Levels Of Awareness
Levels of awareness defined in an easy to understand way, giving you a practical framework for your Mindfulness practice.
Levels Of Awareness
When learning about Mindfulness, you hear a lot about expanding your awareness.
But what do we really mean when we talk about expanding awareness?
In this article, we define 7 levels of awareness which will become more familiar to you as your Mindfulness practice develops.
What Is Awareness?
Awareness is often used as another word for mindfulness, but actually, the two are not the same.
Mindfulness involves a conscious directing of awareness to the present moment, whereas awareness can range from being sub-conscious to fully conscious.
If you want to learn more about the difference between awareness and Mindfulness, you can read, Why Awareness Is Different From Mindfulness
Basically though, Mindfulness is always aware, but awareness is not always Mindful.
In order for your awareness to be Mindful, it must be conscious awareness.
So, What Does Conscious Awareness Involve?
This is where we get to the different levels of awareness.
There are many different ways in which levels of awareness have been defined over the centuries, but here, I have defined 7 general levels of awareness.
These levels are referring to waking consciousness – not sleeping consciousness – and they are not based on traditional esoteric, spiritual or psychological models.
They have been defined from my personal experience of practicing and teaching Mindfulness, and they have proven to be a very practical and easy-to-grasp system:
The Levels Of Awareness Explained
- Non-Awareness : This refers to a state of being comatose – completely non-reactive to any external stimuli.
- Instinctual &/or Vague Awareness : This refers to the minimal level of awareness which is necessary to complete habitual tasks, also refered to as atuo-pilot – so it includes any memories, thoughts, feelings and sensations which are currently affacting our present state of being but of which we are unaware of at the present moment. Another aspect of this level of awareness is our Instinctual Awareness, in which we react to an external stimuli without conscious thought or consideration.
- External Physical Awareness : This is an awareness of the sensory information received from our 5 physical sense about our external environment – what we can, see, hear, touch/feel, taste and smell around us.
- Internal Physical Awareness : This is an awareness of the sensory information received from our internal environment – an awareness of our physical body – it includes an awareness of any tension, tightness, fullness, hunger, stiffness, etc, as well as an awareness of our breath and heart beat.
- Internal Non-Physical Awareness : This is an awareness of the non-physical sensory information received from our internal environment – an awareness of our non-physical body – it includes an awareness of our thoughts, emotions, intuition and energy.
- External Non-Physical Awareness : This is an awareness of the non-physical sesory information received from our external environment – it includes an awareness of what we can ‘feel’ around us, of the various energies and vibrations from the environment and all it contains, including plants, animals, people, communities and even planets, etc; it also includes an intuitive or symbolic awareness of what it occuring non-physically around us, as well as any psychic or extra-sensory information.
- Pure Awareness : This equates to a state of total awareness of the whole sum of creation in all of it’s physical and non-physical manifestations as well as an awareness of the unmanifested source of creation and the unity between the two – sometimes referred to as Nirvana, enlightenment, Oneness.
It’s OK – You Don’t Need To Reach Level 7!
So, you can see, there are many different levels of awareness.
But it is not necessary to reach level 7 in order to be mindful or to make real positive changes to your life.
In fact, although they follow a loose progression – a progression which I find very practical and accessible when practicing or teaching meditation – the awareness which we experience does not always progress in linear fashion.
We could be aware of the tension in our shoulders (level 4) and of the domineering emotions and energy of a collegue (level 6), but be unaware of the fact that we are feeling afraid, with vague memories of peer pressure from our childhood hovering in the background (level 5).
The important point is this:
The reason so many of us continue to experience similar situations and repetitive stressors and struggles in life, is because the vast majority of us are spending most of our time at level 2!
We run the majority of our day on auto-pilot, responding to the world around and within us with pre-programmed habits and patterns.
And if you want to change the result, you have to change the way you play the game!
You can read more about auto-pilot in our article, The Difference Between Mindfulness and Auto-Pilot.
But for now, this is the real gem to take away from this article:
Because most of us spend the majority of our time at level 2, it is really easy to begin being more aware.
And just bringing your awareness up to levels 3, 4 & 5 for part of your day will greatly improve your ability to manifest real and positive changes in your life.
Want To get Started?
It couldn’t be easier:
Head over to our FREE Guided Mindfulness Meditation video for a simple and easy experience of being aware at levels 3, 4 & 5.