Evolution of Consciousness - A Brief & Rough Synopsis
A brief synopsis of the evolution of our consciousness individually and collectively:
1) We were socialized. That means we learned what was right and wrong and good and bad. We internalized the values and belief systems of our parents, society and culture, which means we made what was theirs ours. The wounds of intrusion (crossing of boundaries without permission) and neglect (the lack of validation or acknowledgement of our needs) as children was traumatizing.
2) At some point, if we’re lucky, we realize we’re unhappy and unfilled. The prescription for a good life that was programmed in us is at odds with our fundamental truth and nature. The wounds of our past are calling to be healed. How can we be happy if we're not being ourselves, stuck people-pleasing, more committed to being what others expect us to be than who we actually are.
3) We begin to realize there is an instinct in us that is trying to become conscious, like a movement of a plant towards the sun. The aspects of our whole being that were suppressed, denied, abandoned , neglected, judged, and disconnected from through the process of socialization are now calling to be integrated. “Healing” is this integration or return to wholeness, to recover the lost aspects of ourselves we disconnected from in childhood.
4) We realize that protection mechanisms / adaptations / coping mechanisms we learned in childhood to keep ourselves safe are being acted out as patterns in adulthood. These patterns keep us separate, stuck, scared and disconnected from each other. It’s why we can be surrounded by people but still feel alone.
5) Eventually, we shift from victim consciousness associated with the socialized mind where we feel like life is happening to us, to the self-authoring mind.
6) This is the shift from Michael Beckwith’s “To me” to “By me” stage of consciousness where we are empowered creators who take responsibility for changing ourselves. We individuate and aligning our actions with internal values. Communicating boundaries – what’s okay and not okay for you, and distinguishing where I end and you begin - are part of the process of developing one’s own self-concept.
7) Permission is the antidote to the suppression of the socialized mind. Whereas the process of socialization prompted a distancing, pushing away, down and inward movement, permission is a moving toward, upward and outward movement of expression. This is why in my book I bring to the reader’s awareness over 30 permissions that you may or may not be aware of that allow for making right the wrongs of our past.
8) In the self-authoring stage it takes courage to write our own story that might be counter to the expectations of our parents, society and culture. We have to risk not being liked which is challenging when we’ve been programmed to people-please and take orders.
9) Like a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly, we transcend and include the socialized mind as we move into self-authorship. In other words, we discard what does not serve us and integrate the rest. During this stage, giving yourself permission to do what’s best for you and to disappoint others is critical. At the same time, a support system of people who are also making this transition or who have already made it is extremely helpful as this social environment allows us to normalize the new self being birthed and not get sucked back into old patterns and ways of being.
10) During this time we are searching for meaning, a purpose, a reason to bear the inherent suffering that comes from being human. While the psychological self/ego seeks power and pleasure, the underlying existential drive is towards meaning which we realize through our contribution to others, often in helping others in the same way we were able to help ourselves. Once meaning is found, addictions (survival mechanisms that help us cope with the pain) driven by a lack of meaning fall away.
11) We shift from self-authoring mind to self-transforming mind. Here again we make a subject-object shift, looking at the belief systems and ways of relating we used to live inside like holding a fish bowl we were just swimming inside in our hands. This can also be the shift from Michael Beckwith’s “By me” stage of consciousness to “Through me” consciousness where we surrender our personal egoic will to something beyond or higher.
12) Herein lies the acknowledgement that on a tiny speck of dust in a seemingly infinite universe, maybe we don’t know it all. Maybe there’s something going on that is beyond our mind’s capacity to grasp. For some this is “God”. More and more, we’re recognizing that “God” is also not separate from us, but rather a happening, a process, a movement, the totality of existence that has no beginning or end, life itself, which is that which you are.
13) The movement from self-authoring mind to self-transforming mind has us reintegrate into society from a place of authenticity that allows for true belonging. It is the shift from ego-driven achievement to soul-driven contribution. We attract people to us who are in alignment with the new whole self we have birthed that is free from the delusions of the socialized mind. Here we are interdependent and recognize that we are both shaping the environment and being shaped by it, we are both self and other, creating and created, giving and receiving, part of a larger whole that is totally inclusive and diverse. Each individual is a unique expression of the totality of existence so it is our authenticity, our self-expression that allows us to truly belong. In other words, self-acceptance and self-expression are the key to true belonging. Like a puzzle piece that fits into a puzzle, it is only by being ourselves fully that we “fit in”.
14) In this final stage/shift in consciousness, communication tools like authentic relating, non-violent communication, sociocracy, radical honesty and what I call applied empathy (which integrates all of those) support healthy communication of boundaries as we respect the dance of self and other; self-expression with responsibility of impact. The dance balances honouring your needs and desires with honouring the needs and desires of others. It incorporates negotiating what is best for you in relationship with others to create win-win solutions. This is the nature of generative dialogue which leverages the power of our difference to create something new together.
15) Finally we make the shift from “Through me” to “As me” consciousness where the personal will and what can be considered divine will are one and the same. This the the fully integrated human being, born from the crucible of suffering, dying unto oneself, ultimately in service of humanity without effort, giving and receiving simply by being in the world.
16) At each stage we’re invited to let go of our attachments, to let the image we have of ourselves die. The amount of suffering and resistance we experience is related to the level of identification we have with our self-concept. The evolution of our individual and collective consciousness can be considered a spiritual process as our “sharp edges” – who we think we are – erodes away inviting us to live fully alive before we die.
1) These are my personal extrapolations and interpretations of the work of Robert Kegan, Michael Beckwith, Wayne Dyer and Brene Brown and do not necessarily reflect their views. I look forward to incorporating Ken Wilber's work and many more throughout the course of my life!
2) This is the brief synopsis of my upcoming book. If you’d like to be notified of its release, send me your email.