When Tom Eddington and I first published our “Four States of Consciousness” article, we mentioned that people would transition from state-to-state, often visiting each state several times a day. These states don’t offer any guarantee of permanent citizenship. As a reminder, here’s the model:
The focus of this writing is the “give-ups” that one must be willing to let go of in order to shift from one state to the next. You could say that these give-ups are the cost of admission or toll to higher states of consciousness.
The lowest state (bottom in our diagram above) is that of the victim, where life happens to you and you don’t think you have any power. To shift from this level to Level #2 where you think you have total control of your life you must give up blame, a frequent complaint of the victim who makes everything he doesn’t want in his life to be someone else’s fault.
Even though you have now given up blame and have graduated to Level #2, you still reside “below the line”* where the bottom two states are fear-motivated and ego-driven. Whether you think you have no control whatsoever or total control both states are different sides of the same coin.
In the lower state, the ego says you have no power, that everybody has more power than you do. In Level #2 your ego tells you that you have total control, total power. Both states are ego-driven and mistrust prevails in both.
To graduate to Level #3 and rise “above the line,” you must give up control, commonly referred to as “turning life over to a power greater than yourself.” In this state, you experience life as happening through you, feeling a partnership with a higher power, an alignment with Divine order. This is a common experience for people who feel called to serve humankind, to do good in the world, and make a difference doing meaningful work.
In Level #3, life can be really good. So there might be less motivation to ascend much farther. But if one feels drawn to take another leap and enter Level #4, a place of life happening as you, or that nondual realm, one must give up separateness and accept there is no separate self, no separate “I.”
In this state of oneness it is difficult to see these give-ups as loses of any kind, of giving anything up; one sees them as blessings that brought one to this state of consciousness, knowingness, and beingness. As some describe it, “being one with everything.”
Nondual sages have called this state or realm as the place of infinite awareness, oneness, unity consciousness, ineffable being, or objectless experience. Hindus call this space “Advaita” which means “not two” in ancient Sanskrit.
These give-ups allow one to ascend from the lowest state to the highest, like climbing a ladder. But one can quite easily descend from the upper states to the lower ones. It really is quite easy! Just start believing you are separate again and drop a level. Start thinking you are in control and you’ll find yourself down another state. And it you are foolish enough to want to start blaming someone again, you’ll find yourself back in the victim state. Typically, the ascent takes more effort than the descent, which happens largely by forgetting what one learned on the way up.
*the phrases “below the line” and “above the line” were coined by the partners in the Conscious Leadership Group, authors of The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success.