The last few days have been mind-boggling. I am witnessing a paradigm shift happening right inside me. I am amazed at my transformation and the speed with which it is happening.
Many years ago, roughly twenty-plus, I had this tiny desire to write. It was no big deal. I wanted to express myself better, record my story for my children, write some short stories, and maybe a novel someday.
But there was only one problem. English was my second language, and I was terrible at it. But the more I sucked at it; the more my desire grew to get better at it.
I joined a life story writing course and wrote stories of my growing up in India. They were pathetic. We were supposed to read them to the group, and it used to terrify me. I spent hours making my stories coherent. Still, when I read them, they were fragmented, muddled, and plain old boring.
Anyone in their right mind would have given up and picked some other hobby.
But I couldn’t
My desire to write wouldn’t go away.
So I continued. For twenty years, I agonized over my lack of skill to be able to write well. I wanted nothing more than to be fluent and original.
Persistent paid. I got better at expressing my ideas. But writing still demanded a lot of “effort.”
I got swayed by the other writers. I read all the advice there is on how to succeed as a writer. The list was very long. I myself have written many such lists.
Fast forward to Friday last week.
I was lying in the bathtub listening to random YouTube videos when a guy appeared on a video and started talking about how we operate from different levels of consciousness.
I am not new to mind-body-soul learning. But this one made me think about writing in a completely different way.
There are four distinct and unique levels of consciousness from which we operate from. These levels determine how our consciousness and our self-awareness relate between us and the world around us.
I will come to my thought process a bit later, but let me tell you what I learned about four levels of consciousness.
Four levels of consciousness.
In 1968, Alan Watts, a British writer, speaker, and Zen master, appeared on CBS with a group of students to teach a unique zen philosophy.
He asked the students three questions:
- Who am I?
- What do I desire?
- What do I know?
The three questions sound simple enough, but they go very deep.
According to Alan, if you ponder these questions long enough, they will unlock many new meanings in your life.
Your answers to these questions depend on what state of consciousness you are in.
Vishan Lakhiani, a writer and CEO of Mindvalley, explains in his book “Code of Evolution” four levels of consciousness.
At each level of consciousness, you react and shape the world in different ways. — Vishan Lakniani
Level 1 — Culturescape
Culturescape is the tangled web of rituals and beliefs, and ideas that come from the culture. Whether we live in a tribe in a developing part of the world or in modern tribes such as a corporation, all of us are part of Culturescape.
We believe in what our parents, teachers, priests, politicians, media, advertisements, authors, books, and thought leaders tell us. But we don’t see it just like fish swimming in water.
The rules by which each tribe lives do not apply to everybody, but they apply to that tribe. The problem with Culturescape is that it feels real. We become a victim of it.
At this level world happens to us. We suffer breakups, business failure, being hospitalized, book launch failure, newsletter failure, not-being-able-to-build-a-subscriber-base failure. You get the point.
A vast majority of people exist at level 1.
At this point, we give this kind of answers to Alan’s questions:
Who am I? — I am a writer. I am a three-book author. I am a bestselling author.
What do I desire? — I want to get better at writing. I want to make a living from writing. I want to write a book. I want my book to be a megaseller. I want to earn big royalties.
What do I know? — I know I am a kind person. I know God is on my side. I know if I put in 10,000 hours, I will get better at writing.
But at a certain point, people start waking up. That is when they go to level 2.
Level 2 — Awakening
At this level, people start going back to the childhood nature of questioning. They question their parent’s expectations; they question religion, they question the social- norms, and they realize they can choose their own experiences in life.
Life doesn’t happen to them, but it starts happening from them. It emerges from them. This is when they start creating their own rules.
They don’t follow society’s so-called normal professions and start following their passion. They do that because it is fulfilling. They might become a coach, or set up a business. They still identify themselves by what they do but their desires are in line with their inner being.
At this level, they really start embracing personal growth.
When they do that enough, they go to level 3 — Recoding Yourself.
Level 3 — Recoding Yourself
This is when you realize the world is not just outside you; the world is inside you as well. And you start paying attention to your inner world. You start listening to that tiny little voice inside you.
When you start going within yourself, you start recognizing that you are more than just a physical body.
At this level, the big shift happens at question #1. The answer to that question becomes:
I am a soul having a human experience.
Level 4 — Becoming Extraordinary
As soon as you start going within, it opens you to level 4. And level 4 is when you start becoming extraordinary. An important shift happens that really transforms how you live your life. It puts you in 1–5% of human beings who are truly fulfilled and happy.
You realize you are so much beyond your body. “You” extend to all other human beings and all the life on the planet. “You” become a part of a great “whole.”
The more you expand your circle of compassion to other people, the greater the opportunity the universe gives you.
At level 1 our society teaches us to have goals and the goals are given to us by Culturescape. At level 2, the goals come from our soul. But when we get to level 4, the goals come from a completely different place.
According to Vishan Lakhiani, they come from Inspiration.
Call it Inspiration or God, or Universe, or Supreme Being, or Higher Power, but when we become a part of the “whole,” Inspiration leads to intention.
Inspiration leads to intention.
We might think we came up with the brilliant idea for that book or that song or that business, but we are simply a conduit.
When we say we got inspired, what we really mean is Inspiration whispered in our ear.
When someone gets an idea in a dream (John Lennon) or in the bathtub (Archimedes) it was Inspiraton whispering. And when Inspiraton has your attention, and you are receptive, it clears the roadblocks and starts moving you towards it. I gives you the intention.
That is how inspiration leads you to intention.
But you got to be listening. Your antenna needs to be attuned to hear the whispers. Whispers can come in any form. As an idea in the shower, or a nudge in a seminar, or as a YouTube video. You never know.
You got to be ready.
As soon as you show that you will take the nudge and act on it and you have the confidence to make it happen, luck starts being on your side.
The Inspiration doesn’t just whisper to you. It clears the way for you.
Your job is to listen.
And if you chose to ignore it, the Inspiraton goes to someone else.
I like this idea.
To me “Four Levels of Consciousness” is like a roadmap for growth.
I like that at fourth level of consciousness your goals, your purpose is assigned to you by a higher power.
At level 2 we keep looking for a purpose for life, a way to make contribution to this universe and most of the time we have no clue what that purpose is. So we pick one thing, something we like and enjoy and declare that this is the purpose of our life.
And when we don’t achieve success in our endeavor, success as defined by the society or culture, we give up.
In my case it was writing. I picked it up and made it my vocation. I have pursued it for a number of years without getting much success as in terms of making money, having a big subscriber base, building a business on it.
But the truth is I don’t need any of that. I write because I see it as a means of personal growth.
I can’t give it up. It is the reason I get up each morning, energized and ready to work. My drive to write is so strong that even if I want to give it up, I can’t.
So there is a possiblilty that universe might have a purpose behind it. Or maybe it has something completely different and I haven’t even got a clue.
How can I find out.
Listen, I suppose. Wait and listen.
How to listen? I will write about it in my next article.
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I would like to hear your views, please take a moment to let me know what you think about levels of consciousness and your interpretation of it.
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