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We live in conflicted times. It seems that no matter where we turn, we find polarized opinions, opposing ideological and political positions, anger, hostility, and full-blown eruptions of verbal, and physical violence. For many it seems as if this conflict is getting worse by the day, begging the question: Why is there so much division in our world?
It all boils down to states of consciousness. But what does that mean, exactly?
To begin, we have to recognize that everything happening in our lives is experienced through our body/mind and its nervous system. Any experience you have—from smelling a rose, to watching a Broadway show, or walking hand in hand with your beloved on the seashore—takes place in consciousness and is filtered through your mind and body. How you process and interpret any experience depends on how your nervous system is operating.
Seven Foundational Biological Responses
There are seven foundational biological responses of which our nervous system is capable whenever our needs are not met, each with its own unique manifestation in body, mind, and spirit. These seven responses as explained in Deepak Chopra’s book How to Know God are:
The framework of the seven biological responses is a profoundly insightful tool to explore both our personal lives and the world we are a part of. A couple of key takeaways to remember:
Think About Your Biological Responses
With this map in hand, we can then begin to examine our life experiences to better understand where we are on the ladder of our conscious evolution. Take a moment to reflect on how you normally respond when your needs aren’t met.
Each of the biological responses gives you a reference point. Like mile markers on a highway, they help you see how far you’ve traveled on the journey.
Awakening to Awareness
However, it’s important to remember that it’s not a contest. You’re not competing with anyone (even yourself) to level-up to the next stage of awareness. We are all doing the best we can from our own level of awareness. In addition, each successive response doesn’t exclude the previous stages, it just offers additional options. We ultimately have access to all responses, yet there’s usually one response that resonates most strongly for us that we call home.
So now, if we pull back to our original question of why we seem to be experiencing so much division in the world, we can understand this conflict as the result not so much in terms of ideological or political difference, but rather as differences in states of consciousness. Remembering that biology, perception, knowledge, cognition, and reality are different in each state of consciousness, individuals embodying different biological responses may perceive a vastly different world from one another.
Diverse levels of consciousness are essentially operating at different frequency bands. It’s almost as if they’re speaking two different languages. This is important to understand if we are to bridge the divisive gaps in our society. Like expecting to find classical music on a rock-and-roll station, we set ourselves up for struggle and frustration by not recognizing the different states of consciousness embodied by individuals and collective groups of people.
Steps Toward Spiritual Evolution
But where do we go from here? Are we doomed to live in conflicting states of awareness and remain unable to find common ground for understanding? Not necessarily. Although most of humanity is operating from within one of the first two biological responses, we have the gift of free will to help impel the evolution of our consciousness. While our responses may often be automatic and unconscious, by expanding our awareness we can consciously begin to move up the ladder. Here are a few ways we can more actively participate in our spiritual evolution.
The value of meditation in this regard cannot be overstated. Accessing the restful awareness response represents the turning point, the threshold that must be crossed for higher states to become available. As such, it may be one of the most important and transformative skills one could ever learn.
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|Chakra||Body Location||Biological Response|
|First||Base of spine||Fight or flight|
|Third||Solar plexus||Restful awareness|
|Seventh||Crown of head||Sacred|
The study of chakras can help you better understand how consciousness evolves through your human nervous system as well as provide tools to remove blockages or obstacles to your continued growth.
Known as subtle activism, a term coined by author David Nicol, we come to recognize that through practices such as meditation, prayer, focused collective intention, and ritual we can have a profound and transformative effect on our society. Essentially, subtle activism is the notion that as we each commit to grow and evolve spiritually, through the non-local interconnected field of consciousness, all of humanity begins to shift. When a tipping point in consciousness is reached, the world will change. This isn’t to say we shouldn’t take positive outward action to help the world; it is however recognizing the ripple your expanding awareness has on the universe, and your innate ability to be a subtle agent of change in the world.
We are all moving up the ladder of spiritual evolution, not matter how slow someone seems to be going. Judgement is a function of the reactive response and only serves to further constrict our awareness. On the other hand, compassion is based in the visionary and sacred levels of awareness. Treating everyone with compassion opens us up to better understand the struggles of others. We all wish to be free from suffering, and we each do the best we are able from our state of awareness. The more we consciously work to embody compassion and love for all beings, the more we will become the lights of awareness the world so desperately needs.
With this knowledge of the seven biological responses and their corresponding states of awareness in hand, you have a roadmap not only to the evolution of your own awareness, but a framework to better understand and help heal the conflicts of the world.