Many spiritualist or esoteric traditions have mapped out levels of consciousness. The below system proposes 10 distinct levels of consciousness:
The physical level of consciousness
On the first level of consciousness, you identify with the physical and material realm completely. You are an embodiment your external environment, with all its positive and negative aspects. You’ve internalized the values of society at large, and you define yourself in terms of your material successes and status. If you’re unsuccessful and poor, you accept things as they are and believe that efforts for success will be fruitless.
The rumblings from beneath
As you transcend to the second level of consciousness, you feel disillusionment with living entirely in the material realm. You start to identify less with external and material reality and begin to look inwards. You spend more time alone and start to feel unmoved by the lifestyle that can be got with money and consumerism. You become attracted to learning about yourself. You begin to distinguish between sex and love, and between superficial power and real power.
On the third level, you become more sensitive. You feel things more deeply. You start allowing yourself to cry and experience painful states. You begin to ask philosophical questions and develop artistic sensibilities. You come to understand your relation to life, your physical being, your sexual energy, your creativity. You start to empathize with people, sensing what they feel. It starts to become clear what it is to be a human being and a true friend and neighbor, and you start to act on your own values.
From passive to active
As you move onto the fourth level of consciousness, you’ve emerged as an individual and begin to take an active role in life. You make your own decisions about what your life should be. You choose friends and situations according to your own values, of which you are now sure. You begin to wield influence over your own thoughts and emotions, manipulating them to fit your values and what you want for yourself. You practice mindfulness and begin to achieve self-mastery, knowing that every thought and deed defines you.
By the time you’ve reached the 5th level, you’ve changed your lifestyle in accordance with what’s best for you. You’ve given up destructive habits. You treat your body and mind with respect and maintain harmony and balance through your daily regimen. You’ve stopped living for the admiration and acceptance of others, and you’ve started to live for yourself. You begin to offer service to others based on your own desire to give. You devote time to meditation, creating, and celebrating existence. You make compromises with others and your ego concerns diminish. You begin to manifest your spiritual being in the physical world and in your relationships.
Bridging the gap
At the 6th stage of consciousness, the split between the external world and the spiritual realm has become clear to you. You live almost a double life. You are in the world but you no longer feel part of it. You become adept at passing between spiritual and physical realities and you begin to transfer knowledge from the one to the other. You become able to adapt to different situations, adopting personas to fit requirements of circumstances, but holding fast to a higher self. You meditate often and become someone who can resolve conflicts and offer others guidance.
When you’ve reached the 7th level of consciousness, you’ve begun to live from spirit. You feel a deep emotional connection with all living creatures. You understand what lies in the hearts of people, you feel their pain and know how to heal them. You express your spirit physically, uninhibited by negative feelings or judgments of yourself or others. You show affection to people with overwhelming warmth and connect with others emotionally.
Beginnings of fusion
At the 8th level of consciousness, the barriers between your ego and the collective are beginning to crumble. There’s no longer merely a recognition of your sameness with all those around you, you begin to feel the symbiotic connection that you have with all of creation. You become aware of energies and realize that all feeling, thought, and action is based on vibrations or frequencies of energy. You learn how to master the energy that you’re channelling and begin to see that you can influence the actions of others with your energy.
When you pass onto the 9th level of consciousness, you wield such power over your thoughts and feelings that their strength and purity begin to transform the people you meet. When you enter a room, people feel pure love for you. Your presence becomes so tangible and powerful that it influences others. Your mind, heart, spirit, body, and soul are one. You no longer identify yourself as an individual being with any ego concerns. You have become fused with the universe. At this point, you’re able to lead others en masse.
Dissolution of self and ascendance
At the 10th and final level of consciousness, your sense of self has almost entirely disappeared. You have no ego boundaries left standing, and you live in your own spiritual reality. Your connection to the rest of creation becomes coordinated. You move and everyone moves with you. You have become fused with the collective. You’re able to communicate with all beings in one pure language. Your being absorbs the universe around it and is absorbed by it. You are able to channel divine power.