The Shift in Consciousness Trick that Will Change How You Live Your Life.
We spend a lot of time in January thinking about things we’d like to change, do better, achieve.
And that’s a terrible shame.
Because successful New Year’s resolutioning isn’t so much about what we do, as it is about our state of consciousness while doing it.
If you’re anything like me (until I was about 45), you probably haven’t given a lot of thought to your state of consciousness beyond the simple fact that you are, in this moment at least, conscious. So, let’s take a deeper look.
(Quick note: The states I’m about to outline are based on the work of consciousness leadership coach Jim Dethmer, who based them on the work of Michael Beckwith, founder of the Agape Spiritual movement, who quite possibly based them on the work of some other wise person. That’s how it goes in the coaching world.)
The Four States of Consciousness
When we’re in the “To Me” mode, we experience life as if it’s happening to us rather than for us. We focus on problems, negative people and events and terrible things that could happen in the future. In this state, we have an external locus of control. Basically, we feel we have lots of problems, no power and are desperate for relief. We become defensive, reactive and judgemental of ourselves and others. We’re in what I call a contractive state.
It might surprise you to know that most of us spend about 80% of our time in “To Me” consciousness. Yikes!
When we’re in “By Me” mode, we are creating our experience of life. We have an internal locus of control and this gives us agency as we move through the world. We are free to make decisions. We are free to act on our own terms, not someone else’s. We’re free to set boundaries. We’re free to build and create and love as we wish to. We’re in what I call an expansive state.
When we’re in “Through Me”, we’re not so much creating our life experience as we are co-operating with life happening around us. If you want to get a bit woo-woo about it, we’re essentially co-creating our experience with the universe. If that makes you a bit squeamish, think of it this way – have you ever been in a state of flow, either when working or writing or creating, or engaging in some kind of sport or athletic activity, only to look up, and three hours have passed, and you barely noticed? Well, that’s the “Through Me” state, and it’s awesome. It’s also expansive in nature.
When we’re in “As Me”, we have a direct experience of “non-duality”. That is to say we experience no separation between us and the universe. We recognize the oneness of everything. Think of a monk just vibing with the universe in unlimited freedom and peace. Few of us ever experience this kind of consciousness, I know I haven’t, but it sounds very pleasant.
The four states are just that – states. Though it’s tempting to view them as a ladder one must climb, none of them is inherently better than the other. They just are. And we move through most of them all day, every day. I bet even the Dalai Lama finds himself in “To Me” state every once in a while – like when he stubs his toe on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. “To me” isn’t bad, it’s the natural state of a threatened being. It’s a moment of feeling triggered. It doesn’t have to be a big deal.
The trick is to be aware of where we’re at consciously, accept it for what it is, and in the case of “To Me” to not stay there for too long. If we do this enough, over time we’ll find that we’re a lot less contractive and a lot less reactive, defensive and judgemental.
Sounds nice right?
Download a random reminder app to your phone. I like Mind Jogger. Set it to randomly remind you 4 to 8 times a day with the question: Where are you?
When it pings, take a moment.
Are you in…
To me (life is happening to me)?
By me (I’m creating, or making things happen)?
Through me (I’m in a state of flow)?
As me (well hello you!)
Just note it, accept where you are with no judgement, take a nice cleansing breath, relax into it and then move on with your day.
You’ll always have “To Me” moments, hours or even days. But over time, you’ll notice you can shift out of it with ease, leaving more space to experience the other states of consciousness.