Three Levels of Consciousness

By Dr. Philip Holder
(Copyright 1996 – 2013)


levelsofconsciousnessThe past is gone and unchangeable. The future has yet to be revealed. The present and what we do with it will create our future. At all times, we are writing the book of our life. Right now, each of us is writing a chapter. How do you want the chapter to read when finished. More importantly, when the book is finished, what will it say about you? How does it end?Great things are rarely accomplished in one explosive moment in our lives. Each deed that we do, whether positive or negative, constructive or destructive will, in the final analysis, represent who we are. Each small deed we do is a link in the chain of our existence. If our deeds are positive and generous, our life will generate a positive influence and energy. If the deeds we do are negative, we will exist as petty creatures. This is an evolutionary process and not something that happens by design or in an instant. By attempting to be great, a person will likely become infamous rather than famous. If you seek to do positive things and have a generous heart, you will be viewed as being a great person. This is due primarily to the motivation that drives these two very different types of mindsets. Adolph Hitler sought to be great. Although powerful for a short time on the unniversal clock, he is viewed as infamous. Dr. Salk sought to help humanity. He gave away his polio vaccine as a way of contributing to the benefit of others.. Dr. Salk is viewed as a great man. These lives are both products of the chain of deeds that each man created during his lifetime.


I’ve been involved in martial arts for most of my life. I teach my Kung Fu students that there are three levels of human consciousness and behavior. These levels are 1. spontaneous, 2. calculated and 3. imposed. They each have unique characteristics.

Spontaneous – Represents the highest form of consciousness because it dwells in the here and now. The spontaneous mind can respond to life as it unfolds. It asks for nothing, harbors no ill for events of the past, and does not record or expect the repayment of good deeds done. Because it expects nothing from others it is not disappointed. He or she does not define him or herself by what he or she posses and is therefore never owned by his or her belongings. From this non-possessiveness comes freedom.

Calculated – Represents the second level of consciousness. It is lower that the first because it requires manipulation. This manipulation can be something as benign as someone doing a favor for a friend only because they plan to ask a favor the following week. It’s still manipulation. This mindset attempts to steer events relative to its own perception of right and wrong, what it wants or doesn’t want. It is focused on achieving the end that it thinks should happen. This results in a constant contention between what would be naturally, and what this individual thinks should be. His or her creative energy is confined by its need to direct and control circumstances and others and is usually a product of fear.

Imposed – Represents the third and lowest level of consciousness because it requires force. It requires that all proceed in accordance with his, hers or their plan. This methodology is both calculated and manipulative. As well, it addresses any opposition with punishment. This is rarely successful in the short term and never successful in the long term. This individual becomes both jailer and prisoner. He or she is too focused on the control of events and people to experience life’s wonders in the slightest way.


Freedom comes from adherence to the natural order and trusting that all will be as it should be. Manipulation and imposed force are a direct contradiction to this principle. Freedom comes from being part of the process of living. This can only be achieved by first knowing ourselves. People will spend 2, 4, 6, 8 or more years in college learning a subject but often spend little or no time getting to know who they are or what, they themselves, truly think and feel. Some can go through their entire life and never have an original thought. A whole life can be spent vicariously living only second hand thoughts and experiencing little that is unique to them. It is said that, knowing others is wisdom and knowing ourselves is enlightenment. Mastering others requires force and that mastering ourselves requires strength.


True strength results in a giving spirit. The need to use force is a sure sign of insecurity. When we have truly overcome our own demons, we feel no need to control, condemn or punish others who don’t view life exactly as we do. If others attempt to manipulate you, you can chose not to take part. You can chose to lead your life outside of the control of another. In Wing Chun Kung Fu we say… “If I do not resist you cannot push”. We all have the ability to chose our own path. No one can take that empowerment away from us. We only allow that by our own choice. Don’t strive for greatness. Live a chain of positive deeds and you will find happiness. If greatness comes from this, it is deserved.

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