Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Spiral Dynamics - Levels of Consciousness

Many people feel alone on their spiritual journey. Lost in society. Personally, I have always known that I was different. Sharing different perspectives is what allows us to learn and evolve as long as we are open-minded. For a great deal of my life, I struggled to find others that shared my perspectives and when I couldn't relate to most people, I became discouraged, depressed and angry. Never fully comfortable with the way things were, I knew there was more to life and therefore could never settle and was constantly changing jobs, locations, friends and outlooks. I felt as though there may have been something wrong with my brain for being so different.

Sure enough, a few years ago after a few days of feeling depressed and angry, I went to a physician and was diagnosed with "bipolar disorder". This was deemed as a chemical imbalance and the condition was never described to me at all, but the doctor was quick to sell me anti-depressants that would apparently make things all better. After skeptically taking them for a few weeks, I did feel a change. It was as if negative thoughts were completely blocked from my mind, but I noticed that my creative thoughts were starting to become blocked as well. This scared me enough that I stopped taking the meds and figured I was better off naturally depressed then to take chemical drugs and be unnaturally happy. It was a discouraging thought to think I was chemically imbalanced which actually wasn't the case at all.

After doing some research on Bipolar disorder, all of the information told me that it was a chemical imbalance that caused Manic (extreme happy) and Depressive (extreme sadness/anger) states and could not be cured. If there's no cure then why the hell would they have given me drugs for it? I've always got the feeling that doctors don't actually care about their patients as much as they care about their paychecks... meaning that they in a sense get comission from the major drug companies off of the perscriptions they write. When it comes to so-called "mental disorders" there actually isn't many helpful resources that western society provides for such people. It's either take meds and turn into virtual zombies that are incapable of thinking for themselves, or risk ending up in jail or a mental institution for being different and expressing yourself as you want to. Both paths seemed wrong to me and I started to question my own mental health as a result of it. Even up until last year where I had a "spiritual awakening" I thought that my "bipolar disorder" was something that would get in the way of my own spiritual growth, but it may actually be the cause of it in the first place.

Recently, I've come across a concept called Spiral Dynamics which classifies people into categories of consciousness which can be changed with a spiritual awakening or simply by changing the way one percieves the world. There are said to be (at this point in time) seven levels of consciousness that people on this planet are at. I will identify each level and describe them in my own words:

1. ARCHAIC: A very basic level of consciousness where the individual is solely focussed on survival by instincts. People on this level such as infants or cavemen, have a limited mind capacity and are operating on basic animal impulses to eat and reproduce.

2. TRIBAL: The second lowest form of consciousness can be seen in ancient tribal cultures (and some that still exist today). These individuals see the world as magic that is controlled by the Gods which could be good or evil. They perform sacrifices to please their "gods" and generally can't come to understand anything that is unfamiliar to them. Not many of these people exist in our day-to-day culture.

3. FEUDAL: There are feudal types of people that exist today in every society. Usually the less-educated or troubled people that are constantly demanding respect through violence and confrontation. The type of person to end up in jail over and over again and never seems to learn any lessons. These individuals often have no self respect and will abuse drugs and alcohol and will clearly show that they are convinced that their way of doing things is best. Like every level though, there is the chance for improvement and even a spiritual awakening, but people stuck at this level are usually less likely to make any progress in developing their own consciousness.

4. TRADITIONAL: I look at this as the "old-fashioned" ways of life. Deeply RELIGIOUS (not spiritual) people fall into this category. People that dedicate their lives to pleasing God, Jesus, or whatever religious icon they prefer. This way of thinking is not necessarily a bad one, as religion teaches positive morals and pleasant ways to enjoy life, but these people are in a mindset of worshiping "god" instead of trying to become "god-like". These are not bad people by any means, but are simply not thinking for themselves as much as they could be, as they chose to live by someone else's rules and not their own. This is a comfortable way of life for many people so it's hard for them to think that everything they've been doing and believing in their entire lives wasn't the best possible way to live. Some may even realize this and think that it's too late to change. Much like the others, these people are usually convinced that their way of thinking is the best and that people on other levels of consciousness are simply wrong in their opinions.

5. MODERN: These are usually people who may have had a traditional upbringing but have questioned religion and realized through science that it probably wasn't the right path for them. People in this category are usually under the impression that money is the true measure of success and are often very materialistic. They will put little to no thought into any spiritual concepts unless they are somehow awakenened into a more advanced way of thinking. These types are usually very concerned with other people's opinions of them and are often quite superficial and skeptical.

6. POST-MODERN: These are people who have transcended the materialistic world that is driven by money and see a deeper meaning to life. These people are genuinely compassionate and care about larger-scope issues like the environment and spirituality. Generally intuitive and very open-minded, the post-modern thinker will be someone who sees other people's perspectives and usually can tell when someone is sincere. These are the people that will more likely "listen to their heart" instead of giving into what their peers are pressuring them to do, but still struggle socially as they see the flaws in the lower levels of consciousness and are constantly debating with them. (A good example is a peaceful bunch of "post-modern" thinkers rallying outside a government building full of "modern" thinkers in protest of their rules and morals). Although people in this higher realm of consciousness are certainly on the right track, many of them think that their way of thinking is the best, which causes conflict, isolation and also keeps them from evolving in their ways of thinking any further.

7. To understand level seven which is described as the "power of now" way of thinking, and to better understand the levels of consciousness that I've just described, please watch the following series of videos. They also discuss how mental "disorders" correspond with the different levels of consciousness and how those at higher levels of consciousness that experience "spiritual awakenings" are misinterprited by the Traditional and Modern (majority of) society as being "crazy" or chemically imbalanced. The symptoms of a spiritual awakening in the eyes of modern science are no more than symptoms of a mental disorder caused by that persons chemical imbalance. Pardon my language, but I think this is complete BULLSHIT.

Please watch the following videos as they helped me change my perspective and allowed me to track my progression of consciousness over my lifetime through understanding Spiral Dynamics.

Those who go crazy now and learn to live, will go on to help the others when they go crazy in 2012. I hope this post has been informitive and you find yourself stuck in one of these levels of consciousness, regardless of age or beliefs, it's never too late to change. You may have to forget everything you know about yourself and the way you see the world, but evolution is never a bad thing in the long-run.