Do you have control over your body? Do you claim control and power over yourself? Do you live negatively? Getting out of negativity is also known as moving from unconscious to conscious living - that is, raising your consciousness.
First, let's expand a bit more on negativity and unconsciousness. Aren't we all conscious, you might ask? Well, yes and no. Most of us have rudimentary control over our physical body. But that is about the extent of it. There are many other processes going on inside us. To help distinguish, let's make up some names... We'll call our thought processes the mental body, and our emotions the emotional body.
What is unconscious living?
Unconsciousness is letting our mental and emotional bodies take over. These bodies behave according to previous programming, and we have no conscious control. Let's use an example here: When you are sleeping, do you know what you are doing? Who is in control? If someone pokes you, how do you react? Personally, I mumble, frown, and continue sleeping. When I awake, I would have no recollection of what I did.
That is similar to how we live all the time, even when we are awake. Why do people always say that they lost control, or that they don't know what came over them? Their programming took control. When were these programs installed? Some come from millennia of evolution, some come from childhood, but for our purposes it doesn't matter.
We can discuss both the mental and emotional bodies with another example - an almost universal fear. Let's imagine that you walked into a room and saw your lover betraying you. Does your emotional body take over? Do you get upset? Angry? What does that lead to? Shouting, screaming, and possibly violence. These are all unconscious, automatic reactions that you have no control over.
On the other hand, being conscious means you can control your emotional body the same way you control the physical. You can keep your cool and do what you have to do - nothing you will regret later. You keep your power.
Every great man or woman - anyone who has accomplished something - has to have control over their emotions. It is a basic requirement. If their buttons are there to be pressed, they are easily manipulated and controlled. They've given away their power to their lover, or their boss, or anyone but themselves.
I, Robot Part 2
Now how about your mental body? The limiting programs here are more subtle but far more dangerous. Most people grew up carrying certain beliefs about themselves. Some were told or treated as if they were weak or stupid. Others were told they were beautiful, clever or strong. Everyone had gender behaviors drilled into us. Boys should do this, girls should be like that.
All of these can have a negative effect. What happens if our joy doesn't come from these? What happens if you were programmed to believe that clever people have to become lawyers but your joy came from being a firefighter? What if you are a woman who was told to be dainty and cute, but your passion is to play sports professionally?
Beliefs can also be about the world... Only the evil get rich. All men will break your heart. All women will steal your money.
In the betrayal example, many beliefs can come into play. Let's take the most obvious one: Our anguish comes from the belief that our lovers belong to us and us alone. Current western culture is monogamous. Imagine if you grew up in a culture where no-one has ever heard of monogamy. Free sex for all. Would your reaction be different? The event remains the same, but the mental body plays a different role. I'm not taking a stand on the morality of extramarital sex. I'm just trying to show how big a role the mental body plays, in every part of your life, in ways that you don't even know is there.
The more unconscious you are, the worse these affect you. "You shouldn't!" is not life destroying, but "you can't!" will keep you in captivity forever. That is unconscious living - and the root of low self-esteem.
Does the power the mental body has scare you? The good news is - with all that power, you can change your life if you can bend it to your will and make it work for you.
Unconsciousness means unhappiness and weakness
As you can tell by now, most people who live unconsciously are unhappy, and have no control of their lives. Some are lucky - they've had great childhoods during which they were programmed to be happy regardless of what happens, or to believe there are no obstacles they cannot pass.
But most unconscious people are not in control of their destiny. We were like boats without rudders, tossed around by the winds and the waves. Our happiness depended on our emotional bodies, which unconsciously reacted to external situations - the boss, the economy, our lovers, our parents.
Control of our lives and goals went to our wrongly programmed thought bodies. We can't go where we want to - instead we go where the wind blows, aimlessly, never reaching anywhere worthwhile except by luck. Before we know it, our time on Earth ends and that's all she wrote. It's not your fault though. Emotional and mental control were not part of our standard educations.
Levels of consciousness
You might be someone who has a measure of control over your life. That's great, but that is not the end of your growth. Consciousness is not an on or off thing. There are varying levels inside both negativity and positivity.
My favourite way of measuring consciousness is a scale from Power vs. Force, by David R. Hawkins. A handy summary of these levels are in this article by fellow personal development blogger, Steve Pavlina.
Lower levels of consciousness are associated with depression and hatred; that is the negativity of which we spoke of. The level of courage is the "border" to positivity. Levels above it are linked to love, enlightenment, and service to humanity.
You don't have to become a saint to raise your consciousness. But as you raise your consciousness, you'll find yourself naturally becoming more concerned with such matters. Everything else won't matter as much any more.
Hawkins does have his sceptics - some claim he is a crackpot, others say his PhD came from a worthless diploma mill. But I put a lot of weight on his words because in my experience (and many others) almost everything has been true. I haven't tried applied kinesiology, though. I have gone through several levels as he has described (before I even heard of him) and in each phase I have behaved as he described.
A consciousness example
I used to hover at guilt and apathy (just a bit above suicide), with the associated self-hatred and helplessness. I progressed to grief, with my depression. Next was fear - and that resulted in me hiding at home away from social contact. I only left the house when I had to. From there, I moved up to desire, with all the associated addictions.
Now I am probably around acceptance, and have had a few glimpses of joy and peace. My behavior has changed to match. I was a famous slob, and now I'm clean and well organized. I have recovered pride and enjoyment in a career that I had previously lost interest in.
You radiate your level to the world
By changing yourself, you can change the world. This is an example of how. You radiate out your level to others. The people around me changed to meet my level. When I was at fear, I had racist insults hurled at me for just happening to walk past them in daylight. When I was at anger, I had people pick fights with me at bars for no reason. As I got closer to the border of courage, the impact got more subtle. It took a long time with someone - weeks and months - before arguments and fights began tainting my relationships.
Now everyone I meet is friendly and helpful, even though my daily routine and external behavior has remained largely the same. I've always been a polite person, even when I was living in negativity. It might be my imagination, who knows? But I have not met anyone abusive since I started my journey, even though I have started to frequent much rougher nightspots.
I've been close to people who are at a much higher level then I am, and I simply felt great just sitting next to them for a few minutes. We didn't even talk. Pavlina mentions in his post that even thinking about people the level of Jesus Christ, Krishna and Buddha can raise your consciousness.
You are a magnet
Your level will also decide what enters your life. You attract people and events of similar levels of consciousness, or vibration. If you are depressed, for example, you will attract circumstances and people that are also depressing and depressed.
Some sceptics will scoff at this assertion. Some will claim that it is the "filter" that your current mood has - a happy person and a depressed person see the same event in different ways. Others will say you simply notice more unhappy things if you are sad that wouldn't have seen otherwise. I disagree; my experiences cannot be explained away so simply.
When opposites meet
So what happens when a negative person meets a positive one? From what I've seen, each will be pulled down or up over time until they are both the same. The only way to avoid this is if the positive person is so far advanced that they cannot fall.
A slightly positive person will be dragged down when continually surrounded by despair and misery. People like Mother Teresa are so advanced that they are not affected.
Steering your boat
There are many ways of becoming conscious if you have been living in negativity. Sometimes the world hurts so much that finding inner peace becomes your only purpose. Growth is then a process that can take years - and many argue you never stop. Others "awaken" spontaneously - those often go to very high levels instantly.
Here's my favourite way to raise your consciousness more. Learn to recognize your unconscious programming - watch for your mental or emotional bodies acting in your stead. Here's a good way to practice. Think back to past events - one major and life changing one, and a common everyday one. Can you see how your programming has controlled your emotional and mental response? Take the time now to decide what you would do in a similar event in the future.
Did you believe you were not good enough to do something? Decide now to try it again. (Common sense is needed here; you can't become heavyweight boxing champion of the world if a strong gust of wind blows you over.) Lost your temper when something bad happened? Decide now to keep your cool if it happens again. It won't happen overnight, but put in the effort and it will. It has to.
Living consciously does not make our boat immune to the waves. The tax will still affect our income. Tragedies will still make us sad. But the more conscious we are the more control we have, and the less these will affect us. And we now have a direction for our boat, and a way of keeping on course. The waves will still throw us off, but with the rudder we will eventually get back on path.
Now go out there and live consciously!