Me, We, And Everybody
Continued from yesterday…
Growing up is part of life. We connect with others and mature in love, and move from one stage to another of normal human development. An evolution of consciousness where the way we perceive reality moves from 1st person, to 2nd person, to 3rd person, and so on.
Think of these hidden structures of consciousness as climbing a mountain, where the higher you climb, the more your view expands. Many thought-leaders, such as Jean Geiber, Ken Wilber, James Fowler, and others, have mapped these developmental structures into seven to nine major levels in the last one hundred years.
These hidden stages of structures of human development help us understand the culture wars in society. They also explain why people can read their spiritual texts, such as the Bible, and develop such varied conclusions and beliefs.
But more importantly, understanding these stages of consciousness helps put into words the spiritual journey we are all on. Knowing these stages, especially if we open our hearts, serves as a path toward personal and collective transformation and wholeness.
For the sake of brevity and simplicity, I will summarize these 7 to 9 human growth stages into four levels. At best, these posts are a brief introduction. But even that is an overstatement.
Since all the original nine stages overlap, it is even more notable here. As you will notice, moving from stage 1 to stage 2 is gradual.
For example, a hiker of Mount Kilimanjaro may have to reach five camps of gradually increasing altitudes before reaching the summit. On the journey between each stage, the view from the next higher camp becomes more apparent the closer he gets to it. This principle applies to these stages of development.
So what are these hidden structure stages of consciousness? For now and in short, let’s summarize them as egocentric (me), ethnocentric (we), world-centric (everybody), and Christ-centric (one).
In the first stage, we observe life from the perspective of “me,” but consciousness deepens, and we perceive life through the second stage of human development of “we” – our tribe. The structure through which we see has moved toward more inclusiveness. We interpret reality through the lens and worldview of our tribe.
It’s no longer just about what’s best for “me,” but we can see what’s in the best interest of our tribe, such as our family, race, religion, political party, nation, etc. In other words, we move from a consciousness centered on “me” to “we.” As such, we mature in love.
At some point, unless our spiritual growth or intelligence stifles, consciousness again deepens, and we transcend the “we” stage and begin to observe reality through the lens of “everybody.”
No longer are we just seeing what it’s in the best of “me” and “we.” But we recognize other people representing different backgrounds – ethnicity, worldview, and religions – and we consider what they go through. What does reality look like through their lens? What do they see that I don’t see? Why do they feel the way they feel? How do they experience life?
It’s the “everybody” stage of consciousness. We become more tolerant and compassionate toward people who don’t share our background and worldview.
Once the center of gravity is in a new consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to return to a less inclusive awareness. It’s not that we no longer see what’s in “my” best interest, but we include the previous stage(s) and transcend.
All of these stages of consciousness can be observed quite easily in society today. Yet, there are more stages of consciousness still to emerge.
Of course, only a few people in history, for example, Jesus, have demonstrated such consciousness. What can we learn from them about the Spirit-in-action in humanity? What do we see in them that reveals our development?
We will continue to explore this theme in the days to come. It is also the backdrop to my recent book: Awakening To I Am Love, and to the Path of Love podcast.
One final point before we cover these four main stages in more detail over the next few days. Creating a framework of these stages of consciousness is not to label or develop a prejudice against others. Such thinking is rooted in the ego’s need to be enhanced and considered special. Instead, knowing these stages have a two-fold purpose.
First of all, it helps us better understand why others are dissimilar to us. Thus, increasing our capacity for compassion and care while also improving our communication with people at different stages.
Secondly, it helps us get a sense of where we are in our spiritual growth. Some research indicates that studying these hidden structures of consciousness accelerates our own spiritual growth.
To be continued tomorrow…
Written for Path of Love Daily Wisdom by David Youngren. The post is based on chapter 3 of Awakening To I Am Love by David Youngren
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