Courage: The Bridge to Higher Awareness

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By John J. Murphy

As an author and business consultant specializing in leadership development, mindfulness, and transformational culture change for the past 34 years, I have done a considerable amount of research. Countless experts, teachers, scientists, and influential leaders have given me facts, data, insights, and information that have forever changed my life and the lives of my clients. One of the most intriguing examples of this was David Hawkins, MD, PhD.  Dr. Hawkins introduced me to The Map of Consciousness, a tool he developed that details 17 different stages of consciousness with their energy “calibration values.” Think of these different stages of consciousness like various radio stations, each with its own distinct frequency. Another example is music. Every song has a measurable “vibe” to it. Some people resonate with a particular song or sound because it aligns with their energy value. Others prefer to tune into something different because their “vibe” is different. We do the same thing with one another. 

17 Stages of Consciousness

Dr. Hawkins explained that everything in the universe has a measurable frequency. Books, art, animals, plants, organizational cultures, people, and feelings – all have an energetic vibration. Using applied kinesiology for scientific measurement, The Map of Consciousness details 17 human feelings and emotions and reveals calibration values on a logarithmic scale ranging from 1 to 1000. Being logarithmic, the difference between numbers like 20 and 21 on the scale is much more significant than it appears. The difference between 20 and 700 is massive.

As a brief overview, here are the 17 stages and their calibration values. Consider where you weigh in most of the time (habitually) as you examine the scale. You may find that you bounce around between 3-4 of the levels:

  • Shame – 1 to 20 – Feelings of low self-esteem, humiliation, paranoia
  • Guilt – 30 – Feelings of blame, remorse, and regret
  • Apathy – 50 – Feelings of hopelessness, despair, and dependency  
  • Grief – 75 – Feelings of sadness, negativity, and loss 
  • Fear – 100 – Feelings of anxiety, worry, and stress 
  • Desire – 125 - Feelings of attachment, ambition, money, and status
  • Anger – 150 – Feelings of frustration, resentment, and revenge
  • Pride – 175 – Feelings of honor, distinction, and separation
  • Courage – 200 – Feelings of inspiration, enthusiasm, and possibility
  • Neutrality – 250 – Feelings of safety, trust, security, and detachment
  • Willingness – 310 – Feelings of openness, adventure, and taking risk 
  • Acceptance – 350 – Feelings of total ownership and responsibility for one’s outcomes
  • Reason – 400 – Feelings of intellectual intelligence and brainpower 
  • Love – 500 – Feelings of pure, unconditional love (only 1 in 250 reach this level*) 
  • Joy – 540 – Feelings of deep inner serenity, compassion, and completeness
  • Peace – 600 – Feelings of pure bliss (only 1 in 10 million reach this level*)
  • Enlightenment – 700 to 1000 – This level is inexpressible

* Per David Hawkins’ research

To put this in perspective, Dr. Hawkins found that highly enlightened leaders including Mother Theresa, Buddha, Krisna, and Jesus all calibrated above 700 while the United States as a whole calibrated at 204 (before Dr. Hawkins’ death in 2012). Most of the world at that time measured below 200, the stage of integrity and courage. In other words, be careful who you trust. 

The Stage of Integrity

The purpose of this article is not to explain the stages of consciousness in detail. For more information on this, see David’s book Power vs. Force or this summary article by Rezzan Huseyin:The purpose of this article is to highlight the critical importance of courage, which Dr. Hawkins referred to as the stage of integrity, the point at which we begin to discern truth from falsehood and essence from ego. I like to think of courage as the “bridge” to awakening because it is at the level of courage that we transcend the very limited, dualistic, fear-based ego mindset and begin to experience our true essence and potential. With courage we “let go” of the emotions and feelings weighing us down and we feel lighter, happier, and more connected with the people and the world around us. We begin to see the world in perfect harmony and balance – the same world that appears to be in chaos to anyone under Level 200. We begin to see the extraordinary beauty in diversity and the deeper meaning in pain and suffering. A shift in consciousness and perception is taking place and we now start seeing people who used to annoy us with more empathy and compassion. We see Oneness instead of separateness and solutions rather than problems.  

Let’s face it. The lower stages of consciousness are painful. Living with shame and guilt, apathy and grief is miserable. Everything appears hopeless and dark. This is a world of criticism and judgement, attack and defense. People at these levels need help finding the courage and the tools to let go of the thoughts that foster these depressing emotions and feelings. The same is true for people living in fear (of injury, illness, aging, or loss - of a loved one, a job, a home or anything of value). Fear is essentially a barrier to true unconditional love, joy, peace, and enlightenment. One cannot experience these blissful energy frequencies while holding onto a fear vibration. We must “let go to let flow,” and it takes courage to do this. 

The energy values of desire, anger, and pride calibrate above fear but still prevent us from the pure joy and peace of mind we are entitled to. Desire leads to attachment, dependency, and various forms of addiction. It also reinforces fear because we tend to worry about losing anything we are attached to. Anger is a form of hate and pride is divisive and dualistic – us/them, win/lose, right/wrong. To transcend these common human mindsets, we need courage to “delete” the disempowering thoughts and limiting beliefs that give birth to them. We do this by first becoming aware of these feelings and the thinking that triggers them. This is basically an exercise in cause and effect analysis. What are we attached to and what thinking has led us to these attachments? What thoughts tempt us to react with anger? What beliefs do we hold that cultivate pride? Keep in mind, it is never the external factor – a person or situation – that causes our desire, anger, and pride. It is our perceptions and thoughts that trigger our response. Therefore, we can practice mindfulness to identify any limiting assumptions and beliefs and then delete them. True empowerment is not about adding more responsibility and authority. It is about eliminating the forces against us – most of which are internal in the mind. 

Dare to Let Go:

When I first learned of The Map of Consciousness and its practical uses, I immediately began applying it to my life – both personally and professionally. I identified times in my life when I felt ashamed, guilty, or apathetic. I then used meditation and “release” techniques to delete the thoughts giving rise to these feelings. I did the same thing with grief, fear, desire, anger, and pride. Where and why was I holding grievances or complaints? Where, when, and why was I afraid? What assumptions was I making? What negativity was I projecting onto the future and the world around me? What desires, images, and attachments were I clinging to, potentially leading to dependency, addiction, and greed? What thoughts and perceptions were upsetting me? How was pride and stubbornness holding me back? Essentially, how was I getting in my own way? How was I allowing my ego – my false self – to mislead me?

This self-awareness exercise revealed many self-imposed constraints that I needed to eliminate. I had to “let go to let flow.” This is why courage is so important. It takes courage to surrender, to let go of an identity holding us back. It takes courage to admit we were wrong and forgive ourselves. It takes courage to forgive others who we (the ego) think have harmed us. Maybe they blessed us (in disguise). Maybe they gave us exactly what we needed at the time to “wake up” and become more aware. When we summon the courage to forgive and forget we free ourselves. We lighten our load. We begin to see the world in new light - the light of higher awareness.    

                “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – e.e. cummings 

John J. Murphy is an award-winning author and the Founder and CEO of Venture Management Consultants, Inc., a firm specializing in transformational culture change, mindful leadership, Operational Excellence, and high-performance teamwork. Visit his website for more information. 


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