Why Personal Development Doesn’t Make Sense (4 Levels of Consciousness)
You know the feeling. When you read another personal development book, and it contradicts what the last one you read says. Maybe Eckhart Tolle told you to “accept reality as it is,” but most other books are telling you to change yourself!
There is a reason for this. It has to do with who the author is targeting. And it all boils down the the 4 Levels of Consciousness (credit to Peter Sage for this model!).
Allow me to explain:
There are basically 4 Levels of Consciousness:
- “To me”
- “By me”
- “Through me”
- “As me”
“To me” is the victim mentality. The “to me” person lives life at effect and not cause. We all know the problems that come with this type of mentality. Most of self-help teaches people how to get out of this level.
To get out of “to me,” you need to get rid of blame and replace it with personal responsibility. Pretty straightforward.
“By me” is the doing mentality. The “by me” person is in GO mode all the time! He’s the achiever who gets shit done. It’s a hell of a lot better than “to me,” but constantly swimming upstream is exhausting and neurotic.
To get out of “by me,” you must give up the need for control and learn to embrace the uncertainty of life. Replace your death grip on life with faith. Faith can compel you forward in the absence of references or in the presence of limiting beliefs. The power of faith is easily underestimate.
This is where “through me” comes in. We all have moments of this. It’s when life is going so well for you, and the doors in life seem to swing wide open in front of you, even before you put your hand on the handle. “Through me” is an effortless flow state where you feel like the universe is acting through you.
The problem with faith is that it is the flip side to doubt. That is to say, if your level of doubt is higher than faith, you’ll be stuck. And that can change in an instant. One disbelieving remark from a friend about your exotic life plans can send your faith plummeting and your doubts rising.
You can move past faith in this stage as well, and adopt the principle of knowing. If you know, if you’re absolutely certain in your own mind that you will reach your goals and that the universe will help you get there, you’ll be in a much more powerful position. Very few people ever reach a place of knowing.
The final stage is “as me.” This is a feeling of oneness and total connectedness with the world. I am you and you are me. Quantum physics is proving this phenomena by showing that all atoms are connected to every other atom (note: quantum physicists are mostly not at “as me”). This is the most advanced stage of personal development there is. All the spiritual masters of the ages have taught from “as me.” Even fewer people reach this stage.
To get to “as me,” the illusion of separateness must be replaced with a feeling of unconditional love. The process can be long and arduous, and it’s a more delicate subject and process than I’m going to get into here.
A few points:
You can only hear from the level you’re at. So if someone in “as me” speaks to someone of the other stages, they will all understand different things. This is why organized religion has misinterpreted all the ancient spiritual teachings.
Also, we can all have moments of “to me,” “by me,” “through me” or “as me.” It is more about where you spend most of your time rather than a set state.
The 4 Levels of Consciousness is a journey. You can’t just skip from “to me” to “through me.”
So… back to the point of this article:
Self-help books are designed to get you out of one stage and into the next.
The problem is that they don’t know which stage you’re at.
This is basically why self-help can seem confusing. It all depends on the level you’re at.
Once you understand this, personal development becomes MUCH less frustrating. I can attest to that. 🙂
I will be using this model to categorize the books I review. This will make it much clearer as to what level of personal development these books are at. These categories are:
- handling people
- relationships / communication
- Stages: getting to “by me,” “through me,” “as me”