Ludwig. I thank God that we are fortunate enough to have had someone like Dr. Hawkins, who not only experienced those higher states, but shared his experiences with us in a way that is truly astounding. I have been studying the higher states of consciousness for decades, and I have never run across anyone else with Hawkins’s gift for translating the ineffable heights of human consciousness into language that is so accessible. We are truly blessed to have his teachings available.
Those on the left side of the political spectrum claim that they want to make earth into a utopia, but any attempt to create a utopia always has been, and always will be a fool’s errand doomed to failure unless the issue of humanity’s state of consciousness is first addressed and corrected. Until we change ourselves; transform ourselves from the inside out; then no amount of Draconian laws will turn earth into heaven. As Jesus told us, the kingdom of heaven is within us, and we look in vain when we search for it outside of ourselves. Will we ever learn?