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Quantifying Consciousness Using the Map of Consciousness (3 of 7)
An Overview and Interpretation of David Hawkins' Map of Consciousness
This post is part 3 of a 7 part series on my personal experience working with applied kinesiology (muscle testing) and David Hawkins Map of Consciousness.
These posts are not my prescriptions on how you should live your life or make decisions. I share these thoughts and experiences not to gloat or cast judgment, but rather to feel the joy of creatively expressing myself and to potentially help others on a similar journey.
Can you measure your level of consciousness?
This question always fascinated me.
Before encountering this scale, the only methods of measuring one’s consciousness and level of spiritual growth I knew of were:
Monitoring your personal response to life
Verification from a highly evolved teacher or enlightened being
Calibrating your experiences with the ones described in ancient texts
What you identify as moment to moment (later stages of spiritual growth)
Apparently there are also some machines that measure aura’s or energies, but I’m not sure this is quite the same as consciousness.
I still think these can all be valuable methods, but they aren’t exactly easy and leave lots of ambiguity. For most people, the entire experience of trying to feel good all the time and grow spiritually is a winding and at times disorienting path.
If we could treat consciousness and well-being like fitness, then people would have some barometer for how they’re doing and what they can do to improve.
David Hawkins Map of Consciousness was the first thing I’d seen that attempted to provide a concrete map of the different stages of evolution. The notion that you’d be able to measure your personal vibration and accordant level of where you are on the scale of enlightenment is very compelling. I could think of countless ways to apply this information.
I will do my best to interpret his ideas through the context of my own study and application.
**I originally posted the scale here, but David’s wife did not like me doing that and spreading his work as you will see in the comments of this post. You can find it by buying one of his books I guess or go to his website**
Principles Behind the Map
Fundamental to the map of consciousness is the idea that all things are energy. You, as consciousness with a human body, are energy. The computer or phone you are on is energy. Substack as a company is energy. The emotion of intrigue you might be feeling right now is energy. Everything is energy!!!
Each of these energies have a signature or frequency associated with it. The frequency refers to the shape and relative power of whatever you are measuring.
You may have seen things on youtube like “love frequency 528 hz” or heard people say, “this person has good vibes”. What these are really referring to is the measure of energy characterized by vibrational frequency.
The most common thing we associate frequency with is sound waves and electricity which again are just expressions of energy, like everything else. Rarely do we discuss the energetic calibrations of certain emotions, ideas, or inanimate objects.
I have researched energy measurement intensely and this limited scope of what is commonly measured, is more a function of current technologies' ability to measure things versus the reality of energy existing in everything. Physicists acknowledge this and I trust this will change.
Interpreting the Map of Consciousness
What David created was a relative, logarithmic scale that was able to chart the energy of different predominant states that he believed corresponded with someone’s level of consciousness.
The numbers on the scale 1-1000 are arbitrary like any initial scale creation. Their utility is to provide the energetic context of one state relative to another. This is how any scale works. The celsius temperature scale of 0 degrees corresponding with freezing and 100 with boiling is only because someone decided that is how those numbers should be interpreted in relation to each other. The same principle applies here.
This is an important point because I don’t think we should misconstrue energetic log calibrations as a direct 1:1 readoffs of energetic wave properties. They should only be evaluated in the context of this scale. Interestingly enough though, there are some thresholds where his ranges match that of commonly associated frequencies i.e. (Love c. 500-540).
I provided a summary in his words of the background of the scale creation in the last post.
When he began using the scale in his own practice, he recognized that there were actually consistent predominant attitudes, thoughts, feelings, situations, and relationships in the human experience associated with different scale calibrations. Consistent paradigms of how we feel (emotions), view the world (life view), view God, and what the process that consciousness undergoes feels like also emerged.
Thus, someone’s energetic calibration was indicative of that person's paradigm of existence or the context for experiencing everything. It is this context that creates meaning, rather than the content itself. It’s why two people can experience the same thing and interpret it completely differently. Therefore understanding one’s consciousness calibration could help understand the broad paradigm of any person or thing.
For example, someone who calibrates at level 100 lives predominantly in fear. They are generally anxious and find engaging with the outside world to be frightening. God seems like an entity that intends to punish them and the behavioral response to most situations is to withdraw from the world. This very much corresponds with victimhood or life happening “to you.”
As you move from the low energies to higher ones, you can see the predominant emotions generally take on more enjoyable characteristics and your views on everything evolve.
The only variable as you ascend the scale is the degree to which you embody love. And as love is able to more fully express itself at the higher energetic calibrations, all views shift in harmony.
Important things to understand about the scale are that the descriptions characterize your predominant state. What this means is that maybe you calibrate at the level of will (c. 310), but then something really scary can happen that makes you feel anxious and scared (c. 200). This doesn’t mean that you’re now calibrating at 200, but just experiencing temporary emotions typically associated with lower energetic expressions.
It is easy to look at this scale and say wow, c. 500 (love) is better then c. 200 (courage). I know when I first read David’s book years ago that was certainly my worldview!
I now realize that this is a misinterpretation grounded in the concept of polarity. Instead of looking at these states as better or worse, a more appropriate way is to simply view them as different gradients of the expression of consciousness. Is blue fundamentally better than purple? No. They’re just different colors with their own unique properties. You may have a preference, but in reality they just are what they are. This is the best way to interpret the scale.
A powerful metaphor for the scale is water. As the temperature changes, the texture and quality of water evolves. Below 32* it’s ice (solid). It then melts into liquid. And then above a certain point it begins to boil and eventually turns to steam (gas). How water feels and what it's capable in each state varies. Moreover, each state serves an important purpose in this world. But at the end of the day, it's still just water!
So a very enlightened being at c. 650 is not better than someone at c. 200. They are just living in a different paradigm which expresses itself accordingly. This is a really important concept to grasp if you choose to explore the scale. We are all at our own unique phase of evolution which is in perfect harmony with nature. Realizing this breeds compassion for both yourself and others.
As you might imagine, it is possible to move up the scale. In fact, that is consciousness’s natural desire to do this so that one day it can understand itself. It is also possible to move down the scale. In both cases, the ability to go up or down the scale is associated with repeated choices that align with the higher or lower energetic states.
If you increasingly respond to life in a more loving way, you will harmonize with the energy of love (c. 500). If you are at a very high state and then decide to say screw it and view the entire world in service of your ego, you’ll probably descend to the more survivalist states over time (> c. 200). There are countless examples of people in society on both ends of the spectrum.
One thing to remember is that the scale is merely an attempt to contextualize where you might be on your spiritual and evolutionary journey (your paradigm). More important than some number, is how you feel and your response to life. In other words, don’t get too caught up in the numbers in the context of evaluating yourself or others.
Notable Scale Expressions
David does a fantastic job describing in detail each phase and the associated characteristics in greater depth in his books Power vs. Force, The Maps of Consciousness, Truth vs. Falsehood and Letting Go. You can use these descriptions in order to attempt to understand where you might fall on the map and verify a calibration with the reality of your experience.
For convenience, I wanted to outline a few key thresholds.
Level 200 (Courage) - Anything that calibrates below c. 200, is associated primarily with primitive, survivalist states. This means the number one goal is related to survival which can be extended to modern day manifestations like obsession with personal gain, rather than a commitment to truth. This is why David considers c. 200 the level of integrity and suggests avoiding things below c. 200.
One example of how I use this is calibrating books prior to reading them. If something calibrates below 200 (the level of truth), I don’t read it.
Moving above level 200 is considered an important evolution in someone’s paradigm and service to the world.
Level 500 (Love) - Level 500 is where things move from the linear newtonian paradigm (form) to the non-linear domain (spirituality). This is the realm of the spiritual! It is characterized by a massive internal paradigm shift reflected by different emotions, thoughts, physical capacities and world views.
Reason alone and our current model of science do not understand the expression of consciousness beyond this level. For example, how does science measure or explain something like intent? Or someone being inherently compassionate? Or the emergence of intuition?
We don’t possess instruments do measure such things so naturally science avoids, rejects, or downplays them because they occur in a different domain. The lack of empirical evidence, beyond the experiential, really jams a lot of people up from ever experiencing the higher states. They become mired in the ability to prove something ineffable so they don’t experience it.
Around level 500 is also indicative of the opening of the heart and where the predominant state of love emerges. Many interesting things begin to happen at this level of evolution which I will describe later in this series. Barring a fall from grace, a permanent opening of the heart characterized by unconditional love for all things emerges at 540. Siddhis (special abilities) also generally emerge as you move up in the 500’s.
Because this is a paradigm shift that can only be experienced vs. observed outside yourself, people that have not reached this stage of evolution will not have the experiential context to understand it. Trying to explain it can feel like you are speaking Mandarin to someone who only knows Spanish. And even if they follow conceptually, the intellectual knowledge of what chocolate tastes like is different than tasting chocolate.
No matter where you are, it is important to understand this vs. attempt to proselytize others who don’t have the same context.
Level 600+ (Peace) - Energy in the high 500s and upwards of 600 are the states commonly associated with mystics and great spiritual leaders. These people often fall away from society because the inward experience becomes so enrapturing that they are no longer interested in what the 3-dimensional plane has to offer. Though level 700 is called enlightenment on the scale, it is actually level 600 that corresponds with the permanent illumination that we typically classify as enlightenment.
Level 700 (Enlightenment) - Permanent god-realization and oneness. Unshakable understanding of the truth about who you are. In identifying as consciousness itself, you identify as all things or non-duality.
How to Measure Using the Scale
The way to obtain calibrations on the scale is through muscle testing.
I went into detail in the last post on muscle testing, but as a reminder these criteria must be true:
The tester and subject must calibrate over 200 (level of integrity)
A commitment to truth vs. any personal agenda during any testing
A commitment to the highest good vs. personal gain
They must be open to it being true vs. overtly skeptic
One must ask permission to ask about what subject you are holding in mind to test.
This advice is somewhat paradoxical because you don’t know if you calibrate over 200 to start so any initial self test might be flawed. This is why David advises it's probably best to not start off by testing yourself.
To be perfectly honest, when it came time for me to apply these ideas, I calibrated myself to understand if I could rely on my testing. Why? When I read David’s descriptions and emergent phenomena at the higher energy levels, they mirrored my experience. At this point, I had also received verification of my level of evolution from my spiritual teachers. Both factors made me quite comfortable that I’d be over level 200 which makes testing viable.
Assuming all these conditions are met, you start off with whatever muscle testing position you have chosen and ask consciousness for permission to obtain a calibration. You can use the following phrase:
“I have permission to ask about the consciousness of X”
If your body responds strongly, you can test. Occasionally it goes weak which means for whatever reason you’re not supposed to inquire about that information. This has happened to me a handful of times and when I honestly look at my intent behind the question, I can see that it was impure. I have decided to just always trust this guidance.
After you have permission, you can then use the following phrase.
“On a scale of human consciousness with level 600 being enlightenment, [INSERT object] calibrates above [Number]”
If your muscle stays strong, then the calibration is greater. If the muscle goes weak, the calibration is lower.
From here, you provide follow-on guesses to narrow in on the calibration. You don’t need to state the full statement, but rather just the narrowing phrase (above or below) with the number.
“Above 300 (strong). Above 400 (strong). Above 500 (goes weak). Above 450 (strong). Above 475 (weak). Above 460 (strong). Above 465 (Weak) Above 463 (Strong). Above 464 (Strong).
The calibration in this example would be approximately c. 465.
I generally view these calibrations as approximations and often don’t go into the detail of an exact number vs. rounded by 5 or 10. (i.e. 461 vs. 460-465). This is mainly because my intent with these measures is to understand at a high level, what is the degree of integrity of this teaching, book, idea etc. Or in the case of a person, what is the general paradigm they are operating from. Whether it's a 461 or a 465 doesn’t make a material difference to me. And again, 465 should not even be viewed as better than 461! It’s merely a different expression slightly closer to love on a continuum.
One thing to note is that the difference of one point on the scale might seem pretty trivial, but in actuality the changes in expression can be quite large because the scale is logarithmic (^10 power). So an increase from 461 to 462 actually represents a numeric change 10 fold greater in energetic power which can be quite significant in how it expresses itself.
Coming Up Next
I’ve been given feedback that sometimes these posts can be a bit long! Therefore, I wanted to break up this next part which will further discuss the implications of the scale and how one can think about ascending it.
Even if you don’t use it, I believe the conceptual model for how one views its place in reality can be enhanced by some of the proposed ideas.
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This post is part 7 part series on my personal experience working with applied kinesiology (muscle testing) and David Hawkins Map of Consciousness.